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?

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."

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Find Spot at the Wildlife Park by Eric Hill

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. 

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Little Green Frog

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. 

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Peek-a Who? by Nina Laden

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. 

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Many of these items are available with Amazon Prime’s fast free shipping (often arriving in just one or two days!). If you’re not already a Prime member, you can get a 30-day FREE trial of Amazon Prime here!

Books About My Body for 1 Year Olds

Where Is Baby's Belly Button? by Karen Katz

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.

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Toot by Leslie Patricelli

Our family first read Leslie Patricelli's Potty book - but the Toot book is another family favorite. Everybody toots, even Mommy! (Gasp!) Children will learn that everybody does it in a funny, yet meaningful way. This is a book older siblings can enjoy reading to the younger ones.

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Skill Building Books for 1 Year Olds

First 100: Numbers, Colors, Shapes

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

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World of Eric Carle - Around the Farm

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!

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My First 101 WORDS Padded Board Book

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. 

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123 Counting Sticker Book

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. 

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Timeless Books That 1 Year Olds Will Love

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.

This classic predictable book is a favorite among children and parents everywhere. Kids love the predictable text and familiar animals, as well as the bold artwork of Eric Carle.

Brown Bear teaches colors, rhyming, and animal names. Your two year old will quickly learn what comes next, and will enjoy pointing to each animal as you read the last page.

We highly recommend checking out other books by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle too!

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Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr

Another favorite from Bill Martin Jr, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom can be found in almost every preschool and elementary school in the US! Follow the exciting story of the ABCs as they race up the coconut tree and fall back down, only for the capital letters (their parents) to come to their rescue.

The playful narrative and colorful illustrations make learning the alphabet a fun and interactive experience. With vibrant illustrations and a song-like rhyme, this is a story that will be enjoyed for years to come.

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Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle

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. 

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Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

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. 

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Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site

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.

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Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle

Your little one may only see a fun story with a blue truck and farm animals. But with your guidance, Little Blue Truck can teach so much more about life, kindness, and perseverance. Not just for little kids, this is a great book for students graduating high school.

This is one of my son's favorite bedtime stories, and I know you and your child will love it too!

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Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown

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. 

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

I mean, what book list would be complete without this classic? Eric Carle's masterpiece is a must-have because it has those iconic illustrations and the story is just magical.

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. It's also a great book for identifying different foods that the caterpillar eats along the way.

It takes the kids through the life cycle of a caterpillar in a way that's so fun and easy to understand. It's a book that never gets old, no matter how many times you read it!

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I Love You to the Moon and Back by Amelia Hepworth

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.

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Woodland Dance! by Sandra Boynton

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.

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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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As a mom of 4 kids (and the oldest of 4 kids herself), Amanda has over 30 years of parenting experience. A former special education teacher, Amanda has a Master’s degree in Special Education and a second M. Ed. in Educational Leadership.

When she’s not working, Amanda enjoys DIY projects, exercising, photography, and long walks through Target.

You can find Amanda on all social media at @parentingnestblog and @amandaseghetti

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