The best board books to cut your teeth on

The Books I Picked & Why

Garden Animals

By Lucy Cousins

Garden Animals

Why this book?

Garden Animals by Lucy Cousins was our number one favorite when my daughters were babies. The graphic images of small friends they might meet in their own garden were loved. Hand-lettered with rough edges, characters pop from the pages with their own free renderings. Counting the bee on the cover, there are only 12 words to the work, and with many, many readings, we created a spoken rhythm for Lucy’s creatures. Today, we can all still recite Garden Animals with delight.


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Dream Big

By Joyce Wan

Dream Big

Why this book?

Dream Big illustrates fifteen great women acting out their contributions. Author/illustrator Joyce Wan simplifies shapes and settings to portray these important figures. With a call to dream on each page, at one point she writes: “Dream fast, dream deep, dream vibrant dreams.” She illustrates Florence Griffith Joyner, Eugenie Clark, and Frida Kahlo. A concluding spread summarizes the achievements of each woman after making a call to the reader to dream, as “there’s nothing you can’t do.” 


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Big Little

By Leslie Patricelli

Big Little

Why this book?

There are many Leslie Patricelli books featuring Baby but Big Little is an early work in the series. Leslie is a master in teaching concepts with an unexpected twist of humor. “Ladies are big. Ladybugs are little.” Baby is charming with his lemon-shaped head and ever-present diaper. Below his square nose, his smile is contagious. The work is hand-lettered and imagery is emphasized with a heavy black outline. Your baby will love this baby!


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This Little Artist: An Art History Primer

By Joan Holub, Daniel Roode

This Little Artist: An Art History Primer

Why this book?

Part of the This Little series, Joan Holub’s This Little Artist is an introduction to art history for our wee ones. Daniel Roode’s stylized figures with big round eyes illustrate greats such as Michelangelo, Mary Cassatt, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. A rhyme and portrait give an introduction on the left-hand page, and several facts follow to accompany the artist in their own setting on the right page. The book concludes with eighteen other artists and their techniques, as well as questioning what your reader might create. This is a little treasure of creativity and inspiration.  


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Antiracist Baby

By Ibram X. Kendi, Ashley Lukashevsky

Antiracist Baby

Why this book?

Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi is a board book to help us talk with children about racism. Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevski, the imagery flows as nine lessons are numbered and then expanded in rhyme. “1. Open your eyes to all skin colors. Antiracist Baby learns all the colors, not because race is true. If you claim to be color blind, you deny what’s right in front of you.” I’m so thankful we have this book as we work to build more equitable societies. Welcome, Antiracist Baby!


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