Babies, Books and Bedtime

Soft onto a cushion, snuggled up with a book or two and demanding me to read are my twin grand children aged 18 months. From their birth to now I have immersed myself in the developing stages of reading to them. Books in piles. Flap books. Spot and peek-a-boo books, I spy books, favourites that get torn yet are read over and over again. For delight. Amusement, love. and the enrichment of language.

Children learn to clap, sing, dance, focus, observe, practise words all through the bookish time and everyday reading with them. Books are great gifts. Books teach them new words, sounds, animals. Books open worlds that make them giggle. Books show them strange characters, new ideas and feely touch ones are such fun.

As a grandma I enjoy feeling and touching the fabric, smooth or rough, shiny or coarse. Babies and toddlers like to also touch the textures and turn the pages.

Surprises! What next?

At night before bedtime, is a good time to settle them into this quiet reading routine. As they grow older, the children choose their own books. Favourites. Read ten times over.

Emma Quay and Mem Fox have empathy and insight into the child’s experiences and know how to use language, rhythm and alliteration to achieve a musical effect. My Sunbeam Baby by Emma is a delightful picture book ( 2018) about how much we love our babies. Also look out for Good Night Sleep Tight which celebrates bravery, imagination, sharing and friendship, published in 2011. Emma‘s website is wonderful to explore these treasured books.

Alison Lester has many outstanding board books, counting books and imaginative tales to tell with her gorgeous illustrations. Look out for her books in all book shops and Big W.

Lucy Cousin’s FISH is a popular easy read for small children.

Zanni Louise has written books like Errol to amuse and capture the imagination. Bold colourful designs, simple shapes that entertain.

An interactive popular book, We’re Going on a Bear hunt always works well for story time. My three year old grand daughter knows it off by heart. A lift the flap book is a winner too. Cleverly done and magic behind every window and flap.

Babies need a book routine. Everyday. Without fail. It soothes their tears and tantrums.  (after they calm down) I love the times I connect with a soft cover, hard cover, and a wriggling, cheeky toddler who sits still long enough to hear the whole story.


And you can always find a nursery rhyme that is changed ever so slightly to read in a different way.

So next time you have a chance to buy a book, borrow one, feel one or read to a small infant, rejoice in the celebration and curiosity that this brings.

This is part 1 of 3 in the series of books and babies and bedtime.

Let me know which ones yours love? From ages 6 months to 2 years is my focus for the next blog posts.

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February 27, 2019 at 2:33 am

Great suggestions- we love Rudie Nudie and Dear Zoo around here!

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    February 27, 2019 at 6:57 am

    Thanks Krystal. Matt Cosgrove also writes and illustrates fun books like Macca the Alpaca. Macca’s Makeover is coming out this year! Perfect for your girls.

Emma Quay
March 1, 2019 at 9:38 am

Such lucky grandchildren! What a beautiful post, Marg — you paint a vivid picture of you cuddling up with your two little ones to share stories and book experiences. Such a loving and valuable gift. Your grandchildren will associate books with being held close, with laughter, rhythm and rhyme. So important.

I love the way you speak of the many ways very young children explore books with all their senses, and I can’t wait to read your next post, about sharing books as a baby becomes a toddler.

Thank you for your lovely words about my own books, too, Marg — it means a lot to me.

Emma Quay

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    March 5, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Thanks Emma! Your gift of illustration is remarkable. I enjoyed meeting you in Sydney.

M.J. Gibbs
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