14 Best Books For 1 Year Olds That Will Impress Their Young Minds

best books for 1 year olds

When it comes to reading to a one-year-old, you may be struggling to think of books that are age-appropriate and will hold the very short attention span of a child this age

The best books for 1 year olds are out there, though, and even if your little one doesn’t understand the storyline or plot, it’s always a great idea to instill a love for books and reading at the youngest age possible.

We provide lots of suggestions for books for 1-year-olds in this article to get you started. 

We’ll also briefly discuss what milestones you can expect your child to have hit at this age so that you can better discover books that will benefit their need and want to learn about the world around them.

What can my one-year-old do?

The average one-year-old can understand the basics of simple games like ‘peek-a-boo,’ waving “bye-bye,” and patting a cake. 

They may even have a few words under their belt and are starting to explore language and develop language skills.

The dexterity of the fingers is starting to get better, and curiosity is a huge part of everyday living for a little one at this age.

While they still have short attention spans and probably aren’t interested in books that are overly complex or hefty in length (such as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings), they will most likely enjoy short board books, books that make funny sounds, and picture books with bright colors.

best books for 1 year olds

Best books for 1 year olds

The following are some of the top recommended books for 1-year-old children. While we’d all like to give our children a library full of the best-loved classics, you can also find many, if not all, of the books on this list at your local library.

1. My First Library

Not just one board book, but ten! 

This set of board books is perfect for the curious one-year-old and will grow with the child as their vocabulary grows. These books identify animals, shapes, colors, numbers, and letters with realistic photos instead of drawings. You can help your child learn terms in a fun and colorful way.

2. Goodnight Moon

This classic by Margaret Wise Brown is much beloved by generations of children. 

In a simple story, the main character, a little bunny, says goodnight to everything in their bedroom before bedtime. This makes for a great bedtime story that can be part of the nightly routine.

Its quiet poetry and lulling illustrations make this a great book to read right before bed. Your child will say “Good night moon” before you know it, greeting everything else!

3. Around the Farm

Eric Carle penned this book full of animal sounds that will entertain kids of all ages, from young toddlers to parents! It’s a farm-themed book with colorful pictures and realistic animal noises. 

Interactive books are perfect for small children, and your child will love hearing about all of the animals.

The only downside is that this book has thin paper pages and can tear easily.

4. Very Hungry Caterpillar

Another book by Eric Carle, this classic board book, tells the story of a caterpillar that goes through its life cycle and ends up a butterfly. 

Parents may even feel nostalgic reading this classic book to their little ones. Your child will love this one, full of pretty illustrations and a life lesson at the end.

5. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Bill Martin Jr. penned this classic story that has helped many a child learn their ABCs. The tale of a coconut tree full of letters quickly running out of room to roost, the fun rhymes and repetitive sounds, the bright colors, and the simple story will keep your one-year-old entertained.

6. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

This is a great way to teach your child the body parts, how to count, and about diversity. Full of pictures of babies who may not look like your child, your little one will start to appreciate the differences between people and the beauty shared by all humans in their diversity. 

It’s a sweet book that invites you to count along with other babies.

7. Little Blue Truck Leads the Way

This book is part of a series that many children absolutely adore. 

With important lessons about friendship, sharing, kindness, and problem solving, this little blue truck and his friends are out to meet their goal, but they always have the help of each other and a willingness to help others.

best books for 1 year olds

8. Dear Zoo

This lift-the-flap book by Rod Campbell reveals the beautiful things about zoo animals and what makes the perfect pet. 

In this tale, a child writes letters to a zoo asking for the perfect pet. Your child can lift the flap on each page to guess what the animal is. 

This fun book shows all the animals you typically find in a zoo.

9. Where is Baby’s Belly Button?

In this Karen Katz story, which is also a lift-the-flap book, we start with the question, “Where are baby’s eyes?” 

From there, we lift flaps to identify body parts. Your baby can find the same parts on their own body. 

Karen Katz’s adorable babies will keep your child’s attention, while helping to nurture and grow your child’s vocabulary.

10. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?

Toddlers love this colorful book and the fun of discovering the animals that our main character, a bear, discovers. With large illustrations and simple words, this will be a book your child will have memorized in no time.

11. If Animals Kissed Good Night

A delightful interactive book, this one is the perfect book for bedtime. 

This one visits several different animals and imagines how they would kiss their little ones goodnight. Feel free to mimic your one-year-old for sweet memories you’ll cherish for years.

12. Where’s Spot?

Eric Hill brings the classic game of ‘hide and seek’ to life as you lift flap after flap in search of the adorable puppy, Spot. Your little one won’t tire of seeking out Spot as you search for him on every page!

13. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

See what the dump truck, big diggers, and the whole family of construction trucks do at night when the construction site is empty of people. 

This book is beautifully illustrated; your child can learn and mimic machinery and truck noises from an early age.

14. Ditty Bird Baby Sound Books: Nursery Rhymes

This busy book has buttons to push that make noise. This is a fun way to get a head start with fun nursery rhymes they will soon be hearing in daycare or preschool in the coming years. 

Most parents know these fun rhymes already and can entertain their children with the finger dance to “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and more.

best books for 1 year olds

The best books for 1 year olds

Children’s books and baby books that encourage thinking skills, making funny sounds to help develop language, and are at a simple reading level so that a small child can understand them make the best books for a baby.

Young toddlers love an interactive book as well, whether it makes noise, encourages them to take action or repeat something, lifts a flap, or even pops up. 

Thick pages work best for small and clumsy fingers, but with a bit of help from mom or dad, your animal-loving toddler, song-loving toddler, and laugh-loving toddler will develop a love of reading that will hopefully last a lifetime.

Showing excitement yourself is half the battle. If you look excited to read, your little one will also be excited.

Choose a board book or story and start reading

Your child may love easy-to-lift flaps, a book that illustrates a classic song or fairy tale, or helping a bear hunt for new sights, but what really matters is reading a favorite book together. 

Visit the library, focus on reading instead of screen time, and nurture a love of books for your little one.

Hopefully, you have found some inspiration and now have several ideas of what to read to your one-year-old

Many of these books will continue to be well-loved and read in the coming years, no matter how old your child gets.

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