Back to articles A Reader Is Born: 10 Tips for Building Baby’s First Library by Kerry Ramsay

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Reading out loud to a newborn can be a great family bonding experience. Snuggled together on the couch or in a cozy armchair, the simple sound of mom or dad’s voice can be a calming sensation for an infant. Sisters, brothers, grandparents and other family members can get in on the action too, creating positive moments and memories to last a lifetime.

Building baby’s home library collection is a great way to ensure there are plenty of child-friendly books on hand when it’s reading time. And let’s be honest: just about any time is reading time!

While public libraries are a great source of endless tales, turning the dog-eared pages of your very own copy of Charlotte’s Web or I’ll Love You Forever holds a special thrill.

Here are ten tips for building baby’s first library:

  1. A friends and family baby book shower is a great way to help build baby’s first library. Guests can even include a handwritten note or bookplate as a special reminder of the gift giver.
  2. Start out by buying books centred around a certain theme (such as animals) or a favourite author (like Robert Munsch).
  3. Create a playgroup book club for children of a similar age as your own. Each week, have a mom share a book her child is enjoying, and consider adding it to your own collection.
  4. Libraries often have book sales, so watch for timeless classics like Where the Wild Things Are and Good Night Moon. (Be sure to wipe books clean before sharing with baby.)
  5. Visit yard sales in your neighbourhood for gently used copies of well-loved favourites by authors such as Beatrix Potter and Dr. Seuss. (Again, be sure to clean thoroughly.)
  6. Consider purchasing board books until your child is old enough to read books with paper pages (which can be easily torn by small, eager fingers).
  7. Choose interactive and engaging books for your baby, such black-and-white contrast books, books with flaps, and touch-and-feel stories.
  8. Include a few water-proof bath books in baby’s home collection as well. After all, what better place is there to read than in the tub?
  9. Be sure the books are within reach of your child at bedtime and nap time. Dedicate a night stand drawer or a bedroom bookshelf space to baby’s growing library.
  10. Place book bins in central areas of the home, like the kitchen and living room. Easy access to books will help reading become a go-to activity for your budding reader.


Kerry Ramsay is the owner of Little Red Canoe Book Co., a nature-themed book subscription service delivering one-of-a-kind book box adventures for kids aged newborn to 8 years.