Let’s talk about which pictures babies prefer, and how books with photographs and books that use illustrations stack up.
|Photos in Books||Drawings in
|Babies are naturally drawn to faces.||YES!||Sometimes|
|Babies want bold contrasting colours.||Sometimes||YES!|
|Babies crave familiar people and objects.||YES!||Sometimes|
|Babies desire simple images.||Sometimes||More often|
Of course, these are trends rather than rules. A particularly well-crafted image will appeal to babies regardless of what kind it is, and it’s more important to try to hit as many of these marks as you can.
How important each of these elements is depends on the age of the baby.
- Newborn babies have terrible vision, so unless things are bright and bold they won’t easily notice them
- Over the first 6 months, their vision improves so that they can see most things held at arm’s length (or about 12 inches)
- Between 6 and 18 months, the muscles used to bend the lens of the eye to focus light get stronger and stronger, making it possible to see fine details in pictures and focus on things that are father away
In general, babies will prefer photographs because they show things closely resembling real things they have seen. Familiar images are comforting, and it is actually kind of exciting for babies when they recognize the things they see in books. Sometimes you won’t know if they will like a book until you try sharing it with your baby, but if you can recognize at a glance what you are looking at, then your baby will probably like it.
If you would like to know more about books for babies, go the the Resources pages on the Centre for Family Literacy website to find tips sheets, or the Program page to find a Books for Babies program.