What are the best board books for babies? Best board books for babies that develop language skills.

The 20 Best Board Books for Babies to Develop Early Language Skills

Imagine watching your baby’s eyes light up with curiosity as they experience the wonders of reading for the first time. As parents, we know that early language development is crucial for our little ones’ future success. But how do we start developing this essential skill? The answer lies in the pages of the best board books for babies, designed to enhance your baby’s language skills.

In this article, I’ve have taken the guesswork out of choosing the right books by handpicking the 20 best board books for babies for you! ♥ I’ll cover:

  • Why should I read to my baby?
  • Interactive Books for Engaging Language Learning
    • Rhyme Time: Books that Foster Phonological Awareness
    • Peek-a-boo and Lift-the-flap: Books for Vocabulary Building
    • Colorful and Sensory Books to Encourage Language Acquisition
  • Storybooks for Narrative Skills and Imagination
  • Multilingual Books to Explore Different Languages

Let’s jump in to the 20 best board books for babies that will develop your baby’s communication skills, expand their vocabulary, and spark their love for language.

What are the best board books for babies? Best board books for babies that develop language skills.

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Why should I read to my baby?

  1. Reading stimulates brain development, fostering cognitive skills like memory and problem-solving.
  2. Regular reading sessions enhance a baby’s attention span and focus.
  3. Babies grasp the structure of sentences and language patterns as they listen to narratives.
  4. Shared reading creates a special bonding time, strengthening the emotional connection between parent and baby.
  5. Reading aloud exposes babies to language models, influencing their own communication skills.
  6. Regular reading creates a positive association with books, fostering an early interest in learning.
  7. Babies become curious about the world around them through the stories they encounter.
  8. Storybooks often reflect diverse cultures, fostering an early appreciation for diversity.
  9. Some stories convey morals and values, introducing ethical concepts in a simple and engaging way.
  10. The familiar act of reading provides comfort, creating a sense of security for the baby.

Interactive Books for Engaging Language Learning

Interactive books are a fantastic way to hold your baby’s attention and actively engage them in the language learning process.

These types of books encourage interaction, participation, and exploration.

Rhyme Time: Best Board Books for Babies that Foster Phonological Awareness

First, we’ll check out these interactive books that focus on fostering phonological awareness through rhythm and rhyme.

By incorporating rhythmic patterns and playful language, these books not only make reading enjoyable but also help develop crucial pre-reading and language skills.

Why is Rhyming Important for Babies?

  • Rhyme and rhythm play a vital role in developing early language skills.
  • The repetitive nature of rhymes enhances memory, as babies hear and internalize similar sounds and patterns.
  • When babies are exposed to books with rhythmic patterns, their brains start to recognize and anticipate the sounds, building the foundation for future language skills such as vocabulary and comprehension.
  • The repetition and rhythm also help babies develop their phonological awareness, which refers to their ability to hear and manipulate the sounds of spoken language.

As you read these books to your little one, you’ll be amazed at how they quickly become engaged with the predictable patterns and playful language.

They might even start clapping, tapping, or moving along with your voice as you read, enhancing those motor skills while they enjoy the reading experience!

Rhyming Board Books for Babies

Rhyming board books and books that have a repetitive rhythm are a fantastic way to engage babies and promote language development. Here are a few of my favs!

What are the best board books for babies? The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland

Ten Tiny Tickles by Karen Katz

Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry

We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

By introducing these board books for babies that foster phonological awareness, you are not only providing your baby with a foundation for language development but also instilling in them a lifelong love for reading. ❤

Now that we’ve explored the importance of rhyme and rhythm in early language development, let’s move on to the best board books for babies that focus on building vocabulary through special elements like peek-a-boo and lift-the-flap.

Peek-a-boo and Lift-the-flap: Books for Vocabulary Building

Interactive peek-a-boo and lift-the-flap books not only provide entertainment but also enhance your baby’s language skills.

Peek-a-boo books have SO MANY developmental benefits for babies, making them a popular and engaging book choice.

How Games Like Peek-a-Boo Encourage Early Literacy

Why do all babies love peek-a-boo? The answer is more complex than you might think.

It’s because they are still learning a concept called object permanence. Named by psychologist Jean Piaget, object permanence means that babies are still learning that things aren’t gone forever when they are out of sight.

Not only do interactive books help develop object permanence by lifting flaps and revealing hidden surprises or playing peek-a-boo with colorful illustrations, these books encourage your baby to actively participate in the story.

This is excellent for babies because it’s actively fostering their curiosity and vocabulary development!

For example, when they lift a flap to reveal a puppy, you can say “puppy” and associate the word with the visual image, helping them make connections between words and objects.

This interactive experience not only strengthens their language skills but also develops their cognitive abilities as well.

Peek-a-Boo and Lift the Flap Board Books for Babies

You’ll love these interactive peek-a-boo and lift the flap books. They can help babies with learning new words, improving cognitive and motor skills, and regulating social and emotional well-being.

These books are some of my favs because they’re so amazing for your baby’s overall development!

By introducing these board books for babies that foster phonological awareness, you are not only providing your baby with a foundation for language development but also instilling in them a lifelong love for reading.

Next, we’ll dive all the reasons why colorful and sensory books are so great for baby’s language acquisition.

Colorful and Sensory Board Books for Babies to Encourage Language Acquisition

I recommend colorful and sensory books because they’re designed to wake up your baby’s senses with vibrant illustrations and various textures.

By introducing different colors, shapes, and textures, these books provide a multi-sensory experience that increases your baby’s attention to the book while learning new words.

Why are sensory books good for babies?

