To raise strong readers, you need to start reading to your baby even while he is still in the womb (he loves to hear your voice!). Sure he can't say actual words yet—much less read—but reading out loud to him helps develop his listening and speaking skills. As he grows, one way you can further shape his love for books is by providing a library full of reads that are not only entertaining, but also educational.
Storyteller and reading expert Anna Manuel writes in this article for SmartParenting.com.ph, "For baby (0-1 year), choose books with simple, large, and high-contrast pictures (e.g. black and white). It makes it easier for babies to focus. Experts recommend books with faces and/or objects that are individually named.
"For toddlers (1-3 years), choose books with a patterned structure and/or rhymes. Predictability in books is key. It gives a sense of certainty of what will happen next in a story."
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Here are 20 great books to consider when building your baby’s very first library.
Ang Una Kong Alpabeto
Illustrated by: Borg Sinaban
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It’s never too early to get your baby a head start on learning the alphabet. This book features big and small letters, plus colorful illustrations of objects whose names start with each letter.
Here’s another great book based on a legendary folk song. Aside from awakening your child’s fascination with music (and maybe even teaching him about different kinds of vegetables), it will also surely be enjoyed by your little one, thanks to its vibrant, colorful illustrations.
Written by Margaret Wise Brown | Illustrated by: Clement Hurd
The sweet story of this classic children’s book focuses on a rabbit who says goodnight to each item in his bedroom. This rhythmic, lullaby-like story will help you calm your little one and lull him to dreamland.
Another classic children’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar revolves around a caterpillar that does nothing but eat until it finally becomes a butterfly. Aside from teaching your child the life cycle of a butterfly, this book will also help teach your child about other things, like fruits, and days of the week.
Written by: Genaro Gojo Cruz | Illustrated by: Nicole Lim
There’s nothing quite like the bond between a mother and her child. This book is all about the happiness and joy that spending time with your mom can bring—a great read to help strengthen the bond between you and your little one.
Written by: Margaret Wise Brown | Illustrated by: Clement Hurd
Another touching story that speaks of the powerful love of a mother is The Runaway Bunny, by the prolific American writer Margaret Wise Brown. The story revolves around a small rabbit who wants to run away, and his mother who tells him that wherever he goes, she will always run after him.
This fun instruction book will provide heaps of fun not only for your little one but also for you. From the cover which features a yellow dot you need to press, each page contains simple instructions that will take your child on an exciting journey and encourage his imagination and creativity.
The Girl Who Fell From The Sky and Other Classic Philippine Legends
Written by: Maria Elena Paterno | Illustrated by: Albert Gamos
What greater way is there to teach your child about classic Filipino legends and folk tales than by using a fun and richly-illustrated storybook? This collection features all sorts of stories that seek to tell us how and why the world around us came to be. Your child will surely enjoy each tale this book has to offer!
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Get a copy of The Girl Who Fell From The Sky and Other Classic Philippine Legends here.
Ang Kapuri-puring Kuting
Written by: Eugene Y. Evasco | Illustrated by: Dominic Agsaway
It’s never too early to start teaching your child about good manners. Enlist the help of the star of this fun book—a cute kitten who respects its elders, cares for the environment, and loves the people around it. This fun read will help you instill good manners in your little ones, as young as they are.
Selected by: Felicidad A. Prudente, Ph.D. | Illustrated by: Joanne de Leon
Do you sing to your child at night to help him get ready for bed? This book, which features a selection of Filipino folk songs and lullabies curated by musicologist Dr Felicidad A. Prudente, will aid you in ushering your young one to dreamland.
Written by: Christina Newhard | Illustrated by: Robbie Bautista
Even at a ripe age, you can teach your child to appreciate the different cultures that build up the Philippines. One book that will help you do that is Amina and the City of Flowers, which focuses on the story of Amina, a young girl who comes from the Yakan weaving village of Zamboanga.
Written by: Becky Bravo | Illustrated by: Aaron Asis
Help foster a love of history in your kids by reading to them this book that follows the life of the Filipino hero Apolinario Mabini, back when he was just a young student. Use this chance to teach your little one that even those whom no one expects to ever blossom can also become heroes, just like Mabini!
Written by: Alyssa Judith Reyes | Illustrated by: Liza Flores
Who would’ve thought that you could use a book to develop your child’s physical abilities? This fun activity book is not only an enjoyable read, but also a great tool that will help hone your child’s fine motor skills, so that he will learn how to do things like tie shoelaces and, eventually, write.
If you love gardening and hope to pass on that love to your child, this board book will be useful for you. The story revolves around a young child who plants and cares for monggo seeds so that they will grow healthily and can eventually be harvested to cook up a healthy and sumptuous meal. This might even help develop a love for veggies in your child!
It’s safe to say that kids have a fascination with different kinds of animals, including small bugs and insects. This book will not only quench that interest, but also help teach your child basic counting in both English and Filipino. The colorful illustrations found in the book will definitely keep your child interested!