Creative Ideas for a Book-Themed Baby Shower: Board Books, Diaper Cakes & More

Planning a baby shower? Make your event even more memorable by designing the theme around a beloved gift: books!

Book-themed baby showers have become increasingly popular over the last few years, and even Martha Stewart has raved about them. They're perfect for any expectant mom (we all want to inspire little readers, right?), but especially for book lovers.

Whether you're planning a baby shower for a coworker, a friend or a family member, a book theme will make your event super-cute—and it's easy to do, too.

Here are some tips on how to do it right.

Why consider a book-themed baby shower?

Let's start with the basics: what makes a "book baby shower" so special, anyway?

  • Life is better with books

    Books already make great gifts for moms-to-be and their newborns. And by creating the theme of your shower around books, you can get even more creative with the decorations, invitations, shower activities and other aspects of the event.

  • Books make future readers

    Reading is a great way for parents to bond with their baby, starting right after birth. In fact, research shows "reading books with a child beginning in early infancy can boost vocabulary and reading skills four years later," according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • Much-needed gifts

    Brand-new books can be expensive for parents, so they tend to get de-prioritized below more urgent items, like diapers and clothes. A book-themed shower ensures that the new parents will have lots of books for their baby as she grows.

  • What book lovers want

    If there's one gift that book lovers love more than anything else, it's books! Naturally, that goes for their babies, too. If you know an expecting mom who is also a bookworm, then you know she'll adore a book-themed baby shower—because she can't wait to begin reading to her newborn.

  • Themed parties are so much fun

    Books aside, baby showers are so much better when there's a theme. Using a theme makes the event feel more special than a generic shower. And, it allows you to create a consistent look and feel across every facet of the event. More unique, more creative, more "awwws!"

  • Super simple
    Book-themed baby showers are easy to plan—even if you're planning it at the last minute. The books themselves, and the characters within them, offer limitless ideas for decorations and gifts. And you don't have to spend a lot of money either.

12 Book-Themed Baby Shower Ideas

Ready to get started? Let's dive in!

Here are several easy ways to make your baby shower more special with books.

1. Start with the invitations

Let guests know! Use the baby shower invitations to introduce the theme and briefly explain the idea. You can incorporate book images (or famous characters from children's literature) into the design.

Some ambitious planners choose to make the invitations look like a book cover or even an old-fashioned library card. Both are wonderfully creative ideas, but don't feel obligated to go that far if you don't have time or design skills.

2. Ask guests to gift a book

On the invitations, suggest that books are a recommended gift for the mom-to-be. Important: if they choose to buy a book, it should be in addition to the items already on the mom's registry. The idea isn't to ask people to spend a ton of money. But if they can afford to spend a few extra dollars on a board book, that would be wonderful!

3. Word play!

Consider making a cute message for your shower that you can incorporate into the invitations, decorations and so on. Sort of like a tagline, but with a play on words about books.

Here are a few adorable examples we've stumbled across:

• "Jenny's Next Chapter"
• "Turning a New Page…"
• "A Storybook Beginning"
• "Every Story Has a Beginning"
• "A Little Bookworm is Coming!"

You get the idea. The cuter, the better!

4. Get creative with ink and paper

Books offer so many possibilities for your baby decorations. Beyond book characters (see #5), you can create a more minimalist vibe by decorating with light-colored paper, hung on clothesline-like string to create a garland. With strong enough string, you can even hang books.

We love this description from Martha Stewart of one such shower: "The space was shimmering with the magic that happens in books, where simple materials -- ink and paper -- come alive as the imagination touches them, and the future appears when you turn a page."

5. Use characters in books

Need some more inspiration for decorations? You can't go wrong with images of beloved characters from classic children's stories, like Winnie the Pooh, Madeline, The Cat in the Hat, Paddington, Stuart Little, and so on. You should be able to find pre-made decorations with these characters. Or, if you're feeling crafty, you can make them yourself.

No need to go overboard. You can even make the theme around a single character to keep things simple.

6. Copy and hang memorable pages from books

Once again, the books themselves provide a wealth of inspiration for decorating! Consider scanning pages from classics and print them to use as table decorations, garlands, wall décor and so on. There's something so inviting (and adorable) about walking into a room decorated with images of beloved book characters from your childhood.

