When my oldest daughter was born nine years ago, we were one of the only babywearing families I knew. Over the last few years, in my area at least, I’ve seen a big increase in moms (and dads!) babywearing, but I haven’t noticed a corresponding rise in depictions of babywearing in children’s books.
That’s too bad, because I remember how much my kids loved seeing babies being carried in wraps and carriers, just as they were. For anyone who loves seeing babywearing represented at story time too, we’ve put together this list of 10 children’s books featuring families around the world wearing and loving their babies and toddlers.
Click on any book cover to see it on Amazon.
Read more: 30 Children’s Books About Breastfeeding
1. A Ride on Mother’s Back: A Day of Baby Carrying Around the World by Emery and Durga Bernhard
From Guatemala to Bali, the Arctic to Nepal, Papua New Guinea to Brazil, this beautiful book explores how families around the world care for their babies as they accomplish daily activities. Chunks of text describing domestic scenes may be too wordy for toddlers, but the colourful, gouache paintings will appeal to even the youngest children.
For interested adults or older children, an appendix in the back provides more background information about each culture featured in the book.
2. Forest Baby by Laurie Elmquist
Take a walk through the forest with mama and baby in a buckle carrier on her back. From his safe perch, baby can see the rustling leaves, darting dragonflies, star-shaped lilies, and a turtle basking in the sunlight.
3. Carry Me by Rena D. Grossman
Whether tucked in a blanket, peeking out of a basket, riding in a backpack, or wrapped in a parent’s arms, babies worldwide are carried in unique ways. The simple, rhyming text of this board book introduces children to the ways their global neighbors travel. The beautiful photographs show that all babies are nurtured by their loved ones.
4. Up! How Families Around the World Carry Their Little Ones by Susan Hughes
Warm, colourful cut-paper illustrations show different ways of carrying babies and different family members, from Mother’s arms to Father’s baby carrier, and Auntie’s sling to Grandmother’s amauti (an Inuit parka with a built-in baby pouch just under the hood). There’s a small amount of descriptive text on each page along with the repetition of “upsy-daisy” that demands a little bump up when your toddler is sitting in your lap for story time. The overall message is one of inclusiveness and shows that caring for babies is not just a mother’s job, but one for the whole family. A great story for snuggling.
5. Goodnight Kuu-Kuu: My Cozy All Day Village Safari by Wamoro P. Njenga
“Kuu-kuu” is a loving, playful-sounding call that lets children know it’s time to get on their mother’s (or caregiver’s) back. As soon as the mother picks up the colorful leso (square of cotton fabric) and calls, “Kuu-Kuu!” her child lights up, raising both arms with eagerness and delight that he will soon be securely “wrapped” in mama’s exciting world.
6. Carried On Your Back by Ida Therén
A walk in the park, meeting a dog, and learning to walk. Carried on Your Back is about a day in a toddler’s life with their attachment parenting parent featuring babywearing, co-sleeping, and lots of love!
7. Mama Holds Me Close by Melissa Panter
“Mama possums, alligators, otters, and more, all holding their babies just like Mama holds me!” Mama Holds Me Close explores the different occasions a mother carries her child, using cut-paper illustrations of animals carrying their babies in the same way.
Right now you can download a FREE e-book version from the author’s website (wait for the pop-up). Or if you pick up a print copy, Melissa will also send you a free print-your-own colouring book version if you post a pic of you holding the book on her Facebook page or on Instagram!
8. Mama, Talk About Our New Baby by Toni Olson
Mama, Talk About Our New Baby is the story of a young boy learning from his mother what life will be like once his sister is born. Detailed illustrations explore attachment parenting practices like babywearing (in both a wrap and toddler carrier), breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and even cloth diapering.
9. Slings and Secret Wings by Victoria Morley
“There is something special about Mama’s slings.
They make me feel like I have wings.”
Violet has secret wings! You may not be able to see them, but when her Mama carries her in a sling or woven wrap, she feels as though she can touch the sky. Available in Kindle version only.
10. Carrying Baby: A Babywearing Adventure by Elle Rowley
The final book on our list is a sweet lift-the-flap board book created by Solly Baby Wraps a few years ago. Unfortunately it’s now out of print so if you can find a used copy of this board book, snatch it up! Lift the flaps on each page to see how animal mamas carry their babies, with a human mama on the last page carrying her baby in a stretchy wrap.
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