What books are good for a 1 year old?
A baby’s brain doubles in size during the first year. In fact, 90% of a child’s brain development happens before kindergarten (firstthingsfirst.org). Wowza!
What does this tell us? That it’s important to start reading early! That’s why we’ve compiled the best books for 1 year olds and babies. Because with a little one, you’ve got enough to worry about. Let this list be your guide!
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Here you’ll find:
- books to use as gifts for a new baby
- interactive, bath, and sound books for one year olds
- fun books to read aloud
…and more! There’s something for all stages of development in that first year. Use the table of contents below if you need to jump around.
What is a good first book for a baby?
First, this section covers the best books to use as gifts. These are great for baby showers, newborn gifts, and one year old birthdays. Plus, they help build libraries that babies will use for years to come.
1. On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
*Best book for new baby gifts
Celebrate your unique, beautiful, specially-made baby by reading a book about the one and only YOU. Amazingly illustrated, On the Night You Were Born makes the perfect birthday gift!
2. Welcome Little One by Sandra Magsamen
*A cute beginner’s book for babies (makes a great gift!)
Rhythmic and simple, babies will enjoy listening as they read about the love of a parent. This board book makes an amazing keepsake as it includes a page to write birth information.
3. Oh, Baby, the Places You’ll Go! by Tish Rabe
*An introduction to the world of Dr. Seuss—for babies and babies-to-be!
A must-have book for expectant parents and new babies!
Lyrical and artful, this children’s book introduces little ones to the fun and famous characters of Dr. Suess. It includes a brief description of the importance of sounds even when the baby is in utero!
4. The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name
*Customize to your baby’s name
The child in this book goes on an adventure and meets mystical creatures on the journey. But the cool thing is that the story is based on the letters of your child’s name. So, every story is different. How unique!
(Find the The Boy Who Lost His Name here)
5. Goodnight Little Me (1-Year-Old Baby Books)
*Another popular personalized book!
Goodnight Little Me puts the baby’s name on the cover, in the story, and even in the illustrations. It has sweet lyrics that will lull your baby to sleep as you settle in for the night.
Pro tip: When using these books as gifts, write a personalized note on the inside! Your baby will be able to look back on it later.
6. My First Library by Wonder House Books
*Makes a great 1-year-old birthday gift
This comprehensive board book set gives you all the essentials in one place! Explore basic learning topics and everyday objects with your toddler using vivid pictures.
Best Books to Read to 1 Year Olds
Now, you might be wondering…what types of books are appropriate for one year olds? It’s hard to know, but this list takes the guessing out of it!
7. Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill
*Most popular dog for little ones!
Young children will love lifting the flaps in search of the curious puppy, Spot. Start your children on this classic book series with Spot’s first and most famous adventure!
8. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
*Best Children’s Classic!
A generational favorite, this all time classic picture book (literally) eats through the pages and into the heart of young children. Follow along with the very hungry caterpillar in his search for food. With beautiful illustrations, this book will remain a favorite for years to come.
9. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. & Eric Carle
*#1 Best Seller
Lyrical text and unique colored collages, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, will become a book on repeat for your little one. Millions of children have discovered learning (counting, animals, and color recognition) to be fun!
10. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
*One of the most beloved books of all time
In this sweet rhyming picture book, we discover a quiet green room readying for bed. It’s a book that makes you and your toddler feel secure and sleepy as you wind down.
11. Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton
Perfect for reading out loud, this silly book is about the sounds animals make. Children will be giggling when they discover three pigs who say “la la la”!
12. Disney Baby Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Toy Story and More! – My First Library 12 Board Book Set – First Words, Shapes, Numbers, and More!
Little ones love the small board books (great for little hands) and the bright colorful pictures of their favorite Disney characters. With 12 books to complete their library, they’ll be introduced to counting, colors, shapes, feelings, foods, and more!
It also comes with a convenient carrying case.
