High contrast books for babies like black and white baby books are super important but yet often neglected “toy” in newborns development.
Their vision is very different from adults and even that of older children. Their eyes and visual system aren’t fully developed.
Visual acuity and development is a gradual process that happens over a period of time and improves dramatically in the first 3 months.
In the first weeks babies are only able to see objects within 8 to 12 inches from their face. First, the images are blurry and they are most able to see simple, high contrast images.
That’s why black and white books along with black and white baby toys are the next best thing (after your face!) to let them gaze at during their active time.
This is the list of my favorite black and white books for babies that help promote their healthy vision development.
Most of the books goes beyond infancy and can be used in many different ways. I’ll explain more below.
Black And White Baby Books
- Black & White by Tana Hoban
Probably THE BEST first black and white book for the baby. We used it during almost every tummy time and my son absolutely loved it!
It folds out accordion-style so you can extend it out and place it on the floor beside your baby for them to look at.
This board book is two sided with 14 images in total. One side features a black background with white objects and the other side has a white background with black objects.
You can also make up stories about the objects and talk about the everyday items your baby’s seeing like bottle, bib, cat, balloon etc.
Makes a perfect gift for baby shower.
- Baby Play by Skye Silver
Next favorite is a book from Baby’s Day Book Set.
Clapping, swinging, dancing, laughing – Baby Play book has short rhyming stories about all the ways babies play.
Each story is written on a high contrast black and white background pattern with just one colored element. Next to the story there’s a real life black and white photo showing this activity in action.
LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!!
- Baby Talk by Stella Blackstone
Babies talk in all kinds of ways, and the people who love them talk back.
In Baby Talk book you’ll find high contract black and white images of babies and their parents followed by a short darling rhyme and a repetitive pattern.
It not only helps baby see with its high contrast images and patterns but also helps to lay the foundations for secure attachment and early language skills.
- Baby Food by Stefanie Paige Wieder
Yum! Tasty! More, please! – Baby Food book talks about and shows all the ways babies enjoy their food: bottle-feeding, nursing, self-feeding, eating with family members and more.
As other books of this series it has high-contrast photographs of faces and mealtime scenes.
Short stories rhyme and in no time you’ll be able to recite them by heart.
It’s very rich in words and also helps your child build vocabulary later on.
- Baby Dream by Sunny Scribens
As always, high contrast black and white images and rhyming stories featuring all kinds of wind down rituals baby and parents do – a story, a snuggle, a stretch, a song.
An AMAZING book to read before naps and bedtime.
All of these books can be used all the way into the toddler hood.
You can read and talk about all the day to day activities, objects, colors (remember the color elements on each page of the book?), shapes (the patterns behind each story page) helping your child develop language skills and acquiring new vocabulary.
If you get nothing but these 5 books above you’ll have no regrets.
But my list goes on with a few more great black and white baby books and suggestions that you’ll love.
- Spots and Dots by Chez Picthall
A sturdy black and white book with lots of shapes and geometric patterns.
Each page has a single color pop. You can even scan or copy a few pages of this book to make a mobile.
What I appreciate about this book is that it’s full of different looking characters of all ethnicities.
It’s great both for vision development but also great to learn about face parts and to play games asking “Where’s your …?”.
This book is a part of a mini books set of 4 Baby’s Very First Black & White Little Library
Another black and white book by Usborne. As you guessed from the title, this one features 10 animals.
It contains illustrations of cat, duck mouse, cow, hen, zebra, penguin etc.
It’s very sturdy and will hold in place if placed up right on the floor.
Very similar to the other Usborne books of the set. This time featuring images of all the things baby might see outside when going out, such things as tree, bus, flower, bird etc.
All books of this set can be used at a later time learning new vocabulary and even reading! There’s a written word on each page describing the image.
Babies closes up the Baby’s Very First Black and White Books set.
It’s my least favorite but still very nice to have.
Illustrations in this book show different baby activities and states: hungry baby, friendly baby, bath time baby etc.
- 1 2 3 Counting by Usborne
This is another absolutely wonderful book for tummy time.
It also unfolds and can easily stay upright so a baby during floor time can gaze at the high contrast images.
No, you’re not going to use it to teach counting to a newborn but you’ll definitely come back to it once your baby is a toddler.
It’s a great book to learn and recognize the numbers.
Also check out other Black and White Fold Out books by Usborne, such as Under The Sea and On The Farm.
- Hello, Bugs! by Smriti Prasadam
This is one of the books I came across when we already had a lot of black and white books in the collection.
But if I were just starting out the book shopping for a newborn I’d definitely get this one.
This adorable little book features 10 garden bugs such as beetle, ladybug, caterpillar, bee , grasshopper, butterfly etc.
The is a super sturdy black and white book that can be stood up and held with ease.
What makes it unique is a shiny, bright colored spot on each page made from a kind of a foil. This spot reflects color and captivates babies even more.
I also love that you can play reading this book waving hello to the bugs, to the animals (see below) and teach your baby to wave hello.
On every page there’s also a written sound phrase each animal makes. Great to teach vocabulary to toddlers and even for parents who are not native speakers 🙂
- Hello, Animals! by Smriti Prasadam
An adorable book for your baby book rotations. This one has 10 animals.
Have fun making those animal sounds 🙂
Check them out and see what you like best.
- Look At Baby’s House by Peter Linenthal
If you’re looking for a great book to tell and show your baby a story about their day look no further.
This charming book has it all: black and white contrast images with bright single color drops on each page, all showing how baby’s day unfolds.
- Look, Look! by Peter Linenthal
Last but not any less adorable is the original Look, Look! Black and white book from the “Look” series.
Sturdy pages, simple high contrast shapes and images with red text highlights got it all to drive your little ones interest.
But, what I especially love about this book is that it used a noun and a verb to describe the picture or to tell as a story if you will. So your story can go something like:
“Look! Flowers bloom.
Look! A cat stretches.
Look! Hands reach.
Look! Children smile.”
It’s definitely different form other books in this genre.
There’s also a classic Look At The Animals Book by Peter Linenthal if you want to get another one from the same author.
Check them all out and see what you like best but most importantly – enjoy your baby, they grow so fast.
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What are your favorite black and white baby books?
Hit reply in the comments, I’d love to know!
Are you looking for more sensory toys that your baby will love?
Check our favorite sensory toys for newborns that will actually grow with a child!