Creating an Early Love of Reading: Building Baby’s Library
Every baby adores books. From classics such as Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon to modern favorites including Nancy Tillman’s On the Night You Were Born, helping parents build their new baby’s library is a wonderful gift that continues to give as the baby grows. While many cards may end up recycled or in the trash, books inspire both a love of learning and imagination. Many studies show that babies who are read to on a regular basis develop more comprehensive vocabularies and can communicate earlier. Why not replace an old tradition with a new one?
While baby cards are cute and beautifully express sentiments of congratulations on baby’s coming arrival, a signed book will last longer and introduce baby to animals, colors, shapes, textures, and most importantly, words. Asking guests to sign a book in lieu of a card also allows the guests to share some of their favorite childhood memories of curious monkeys, adventurous Ladybug girls, courageous little boys who venture into wild lands, or even Star Wars! Here are a few ideas to help you organize this great baby shower option.
1. Ask the parents about the change
It’s always a good idea to get the okay before organizing baby’s library. Ask mom and dad if they’d like a theme; for example, perhaps they’d love Dr. Suess books, or if the nursery is decorated in animals, perhaps they’d love books that focus on animals. It’s also a good idea to include the parents to ensure they’ll have room to store all the books!
2. Ask the parents if they’re okay with second-hand books
New children’s books can run anywhere between $6.99-$19.99, so it may be a good idea to ask if they’re okay with books purchased online at Half.com or locally at a used book store. This keeps costs down for your guests, and allows them to support other parents selling books or small business owners! Many used children’s books are still in great condition, and will appear like new!
3. Consider organizing an online registry for books
This option may take a bit more work, but it eliminates the likelihood of several guests arriving with the same book—and since the books will be signed, they can’t be returned. Two great easy, free ways exist to help you organize a book registry: Amazon.com’s Wish List or Evite.com’s What to Bring tab. Using these online tools, you can enter titles to ensure that guests avoid arriving with duplicate stories because these applications allow guests to select a book they’d like to bring. Creating a book registry also allows you to list books the parents would love to receive for their bundle of joy.
4. Ask guests creatively to bring books
Instead of simply asking guests to bring a signed book, consider asking in verse; this approach is more light-hearted and fun, and will help set a positive and upbeat tone for this new tradition. Here’s a great example of how to include this request in the baby shower invitation:
Instead of a card, please sign a book
so through its pages baby can look.
Baby will treasure the stories inside,
eventually learning to read them with pride.
Replacing old traditions with new ones can sometimes be hard; however, most of your baby shower guests will embrace this new idea! Just leave yourself enough time to organize it. Consider asking the parents for their input, and organizing a list of books to cut down on the number of repeats. Some guests may still stick with cards, and that’s okay. Asking guests to bring a signed book not only helps to build a reading library for baby, but will remind that child as he or she grows how many people love him or her.