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Beyond Goodnight Moon: Best Books for Baby Showers

Baby showers are such a fun place to celebrate a growing family, and we love the tradition of sharing books with future readers. Friends and family are often excited to help kickstart a child’s bookshelf.

Chances are, if you’ve attended a baby shower, you’ve seen a new caregiver get several copies of the classic book, Goodnight Moon! Too often, families are inundated with familiar and classic books and miss out on special newer releases. We created this book list so that you’ll have the best, most inclusive and fun book at the party!

You might also like our blog post Read with Me: Advice for Reading with Infants and our Bookshop booklist, Baby’s First Bookshelf (Diverse Board Books).

You can read the book summaries about the best books for baby showers and shop from our complete list on our Bookshop page. Just click here!

Below, we outlined 10 of our absolute favorite board books and keepsake picture books for growing families. Each of the books on this list is inclusive, deeply affirming, and representative of the world we live in.

Board Books

While we love board books by popular authors like Sandra Boynton (hello, Moo, Baa, La La La!) and crowd favorites like Peek-a-Who?, this list features many books that are underrated gems and belong on every baby book shelf!

Love You Head to Toe

Author/Illustrator: Ashley Barron | Publisher: OwlKids

This is the sweetest book that babies and caregivers will both love. It features a variety of baby animals doing everyday things just like human babies! Love You Head to Toe is an inclusive book that shows how they both engage in similar behaviors, like filling their cheeks like chipmunks or stretching their limbs like sea stars. It will make every baby feel deeply loved and cherished.

Cats First Baby

Author/Illustrator: Natalie Nelson | Publisher: Quirk Books

Do you have an animal lover in your life? Cats First Baby and Dogs First Baby are the cutest books for families with a fur baby in their lives. It can sometimes be a big adjustment for pets to welcome a new baby into their home, and these adorable books from the pet’s point of view showcase just that! These books are sure to delight readers of all ages.

Hands On!

Author/Illustrator: Anne Wynter | Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Hands On! celebrates the many changes and transformations babies experience in their first years of life. From the first time they start drumming on the floor to crawling and chasing critters across the grass - this book celebrates all types of developmental milestones. It features repetitive and fun vocabulary and bold, bright illustrations.

Don’t miss the companion book in this series, One Big Day, that celebrates babies turning one year old!

Sometimes Babies… A Book for a New Baby

Author: Nosy Crow | Illustrator: Charlotte Trounce | Publisher: Nosy Crow

This is such a great book of opposites that features all types of animals, like giraffes, elephants, turtles, penguins and more! Some babies are big like an elephant or small like a bird, some babies are calm and quiet like a cat, and others may be loud and jumpy like a monkey.

Sometimes Babies is a great book for toddlers and young children who are preparing to welcome a sibling into their family. We also LOVE the books, Families Grow and When Aiden Became a Big Brother, for growing families.

Love Makes a Family

Author/Illustrator: Sophie Beer | Publisher: Nosy Crow

You can’t go wrong with a board book from Sophie Beer! She’s written several of our favorite board books, including, Love Makes a Family, Kindness Makes Us Strong, and Change Starts with Us. Each book has bright and bold colors that will capture a baby’s attention and thoughtful and inclusive language and vocabulary that’s so important.

Love Makes a Family showcases a variety of family structures so that every child can begin their reading journey seeing families that look like theirs, and others that do not. It highlights how different every family may be, and yet, they’re all rooted in LOVE.

Keepsake Picture Books:

Families will cherish this selection of keepsake picture books for years to come, and visit them again and again in the future. For now, though, they’re sure to make new caregivers emotional as they imagine all that is to come from sharing their lives with a child.

I’ll Build You a Bookcase

Author: Carole Gerber | Illustrator: Sawsan Chalabi | Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

I’ll Build You a Bookcase is the perfect pick for a caregiver who is eager to nurture a love of reading in their little one. This bilingual picture book celebrates the joy of reading and storytelling through brightly colored illustrations and short and sweet rhymes.

This bilingual book is available in multiple languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Vietnamese and Mandarin.

How You Came to Be

Author: Carole Gerber | Illustrator: Sawsan Chalabi | Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

How You Came to Be is a love letter from a birth parent to child that discusses the month-to-month development of a growing fetus. It is an informational book that teaches an inquisitive young child about some of the changes and transformations that a fetus experiences in utero, from first kicks and hiccups to taking its first breaths outside the womb.

What Makes a Baby is another great informational pick along the same topic. This inclusive book talks about science involved in making a baby in a wholly age-appropriate way for curious little ones.

Dear Little One

Author: Nina Laden | Illustrator: Melissa Castrillon | Publisher: Simon and Schuster

This book is a celebration of the world we all share, and a wondrous and lyrical call to action for children to experience as much of it as possible. It features short yet powerful sentences and colorful illustrations that showcase all the different components that make up planet Earth.

It challenges us to show gratitude and express awe for the many tiny treasures that we get to experience every day. Dear Little One would be a perfect gift for new caregivers and adventurous spirits.

To the Moon and Back For You

Author: Emilia Bechrakis Serhant | Illustrator: EG Keller | Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

This is a gorgeous book for any caregiver who has struggled on their journey to grow their family. The author was inspired by her own experience with infertility and IVF, and the persistence and hope that ultimately led to her miracle baby.

We also suggest the book, I Sang You Down From the Stars, that chronicles a birth parents' experience waiting and preparing for their little bundle of joy to arrive. It’s written by an Indigenous author/illustrator team who explain how many Native communities believe that babies choose their parents.

I’ll Hold Your Hand

Author: Maggie C. Rudd | Illustrator: Elisa Chavarri | Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

Step aside, Love You Forever and Goodnight Moon, I’ll Hold Your Hand is the quintessential book to give new parents and caregivers of babies and small children. It is beautifully inclusive and authentically represents the world we live in.

I’ll Hold Your Hand is about the millions of big and small ways that families care for, support and love a child through the phases of their lives. The bright and floral illustrations feel like a breath of fresh air.

For families who may know and celebrate the biological sex of their baby, check out these keepsake picture books:

Dreams for a Daughter by Carole Boston-Weatherford (Author), Brian Pinkney (Illustrator)

Songs for Our Sons by Ruth Doyle (Author), Ashling Lindsay (Illustrator)

Dreams for Our Sons by Ruth Doyle (Author), Ashling Lindsay (Illustrator)

A Boy Like You by Frank Murphy (Author), Kayla Harren (Illustrator)

A Girl Like You by Frank Murphy & Carla Murphy (Authors), Kayla Harren (Illustrator)


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