Below are our editor’s picks for infant books (6-12mo.) by subcategory:
- Best soft books
- Best general board books
- Best lift-the-flap/activity books
- Best first words books
- Best good night books
FYI: Our editors develop these lists by summarizing favorites from the TotScoop community, synthesizing expert reviews, and researching the latest industry news and releases. Our picks are 100% unbiased — we never accept compensation in exchange for coverage. This page may contain affiliate links, however, meaning that we may receive a small proportion of any purchases you make after clicking on them (at no cost to you); thanks for your support! See our full Editorial Policy & Affiliate Disclosure here.
You may also be interested in the following related guides:
- Buying guide: Baby toys & books
- Editor’s picks: Newborn toys & books (0-6mo.)
- Editor’s picks: Infant toys (6-12mo.)
- Editor’s picks: Toys for one year olds
- Editor’s picks: Books for one year olds
- Editor’s picks: Toys for two year olds
- Editor’s picks: Books for two year olds
Best soft books
Soft books are nice, especially toward the beginning of this stage, because they don’t have any pointy parts! They also often have built-in interactive features for additional stimulation.
Top pick: Lamaze Cloth Books
Lamaze’s line of cloth books ($10-13 at Amazon) features a number of titles appropriate for this age range. Peek-A-Boo Forest features bright colors and (surprise) a peek-a-boo theme — each page features a flap that baby can lift to uncover a hidden animal. Interactive features include fun textures, crinkling sounds, and a raised face on the cover.
Top pick: Lamaze Classic Discovery Book
Another great soft book from Lamaze, the Classic Discovery Book ($9 at Amazon) showcases bright colors and a number of interactive features including textures, crinkling sounds, and squeaker, and a rattle. Equipped with a ring that attaches easily to strollers and car seats, it’s a great option for on-the-go.
Best general board books
The classic book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? ($8 at Amazon) follows a chain of animals and explores what each one sees (leading to the next animal). The repetitive format and text appeals greatly to babies, and the gorgeous illustrations will be enough to keep parents entertained. There is also a Brown Bear & Friends board book gift set that is also popular, but the other books are quite similar to this one, so our advice is to just get this one.
Sandra Boynton, the American cartoonist and humorist, has created a wonderful series of board books for babies and toddlers. They feature her characteristic farm animal characters, fun illustrations, and whimsical rhymes. These are some of the only kids’ books that adults love as much as kids. Her Boynton’s Greatest Hits: Volume 1 set ($13 at Amazon) includes four of her most popular books: including Moo, Baa, La La La! (which introduces basic animal sounds); Blue Hat, Green Hat (great for introducing colors); A to Z; and Doggies. If you like these, Boynton’s Greatest Hits: Volume II is also well worthwhile.
Top pick: Animal Sounds by Golden Books
Animal Sounds ($5 at Amazon) provides baby’s first introduction to a farm. It’s a simple book, featuring only different animals around the farm and the sounds they make (e.g. “The cow says moo-o-o-o-o!”), but for this reason it’s absolutely perfect for young babies who are just learning to identify animals and associate them with certain sounds.
Best lift-the-flap / activity books
At some point, probably somewhere between eight and 10 months, your baby is likely to become obsessed with lift-the-flap and other books with interactive elements. Babies delight in discovering what is hiding behind each flap; flap books are also good for fine motor skill development. Other interactive books captivate baby with touch-and-feel elements, moving parts, etc.
Top pick: Peek-A Who? by Nina Laden
Peek-A Who? ($6 at Amazon) delights with peek-a-boo cut-outs and guessing rhymes. Babies never tire of exploring the holes and shrieking with laughter when a new image is revealed! The rhymes (and corresponding illustrations) featured are “peek-a-who” (owl), “peek-a-moo” (cow), “peek-a-boo” (ghost), “peek-a-choo-choo” (train), “peek-a-zoo” (animals), and “peek-a-you” (built-in mirror to reflect the reader’s face).
