Six Books for Dad to Read to Newborns

New dads! Assemble! We’re here for a list of books for dad to read to baby and we’re in this together.

Bring your tired eyes, spit-up stained shirts, and uncertainty about what day it is to the couch and we’ll feel the world shake as we all sit down at the same time.

Maybe take a break from the effort to get your baby to sleep by walking them around the house and give a book a try. It’s actually good for your baby to hear your voice. 

Or if you’re a mom and are looking for books for Dad to read to baby, give this list a whirl. 

Here’s the list, but there’s more info below:

  1. Your Baby’s First Word Will Be DADA by Jimmy Fallon
  2. 123 Zoom by Chiêu Anh Urban
  3. Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anne Dewdney
  4. Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
  5. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
  6. The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper

Best Books for Dad to Read to Baby

1. Your Baby’s First Word Will Be DADA by Jimmy Fallon

I’m not sure it’s possible for there to be a better books for dads to read to baby. The book is legitimately all about dads. Well. Animal dads. But the point is still true. 

If you have any desire for your newborn to get “Dada” into their vocabulary as fast as possible (let’s be real – you do), picking any other book is like picking Tom Brady last for football at recess. You only do it if you like losing at recess. (Give me a break I’m a tired dad that missed the day Mrs. Brown taught analogies.)

2. 123 Zoom by Chiêu Anh Urban

Are you a dad? Are your spidey senses tingling? There’s an 87% chance a dad within 25 miles of you just felt the roar of an engine. I’m like pretty sure that’s a scientific thing.

The world could use more engine noises like vroom and zoom and the hearty laughs that come from nearby dads. This book was probably written more to teach numbers 1 through 10 but this is your permission to abandon that goal and instead point to each page’s vehicle and make an outlandish engine noise that makes your wife wonder from the other room what weirdo wrote a book of only engine noises. If you’re lucky, she’ll find it awesome and post a video of your incredibleness on Instagram.

3. Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anne Dewdney

Speaking of things being posted on the internet, have you ever seen the video of Ludacris rapping Llama Llama Red Pajama? It’s here. And it’s great. Seriously watch it. You’ll never be able to read the book again. Because you’ll want to rap it.

But this is good. Brushing up on your rap game gives you a chance for you to show your child early on how cool you are and how you can still drop bars. This will definitely might ingrain your coolness in their mind and increase the likelihood they’ll brag to their friends in middle school about how dope their dad is.

Now that you’ve seen the video, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if you closed this site right now and started practicing your Llama Llama rehearsing so you’re in a pure state of flow by the time Amazon drops the book at your door.

Go ahead and get practicing. The rest of the book recommendations will be here when you get back.

4. Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

Alright this one is a personal favorite straight from the archives of my parents’ basement where I bet this book still sits. I loved this book as a kid and I think it’s because a mischievous gorilla falls into the category of things that entertain me far too easily (along with poop jokes and the movie Cool Runnings).

There’s not much Dad-ness about this book but I’m a dad and I like it, and if you’re going to read your baby books over and over (do it, they get sick of The Office reruns), add one to the number of sane dads on earth and read books you enjoy.

5. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

No, this isn’t a curveball. It’s legit. What’s that you say? Your baby isn’t interested in nonfiction books with hundreds of pages and life altering ideas?

Naw just kidding. This isn’t an attempt to guilt you into reading your baby textbooks and books with words a bajillion syllables long so they’re on track to speak 14 languages while their classmates are still learning the alphabet.

If you’re even reading this page, I’d bet 2 loads of laundry and an oil change that your baby is small enough that all they do is eat, cry, sleep, and cry some more. It doesn’t matter what you read to them, but it does matter that you read something. According to these people Nemours Children Health, reading to babies, just having your baby hear your voice while you hold them is good for them to feel connected to you and safe. Ultimately this is just your reminder that you can read out loud whatever on earth you find interesting and your baby is still going to listen (they are a small, immobile, baby that doesn’t go anywhere) and you’ll still be spending time together. 

And Man’s Search for Meaning is actually a great book. But this is just my way of saying read what you enjoy.

6. The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper

No, this book doesn’t have thick pages that feel like solid wood to keep your baby from ripping them. (Secret expert dad tip: Don’t ask your newborn to hold the book for you. They are bad at it.)

And yes, this list is titled Books for Dad to Read to Baby, but sticking to theme of this being more about the baby hearing your voice than it is the newborn somehow comprehending things when they’re only weeks old, this book makes the list. 

It’s both a kids book and an encouragement book. For you because parenting is hard. And for your baby because eventually they will actually comprehend what you’re reading and this book will already be a favorite of yours.

Give it a read. Bet you’ll want to keep it around for another read later.

More for new dads:

If you’re going to be a dad or just had a little one, check out our recommendations of podcasts for new dads, books to read before becoming a dad, and tips for new dads.