black and white baby books
Children's Books, Education

Black and White Baby Books: 13 Best Books to Read to Baby in the First Year | Updated 2024

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Do you remember the color and look of your newborn baby’s eyes? When your baby is born, her eyes look like glass that you can see through. The baby’s eyesight will be developing gradually for the next few months. This is why it is so important to help stimulate the vision by cuddling, making face-to-face contact, and introducing black and white baby books.

At birth, it all seems to be too blurry. Some scientists suggested that babies first see white, black, and some shades of grey. Also, there is evidence that the red color contrasting with white and black is also easy to detect for a baby. At birth, a baby’s retina is not fully developed, so a newborn retina can only detect extreme contrasts between light and dark, or black and white. This is why practitioners suggest using black and white images (you can draw pictures yourself) as opposed to colored pictures.

Want some black and white images for babies? Sign up for your Free Printables here.

After your baby is born, she can see at around 15-20 cm max., so this is a distance of your cuddles and kisses. Some researchers suggest it is a biological trait that evolved to help babies feel safe and secure with their parents, whilst limiting the sensory input of the wider world. This is why it is extremely important to hold close to your newborn baby, preferably making skin-to-skin contact and giving a lot of warm cuddles throughout the newborn baby’s first months. The skin-to-skin contact will help increase the development of essential neural pathways, which accelerates brain maturation. But spending time close to your baby and cuddling will stimulate the development of her eye vision.

Baby’s Vision and Visual Stimulation for Babies

A Baby’s color perception is quite limited at birth. So, the sharp high-contrast colors of black, white, and some shades of grey are much easier for newborn babies to see and differentiate while their vision is still blurry.

Cuddles and Face-to-Face Time

One of the most helpful things to do to support your baby’s vision development is to cuddle and stare at her as much as possible. It is a great idea to make faces, such as sticking your tongue out. Also, it is important to talk to your newborn to help her detect your voice. In just a few weeks, you will notice that your baby’s vision gets clearer as she starts turning her head towards your voice and following you with her eyes.

Black and White Books for Newborns

Black and white board books are easier for babies to see as their eyes are developing and learning to focus. If you show a very colorful book to your one-month-old newborn baby, the chance it will be all one blurry shade is high.

The best black and white board books for newborns are the ones with clear lines, introducing one or a couple of shades, and bold patterns because bold images stand out against the typically blurry world. Black and white board books for babies give them a chance to see clearly and experience a part of the wider world.

Check age-by-age guide to reading to your baby, including the benefits of reading to children and toddlers.

Baby Reading: 10 Popular Black and White Baby Books You Should Read in the First Months

Children who are read to from an early age do better when they get to school. Learning rhymes and stories together will give them a flying start in life! These are the major benefits of reading to children, but there is certainly more to that.

If you’d like to know how reading affects your baby when to start reading with kids, and how to read to toddlers, check this guideline.

Choosing books for your baby is a very pleasant and interesting task. As a trilingual family, we have prepared for you an amazing selection of books in three different languages for different age groups.

Check our entire book selection here.

Tip: because babies this age tend to be hard on their playthings, stick mostly to board books, which can take rough handling and even chewing. Cloth or vinyl books are good too.

1. Black & White Board Book

This book is fantastic for your newborn because it provides all these simple images in simple black & white colors. Also, this foldout book is sturdy enough to stand by itself, and it is just the right size for little hands.

The author of this book, Tana Hoban, has exhibited her photographs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and is very well-known for creating children’s books.

2. Look, Look! Board Book

This is one of the best high-contrast black and white board books. It is very sturdy and offers a variety of image themes, such as animals, bodies, emotions, ad flowers. Babies not only stare at the pictures but also are able to calm and soothe themselves by watching the book. It is a nice size as well for little hands.

3. Baby Animals Black & White Board Book

This board book is personally my favorite. It offers eight adorable baby animals, featuring high-contrast black-and-white illustrations perfect for babies from birth to age two. The only downside is the number of images.

The quality speaks for itself though, check for yourself.

4. Hello, Animals! Board Book

This book features ten animals in black and white. What I love the most about it is that the animals come from different continents, including safari, arctic, and farm animals. It has tiny colorful touches that fit nicely. It is also very compact and easy for your baby to grab and stare at.

5. Hello, Bugs! Board Book

Another cute board book about ten beautiful little bugs and insects. One of the coolest features is glitter. A glittering burst of colored foil brings a vivid splash of color to every page.

6. Spots and Dots Board Book

Unlike other black and white board books, this book is quite unique featuring black and white shapes with bold colors that create stimulating patterns babies love. You can choose a hard book or a board book.

7. Manhattan Toy Wimmer-Ferguson See and Say Board Book

This black and white board book that is a part of the Wimmer-Ferguson infant collection created by Manhattan Toy won an award as the original innovator of black and white developmental toys.

It has all the features that newborn babies look for: bold patterns, clear images, a few red lines for contrast, and a mirror! This board book contains ten pages and is a perfect fit to stimulate visual development.

8. Hello, Ocean Friends

I absolutely love this black and white baby book series. Apart from our favorite ocean friends, it introduces baby animals, garden bugs, and sports activities.

This charming introduction to ocean creatures, paired with friendly text and bold, basic patterns, provides an important high-contrast experience for young developing eyes. 

The text is quite simple and fun that contains one line only, such as “Happy day, ocean friends!”, “How is it going, shark?”, or “What’s up, turtle?” This book is also very attractive for toddlers to learn about the ocean world.

9. Baby’s Very First Black & White Little Library

This is a mini boxed set containing four little board books for newborn babies from the beautiful, high-contrast “Baby’s Very First Black & White” series:

  • “Animals”
  • “Going Out”
  • “Babies” and
  • “Faces”. 

These books are quite tiny, but this is why they are one of the easiest ones for a baby to hold. They are also great for traveling. The illustrations are cute and the set appears to be of high-quality construction.

10. Teytoy: My First Soft Book (6 books)

This is a set of absolutely amazing soft black and white baby books made out of non-toxic fabric. It contains

  • Shapes
  • Fruit
  • Animals
  • Vehicles
  • Insects
  • Alphabet

I like the fact that it has red contrast as I believe red is the additional color that enhances a newborn baby’s vision development faster (as it was explained above). Also, this set is made out of very soft fabric and it is actually the only book in the whole range that is “chewable and lickable” by infants.

11. My Animals (Baby Basics)

This sturdy white and black board book is a great addition to your baby’s collection. You will see there adorably illustrated animals with pinches of bright colors, such as red, blue, and green on every page for additional contrast. Plus, it seems the author thought of everything and added interactive peek-a-boo holes that will allow your baby to grab and turn each page on his own.

12. Black and White Book by Jane Foster

One of the best books for one-year-olds has been written by lovely Jane Foster who also added incredibly beautiful patterns along with bright backgrounds.

13. Look at Baby’s House

An amazing addition to “Look, Look!” and “Look at the Animals!“, this board book is filled with black and white pictures for babies.

Another great feature for a newborn is that this book is extremely sturdy. The high contrasting black and white images keep babies’ attention which is exactly what you need to achieve.


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