Which titles made this year’s Best Books for Babies list?

Photo above courtesy of CLP by Nancy Andrews/Annie O’Neill Photography. 

When this story was originally published, we were announcing the annual Best Books for Babies event, which happened this year on April 29 at the Carnegie Public Library’s Hill District branch. Hosted by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP)  in partnership with Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank and sponsored by First National Bank, the event welcomed families and caregivers with children ages birth through 18 months. These families received a Best Books for Babies 2023 book bundle and a two-week supply of diapers. 

Now, we’re updating the article with the list of books that were included — books that were chosen by librarians and child development experts to help parents, teachers and caregivers select quality books to read to babies.

Here are the 2023 Best Books for Babies:

Baby Says & Tummy Time (Flowerpot Press): Bright, clear photos of adorable babies illustrate familiar experiences from smelling something “Stinky!” to laughing and playing.

Bear Has a Belly (Pajama Press) by Jane Whittingham: Appealing photographs of animals and children focus on different body parts while the straightforward text encourages interaction.

Grandma and Me (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky) by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrations by Ashleigh Corrin: A variety of young children celebrate their grandmas in this board book with simple child-like illustrations.

Hat On, Hat Off (Pajama Press) by Theo Heras, illustrations Renné Benoit: Getting ready for an outing is pure fun in this look at all the choices a cheerful child has for bundling up.

I’m Still Up! & I’m Up! (Clarion Books) by Antoinette Portis: Energy radiates from the words and pictures in this funny pair of stories about getting up and (however reluctantly) going to bed.

A Kiss Is Coming (Tyndale Kids) by Marilyn Janovitz: Cuddly animals and rhyming words fill this cozy story meant to prepare listeners for bedtime and remind them of their parents’ love.

Listen Up! Train Song (Pajama Press) by Victoria Allenby: Crisp photographs and rhythmic words highlight all kinds of trains.

Now You See It! – Meadow, Ocean, Rainforest, River (Child’s Play International) by Sarah Dellow: Vibrant patterns will draw the attention of young infants; clever cutouts create images of animals that offer plenty to talk about as baby grows.

Sea, Sky (Child’s Play International) by Charlotte Archer: These books can be enjoyed page by page or fold out for play or tummy time; varying textures and patterns encourage touching as well as viewing the brightly colored designs and pictures.

You Are Getting Sleepy (Cartwheel Books) by Lori Alexander, illustrations by Monica Mikai: Charming soft illustrations focus on a smiling infant who is enjoying familiar bedtime routines with loving parents.

Along with the list, a panel of local librarians and child development experts also shared the following reading tips to accompany this year’s list:

  • Books with simple black against white pictures are easiest for babies ages birth to 6 months to see. Young babies also like patterns and pictures of people’s faces.
  • Share sturdy books and books that offer different textures and sensations, because babies explore their world through touch and taste.
  • Babies learn through repetition. Read stories over and over again.
  • Young children are wiggly! Share books when your child is relaxed but still alert.
  • Share new words every day. Point to pictures on the page as you describe them. Make connections to things you see and experience in real life, too. Children learn from everything they experience. Talk, sing, read, write and play every day.
Details from our original post published in early April announcing this year’s diaper and book giveaway: 

Each family may select up to two sizes of diapers while supplies last. An estimated 3,200 books and 40,000 diapers are expected to be given away that day. There is no cost to the families and no registration is required for the event, which runs from 10 a.m. to noon. 

“The Diaper Distribution event is a valuable opportunity for the Library to engage with local parents and families,” said Erin Zambataro, Coordinator of Children’s Services & Family Engagement at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. “It helps us to honor our mission of encouraging early reading habits through our Best Books for Babies lists, while providing essential resources to community members in need.”

Two pick-up options will be available for families at the Best Books for Babies event: 

Drive-Thru Distribution: Enter the distribution line at the intersection of Wylie Avenue and Kirkpatrick Street. Stay in line to reach the distribution site in the lower parking lot of Central Baptist Church – located across Kirkpatrick Street from CLP – Hill District. 

Walk-Up Distribution: Enter the walk-up distribution line through CLP – Hill District’s main entrance on Centre Avenue. Stay in line to reach the distribution site in the August Wilson room. (Please only use the Walk-Up Distribution if you’ll be attending without a car. 

Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank, established in 2012, provides diapers to families living at low-income or poverty levels in five Western Pennsylvania counties – Allegheny, Cambria, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland. In 2022, WPADB provided 2.15 million diapers to families in need, along with more than 290,000 menstrual products and 50,000 incontinence supplies, saving families an estimated $1,057,058 in basic needs items last year.

Partnering with organizations like the Library gives WPADB the opportunity to spread awareness and reach even more families.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh on this event for the fourth year in a row, because we know diaper need continues to be an issue for many families in our community, including the Hill District,” said Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank Executive Director Cathy Battle. “Following the pandemic, we have seen the need increase along with diaper prices, which are up about 20% over the last three years. This year’s walk-in option at the library will provide diapers to even more families who may have trouble accessing transportation.”