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Saturday, August 3, 2013

So I'm Going to a Babyshower...

I need a book for a baby shower.  What do you recommend?

Now this is question I love, love, love!  Books for new babies is just such a wonderful trend in baby gifting.  It is personal, it is thoughtful and let's face it, you'll use the books way longer than you will a cute little onesie or hooded bath towel. 

When recommending baby shower books I usually start with the obvious, most popular titles and secretly hope that you'll want something more original.  Sure, there are some wonderful and truly classic titles that every child should own but it's so much more fun to turn folks onto books they don't already know.  So after you've politely declined Love You Forever (You don't want to make the nice hormonal mommy-to-be cry) and Good Night Moon (I mean EVERYONE already owns it, right?) we'll move onto some less obvious titles. We'll try to find a book that is personal rather than classical in nature.  Just as an example let's say the new mama and papa are booklovers so I recommend my current favorite picture book, Calvin Can't Fly written by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Keith Bendis.  Calvin is a young starling, a real bookworm birdie, who is too busy learning how to read to learn how to fly. This gets him into some trouble when it's time to migrate.  Eventually his family finds a way to help him take to the skies.  Calvin later returns the favor when they fly into an oncoming hurricane. Thanks to Calvin's extensive reading he knows how to escape eminent danger.  It's a wonderful book about books, teamwork, family and always being yourself.  A sweet gift for any growing family.  Books are a fantastic gift because they have the truly rare ability to be as funny, personal and quirky as you want them to be.  You just don't really get that from teething rings or swaddling blankets.

As much as I love Calvin, and firmly believe he should have a place on every bookshelf, here is my favorite suggestion for baby showers.  Commemorate the year of the child's birth and get them the Caldecott Award Winner for the year they'll be born.  In 2013 that's Jon Klassen's  This Is Not My Hat.  A wonderfully funny and beautifully illustrated book about a fish who steals a hat from a bigger fish (It's wry and clever, I promise).  Look, they only award one Caldecott a year for a reason.  It's the best of the best.  And the book is about as special and unique as you can get.  New moms love this kind of  thing.  I personally kept the Washington Post from the day both my kiddos were born.  The kiddos will love it too.  It's a tangible piece of their own history.  It is something that captures what the world was like the year they were born.  And as a bonus you can add to the new baby's library by getting them the Caldecott winner each year on their birthday, or for Christmas or for Hanukah or whatever event you choose.  You'll never wonder what to get your niece, nephew or godchild, neighbor, grandchild again.  Just like the Newberry the Caldecotts are the gold standard in kidlet lit.  You really can't go wrong.


  1. I love love love the idea of giving the Caldecott winner from the birth year!

    1. I do too! Wish someone had done it for me! :-)

    2. This would've been mine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ox-Cart_Man

    3. Here's mine...

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    2. The Newbery is also a great way to go, especially as they get older!