Even the youngest infants enjoy and benefit from being read to by the soothing voice of a caring adult– whether or not babies’ tiny attention spans last through the whole story. At some ages, getting to know the book by tasting it is the preferred way to explore, while older babies will enjoy the repetitive words and images. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, books are great for babies because they can be viewed up-close, and enjoyed early, before babies develop their long distance vision.
Research on infant development has found that babies are born with under-developed cones (cells in the eye’s retina that signal color) and, of course, with still-developing brains. The attraction of infants to high contrast visuals has been observed in numerous studies.
High contrast black and white books are best for babies under 6 months old whose eyesight is still developing. Titles mentioned to us by new parents and care providers include: Hello Bugs by Smirti Prasadan-Halls; and Spots and Dots by Chez Picthall.