While many people show you wonderfully curated gift lists at this time of year, what I’ve got for you today is one simple gift— the pairing of Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook and Janet and Allan Ahlberg’s Each Peach Pear Plum!
Whenever parents-to-be, new parents, or even veteran parents ask me for recommendations on what they should be reading, I ALWAYS suggest The Read-Aloud Handbook. I used it for years as a teacher and find it just as powerful as a parent. Trelease includes tons of research-based information about reading with children, but what may be most useful to parents are his book lists that take up almost half the book! He’s got lists of picture books, chapter books, wordless books, and fairy and folk tales (among others…) that make great read-alouds, but he also has some smaller, more specific books lists like “Jim’s Favorite Dog Novels.”
Each Peach Pear Plum has LONG been my go-to board book for a new baby. It’s incredibly appealing to children over a span of years, instead of being just for a baby or more interesting for older listeners. The Ahlbergs wrote this with wonderful rhythm, rhyme, and repetition, making it an enjoyable listen for babies and young toddlers (and wonderful for their language development, but that’s a whole post by itself!). It’s also a hide-and-seek book, so your preschoolers will have a blast here too. For our girls, Each Peach served as a gentle introduction to nursery rhyme characters, as there’s a new one on each page. And, I find that most people don’t know this book, so they’re not likely to have bought it themselves or receive a duplicate gift.
By pairing The Read-Aloud Handbook with a board book that has stood the test of time (Each Peach was a favorite of my parents when I was small and is still regularly requested by our 3-year-old), you’re giving parents the gift of being informed and educated about reading with their children, as well as a perfect book for building an interesting read-aloud library at home! You win!
What are your go-to book gifts for babies or new parents?
If you liked these books, check out:
Peek-A-Boo by the Ahlbergs
The Baby’s Catalogue by the Ahlbergs