13. I Love You To The Moon and Back by Amelia Hepworth
A sweet story of how a parent’s love for their child is bigger than what the eye can see. With a personalization page included, I Love You To The Moon And Back is the perfect gift for a baby shower or first birthday.
14. Grandma Wishes by Julia Lobo
This is a heartwarming story that uses animals and beautiful illustrations to show the special kind of love between a child and a grandparent. Grandma Wishes and an owl stuffie would make an adorable gift!
15. Your Baby’s First Word Will be DADA by Jimmy Fallon
Dads are always trying to get the baby to say Dada first! In this sweet and simple story, father animals are no exception. They’re trying to get their offspring to say their favorite word–DADA!
For the mom’s out there, don’t worry, there is also Everything is MAMA to show how everything after that first word is not dada.
16. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. & John Archambault
*Great for early letter learning
This continued classic will have everyone chanting along with the letters of the alphabet! Will there be enough room at the top of the coconut tree?
17. Indestructibles: The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Maddie Frost
Made for the way babies actually read–with their hands and mouth–the Indestructible series creates chew-proof, waterproof, washable, non-toxic books for babies! Introducing littles to classic nursery rhymes like the Itsy Bitsy Spider, Row Row Row Your Boat, and more.
One mom even hilariously wrote in….
Just added this to my Amazon cart after looking into this series. Do you know how many books I’ve thrown away with chewed up corners and pages?! Children are wild animals.Jessica D.
18. A Collection of Stories for 1-Year-Olds – Nursery Rhymes and Short Stories to Read to Your Babies and Toddlers by Cottage Door Press
Chosen for one-year-olds, this collection of stories includes classic and favorite nursery rhymes. With engaging illustrations and simple-to-read stories, this will be a go-to storytime book for your child.
19. First 100 Words: A Padded Board Book by Roger Priddy
Encourage your little one to point out pictures, make sounds, and turn the brightly colored pages in this first words board book. With fun themes and easy-to-remember words, you’ll be amazed as you watch your child learn right in front of you!
20. I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
*Now in a board book!
Even if her child were a smelly skunk or a crazy alligator, this mama’s love would be strong. This is the first book in the very popular series for young ones!
21. The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin
With whimsical illustrations and flowing rhymes, children and parents alike enjoy the never-ending possibilities of the future. Explore all the hopes and dreams parents have for their children in the New York Times Best Seller.
22. Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
*A cute read aloud!
The cover illustrations give insight as to the mischief this little gorilla gets into after dark. This is mostly a picture book (with limited text). It allows for the pictures to tell the story and the grown-up to add their own ideas.
23. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes: Padded Board Book by Mem Fox
As you know, nothing is sweeter than baby fingers and toes. So, enjoy the rhythmic text in this book with your little one. And then listen to the giggles as you play with those fingers and toes!
24. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
*Classic books for 1 year olds
Enjoy this sweet tale of Little Nutbrown Hare and his daddy as they explore their love for each other. Guess How Much I Love You has been a cherished staple in homes for 25 years!
25. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
Love You Forever is an anthem for every parent to read to their child. Watch as one mother holds, cares for, and loves her baby unconditionally as he grows into an adult. Even when he drives her crazy.
26. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
Giraffes Can’t Dance is a sweet board book that follows the journey of one giraffe who desperately wants to dance, but doesn’t seem to have the right moves. Then, he finds inspiration from an unlikely friend and learns that all he needs is his own rhythm.
27. I Love You As Big As the World by David Van Buren
Big bear and little bear’s love knows no bounds. It stretches across the sea, over the mountains, and as far as the stars. Both you and your 1 year old will love the sweet imagery and simple pleasures found in this book.