7. Use a diaper cake as a centerpiece

Baby diaper cakes make great gifts for expecting parents and wonderfully unique centerpieces for baby showers. Plus, you can even find some diaper cakes that include actual books and are designed with themes from children's literature—so that it matches the theme of your shower. Jump below for even more reasons why these cakes are so special.

8. Decorate with the books

If guests are bringing books, they why not incorporate them into the décor? Books are perfect for dressing up the food table, gift table and guest tables. They fill in those annoying bare spots without requiring you to buy additional decorations.

9. Have a food menu? Make it a "story"

For larger showers, where lots of food will be served, let people know what they're eating with book-themed menus. We've seen some showers that used a stack of books, covered with paper and listed with the menu food items on the spines. Or, you can include a paper menu on every table, written in prose like a story.

10. Whip up some book-inspired snacks

It's easy to create an impressive spread of food and snacks at your baby shower, especially when you use children's books as inspiration. We've seen some very clever ideas related to classics like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Blueberries for Sal and so on. Use a book holder to display the book next to the food, so guests can see the connection.

11. Don't forget nursery rhymes

Classic nursery rhymes and songs are more great sources of inspiration for decorations and themes. Humpty Dumpty, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Little Bo Peep, The Muffin Man and Three Blind Mice are just a few of the many stories that lend well to shower motifs, foods and games.

12. Remember the party favors

Thank your guests for coming (and for playing along with your book-themed antics) with book-themed party favors. These could be anything from custom-made bookmarks to $5 gift certificates to the local bookstore.

Why diaper cakes are always a win

Diaper cakes have become a must-have for baby showers—and for good reason! Here's what makes them such a hit:

  • A well-made diaper cake, like those from Lil' Baby Cakes, makes a beautiful decoration for baby showers (and a cute addition to the nursery, too!). But it's not all about looks…
  • Diaper cakes aren't just nice to look at. They're made with real diapers—the items parents need most! This makes the cakes practical in addition to being beautiful. The cake serves its decorating purpose at the event, then continues being useful to the parents when they take it home.
  • They're adorable! Few things evoke more "awws" than diaper cakes. When they're designed with cute colors, gifts for baby and other whimsical embellishments, their adorableness is almost too much!
  • As we mentioned above, you can coordinate your diaper cake with your book-themed baby shower by choosing one that is designed with books! At Lil' Baby Cakes, we've offered numerous book-themed diaper cakes, such as our Peter Rabbit Diaper Cake, Goodnight Moon and others. If you don't find exactly what you're looking for, you can choose another style and add your own book-themed decorations to it.

Diaper cakes are great for work/office baby showers, as well as showers with friends and family. Even if you're not throwing a shower at all, the cakes make great gifts that you can send directly to parents.

Which children's books are the best?

Don't worry if you're not familiar with the classics. We've mentioned a few popular titles above, but you can find lots of recommended lists online.

Scholastic, for instance, has put together a handy list of the 100 Greatest Books for Kids. It includes titles for all ages, from Goodnight Moon to Harry Potter.

Don't be afraid to give some books that a child won't be able to read until they're much older. Moms and Dads—especially the bookworms—will love being able to read to their child as soon as they're born.

Final thoughts

Remember, a book-themed baby shower doesn't have to be extravagant or expensive. If there's a limited budget for decorations and gifts, ask guests to bring a gently-used book that their own children don't use anymore. You can also find inexpensive books at thrift shops and used bookstores.

No matter how adventurous your theme, the idea is to have fun and help the proud mom to-be celebrate the exciting next chapter of her life.

5 Baby Shower Themes for 2014

Baby Shower Vintage Treats
Baby Shower Vintage Treats
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I believe that the best baby showers reflect not only the excitement of the parents-to-be but also their passions and personality. In 2014, baby shower themes will no longer just be about the colors pink, blue or pale green. These showers will be events that tell the story of the past of the parents and their future hopes for their new bundle of joy.

