71 Best Books for 1 Year Olds & Babies in 2023

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!

Best books for 1 year olds to read aloud

What does this tell us? 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!

This post contains affiliate links, and I may earn a commission at no cost to you. See my disclaimer for more.

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?

Sweet books to read to baby and one year old

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

On the Night You Were Born: Best books for one year olds

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!)

Welcome Little One: best books for babies

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!

Oh the Places you'll go: books to read to 1 year olds

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 Little Girl Who Lost Her Name: personalized 1 year old books

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

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

My first library: nonfiction books fro 3-5 year olds

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!

Where's Spot: Interactive books for one year olds

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!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

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

Brown Bear, Brown Bear: classic books 3 year olds, 3-4 year olds

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

Goodnight Moon: top books for babies and 1 year olds on Amazon

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! 

Disney Baby: great board books for 1 to 2 year olds

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

I Love You to the Moon and Back

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

Grandma Wishes

“There’s a special star in the nighttime sky that only grandmas see.”

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

*NYT Bestseller!

Dada: Good books for 1 year olds

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

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom: best books reading story books for 5-6 year olds

Will there be enough room? Oh, no—Chicka Chicka Boom! Boom!

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

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

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

First 100 Words: Best learning and activity books for 1 year olds

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!

I Love You Stinky Face

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

great books for 3-4 year olds about diversity

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!

Good Night Gorilla

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.

See Good Night Gorilla here >>

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

Guess How Much I Love You: board books for babies and one year old birthday girl boy

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

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

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

I Love You As Big as the World

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

Read to Your Baby Every Day: Stories Books for 1-3 year olds

Science tells us that babies develop best when they are spoken to, sung to, and read to. 

Amazon book description

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: best 3 year old books Amazon

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. 

See this book >>

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)

Dr. Seuss collection

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

Baby Signs: Interactive books for 1 year olds

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.

Studies show that babies who use sign language feel less frustrated, throw fewer tantrums, and often learn to talk more easily.

AMAZON book description

33. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle

*Beep Beep! Great for car and animal lovers

Little Blue Truck

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

The Pout-Pout Fish: Best board books for 2 year olds

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

Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site: story books for three year olds on Amazon

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

I love you through and through: Best books to read to one year olds

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

*Great Price

The Going to Bed Book

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.

See Night Night Farm here >>

40. The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

*Multi-sensory board book allows children to feel the pictures too!

The Very Busy Spider: Stories for 1 year olds montessori

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!)

Dear Zoo: Best interactive books for 2 year olds

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)

*Pediatrician Recommended

Poke a Dot: Best interactive 1 year old books

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

See, Touch, Feel

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

Babies Love Colors

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

Where's Belly Button

Enjoy playing peek-a-boo with your little one using this delightful lift-a-flap board book!

“Where are Baby’s hands? Under the bubbles!”

“Where are baby’s eyes? Under her hat!”

46. P is for Potty! (Sesame Street) (Lift-the-Flap)

*Great introduction to potty training 

P is for Potty: Lift a flap board books for 1 year olds

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

Never Touch a Porcupine: Touch and feel board books for 1 year olds

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.

Explore Playtown here >>

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

Peek A Who lift a flap books for one year olds

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

*Interactive puppet

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.”

Perfect for girls and boys ages 1-3 >>

52. Counting Kisses: A Kiss & Read Book by Karen Katz

Counting Kisses: 1 year old interactive board books

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

Toes, Ears, and Nose

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!

Find Toes, Ears, and Nose here >>

54. Open the Barn Door by Christopher Santoro (Best Books for 1 Year Olds)

*Great price!

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!

Touch and Feel Wild Animals

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

Tails: Good pop up books for 1 year olds

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

*Best Seller

Around the farm

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

Pet the Cat: Best noisy sound books for 1 year olds

This Pete the Cat version of Old Macdonald is perfect to sing along with! The board book is both sturdy and bright. And little hands love meeting Pete’s animal friends!

60. Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear by Bill Martin Jr.

*Teacher’s pick

Polar Bear, Polar Bear

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.

See Polar Bear, Polar Bear here >>

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)

learning educational books for 2 year olds

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: top one year old sound books

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.

See this fun potty training book here >>

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!

Harold and the Purple Crayon: Good Amazon books for 1-3 year olds

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

Activity books for babies and 1 year olds

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

*Heartwarming story

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)

100 words

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

Stomp, Wiggle, Clap

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.

*Looking for more books for a step up? Check out the books list for 2 year olds and the best 3 year olds books to read too. >>

Good Bath Books For One Year Olds

And last but not least, these books are great for 1 year olds in the bath tub!

Bathtime for babies

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!

Best books for 1 year olds and babies

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…

Source for statistics: firstthingsfirst.org

Good Books For One Year Olds To Start Now

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