It’s never too early to expose kids to reading, but if you’ve wondered, “what can I read to my newborn?” you’re not alone. Rest assured, reading to infants is rewarding for parents and children alike. Books can be a touch point for important baby milestones, like first smiles, and the calming sound of a parent’s voice during story time helps to foster a positive association with books. The foundation for vocabulary and fine motor skills is laid. Plus: it’s just plain fun!

The non-profit, Zero to Three, advises parents to give newborns books that they can explore with all of their senses, including books they chew on, books that make noise or have different textures, and chunky books that are easier to grab. They also suggest taking breaks when you notice your baby showing signs of boredom like looking away, crying, or arching their back. So the next time you need a quiet activity with baby, pull out one of our favorite books for newborns, and remember to keep them around for years to boost all those skills as your little ones grow.

a books for newborns, touch your nose book cover

1. Indestructibles: Touch Your Nose! by Amy Pixton

You can’t go wrong with any of the books for babies in the Indestructibles series: they’re rip-proof, waterproof, lightweight, non-toxic, and full of bold contrasting colors and vocabulary. We’re especially fond of this one that encourages babies to “wiggle their feet and touch their toes” using adorable, bright illustrations.

Buy it here, $6

2. Baby Hippo: Finger Puppet Book by Yu-Hsuan Huang

This sweet little finger puppet book gives babies a tactile experience while introducing their little hands to the idea of turning the pages of a book. Baby Hippo is one of several published by Chronicle Books that integrate finger puppet plushness in a die-cut, interactive book.

Buy it here, $8

3. Look! Look! by Peter Linenthal

A high-contrast board book with a black-and-white design with cut-paper style imagery of amazing everyday things like a car, a cat, flowers, and more. Includes first words as baby begins to develop sounds and vocabulary.

Buy it here, $8

Related: 19 Classic Books All Babies & Toddlers Should Have

4. Baby Sees Colors by Akio Kashiwara

The artist set out to design a book that would soothe crying babies. She created this and other similar books, refining her designs to get favorable responses from babies and their parents. Full of high-contrast shapes, lines, and colors, babies will learn to discern between colors and objects.

Buy it here, $10

5. We Love Books! by Ingela Arrhenius

You’re never too young to develop an insatiable appetite for books! Imprint the idea of books as a positive element in everyday life with a nearly indestructible book that celebrates books. The book itself stands upright to display the adorable book-themed art.

Buy it here, $9

6. Crinkle, Crinkle, Little Star by Justin Krasner

Explore the night sky with this enchanting book that makes an appealing crinkle sound. Take a journey to the constellations with a lullaby and pages that are shimmery and tactile, stimulating sight, sound, and touch.

Buy it here, $10


7. Rainbow Bath! Waterproof Bath Book by Rachel Halpern

A Baby Einstein book that doesn’t have to stay on dry land: this waterproof book for newborns is super durable and floats in water. Featuring Baby Einstein characters, explore the ocean from sea to ship to shore.

Buy it here, $6

8. Tummy Time! by Mama Makes Books

Not only is this full of mesmerizing imagery with dark-and-light contrast, but there’s also an embedded mirror so baby can see their own cute faces. The book is designed to be read like a book or spread out or stand up in front during tummy time!

Buy it here, $9

9. My First Book by KaPing

A cloth book full of high-contrast black-and-white imagery, including playful animals and insects and bold patterns such as dots and shapes. The book can be expanded to lay flat, or the “pages” can be turned.

Buy it here, $14

10. City Baby Crinkle Stroller Book by Mudpuppy

A soft, miniature book that attaches to the stroller or can be easily tucked inside a diaper bag, this one features images of common urban objects like buildings, a garbage truck, and a taxi. It makes a crinkle sound when squeezed, giving it that added tactile experience babies love.

Buy it here, $13

Related: 40 of the Very Best Books for Toddlers

11. Hello, Ocean Friends, by duopress labs

Bold patterns and high-contrast images help introduce bébé to ocean creatures like starfish and jellyfish. We also love Hello, Baby Animals, a book in the same line.

Buy it here, $8

12. Peek-a-Who? by Nina Laden

This classic board book has already entertained generations of the smallest readers as the die-cut pages reveal a very special “who” at the end: a little mirror shows babies their own reflection.

Buy it here, $6

13. Smile, Baby! by Chronicle Books

Playful text and an embedded mirror invite babies to find their eyes, pat their cheeks, touch their noise, and more as they develop fine motor skills and identify with the cute characters throughout.

Buy it here, $9

14. I Love You, Baby by Mudpuppy

The illustrations in this waterproof book are black and white on dry land, but when exposed to water they magically turn to full color.

Buy it here, $10

15. Making Faces: A First Book of Emotions by Abrams Appleseed

Photos of babies making an array of faces—happy, sad, angry, silly—help little ones begin to identify emotions and mimic the faces themselves. The images are set on white backgrounds to help create maximum contrast, and there's a little mirror so baby can practice!

Buy it here, $8

Related: These Are the Best New Board Books for Babies

16. Hello You, Hello Me by Surya Sajnani

A sensory treat for tiny readers, this organic cotton cloth book features tactile pages, adorable illustrations, and a mirror.

Buy it here, $9

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All images courtesy of retailers.

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