See I Love You As Big as the World here >>
28. Read to Your Baby Every Day: 30 classic nursery rhymes to read aloud by Rachel Williams
*Best books ages baby-age 2
Introduce your baby to all of the classic nursery rhymes! This collection features 30 beloved stories. Use these simple stories to help you bond with baby and give comfort. Here’s a few that you’ll find in the book:
- Hey, Diddle Diddle; Baa, Baa, Black Sheep
- This Little Piggy
- Hush Little Baby
- Hickory, Dickory, Dock
- Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
- Little Bo-Peep
- Pussy-cat, Pussy-cat
- Row, Row, Row Your Boat;
30. If Animals Kissed Goodnight by Ann Whitford Paul
If animals kissed goodnight, what would it look like? Would the giraffe and her baby kiss up high or would the seal and his pup give sweet wet kisses?
Discover the unique ways that humans and animals express their love for one another.
31. Dr. Seuss’s Beginner Book Collection (Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish, Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop, Fox in Socks)
Inspire a love for reading while they’re young! These beginner books by Dr. Seuss are all mega popular and colorfully engaging. By snagging the set, you’ll have all of the favorites in one place.
32. Baby Signs: A Baby-Sized Introduction to Speaking with Sign Language by Joy Allen
Babies can communicate long before they can talk. In Baby Signs, parents help babies tell their needs, wants, and feelings through simple gestures. Model and teach thirteen different signs inside this bright board book.
33. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
*Beep Beep! Great for car and animal lovers
Beep Beep! Little Blue Truck is filled with animal and car sounds that excite every small reader.
Follow along as Blue gets stuck in the muck and needs the help of his farm animal friends. Plus, learn along the way that it’s best to be kind to everyone.
34. The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
*New York Times Bestselling Series
Swim along with one special fish as he realizes that being glum isn’t really right for him. Who wants to spread dreariness when you can turn your pouty “frown” upside down?
35. Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Even the most active of children will settle down for bed while listening to this soothing bedtime story. As the tough machines finish up their long day of work, say goodnight construction site and enjoy a job well done.
*Find more great bedtime stories and books here >>
36. Be Brave Little One by Marianne Richmond
*Another excellent book to give as a gift!
Encourage your kids to go through life brave and courageous, knowing that they are loved. This story has a cheerful and inspiring message for your growing young one.
37. I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak
This book has such gentle and sweet rhyming text.
Read from the reader’s point of view. And your little one will feel like every word is straight from your heart to theirs. It is about all the parts of a child we love, from their “hair and eyes” to their “giggles and cries.”
38. The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
This is a short and sweet bedtime favorite about silly animals going through their nighttime routines.
39. Night Night Farm by Roger Priddy
Unwind with sweet farm animals as they say goodnight in a gentle rhyming verse. Watch as they transform from awake to asleep.
40. The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle
*Multi-sensory board book allows children to feel the pictures too!
Even with animals trying to distract her, this very busy spider works hard on her web. When she’s done, her creation is both beautiful and useful. See The Very Busy Spider >>
Lift a Flap & Other Interactive Books For 1 Year Olds
Interactive flaps promote sensory exploration and help support the development of fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Plus, kids love them!
41. Dear Zoo: A Lift & Flap Book by Rod Campbell
*Best Seller (& our favorite!)
Discover what animals the zoo has sent by lifting the flaps! Great for little hands, this interactive book will keep them guessing about the perfect pet.
42. Melissa & Doug Children’s Book – Poke-a-Dot: Old MacDonald’s Farm (Book with Buttons to Pop)
With language and interaction combined, Melissa & Doug children’s book series, Poke-a-Dot, will keep small children engaged and learning! Little fingers love to hear the “pop” as they are encouraged to follow along, count, find, and sing.
43. See, Touch, Feel: A First Sensory Book by Roger Priddy
Specially designed to peak curiosity, See, Touch, Feel is a great book to share with your baby. Colorful pictures, photographs of happy babies, shiny mirrors, and raised textures develop young children’s motor skills and language recognition.
Watch as they learn new ways to interact with this playful book!
