Bookish baby showers have become more and more popular in recent years. Much of it is due to the fact that research has proven the value of reading to even very young children. While libraries are wonderful, we all know how often children want to hear a book repeated. Many baby showers of any theme have opted for the book/card swap. They simply ask guests to bring a new or gently used book and sign that instead of a card. However, you can use children’s books as the unifying theme of a baby shower for your favorite teacher, librarian, writer, or bookworm.
Baby books are designed for the youngest literary listener. They have simple words, large pictures, but are often deceptively deep. Think about books such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, or the always beloved Goodnight Moon. Many of these books are published in both full-size and board book versions.
Creating baby shower invitations for these books is simple: just make your own little book. You can title it something like A Baby Shower for Camilla, and staple two or three half sheets together to make your book. You can make it rhyme, or just print the pertinent information on each page, whatever your creative mind would most enjoy.
Decorations are also easy. You can always ask your local bookstore for any old picture book posters to hang up. You can also approach your local library and ask for any damaged or discarded picture books. You can cut the damaged pages into petals for paper flowers to place on the tables. There are also many DIY videos that show how to fold the pages of a book into a word. What a great way to personalize the gift table for the baby.
Food can also be both fun and healthy. Why not arrange a plate of crudité’ to look like the “Very Hungry Caterpillar?” For that matter, you can open the book on the serving table and offer a buffet of the Caterpillar’s favorite foods. If you don’t have a bakery nearby that can make you a bookish cake, consider asking a local bakery to copy the cover of the Mom’s favorite book to put on top of the cake.
You can also put books into your baby shower games. One fun game is to make a list of titles spelled out in emojis. Your guests have to guess the title from the pictures. For example, you might have a hand waving and a picture of the moon to suggest Goodnight Moon. You can also match characters with their books. For this game, it is better to go with books for slightly older children, since many baby books don’t even name their characters.
These books are a little longer and have a clear story. They are often intended to be read to young children, who are just beginning to read. So, they have a harder vocabulary than they might read on their own. Some classic titles are The Snowy Day, If you Give a Mouse a Cookie, and The Cat in the Hat. Like the baby books, you can create a baby shower invitation that looks like a book, or you can play on the style by creating a “Once Upon a Time” theme. You can write a card that talks about how once upon a time your favorite parents had quiet nights, a slim stomach and were free of heartburn. But now, like magic, a new little person has taken up residence and is ready to pop out.
For decorations, consider creating a banner by stretching a string across an empty wall. You can open the books and hang them on the string. You can also use pages from damaged or discarded books and cut them into pennants for a banner.
Food for story books depend on the type of story book you are featuring. If your Mom loved the book Corduroy, then think about serving a Teddy Bear Picnic. If Strega Nona is your book of choice, follow it up with pasta and antipasto. And, of course, Green Eggs and Ham is self-explanatory.
You can really let yourself go with these books. Try copying a page from Dr. Seuss and playing Mad-Libs. Instead of asking for a noun, verb or the like, ask your guests for words that rhyme with “hat” or “fish” and read out the results where familiar words are removed for your party’s choices. You can also Reduce the text of a book into a “tweet” version of sixty characters or less and see who can guess the book correctly. Or, you can write soul-crushingly boring titles for familiar books. For example, The Snowy Day, could be retitled as 24 Hours of Frozen Precipitation.
Don’t limit your baby shower to baby books. Someday, that child will grow up and want to read meatier tomes. Stocking up his or her shelf with books to read as an older child or teen will save the parents both time and money. Think about books series such as Harry Potter, Narnia and Redwall. But don’t limit yourself to series. There are literally thousands of great single titles, such as Because of Winn Dixie, The Secret Garden, and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm.
You can make lovely baby shower invitations by printing the party invitation on a library card and mailing it in a library pocket. For decorations, consider visiting your local used bookstore or thrift store. You can cut the title pages or the dust jackets of your favorite books into triangles for pennants. You might also use the pages and a DIY video to make a book wreath or paper flowers.
Create a “bookish buffet” by placing books behind food that reminds the reader of the work. For example, you might have petit fours with the words “eat me” in front of Alice in Wonderland, or Honey straws next to Winnie the Pooh.
The fact is, books make a great theme for baby showers because it not only meets the parents where they are, but points where they hope their child will go.