5 Baby Shower Themes for 2014

  • The Hot Air Balloon Shower — The hot air balloon is one of the hottest nursery themes and baby shower themes of 2014. This theme is filled with whimsy, and is perfect for parents who have sky-high hopes for their new baby. Use cake pops that look like balloons for dessert and decorate with plenty of real balloons.
  • The Gender Reveal Shower — Many couples today find out whether they are having a little boy or a girl long before the baby is born. Announcing this big news at the shower can be great fun. Plan a shower game that requires guests to guess the gender of the baby. Have the parents-to-be open up a box filled with either pink or blue balloons to make the announcement.
  • The Shower with Elephants — Forget the owl — 2014 is all about the elephant. This nurturing yet strong creature is the perfect symbol for a new life, and best of all it is gender neutral.
  • The Heritage Shower — I’ve found that many couples are starting to honor their past as they plan for the future. A heritage shower is a great way to celebrate a baby’s background. For instance, a Scottish shower can be filled with tartan decorations and shortbread can be served for dessert.
  • The Vintage Shower — Go back a few decades and throw the perfect vintage shower for that special mom-to-be in your life. Play old-fashioned baby shower games and use the pram and vintage baby rattles as decorations for this shower.

Whether the mom-to-be is expecting a little bouncing baby boy or a tiny sweet baby girl, she deserves the celebration of a lifetime. This is a big moment in any person’s life, and I have found that friends and family love to share in the joy of this exciting time. In 2014, expect to see expertly-planned baby showers that are inspired by symbols of hope for the next generation.

New Parents Choose Both Online and Traditional Ways to Announce Baby’s Arrival

baby-announcement-across-cultures-sm
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Brand new parents have plenty on their plates, so you might think formally announcing baby’s birth in new and creative ways would not be high on their list.  Yet, new parents around the world announce baby’s arrival in an assortment of ways, from sweet treats to swaddling hammocks.

For a generation that doesn’t know a world without the Internet, keeping in near constant contact with friends and family via social media has become a part of daily life. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, to find many new parents in the U.S. are choosing online options to announce the good news. A surprising number, however, are still opting for what they feel are more personal—and traditional—ways of heralding baby’s arrival. Here is a quick glance at a bit of both worlds:

Tradition Meets Creativity

Handmade Creations

Many expectant moms are turning to creative projects to occupy their time, especially during that last trimester. What better project than handmade birth announcements? Using scrapbook or card-making materials, these moms are designing announcements around meaningful or fun themes. Once baby has arrived, parents need only add stats, pop in a photo of their precious newborn and the announcements are ready to drop in the mail.

Yard Announcements

From banners to stork lawn ornaments, parents are still opting for these very traditional ways to tell neighbors and passersby the happy news, particularly in small towns. Outdoor announcements, whether in the form of rented wooden yard signs or custom-printed banners, remain a very public way of letting the world know that baby has arrived.

Open House

Usually hosted by a close family member to take the burden away from busy new parents, open houses or post-birth baby showers are a great way to announce baby’s arrival to closest family and friends in a personal way. Sometimes referred to as meet-and-greets, these celebratory get-togethers offer visitors a firsthand look at the new arrival and the opportunity to congratulate the happy parents in person.

No Smoking

Cigars were the traditional way for new dads to share the happy news with pals. But with social and health concerns over smoking, parents are seeking retailers who offer alternatives in the form of bubble gum cigars in baby blue or pretty pink to allow parents to mix fun with tradition.

Online/Cloud Based Announcements

Digital Slideshows

Whether new parents opt for a professional photographer or snap those early pics on their own, posting a digital slideshow online provides parents with a handy link to email to friends and family. Many professional photographers offer clients an online page posted with their baby slideshow. Parents opting to handle their own photography are posting their slideshows on social media or personal websites.

Social Media Announcements

It is no surprise that parents are choosing to announce baby’s arrival via social media sites, like Facebook. Reasoning that all friends and family are followers anyway, new parents are also realizing that utilizing social media in place of more traditional paper announcements saves printing and postage costs.

Video Announcements

Whether opting for YouTube or another video platform, new parents are posting everything from the simplest announcements to creations that rival Hollywood productions. Some new parents are also choosing to announce baby’s arrival via live video on Skype, a popular solution for announcing baby to out-of-state relatives.

Online Announcements

Parents strapped for time are turning to online printers or photo sites to make creating their announcement a simple task. With dozens of designs to choose from, parents need only pop in the photo of their baby, add the pertinent details and click to order. Some sites even allow parents to mail their finished announcement directly from the site.

Whether online or traditional, this is just a small sample of baby announcement methods. Have one you would like to share?  Just add it as a comment.