Books make the perfect gift for any occasion. Especially baby showers. Why? Because it's never too early to start a little one out on books. Why give a book? Books grow with the child. Books are interactive. Your giving the gift of reading and quality time and happy memories. Here are a few websites that explain the benefits of reading to your child from the very beginning.
Reading Books to Babies
Exploring Books With Babies
Baby's First Teacher
Enticing a Restless Reader
Reading to Babies, Toddlers, and Young Children: The Why? The What? And The How?
Reading to Your Baby
Reading and Language: About My Baby
Grow Up Reading--Babies
Babies, Books, and A Lesson in Happiness by Mem Fox
There are also plenty of books out there on the subject as well. A search on Amazon or the online catalog of your local library will bring you many results. The experts all agree, books are a good thing.
I'm not an expert on babies by any means. But I can testify to the benefits of having been read to growing up. I am who I am because of my mother. Reading was a loving, pleasurable bonding time. My happiest memories are of being cuddled up with my mom while she's reading to me.
I love to give books at baby showers. Sure most people don't register for books. But they're an important part of a baby's development just the same. Here's my trick. I either go for the boxed gift sets like Goodnight Moon, Runaway Bunny, or The Very Hungry Caterpillar. OR I make my own gift set. For example, I love to pair small stuffed animals with books. My favorites? Ty Pluffies. This little lion would pair GREAT with the classic book The Tawny, Scrawny Lion. Also available is an adorable little elephant that would go with The Saggy, Baggy, Elephant (one, two, three, kick!). Also available is the line Ty Baby.
And what about buying some classic Golden Books and pairing it with this great audio CD. It features: The Poky Little Puppy, Scuffy the Tugboat, Tawny Scrawny Lion, and The Saggy, Baggy Elephant.
Here is a list I compiled a few months ago listing 2007 releases of board books. Of course, with Amazon, older titles are available as well. I'd suggest just browsing around in the stores yourself. Read the books and see how "fun" they are. Every time I go to Target, I love to take a few minutes to browse the board book and picture book section. I usually end up reading quite a few. And compiling a few mental lists. Unfortunately, the publishers have all been difficult to track down. But oh how I wish I could get my hands on Roger Priddy's books. There is also quite a nice line called Piggy Toes Press.
One last tip, sometimes mothers-to-be let their friends and family in on what they are planning to name the baby. Sometimes it works out that the baby-on-the-way will have a literary namesake. In cases like these, it is very fun to get that book as a shower gift. It's usually unexpected and quite appreciated.