Here at Bas Bleu we’re happily awaiting the arrival of a new baby bluestocking, and the impending delivery reminded us: It’s never too early to share our love of books with our children—no matter how young they are!
Like a parent’s love, your child’s moniker will be one of the few things in life he or she cannot escape. It will precede its bearer into school, a job, even relationships, often serving as the very first impression that person makes. Family names are swell (we have more than a few in our office), but we’re also partial to those who owe their staying power to a really great book.
If you ask around, you’ll probably find you know a few literary namesakes. One of our readers was named after Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby, while another reader christened her daughter Harper, after—you guessed it—Miss Lee herself. Our social-media director knows a Holden, a Rhett, and a Dashiell. Authors as well as their characters are free game when choosing a name, but do take care. As this cheeky “dictionary” makes evident, book-sourced names can carry certain…reputations. Just a few of our favorites from the list:
Ernest: Handsome, a wastrel, loves hunting and driving
Eudora: Well-read, grounded, warm
Hester: Courageous, scorned, socially repressed
Roald: Has a dark sense of humor and a fabulous imagination
Truman: Loves parties, charming, quippy
Like bridal showers, baby showers can be fun and joyous events organized to help a loved one prepare for a life-changing event. Or they can be…dreadful. Allow us to propose a solution: a book-themed baby shower! From library-inspired invitations to storybook sweets, bringing books into the mix is guaranteed to make the party better. (We hold this truth to be self-evident in all walks of life.)
Start with the invitations. Yes, you can make your own, but we’re smitten with these “build a library” invites:
Once you have your guests gathered, you’ll need to feed them something tasty and clever…
This particular spread looks pretty yummy to us, with snacks inspired by popular kids’ books: green deviled eggs and ham biscuits (Green Eggs and Ham), cookies and milk (If You Give a Mouse a Cookie), and MoonPies (Goodnight Moon).
Other suggestions include Eat Me cupcakes and Drink Me cocktails (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland); Turkish Delight (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe); Butterbeer (the Harry Potter series); fresh veggies (The Tale of Peter Rabbit); pasta salad (Strega Nona),and fruit such as peaches (James and the Giant Peach), watermelon (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), and blueberries (Blueberries for Sal).
For your centerpiece, one of these book-themed cakes could be amazing:
But no worries if you can’t swing such an elaborate confection. Cupcakes with children’s book “flags” work just as well, are affordable, and allow you to spotlight more than one favorite title.
Of course the highlights of the literary baby shower are the books themselves. Ask guests to bring a copy of their favorite children’s book to help the expectant parents begin building their little one’s library. The books don’t have to be age-specific: board books, picture books, or even collectible classics like The Real Mother Goose or Grimm’s Fairy Tales all make great gifts. If you know the baby’s name in advance, try hunting down a book starring a character with the same name: A Birthday for Frances; Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; Amelia Bedelia; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Madeline…. You get the drift.
We also love the idea of encouraging shower guests to write a personal note inside the cover or to affix a nameplate with a special message for the young reader-to-be. Or, simply ask each guest to share a favorite reading memory from their own childhood, along with an explanation for why they’re gifting that particular book. (Need more ideas? Check out Bas Bleu’s Kids Books and Gifts!)
And remember: Just because babies aren’t born reading doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from books at an early age. Studies have shown that regular reading sessions encourage bonding between parents and children, expose developing brains to a larger vocabulary, introduce shapes and colors, and of course teach little ones to have a positive view of books. So read on, baby bluestockings!