There’s a huge range of books available for children right from birth, but where to begin? Which one do I choose and when? Should they rhyme? What do I choose if I speak to my child in another language at home?
These and many other questions we’ve all asked ourselves as we stare at the range of children’s books in our local bookshop – so here are some tips on what to look out for.
For Babies 0-6 Months
Books with simple, large pictures or designs with bright colours.
Stiff cardboard, "chunky" books or fold-out books that can be propped up in the crib.
Cloth and soft vinyl books with simple pictures of people or familiar objects that can go in the bath or get washed.
For Babies 6-12 Months
Board books with photos of other babies.
Brightly coloured "chunky" board books to touch and taste!
Books with photos of familiar objects like balls and bottles.
Books with sturdy pages that can be propped up or spread out in the crib or on a blanket.
Plastic/ vinyl books for bath time.
Washable cloth books.
Small plastic photo albums of family and friends.
For Young Toddlers 12-24 Months
Sturdy board books that they can carry.
Books with photos of children doing familiar things like sleeping or playing.
Goodnight books for bed time.
Books about saying good-bye and hello.
Books with only a few words on each page.
Books with brightly coloured, engaging illustrations.
Books with simple rhymes or predictable text.
Books with animals of all shapes and sizes.
For Older Toddlers 24-36 Months
Books that tell simple stories.
Simple rhyming books that they can memorise.
Bed time books.
Books about counting, the alphabet, shapes or sizes.
Animal books, vehicle books, books about playtime.
Pop-up books, pull-the-tab books, touch-and-feel books.
Books with humorous pictures and words.
For Pre-schoolers 3-5 Years
Books about children that look and live like them, as well as about children living very different lives.
Counting books or other "concept" books about things like size or time.
Simple "science" books about things and how they work — like simple tools.
Books about things they have a special interest in, such as trains, animals or cooking.
Books about making friends (also books about dealing with the challenges of friendships - making up after an argument, dealing with a bossy friend, or a bully etc.)
Books about going to school or to the doctor.
Books about having brothers or sisters.
Books with simple text that they can memorise or read!
For more information see Reading to children or Parenting.