This post is created in collaboration with Gugu Guru
One of the questions I get asked all the time is “What books should I buy to start out my child’s library.”
Of course, that’s super personal because everyone has different tastes in books and different, but I definitely have ones that I think are great choices across the board.
These have all been huge hits with my girls and ones that we have read hundreds, if not thousands, of times over the past almost seven years. And many of them are ones I remember from my own childhood, so they’re definitely standing the test of time.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
I love Helen Oxenbury’s style and this book is probably my all-time favorite of hers (although Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes is RIGHT up there). It’s just perfect for making lots of sound effects.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
This one is such a classic. And for my children, who aren’t convinced snow is a real thing, it seems as magical as any fairy story. I especially love when Peter tucks the snowball into his pocket and then is disappointed that it has disappeared after a few hours indoors.
Pajama Time! by Sandra Boynton
Basically, I think Sandra Boynton is a genius, but this one is probably my very favorite one if I ABSOLUTELY had to choose one. I can definitely recite the entire thing from memory. Also, the ugly pjs are hilarious.
The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson, illustrated by Beth Krommes
If you love the quiet rhythm and sleepy feeling of Goodnight Moon, this is a great gift choice that they aren’t likely to already own five copies of. I love how it’s all done in scratchboard in white, black, and yellow, and the whole book is just stunningly gorgeous.
Piggies by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood
This might possibly be my all-time favorite baby book. We have the lap-sized board book version and we have read it hundreds and hundreds of times. On each page, a pair of child hands has piggies on each finger, each with their own distinct personalities and there are so many tiny clever details to look at that you’ll never get tired of it.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle
I’m fairly sure my mom read this to my brother ten thousand times over the course of three years, and it’s gone on to be a favorite with all my girls too. I like all of Eric Carle, but this is definitely my favorite.
“More More More,” Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams
I feel like this book isn’t that well-known, although it snagged a Caldecott Honor back in the early 90s. It’s such a sweet story of three babies who are well-loved by their various parents and caretakers and keep begging for more, whether it’s being chased or kissed. And the bright colors are just so fun.
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Not as well-known as Make Way for Ducklings, I like this one even better, with the adventures of a little girl and her mother who climb Blueberry Hill to pick blueberries and end up getting all mixed up with a mother bear and her baby bear who are also searching for blueberries to keep them fed during the winter.
In the last seven years, there have been so many new baby products introduced to the market that I sometimes feel like a new mom again, trying to figure out what I want or need for my newest little addition.
I’m one of those people who just feels completely overwhelmed by too many options (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to buy a toaster or something equally minor and after reading all the reviews, just end up buying nothing instead and broiling my bread instead because it’s too stressful to pick something). I do much better with a very curated list.
So Gugu Guru is basically the most genius thing I’ve seen when it comes to baby registries.
Instead of the entire world of baby products for you to have to choose from, you take a quick quiz that helps identify your style (there are four options for your personal style, your baby clothing style, and your nursery style), plus asks questions about your lifestyle (do you have a dishwasher, would you prefer glass or plastic bottles, will you use disposable or cloth diapers, are you considering having more babies after this one, etc) and then Gugu Guru goes through each section of a registry, from swaddling blankets to baby monitors to car seats to diaper pails and gives you a recommendation.
I love that the big ticket items have a “See Options for Different Budgets,” since some things you don’t really care enough about top-of-the-line to spend a lot of money on, and other things, you really want the best.
For instance, I’ve learned that I really care about having a higher-end stroller. After years of using totally cheap, garage sale ones with a broken sunshade, no basket, and handles too short for Bart to push comfortably, having one that doesn’t leave me sweating and cursing is a big priority for me. It also needs to be able to hold 50 library books.
We went with the UPPAbaby G-LUXE and it’s such a luxury to have a stroller I can easily pull in and out of the trunk, since it folds up compactly and stands upright alone, so it doesn’t take up my entire trunk, which is good because I need the rest of my trunk space for all our library books. Plus it has handles that work for parents every height, which is hard to do when you and your spouse have a nearly nine-inch heigh difference like Bart and I do.
The other big selling feature for me was that the seat reclines so my little girls can catch a nap on the go (in fact, we went to dinner the night Tally was born, and Ani fell asleep in the car on the way there, so we just popped her in the stroller and she continued her nap until our food arrived, which, let’s be honest, made for a more pleasant evening for everyone).
Each recommended item on Gugu Guru, from strollers to bottles, has a little unbiased paragraph about why they suggest this particular item or you can look at all the other alternatives, and it’s super impressive what a good variety of major brand-names and small Instagram-shop-type recommendations they have.
Plus, you can add any item from anywhere on the Internet to your registry, so you’re not limited by what they’ve suggested if you have something specific in mind you really want, like. . .some baby books.
Basically, it’s the coolest registry tool ever and a thousand times less stressful and easier than walking through a giant store in your third trimester.