Top pick: Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
Dear Zoo ($6 at Amazon) is a classic lift-the-flap book that has been delighting babies for 30+ years! It chronicles a child’s search for the perfect pet — cycling through a series of animals that are utterly unsuitable (an elephant is too big, the lion is too fierce…) before finally settling on the perfect one (a puppy dog). Great concept, well executed, and fantastic for developing fine motor skills.
Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? ($6 at Amazon) is the quintessential flap book by favorite children’s author Karen Katz. Each page invites baby to lift a flap to discover a different body part. Also check out Katz’s other books — available for practically every conceivable relationship or occasion (e.g. Grandma & Me, Where Are Baby’s Easter Eggs, My First Ramadan, etc.) — here.
No baby can resist this series ($8 per book at Amazon) — with each book featuring a different finger-puppet animal (you insert your finger from the back of the book) and cut-out pages featuring different scenes. Most babies are mesmerized by the finger puppet — and go absolutely nuts trying to figure out what is making it move. Our favorite book in the series, In My Tree, features an owl who perches on his branch, hoots at the sky, washes his feathers in the raindrops, dries off, and is finally reunited with his family. Check out all of the books in the series here.
Top pick: Chomp! by Heather Brown
Chomp! ($7 at Amazon) features animal illustrations on cut-out pages and a pull-tab that makes each animal’s teeth open and chomp shut. The crocodile smiles, the leopard growls, the polar bear yawns, the orangutan laughs, the shark chomps, and the lion roars. Your little one won’t be able to resist sticking his fingers into the chomping teeth — and you won’t be able to resist the furious giggles that result!
Best first words books
Simple picture/word books are great for babies working on basic word recognition and starting to build their vocabularies.
My First Words ($9 at Amazon) will grow with your child from first words through more advanced vocabulary. It features an excellent cross-section of words across 13 themed two-page spreads: “All about me!” (body parts and positions), “Clothes and shoes,” “Around the house,” “Food and drink,” “Pets,” “Playtime,” “Things that go,” “At the park,” “At the beach,” “On the farm,” “In the wild” (animals), “Colors and shapes,” and “Numbers.” After your baby has mastered the basics, he’ll be ready to graduate to the other books in the same series (Animals, Numbers, Colors, etc.).
Top pick: First 100 Words by Roger Priddy
Sized for little hands (approx 5.25 x 5.25″), First 100 Words ($4 at Amazon) is perfect for baby to read on his own or for you to tote around in your diaper bag. It features four to six images per page, providing baby with plenty of stimulation while not being overwhelming. It’s the perfect accompaniment in the car for a quiet, peaceful ride.
This set of simple Bright Baby first words books ($13 for 4-pack at Amazon) is great for babies at the younger end of this age range. Each book is small (approx 5.25 x 5.25″) and features just one picture and word on each page — perfect for babies learning their very first words.
Top pick: Baby Babble by Amy Pixton
Part of the Indestructibles series, Baby Babble ($5 at Amazon) introduces baby to everyday objects via playful, whimsical illustrations — all in a chew-proof, rip-proof, baby-proof package.
Best good night books
Top pick: The Going-To-Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
The Going-To-Bed Book ($6 at Amazon) follows a troupe of Sandra Boynton’s adorable animal characters as they prepare for bed — taking a bath, putting on their PJs, brushing their teeth, and finally getting rocked to sleep by the ocean. It features simple text, colorful pictures, and a wonderful soothing ending (“they rock and rock and rock to sleep”). It’s a great wind-down book before bed.
Top pick: Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
Good Night, Gorilla ($6 at Amazon) features no words, yet manages to communicate a lucid storyline through the pictures alone. The lovable animal and zookeeper characters, the fun illustrations, and the humorous story make this a baby favorite.
Top pick: A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na
A Book of Sleep ($6 at Amazon) follows an owl surveying the night landscape and observing the ways in which different animals sleep (standing up, with one eye open…). At the end of the book, the sun comes up and everybody wakes up — except for the owl, whose bedtime has finally come! Parents will also love the modern, whimsical illustrations and sweet storyline.