Knitted baby gifts can be a joy, or a pain. I love making little sweaters or dresses for babies, they knit up so quick and are adorable but I used to have a policy that I did not knit baby blankets. Knit blankets take so long and I never felt like they would be appreciated enough to make it worth my time. But a few years ago a dear friend asked me to make her a baby blanket for her first baby. And that baby got her blanket on her 1st birthday because it took over a year to make. But a couple of times a year she sends me a picture of her daughter with the blanket and it just makes my knitter’s heart melt. I still would not make one for just anyone but I love that I could make her something her daughter cherishes.
Now baby books for gifts, I love giving books for baby gifts. My only problem there is remembering if I have given that book to that family already (any ideas for a tracking system?). I tend to give in a few categories: the great outdoors, bedtime reads and diverse reads.
In The Great Outdoors category, one of my favorites to give is Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. A mother and her daughter go to pick berries in Maine while a bear and her cub do the same. I love the simple block print illustrations and the relationship between the mother and daughter. Another Maine book is Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, a story of a woman who strives to make the world more beautiful by spreading lupine seeds wherever she goes. And finally there is When Grandma Gatewood Took a Hike by Michelle Houts, this book is published by a small press so it is a little more expensive but it is a sweet true story about an older lady who decided to hike the Appalachian Trail. In 1955, at sixty-seven years old, Emma Gatewood, mother of eleven, completed her hike of the trail after two attempts, her only companion her trusty dog. This story tells of perseverance and adventure and the illustrations are vibrant and lush.
For bedtime stories I like to give classics, I know it’s boring but I still give Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. If you are more in the market for an adult read this week you can check out In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown by Amy Gary (this story is not one for children). Another great choice for bedtime is The Napping House by Audrey Wood. The illustrations are really the star- the blue tones are soothing and dreamy but they get wackier and wilder as more of the family piles into the bed for nap time. Finally, I love to give Shel Silverstein’s poetry for bedtime reads. The simple drawings and melodious rhymes are good for babies but also for older siblings and adults, “Masks” from Everything on It is one of my favorites.
Finally, I love to give books with strong role models. I had a nursery rhyme book growing up called Father Gander Nursery Rhymes: The Equal Rhymes Amendment by Father Gander, it is no longer in print so it can be a little difficult to find but I have dug up many used copies for friend’s daughters. I also like the Little People, Big Dreams series of children’s books, which include biographies of Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie, Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Frida Kahlo and Coco Chanel (these also come in board book editions). Lost and Found Cat by Amy Shrodes and Doug Kuntz is a recent favorite- it is a heartwarming story about an Iraqi family’s cat, Kunkush, who travels across countries to find his family at a refugee camp. Finally, Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena, is a recent Newberry winner which tells the story of CJ and his grandma riding the bus to church and encountering many different kinds of people in living in the city together.
And finally a few fun picks for everyone. Dough Knights and Dragons by Dee Leone is a whimsical book and an especially fun for read aloud because their are lots of fun voices to perform. Zoom by Istvan Banyai is a really cool book to give to families with kids of different ages because there are no words, only pictures. It begins with a picture of a rooster’s comb, the next page zooms out to see a whole rooster, then a farm, on the next page we zoom out to see that the farm is a toy that a little girl is playing with and it continues all the way to outer space. It’s a unique way for kids to gain a new perspective of the world around them.
I know it’s the seasons of “dads and grads” but hopefully this gave you a few non-knitted gift ideas for those new moms and dads in your life!