  • Colorful board books often feature bold, bright illustrations that grab your baby’s attention and help them distinguish different objects and concepts.
  • These visually stimulating books encourage your baby to learn and name colors, objects, and animals, building their vocabulary as they go along.
  • Additionally, some books incorporate touch-and-feel elements, allowing your baby to explore different textures, such as soft fur, bumpy surfaces, or smooth materials.
  • Your baby can begin to associate words with tactile sensations, expanding their understanding of the world around them.

Colorful and Sensory Board Books for Babies

These sensory books are so amazing because they not only engage your baby’s senses but also help them learn lots of new words by creating a rich and stimulating environment for learning!

What are the best board books for babies 
What Does Baby See: A High-Contrast Board Book by Peter Pauper Press (small business)

You're My Little Baby: A Touch-and-Feel Book by Eric Carle 

Whose Feet? by Melissa and Doug ("cloth book")

Jungly Tails and Marine Animals by hahaland ("cloth book")

Press Here by Hervé Tullet

Just by reading these sensory books with you, your baby will absorb new words and concepts, improving their language skills in an enjoyable and interactive way!

Now that we have covered the world interactive board books for babies let’s move on to our next category: storybooks for narrative skills and imagination.

Storybooks for Narrative Skills and Imagination

Reading storybooks to babies is a simple yet powerful activity that lays the foundation for a lifelong love of reading and learning.

It provides numerous cognitive, emotional, and social benefits, contributing to the holistic development of your baby.

Why do babies love stories?

  • Through storybooks, babies can begin to grasp the concept of a beginning, middle, and end as they follow along with the adventures of lovable characters.
  • The simple storytelling style encourages active participation and interaction.
  • After repeated readings, babies can anticipate what might happen next and even begin to make connections between different parts of the story.
  • Hearing stories not only teaches babies new words, it also enhances their cognitive development and critical thinking abilities.
  • Exposure to a variety of words through storybooks helps build a rich vocabulary.

Storybook Board Books for Babies

These storybooks are great for narrative skills and imagination offer a narrative structure that helps babies develop their understanding of storytelling and imagination.

What are the best board books for babies The Wizard of Oz (A Colors Primer) by Jennifer Adams 

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg

Jamberry by Bruce Degen

The Napping House by Audrey Wood

Up next, we’ll talk about multilingual books! From simple sign language to books written in more than one language, these books will not only provide an opportunity for language development but will also foster an appreciation for diversity and global awareness.

Multilingual Books to Explore Different Languages

Incorporating multilingual books into your baby’s reading routine is a fantastic way to introduce them to different languages and cultures from an early age.

When choosing multilingual board books, consider the language combinations that match your family’s preferences or introduce languages you’d like your baby to be exposed to.

These books promote language development, celebrate cultural diversity. and more.

What are the benefits of reading bilingual books to your baby?

Reading bilingual books, multilingual books, or incorporating sign language books into a baby’s early learning experiences can have HUGE cognitive, linguistic, and social benefits.

  • Research suggests that exposure to multiple languages in infancy may contribute to enhanced cognitive flexibility.
  • Babies exposed to multilingual environments may develop better problem-solving skills, increased attention span, and improved memory.
  • Exposure to multiple languages may contribute to increased brain connectivity.
    • Research suggests that bilingual or multilingual individuals may have more robust brain networks.
  • Sign language books introduce babies to a visual and gestural form of communication.
    • Learning signs alongside spoken language enhances their understanding and may allow them to communicate before they start officially talking.
  • Learning sign language engages different areas of the brain associated with visual processing and motor skills, contributing to overall brain development.

Multilingual Board Books for Babies

Reading these multilingual or sign language board books for babies can provide a rich and varied learning experience. This promotes cognitive, linguistic, and cultural development while fostering strong parent-child relationships.

Canticos Feelings: Bilingual Firsts by Susie Jaramillo (English and Spanish)

Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse (English and Inuit)

ABC French by Daniel Roode

My First 100 Korean Words by Heritage Press
what are the best board books for babies
Colors: Mandarin/ English Board Book Set for Children by Nancy Chang and Nicole Snoeberger

We All Went on Safari: A Counting Journey through Tanzania by Laurie Krebs (English and Swahili)

Global Baby Bedtimes by The Global Fund for Children (Many languages)

My First Baby Signs by Phil Conigliaro (English and American Sign Language for Babies)

Note: At the time of writing this, the We Went on a Safari… board board is out of stock. I’ll keep an eye out for the board book version and update the book’s link when it comes back! Check back here or follow me on Instagram for updates.

These books not only stimulate language skills but also encourage curiosity and a sense of wonder about the world beyond their immediate surroundings.

As you explore the pages of these diverse stories, your baby’s language skills and cultural awareness will flourish, setting the stage for a bright future of communication and understanding.


In this article, I’ve shared a piece of my heart by explaining many of the reasons it’s important to read to babies, and 20 of the best board books for babies that are guaranteed to enhance your baby’s language development. 💞

As a past public school librarian, the importance of reading is something I will shout from the rooftops whenever I get the chance! In this article we’ve covered it all, from sensory books to multilingual books and everything in between.

With this ultimate list, you’re ready to jump into on an exciting reading adventure with your baby.

Remember, reading is not only about the words on the page; it’s about the quality time spent bonding with your child, too.

So, grab a book, snuggle up, and let the language adventure begin! Just by reading one book a day with your baby, you’ll be improving their communication skills, expanding their vocabulary, and igniting their love of learning for life.

Happy reading! 📚💓

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  1. My mom used to read Doctor Seuss books to me when I was very little (and a very long time ago). I remember how colorful all those wonderful pictures were! Thanks for sharing!

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