Baby Shower Book Parties

Josie Leavitt - November 12, 2013

I’ve noticed a great trend this fall: book-themed baby showers. Gone seem to be the days of onesies and silver rattles. Instead expectant parents are asking for books and getting lots of them. There seems to be something about books for baby showers that makes people happy.
The gift givers feel like getting a baby-to-be books is a great idea. Books always fit and the sharing of childhood favorites makes everyone feel good. I love this new tradition. Helping build a new little person’s library is a lofty undertaking and one I hope has lasting effects. I love how customers approach this task. Some take it very seriously and really scour the shelves looking for those books that the family will love and the child will enjoy for years to come. Others just look for Goodnight Moon or Pat the Bunny. I’m not disparaging these classics, but I feel like everyone has them already. Some just stand in the picture book section scratching their heads because they don’t have kids in their lives and they’re overwhelmed. This is where booksellers come to the rescue. Part of our job is to make the picture book section seems smaller and easier to manage.
I ask guided questions of each gift giver that acts like a logarithm. Did you want something the baby can enjoy right away? Then we head to the board book section and look for books with bold colors. Are you looking to build a library for future use? Then I tend to lean toward the Caldecott case if they don’t have titles in mind. Do you want something that no one will get them, but they’ll love? Then I prowl around for a classic Bob Graham title or something funny like Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? I often will go for fairy tale collections or something like My Very First Mother Goose. 
When the entire family gets involved, it’s a great baby shower gift. There’s nothing as heartening as seeing teenagers come alive when they start talking about the picture books they loved as kids. This kind of present is just so much more meaningful. My niece still loves the collection I gave my brother when she was born three years ago. There are so many modern classics that I love to give: Good Night, Gorilla; Ten Little Fingers, Ten Little Toes; Each Peach Pear Plum; and honestly, just about anything by Sandra Boynton.
So, readers, what are some of your favorite baby shower books?

17 thoughts on “Baby Shower Book Parties

  1. Ellie Miller

    Usually it’s to celebrate a birth, but it works for a pre-birth shower as well (when the sex is known): a Raggedy Ann/Andy doll and OF COURSE the books.
    If I’m in doubt, a teddy bear with a Pooh collection.

  2. Cindy Ulrich

    My niece had a “Seuss” themed shower this summer and used Seuss animals and decals to decorate the baby’s room. Needless to say Dominic now owns every Seuss title in print- which is why I gave him Goodnight Moon when he was born!

  3. Carol Chittenden

    Pocketful of Posies, by Salley Mavor: most beautiful nursery rhyme book, among many beautiful nursery rhyme books.
    Also, we have an Old Favorites section; and a flyer of what to read to babies, toddlers, etc. It never ceases to amaze me how eagerly and how often people ask for a spare copy to enclose with the gift.

  4. Michelle

    I always give The Napping House because of the fond memories I have of reading that to my children when they were very little.

  5. Jane

    I recently gave Paddle to the Sea (Caldecott Honor in 1942ish) as a baby gift – it’s never to soon to start the library!
    It’s an older book – but really great, and can ‘grow’ with a child — from parents reading it to the child, then the child eventually able to read it themselves.

  6. Kama Timbrell

    I suspect this may have something to do with affluence of the expectant parents and perhaps the author’s group. I have a hard time seeing parents-to-be with a limited income — or even a lower-to-mid middle class one — pass up the chance to get their friends and family to buy them strollers, cribs, diaper genies, etc. That stuff adds up. Age of the parents-to-be probably factors in to the affluence as well. 25 and expecting a baby is very different financially than 35 and expecting a baby.

    1. Christie

      The items you mentioned are very expensive–hardly in the same league as buying a book! And they’re the kind of gifts that people tend to go in on together (I know, I was just at a first baby shower for a young and not affluent couple.) If you can buy the baby a onesie, plush toy or a mobile, then the giver can buy a book instead. The baby’s going to grown out of that onesie fairly quickly–the book is going to last.

  7. JessB

    I LOVE this idea. I bought a friend from work a selection of 5 books for her little boy, and included a cookbook of children’s birthday cakes. It’s called The Australian Women’s Weekly, and is famous within Australia. It was published some decades ago, and as my colleague is my age, I was pretty sure she would have known it as a child- and I was right!
    Another friend and I often browse together through bookstores, and one night we found a book we both fell in love with, My Big Shouting Day, by Rebecca Patterson. I was delighted recently to be able to buy it for her, after she announced she was having a baby, and I’m looking forward to buying many more!

  8. Joyce A. Stengel

    I love the idea of books for baby showers. I started giving a book along with another gift years ago. It’s never too early to start a child on the road to discovering the joy of books. My go to favorite is “If Kisses Were Colors” by Janet Lawler. It’s written in delightful rhyme and the illustrations by Alison Jay are lovely. One mother wrote to tell me that as her son grew, he wanted that book read to him every night.

  9. Lisa Allcott

    Buying books for babies has been a wonderful excuse to peruse book shops and purchase items I no longer have a good excuse to buy for my son. I’ve often gone for the board book format – more resilient to chewing! Some of the titles I have bought include Where is the green sheep (Mem Fox), the Hairy McLary and Slinky Malinky books (Lynley Dodd), and picture books by Margaret Mahy (Dashing Dog is a favourite). Baby showers aren’t such a big thing here in New Zealand but once the baby has been named, I try to find picture book where one of the characters has the same name ( preferably one with a good character!). Usually a search on a library catalogue will turn up a few titles with character names that you can choose from.

  10. Jess

    As a librarian, I was thrilled to receive a bunch of books at my shower – I’m sure it didn’t hurt that I’d added a bunch to the registry! I love to add a board book to my gift whenever I attend a shower – Sandra Boynton is always a favorite, since they’re sturdy enough to chew on at the beginning, but entertaining enough to read for years.

  11. Helen Foster James

    I was inspired to write my book, Grandma Loves You!, when I was invited to a book themed baby shower for a grandma. Giving books for shower gifts is such a great idea!

  12. CTurvey

    What a great idea! If I was bringing a book to a baby shower, I’d bring “When We Became Three: A Memory Book for the Modern Family.” It’s funny, charming, meaningful and records parents milestones as well as baby’s.

  13. Laura

    I have given both of my daughter-in-laws (at their baby showers) the book “On the Night You Were Born” by Nancy Tillman and “Love you forever” by Robert Munsch. If you haven’t read either one of these, get yourself a box of tissues before you do. 🙂


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