January 28, 2023

Save the Net Books

Blogazine on Books, Arts, and Music

The best unexpected board books to give away

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If someone in your life has just had a baby and you’ve been scratching your head with gift ideas, look no further! Cardboard books make adorable gifts for both parents and baby. They are books that can be read aloud or even read by very young children. The pages are glued to heavy cardboard to withstand rough handling. Also, the sides are usually rounded to avoid paper cuts. They are safe for young children to use as they expand their intellectual horizons.

They make great gifts because reading together helps parents bond with their baby as they both learn (or re-learn) their childhood wonder. You can also help babies and toddlers learn about the world around them, become familiar with words and colors, and find comfort and joy in books. It opens their eyes, minds and hearts to stories and connections.

So here is a list of some of the best unexpected board books to gift this 2022. It is curated to include books that are unique, interesting and might surprise you. Some feature babies as the main characters, some teach you about the world, some break down binaries, and one even talks about potty training.

Count to LOVE! (A Bright Brown Baby Board Book) by Andrea Pinkney and Brian Pinkney

A baby will learn how to “count to love” in this adorable cardboard book. Baby learns to spell the word LOVE and count the numbers 1-2-3-4. And it does this by counting its own fingers, toes, arms, legs, nose, belly kisses, and more. It’s a great way for baby to learn to be aware of their body and do it with love!

The Cat's First Baby by Natalie Nelson book cover

The Cat’s First Baby: A Board Book by Natalie Nelson

Cat parents or people who just love cats will definitely enjoy this book. And let’s hope the baby does too! This cute little cardboard book shows us how the cat perceives the new family member. This baby doesn’t meow or smell like a cat, but it sleeps like one. So will the cat love the baby? Read to find out!

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Planting a rainbow board book cover

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

This vibrant cardstock book is the perfect size for two little hands to hold. It’s great for learning colors and becoming aware of nature. You can learn the colors of the rainbow by planting flowers of each color and watching them bloom!

a book cover for a love board

A love of Cedella Marley and Vanessa Brantley-Newton

This is based on the song “One Love” by Bob Marley. It has a vivid and diverse presentation. The underlying message is the lyrics: “One love, one heart, let’s come together and feel good.” It can teach children that despite our differences, we all come together in love.

Bye Bye Binary cover Geron and Chua

Bye Bye, Binary by Eric Geron and Charlene Chua

This is an adorable cardboard book about baby teaching you that they are allowed to love what they want. It can also be a great book for parents to remind themselves to let their child be who they want to be. It ends with the lines, “I am loved because I am me and you are loved because you are you.” I think seeing that on the page can help a child express themselves better.

Night-Night A Touch and Feel cardboard cover

Night-Night: A Touch and Feel Playbook by Ladybird and Lemon Ribbon Studio

Touch and feel books are fascinating and fun for children. This is a bedtime book because the baby says goodnight to everyone. There are nature, animals and vehicles with interesting soft textures. This can be a great relaxing activity before bed while baby is also learning about the world.

Book cover of Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison

Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison

This powerful board book introduces baby to amazing women of color. These women have done wonderful things in a variety of fields including science, art, journalism, music and more! It’s a sweet reminder to dream big and make those dreams come true, just like these amazing leaders.

Potty by Leslie Patricelli board book cover

Potty by Leslie Patricelli

This book can be a great companion during a baby’s potty training phase. A baby needs to poop and is trying to decide whether to go into his diaper. It’s cute and hilarious and can get kids interested in potty training.

For more boardbook recommendations, see our articles: Must Read Various Boardbooks and What Makes A Good Boardbook?