44. Babies Love Colors by Michelle Rhodes-Conway
It’s never too early to introduce your baby to all the colors of the rainbow! This cheerful board book (with easy-to-lift flaps) will be a favorite in your home library.
45. Where is Baby’s Belly Button: A Lift-A-Flap Book by Karen Katz
Enjoy playing peek-a-boo with your little one using this delightful lift-a-flap board book!
46. P is for Potty! (Sesame Street) (Lift-the-Flap)
*Great introduction to potty training
Elmo helps kids ages 1-3 learn how to use the potty! These sturdy lift a flaps are perfect for keeping little hands busy while they practice sitting on the potty.
47. Never Touch a Porcupine! by Rosie Greening
*The perfect sensory book for babies and toddlers
This book is the cutest! Small kids love the bright drawings and feeling the different textures on each new page. This is a great interactive book to jumpstart a child’s love for books and reading. (And was a favorite in our house!)
For other silicone touch and feel favorites, see Never Touch The Dinosaurs and Silly Sea Creatures
48. Playtown: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Roger Priddy
Kids love the busy town scenes in this flap book! Little hands explore places around town including the airport, hospital, and shops. They explore over 70 flaps throughout the book.
49. Moo: Peek-a-Flap Children’s Board Book by Jaye Garnett
*Perfect for animal lovers!
In this interactive book, you get to meet all the animals on the farm! Babies and toddlers explore simple facts, new words, and fun surprises behind every flap!
50. Peek A Who: Interactive Read Aloud Books by Nina Laden
Simple rhymes and peek-a-boo cutouts make this book a favorite for little ones! Kids giggle through the anticipation of what’s hiding on the next page. And they’re excited to see which animal comes next!
51. Clap Your Hands by Random House
Your favorite red monster is ready to sing and dance together! Your little one will love interacting with Elmo the puppet as they sing along to “if you’re happy and you know it.”
52. Counting Kisses: A Kiss & Read Book by Karen Katz
It’s a kiss AND count board book! Who doesn’t want that?!
Kiss along as you read and your little one lifts the flaps. Watch your baby light up at the fun!
53. Toes, Ears, and Nose by Dane Bauer
*Play and learn peek-a-boo book
The baby in this book is all bundled up in clothes. Young ones get to lift the flaps to discover what’s under every piece of clothing!
54. Open the Barn Door by Christopher Santoro (Best Books for 1 Year Olds)
Get an introduction to life on the farm with all your barnyard favorites. Explore sights and sounds as your little one lifts the 10 flaps throughout the book.
55. Wild Animals: A Touch and Feel Book – Children’s Board Book
*Educational and fun!
Explore five amazing textures in this book. From an elephant’s ear to thick fur, your baby will be delighted! Learn rhyming facts while you give your young one a chance to explore.
You’ll both want to come back to Wild Animals!
56. Tails by Matthew Van Fleet
*Babies learn counting, opposites, and how animals use their tails
Toddlers love tails. They’re irresistible.
That’s why your little one will love this book! It’s unique and features many different textures for kids to touch. It also has pull tabs and a scratch-and-sniff scent.
57. Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
*Classic books for 1 year olds
Pat the Bunny is one of the best-selling children’s books of all time. And for good reason.
In this cherished touch and feel book, babies are encouraged to feel, pull, and snuggle up with mom or dad.
Grab the entire Pat the Bunny baby set here >>
Sound Books For 1 Year Old Boys and Girls
Next, these noisy books for 1 year olds are fun! They include cute interactive buttons and plenty of song.
58. Around the Farm by Eric Carle
Explore the farm with this awesome sound book!
Your toddler can press 30 different buttons to hear all of the noises in a barnyard. It’s a multi-sensory experience that children adore. It includes the beautiful illustrations of Eric Carle too!
59. Pete the Cat: Old MacDonald Had a Farm by James Dean
60. Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear by Bill Martin Jr.
What will you hear when you read this enchanting book? Your little one making all kinds of sounds! Read along as you pretend to be the animals and chant the fun rhymes.
