It is a well-known fact that I am a bibliophile - as I have mentioned in a previous blog, in fact. I own hundreds of books - literally - and consider them to be my most prized possession. Inevitably, I am hoping that my child will follow in my footsteps so that one day we may share the pain-in-the-arse task of having to pack up our books to move houses together. Oh,and to be able to enjoy reading and discussing books and to go to book fairs and bookshops and libraries together, of course.
I have already filled in a shelf with baby books - mostly thanks to my dear friends who gave a few books as gifts. There were a few books from my childhood which I managed to part ways with and place them officially in Creature's collection. I know though, that I will be needing a second copy of some of the books. The ones I am unable to part ways with are mainly my battered copies of the Magic Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton, my Roald Dahl Books,and my Neil Gaiman books. Having said that, I can't wait til I get to read The Dangerous Alphabet to Creature, or Blueberry Girl - or even The BFG, The Witches and Matilda!
As newborns, children don't really understand words, so vibrant pictures tend to be as important as the silly voices you make when reading out a story to them. In spite of not understand the meaning behind the words immediately, books that have a rich,varied vocabulary are of great benefit as it will enable the child[ren] in question to better grasp the concept of language when the time is right.
A lot of my American friends speak highly of Dr Seuss's books, which I understand are deemed to be modern-day classics. In all honesty, I have never read any of them myself as I grew up reading different classics - of a more British variety, in way. Having said that, I have every intention of popping my Dr Seuss Cherry soon enough, meaning there is no need to disown me as a friend [which I have been threatened by not too long ago by a good friend of mine].
Nursery Rhymes are also an important aspect of childhood reading. I highly recommend getting a couple of books which have a mixture of stories and nursery rhymes in them - such as this book, or this one.
One piece of advice- if you manage to find the time, try to read a sample of the book you intend to buy. It will help you make sure that the content is something you are happy to have your child exposed to. This book is a prime example of why it is always best to check the content. I myself own this book - I purchased it from a local shop, where it was shelved in the Children's Books section - in spite of having written on the back cover that it is not suitable for young readers. Due to the staff running the shop assuming that it is in fact a children's book, I'm sure quite a few parents have been asked by their child[ren] what rape means. I would have loved to witness such an event play out and watch a furious parent confronting the shop's staff, to be honest.
The Internet is an awesome source for stories - a simply Google search will provide you with tons of free stuff you can print out for your child, if a book is not something you can afford for the time being.
For further reading about the mentioned books and/or authors:
Roald Dahl's books
Neil Gaiman's Children's books