Thursday, 26 April 2012

Very young babies and books

I love reading, and a love of reading is something that I've very keen to pass on to my children. In fact, when I found out I was pregnant, the very first thing that I bought was a copy of The Hungry Caterpillar! I collected books for the new baby as quickly as I collected vests and nappies, and I particularly loved buying the books that I enjoyed as a child and reading them again.

Of course it was a little while before Harry was old enough to appreciate Each Peach Pear Plum or Peepo, but luckily he was a very alert and interested baby, and he was looking at books when he was just a few days old.

My absolute favourite baby book was called Faces - see picture below. There are several in the series and they are often bundled together on Amazon, or else they cost about £3-4 each. They are soft books with just a few pages and a mirror on the front. Each page has a very simple picture and a few words. In the Faces book are Mummy, Daddy and Baby. On the opposite side of each is a simple black, white and coloured pattern. Night is also a lovely book with a really sweet rhyme.

We used to hang these books up over Harry's playmat or lie them next to him in his moses basket or pram, and he would lie there for a good while looking at the pictures. He would also sit on our knee and look at the pages.
baby books

As he got a bit older we moved onto the books in the "That's Not My..." series. A little pricier, but if you're not fussy about the theme then you can often find them in the sale and there are loads to choose from. The pictures are still very simple but the colours are brighter and each page has a textured section to touch. It wasn't long before Harry learned where to touch on the pages.


These books kept Harry happy until he was about a year old, then we moved onto books with more complicated pictures where we could point out the objects and begin to talk about them a bit. Now that he is three we read longer stories, and I love that he can follow a story and ask questions about what is happening.

What I find interesting though is that Mia has never been bothered about books. We looked at them with her in the same way as we did with Harry, but she wasn't engaged at all. She preferred to look at real faces talking to her rather than pictures. She also wasn't interested in looking at the patterns. I often sit her down with a book, or even better the two of them, but she just crawls off to find something else to play with.

I'll keep perservering though and making sure that I don't just give up with her, because I love reading Harry his bedtime story (even if it is often the same one...over and over again...).

Did you read books to your newborn, or is it really too early to start with books?

14 comments:

  1. H had the entire Mr Men, Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit box sets before she was born - The Book People (evil pushers of fabulous books that I have to buy) keep coming to my husbands work, and I keep making him buy things to feed my addiction....

    They're still sealed, but they're ready for the day - she's already asking lots of questions about Hunca Munca....

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    1. Oooh I love the Book People! We also have the entire set of Mr Men books which we are only just getting into! I have to avoid the website!

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  2. Looks like Harry is going to be the academic one and Mia is going to be the craft one! You will be able to remind them of this when Harry is a university professor and Mia runs her own knitting business.

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    1. Yes you're probably right! It's really interesting to see how different they are when we feel like we've done everything the same.

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  3. My son was 16 months before he would do anything with a book other than try to eat it or rip out the pages. Now, reading is one of his favourite things. I say perservere and maybe she'll surprise you at some point like mine did.

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    1. I hope that she will, I was always surprised when other parents didn't read books to their babies, I thought that they just weren't bothering when the truth is that not all babies are interested! She is surrounded by books though so hopefully it will do some good. At the moment she just pulls them off the shelves!

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  4. I've never had a newborn, but had my first charge since she was 13 months and she's always had a love of books, her younger sister is the same and they devour books like there's no tomorrow. I don't think it's ever too early, it's all about fostering a love of books isn't it.

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    1. Yes, I think it's important to make sure that little ones are surrounded by books from an early age, then they always have the option to look at them by themselves!

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  5. Such a great post. Hopefully it will encourage more mums and dads to read to their children even when they are very young. If nothing else it gives you an excuse to sit together, chatter and have a cuddle.

    Thanks for linking to Parentonomy.

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    1. I hope so! I love cuddling down with my oldest and talking about what we can see in the pictures.

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  6. I started reading books to Alistair (5) as early as poss -- but I think it's just as important to immerse small ones in book culture as to read books to them -- with Isla (1) her exposure to books is very different: We read some baby books to her, but we also take her to the library when poss (where she's mostly interested in the toys) and she joins in for Alistair's bedtime story, though obviously, his books are not pitched at her level -- It will be interesting to see how her own interest in reading develops. You sound like a fantastic mum -- Joanna (www.mumswrite.com) PS - have you tried Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever with Mia? Most children can find at least one page to love.

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    1. Yes we do go to the library when we can, and I try and sit Mia down when I read to Harry although she often just crawls off! Thanks for the book recommendation, I shall check it out. And thanks for the lovely comment :)

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  7. I loved books when I was a kid. My mum used to take me to the library every week. I kept loads of them and my 11 week old son has his shelves stocked with books that will be appropriate all the way up to his teens lol... Currently we read him 'Black & White' a black and white patterned card book with a lovely simple rhyme in it. We also have Calm Down Boris but he's not really interested in that yet! I think he prefers us and faces but I will persevere! Lovely blog xx

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    1. Little ones do like those black and white picture books. It's worth perservering I think, but if you've always got the books around then he will always have the option to pick one up!

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