Inside: Black and white books for newborns are among the the most essential books for your infants, up until they are 6 months old. Check out our list of favorites, which make our list of best books for toddlers and babies!
Black and White Books for Newborns Are Essential for Your Infants!
We had to start taking my baby to the ophthalmologist when he was just 12 weeks old.
We didn’t need Bo to tell us if he could see the big E or if the L was right side up or upside down (that, obviously, would have been impossible!). Instead, we had to make sure he had no damage to his optic nerve as a result of the stroke he had when he was just 10 days old.
I remember sitting with Bo anxiously in my lap, fists clenching and unclenching, heart beating so fast it felt like a bird was trying to escape the confines of my chest.
And then, alas! A distraction. There on the wall in the small examining room hung a series of photographs detailing how a baby viewed a particular image from infancy through six months old.
I was mesmerized. You see, in that series, I saw something I had never known before - not even when my older son was a baby. In the beginning, as a newborn, the photo was a fuzzy black and white blur. It had a bit more dimension at four weeks, more color and detail at eight, but it wasn’t until six months old that the image truly became clear and vibrant.
I was floored. Excited for the distraction, obviously, but truly floored. No wonder black and white, high contrast books were so important to read with infants!
And thus began a newfound fascination with this particular format of board books. Of course (shocker!!), I then went on a mission to find the best black and white books for my kiddo.
Black and White Books for Newborns Help Stimulate a Baby’s Vision
Watch closely the next time you give your newborn a black and white book. You may see that he’s drawn to the images. You may notice him reaching for the pages. You may find that he is much more engaged with this black and white book than he is with a board book in full color.
At birth, an infant’s eyes don’t yet work together. Though they can “see,” life is quite blurry! Research has repeatedly demonstrated that infants prefer black and white geometric shapes rather than images containing a myriad of color. Because the first colors babies tend to see are black, white and shades of gray, books featuring these colors are perfect for new eyes. The bold lines, patterns and contrasting images in black and white books stand out and will help your new baby practice his focus.
Black and White Books for Newborns are Crucial!
So, what does this mean? If you have a newborn in your house, ditch the pastels! High contrast black and white books are perfect for your littlest babes, not to mention ideal for their developing brains and eyes. Not only will your newborn be able to focus on these black and white books more so than stories featuring a rainbow of colors in those first few months, but black and white books will also help stimulate your child’s vision and boost their concentration skills.
So grab some of our favorite books below, and let’s get reading!
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Hello, Bugs!, by Smriti Prasadam and Emily Bolam: When a new baby’s vision is developing, the easiest books for him to “read” are those with black and white pages, simple lines and bold patterns. We love black and white books for babies and this one, with its small splash of glitter colored foil, is a winner! This introduction to ten bugs will delight your little ones!
Look, Look!, by Peter Linenthal: This black and white book is more than twenty years old, and it is a best seller for a reason. Cut paper art depicts children running, fish swimming, cars racing and stars shining. The book is sturdy for tiny hands and includes some contrasting splashes of red, making it a perfect first black and white book for babies!
Black & White, by Tana Hoban: This is one of our very favorite black and white books! It was by far a family fave when my boys were infants. Black & White is an accordion style fold out book, allowing it to stand on the floor on its own. It features fourteen high contrast images, and it is a perfect visual for babies to watch and explore when they are doing that all important tummy time!
My Animals (BabyBasics), by Xaver Deneux: What little one doesn’t love peek-a-boo surprises? This fabulous black and white book for babies is an amazing addition to a baby’s first library, featuring peek-a-boo holes that allow toddlers to grab and turn the pages themselves. Little kids won’t be able to keep their hands off of this one.
Jane Foster‘s Black and White, by Jane Foster: We love this sophisticated book by an illustrator and textile designer! Featuring black and white animals with pops of contrasting color, the images are visually stimulating and the text is simple. We love all of Jane Foster’s books, and this black and white book for newborns is a winner!
Hello, Garden Bugs! A High-Contrast Book, by duopress labs and Julissa Mora: We love this delightful black and white book that features garden critters at their cutest! With great images of the animals on the right of each spread and patterns to mimic the animals skin on the left, this one will charm your kiddos - and you too! We also love the other two books in this series, Hello, Ocean Friends and Hello, Baby Animals.
Art Baby Spots and Dots by Chez Pitchall: Animals not your thing? Unleash your child’s inner artist with this awesome board book that focuses on black and white shapes and other geometric patterns, combined with bold pops of color. This one is so cool, and it provides terrific visual stimulation to your baby. Babies love these high contrast, stimulating patterns!
Baby Animals Black and White, by Phyllis Limbacher Tildes: This book is such a charmer, as who wouldn’t love to stare at adorable images of baby animals? From baby Dalmatians to cuddly pandas, this one delights with its sweet illustrations and a fun surprise at the end of the book.
Look at Baby’s House, by Peter Linenthal: I absolutely love this book as it takes babies on a journey through their day with familiar objects in their home. From waking up at sunrise, to eating breakfast and getting dressed, this black and white book for newborns helps familiarize babies with items all around them, while stimulating vision at the very same time.