I will be a Grandma soon! It’s time to add to my board book collection!
My mom bought me The Sneetches when I was 17 and inscribed it with a message about starting a collection for her future grandchildren. So, when a high school daughter and I were in an art museum gift shop and felt drawn towards the board books, buying them for her future family brought nostalgic optimism. I liked A Picnic with Monet while my daughter wanted Dancing with Degas. With the affordability of board books, we bought the boxed set.
Prior to this, we had board books, but they were the well-loved classics the kids had read (and chewed on) since they were little: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Owl Babies, and Goodnight Gorilla. At that time board books were usually just smaller and more durable copies of popular titles. But there are so many new options.
Quite a few fall into the category I call “warm and fuzzy books.” These are books with a theme of “I Love You” or “You are amazing.” I enjoy the quest to find my favorites within this theme.
But then there are alphabet books. Lots of alphabet books. It’s hard to buy just one. (Or, in Baby Boy’s case, just four.)
My new favorite board book is called A is for Apple because it fills a need. Many children miss the joy of learning the ABCs while in the board book stage of life, plus their desire for sensory input is high. A is for Apple has a tactile component for finger tracing capital letters and lifting a flap for an additional word that begins with each letter adds fun to learning letter sounds.
Many of the new board books are categorized as “Concept Books.” These books introduce babies to interesting topics like music, science, and history. Their titles feel humorous because they are often more advanced than expected. Baby Loves Gravity and Baby’s Big World Chemistry are exciting additions to the family collection.
Having concept themes for alphabet books adds variety, especially when it comes to choosing words for less common letters like Q and X. (Does anyone else check those pages first hoping to see something other than quilt, queen, x-ray, and xylophone?)
A is for America has a historic approach and includes a quill, while science themed alphabet books highlight academic words like question, quark, and quantum. I bought the culinary A is for Artichoke because so much of it is unpredictable – like Caramelization as the choice for the letter C and a mention of kimchi on the “S is for Sauerkraut” page. A is for Artichoke includes three text sizes with corresponding reading levels to allow adding more details as the child’s attention span develops. What a great technique for a board book!
As I read about anticipated 2021 and 2022 books, it’s been fun to think of reading to a younger set of children. And there are so many board books printed in the last 20 years that I’ve missed. If you have family favorites, please share. I would love suggestions as to what books to add to my collection, especially if someone knows of a great fabric crinkly book with a plot. I love ABCs, but this collection needs variety – and sensory books that do not require batteries.