61. The Ants Go Marching by Priscilla Burris
*Count and sing book
This little board book features the beginning of The Ants Go Marching song, and was a HUGE hit when my kids were little. Both grownups and parents enjoyed getting the book out to sing.
62. Baby Shark Sing-Alongs
*Amazon’s Choice (& very popular)
Enjoy your favorite catchy shark songs! Baby Shark Sing Along is perfect for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers who love music. And of course, it includes the iconic “baby shark” classic.
63. Daniel Tiger’s Potty Time! Children’s Toilet Training Sound Book for Daniel Tiger Fans
*PBS kids special
Daniel Tiger is the perfect cartoon character to help you potty train! In this book, picture icons tell kids when to press the sound buttons. They enjoy fun sound effects as well as a sturdy handle to use while they’re practicing the potty.
Advanced Books For 1-3 Year Olds
This list of books for 1 year olds is for kids who are closer to two or are ready for more!
64. Harold and the Purple Crayon 2 Book Set by Crockett Johnson
*Inspires imagination and fun!
Featuring Harold and The Purple Crayon + Harold’s ABC! Follow along as Harold discovers new adventures and learns the alphabet! The best part is that Harold makes it up as he goes. So, every page is a new surprise.
65. Quiet Book for Toddlers, Activity Busy Book (Travel, Educational Montessori)
*Made of soft durable fabric
Need to keep your toddler busy while you work, travel, or are out and about? Snag this cool quiet book that is full of activities to do.
66. The Giraffe Who Found Its Spots by Adisan Books
This is the sweet story of a giraffe who goes on a journey to find himself. Along the way, he meets interesting animals that he wishes he fit in with. But over time he realizes it’s ok to be different, and that accepting who you are is a wonderful thing to do.
Check out The Giraffe Who Found Its Spots here >>
67. LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book
*Best Seller (extremely popular)
The lovable animals in this book introduce 100 new words to your baby! Your child will delight in the interesting categories. And each time the word is touched, the book sounds out the word.
68. Stomp, Wiggle, Clap, and Tap: My First Book of Dance by Rachelle Burk
“Shake, rattle, and roll with this fun dance book for toddlers“
Help your toddler get their energy out! The pictures in this book tell kids what to do, and they’ll love the variety of movements.
Good Bath Books For One Year Olds
And last but not least, these books are great for 1 year olds in the bath tub!
69. Nuby Bath Fun Time Book with Water-Proof Pages and Surprise Squeaker
*Best Price for a budget
A bath book with bright pictures and fun sea creatures.
70. Baby Einstein – Splish! Splash! Bath! Waterproof Bath Book
This adorable bath book features sea animals and also ocean scenes.
71. Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems
*Our household favorite!
Pigeon really needs a bath. But pigeon doesn’t want to take a bath (he took one weeks ago and isn’t that enough?!). This bath book is unique and hilarious. Both toddlers and parents will want to read it!
Tips for Reading To Your Baby
Getting a squirmy baby or toddler to sit for a book can be difficult. But have no fear! The simple act of reading builds the child-parent bond and promotes learning and security. It’s ok if it doesn’t always go according to plan.
Here are a few easy tips to help as well:
- Don’t always make your toddler sit. (Be ok with letting them roam freely as you read. It may seem as though they’re not listening, but they still benefit from hearing the words)
- Choose short books that flow easily (all of the books on this list!)
- Let kids turn the pages
- Make it part of a regular routine. Whether it’s morning or night. When your toddler knows what to expect, it will be easier for everyone to enjoy reading together.
Story Books For 1 Year Olds Pdf
I hope you loved this book list! What are your favorite books for 1 year olds?
Don’t miss the other book lists by age…
- Good books to read aloud to 4 year olds
- Great books for 5 year olds to read
- Great interactive books for kids
Source for statistics: firstthingsfirst.org