20 Best Books for 1 Year Olds

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The moments when you pull your child onto your lap and read to them are sweet and special. Reading time develops a bond between you and your child while also modeling valuable language skills.

Reading books with your child can be fun and playful, or it can calm them before bed, but with so many books available, it can be difficult to know which books to choose.

We’ve gathered up this list of some of the best books for 1 year olds so your money is well spent and you know you are putting quality, parent-tested books on your bookshelf.

Choosing The Best Books for 1 Year Olds

Reading books with one-year-olds is incredibly important for helping your child develop language skills and early literacy skills that will one day help them learn to speak and read. There are many books out there, so how do you know which books are the best for 1 year olds? Keep these things in mind:

  1. Simple – Long books with lots of words and busy pictures can be overwhelming. Look for children’s book with simple text (simple words) and illustrations.
  2. Colorful – 1 year olds love bright colors. Books that have bold, primary colors and bright illustrations are a good idea.
  3. Large Pictures – Large pictures are easy to see and help your child to look at and learn the details of different objects. Choose picture books with large pictures to help keep their attention span during the first year.
  4. Rhyming – Books with sing-song rhyming text will be fun and memorable for your child. Simple rhymes, nursery rhymes, or even silly rhymes are all a good choice.
  5. Funny BooksFunny books for kids are perfect for encouraging an interest in reading. Funny books are actually a great choice for all age groups!
  6. Board Books – Board books are designed to withstand grabby hands and drool that 1 year olds are known for. Many popular books come in a board book option, just for little hands to enjoy.

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Lift The Flap and Interactive Books for 1 Year Olds

Do Cows Meow? is a fun lift the flap book that explores the sounds that animals make. Each animal has a giant mouth that opens to reveal the way that animal “talks.”

Where’s Spot? He’s hiding again, and this time kids can Find Spot at the Wildlife Park. Children will giggle and squeal as their little fingers lift the flaps on their search for Spot.

Explore life on the pond with one of the best interactive books ever, Little Green Frog. Young children can practice fine motor skills and develop language structure in this fun book full of surprises.

Children love to play peek-a-boo and they will be delighted at they read Peek-a-Who? and lift the flaps to determine who is hiding behind the little window.

Books About My Body for 1 Year Olds

Karen Katz has a series of fun books about body awareness for toddlers. Where is Baby’s Belly Button? is a classic favorite that helps kids to recognize their body parts.

Everybody has noisy body functions and Toot helps little kids to understand how and why it happens. They will learn that everybody does it in a funny, yet meaningful way.

Skill Building Books for 1 Year Olds

Your little one will soon learn their first numbers, shapes and colors with this bright board book. In Numbers, Shapes, Colors there are 100 color pictures which they will love to look at, and 100 simple first words to learn, too. 

Put on your overalls and have a stroll Around The Farm in this amazing sound book! Your little one can press 30 different sound buttons and listen to different animals while they read to bring the amazing art stylings of Eric Carle to life!

Get young readers started on the right track with the Peter Pauper Primer My First 101 WORDS board book! Teach them to say new words and eventually read the word that corresponds with each picture.

Children will love learning to count from 1 to 10 when you read 1 2 3 together! Each page features bright, bold illustrations and simple instructions for readers to add the correct number of stickers to each page. 

Timeless Books That 1 Year Olds Will Love

With singsong text and colorful images Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? will be a treasured book for you and your child. Learn colors, repetition and animals in this endearing book.

In lovely rhyme and verse, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom introduces children to the alphabet (both capital and lower case letters) in a fun and memorable way. This is a favorite book in our family, and one my little girl loves to read!

In this companion to Brown Bear, Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? introduces children to a host of animals and invited them to pretend to be the animals featured in the book at the end.

In this classic bedtime story that has been loved for generations, children will watch as each item in the nursery is tucked in tight. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is soothing and a must for your bookshelf.

Kids that love construction vehicles will love Goodnight Construction Site as each rig on the work yard is tucked into bed. The rhyming story and beautiful artwork will delight adults as much as children.

Little Blue Truck and his good friend toad are heading through the country visiting with their friends when they come across Dump who is in trouble. They’ll do what it takes to help him out.

Follow the animals through their day before they settle into the Big Red Barn for a peaceful night of sleep on the farm. Children will request this bedtime book over and over again.

Through colorful illustrations and die-cut pages, children will explore counting and the days of the week as the Very Hungry Caterpillar prepares for a big change. The story has a magical finish when the caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly.

I Love You To The Moon and Back is perfect for cuddle time with your child and will help them to understand that your love stays with them all day long. Such a sweet story and the perfect book for bedtime.

The moose plays the cello. The deer, violin. And it’s ONE-two-three, ONE-two-three, time to begin! Destined to be a read-aloud favorite, Woodland Dance is a mystical, waltzing story from beloved author and illustrator Sandra Boynton, and a magical book to share with a magical child.

Which of these books will you be adding to your nursery shelf? When you are ready, check out out list of great books for 2 year olds.

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