Reading is not something extra. It’s something essential.

One thing about pregnancy is that, at some point, it becomes visible, and therefore public. I’ve heard lots of advice from friends, family, co-workers, and total strangers, most of it unsolicited, though not necessarily unwelcome.

One topic that comes up a fair amount is reading, and how much of it I will or won’t be able to do after the baby is born. I am either “optimistic” or “delusional” about this, depending who you ask. One parent of a four-year-old basically said to forget the whole idea, but another parent of two said, “If something is a priority, you make time for it.” Fewer things may be priorities, he allowed, but if something matters to you, you’ll find a way. Another friend who recently had a baby said she’s been able to read while nursing – a pretty significant chunk of time.

As Jennifer LaGarde just wrote (“Giving Yourself Permission to Read“), “Reading is not something extra. It’s something essential.” Even if I go from reading my usual ten(+/-) books a month down to five, that’s still a lot of reading – and those are just adult and YA books. I’m sure I will be reading a lot of picture books! (Most recently, I loved Mac Barnett’s Leo: A Ghost Story.)

Reading is essential not just for me, but for the baby. Early literacy can’t start too early! Here’s our shelf of board books from baby’s library, including gifts, yard sale and book sale acquisitions, hand-me-downs, and one or two new purchases I couldn’t resist:

Shelf of board books with bee lunchbox on top

Some are old favorites (Goodnight Moon, Pat the Bunny, Eric Carle and Dr. Seuss), some are newer favorites (Hug, the pigeon books by Mo Willems, Orange Pear Apple Bear), and some are brand-new discoveries like the That’s Not My… series, which have a tactile element like Pat the Bunny.

Shelf of board books

Not pictured because they’re already packed in the diaper bag for the hospital: Tana Hoban’s high-contrast Black on White and White on Black (popular with infants, we’ve heard) and Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar (popular with me).

Are you a parent or a children’s librarian? What are your (or your kids’) favorite board books or picture books?

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13 thoughts on “Reading is not something extra. It’s something essential.

  1. I also breastfed my son, and I did a lot of reading while nursing him. Reading is my passion, so I couldn’t just give it up once I had a child. Now that he’s older (2 1/2), I typically read after he’s in bed. He does watch a little TV, so sometimes I crack a book while he’s watching one of his shows (there’s only so many times you can watch the same episode of Paw Patrol and still retain your sanity).

    I read to my son every day, and he loves it. For board books, we loved Sandra Boynton ( I see you have Barnyard Dance – excellent choice!). Besides the classics like Dr. Suess, Eric Carle, Corduroy, Goodnight Moon, etc., some of our favorite picture books have been:

    Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller – Just plain adorable, such a clever story, and henceforth every butternut squash is a “Sophie.”

    Go! Go! Go! Stop! by Charise Mericle Harper – Another clever story with adorable illustrations, and so fun to make interactive.

    I Stink! by Kate & Jim McMullan – For truck and garbage lovers everywhere πŸ™‚

    Max the Brave by Ed Vere – Clever story, bright colors, and simple illustrations. My son had me read it to him three times in a row when we first got it.

    My No, No, No Day! by Rebecca Patterson – This is pretty hysterical once your child becomes a toddler. Spot on!

    There are so many books my son loves, but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment. Congratulations and happy reading with your baby! πŸ™‚

  2. Any Sandra Boynton is great. Moo Baa La La La was fun to read.

    Julian really loved Bear Snores On, which we read in board-book version and eventually replaced with the paper version. I’m pretty sure I could still recite the whole thing.

    I see you already have Good Night, Gorilla–another favorite!

    When the baby gets a little older (like, old enough to open her eyes and look at pictures), try to get some of those books filled with pictures of other babies.

    When the baby is actually a little bigger, Hippopposites and Rhymoceros are amazing and I love them.

  3. Jenny, I’ll probably email you a bibliography! Seriously, that’s what I usually do with my friends when they have babies. I will tell you that I did a lot of reading when my boy was a baby because of nursing or napping, but also because that is what kept me sane. (Being a mom to a newborn can be really scary!) You always have choices, Jenny, so no worries. I’m very excited for you!!

  4. Pingback: What we’ve read so far | It's Okay, I Have A Book

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