Sweet books for 1 year olds that are loved by both children and parents!
Children are never too young to enjoy a good book. And at one year old, little kids are ready to read!
Reading at an early age is so beneficial for young children in terms of developing language and cognitive skills, fostering creativity and imagination, and instilling a lifelong love of reading. And it’s a fun bonding activity that you can enjoy doing with your young child.
I’m always amazed to see how excited my children are about reading books starting at a very young age. My youngest, who is currently one year old, is obsessed with books and is constantly bringing his favorite books over for me to read to him. Just because they’re little doesn’t mean they can’t love books and reading!
But sometimes it’s hard to know which books are best for toddlers with limited (but growing) understanding and a short attention span.
We’ve done the research for you and compiled this list of the best books for 1 year olds.
These books are engaging, simple books that will appeal to young children. Many of them have interactive elements such as touchy-feely parts, flaps to lift, finger puppets, or sounds.
Read on for books your one-year-old will want to read over and over again!
Also take a look at our list of best books for 2-year-olds!
Best Books for 1 Year Olds
That’s Not My Dinosaur… by Fiona Watt
The That’s Not My… books by Usborne are perfect first books for 1 year olds.
Each page contains a touchy-feeling element as you search for the right animal or object. In this case, a dinosaur!
Each of the dinosaurs is not quite right (“that’s not my dinosaur, his teeth are too bumpy”) until the last page contains just the dinosaur you’ve been looking for!
The repetitive text and tactile elements make it an engaging book for little readers.
Peek-a Who? by Nina Laden
In this sweet rhyming book, young kids will love peering through the little windows to get a glimpse of what is coming up on the next page.
The last page is “Peek-a you!” and has a little mirror for the child to see their own image. It’s such a cute interactive book for one-year-olds!
Where is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz
Bright, vivid pictures and engaging flaps to lift will make this an instant favorite for young kids. Teach your child body and positional vocabulary in this simple look and find book. “Where are baby’s eyes? Under her hat!”
Who am I? by Begin Smart
This adorable peek-a-boo book will have little kids giggling with delight. The book forms a mask when you hold it up and peek through the two eye holes. As you wear the face of the animal on the page you ask, “Who am I?” and say the animal sound.
This is an absolute favorite with my kids when they are little and definitely one of the best books for 1 year olds.
This Little Piggy Finger Puppet Book by Cottage Door Press
Finger puppet books are such a fun way to engage young children in book reading. As you read the nursery rhyme, children will love watching the finger puppet move along with the story.
We have several of these books and my one-year-olds have always been fascinated by them. Their favorite is the This Little Piggy book, but there are lots of wonderful choices in this series.
Look, Look! by Peter Linenthal
This book is made up of high-contrast, black and white images perfect for developing eyes. Each page contains only a few words describing the picture, which is helpful for young children to learn new vocabulary.
To be honest, this is a book that I wouldn’t necessarily consider to be the most engaging at first glance, but all three of my boys have loved this book at one year old! We have little motions that we make up for each page and it’s always one of their most chosen books.
I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak
This adorable story goes through all the things you love about your child, from their hair and eyes to their giggles and cries. This rhyming book is a heartwarming story that you will love reading with your child.
And the illustrations of the little boy and the teddy bear are so sweet and make the story silly and engaging.
Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
You can’t go wrong with Sandra Boynton at this age, and Barnyard Dance is one of our absolute favorites. You won’t be able to help tapping your feet as you read this catchy sing-song tale of a dance on the farm with all the farmyard animals involved in the fun.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
We couldn’t have a list of the best books for 1 year olds and not include Goodnight Moon.
A perfect book for a quiet bedtime story, Goodnight Moon has been a favorite of children and parents alike for over 70 years.
Children will love reading along and helping the little rabbit say goodnight to all the objects in his bedroom before falling asleep.
Poke-a-Dot: Old MacDonald’s Farm by Melissa & Doug
If your one-year-old loves pushing buttons (and let’s be honest, what one-year-old doesn’t?), this is the book for you!
Each page has bubbles that pop when you push them as well as a counting element to teach young children about numbers. Combine that with the familiar Old MacDonald’s Farm song and you have a book that young children won’t be able to get enough of!
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
In this classic book, kids will enjoy lifting the flaps to see the animals the zoo has sent to be a pet. But the animals are too tall, too scary, too fierce… Will they ever find just the right pet? Cute and engaging, this book is a fun one for little animal lovers.
Never Touch a Dinosaur by Rosie Greening
Everyone knows that you should never touch a dinosaur…but this touchy-feely book will have little kids giggling as they touch all of the interactive elements.
The silicone touch pieces all have different textures that are dynamic and interesting to little kids. Plus the dinosaur theme and fun rhyme make it enjoyable to read over and over again!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
This classic children’s book will leave toddlers delighted as they watch the hungry caterpillar eat his way through all the food in the book.
The varied page sizes and little holes from the caterpillar’s voracious appetite are fun for young kids to handle as you read. While reading this book, children can also learn counting up to ten and the days of the week.
Indestructibles: Baby Let’s Eat! by Amy Pixton
If you have a toddler who is tough on books, this is the book for you! These washable books are chew-proof and rip-proof so you can give them to your young child with confidence, knowing they won’t get destroyed.
This is also a great book for introducing different kinds of foods and talking about colors.
First 100 Words by Roger Priddy
Bright colors and vivid pictures make this padded board book an ideal choice for young children. This book uses colorful pictures to introduce 100 common first words. Small, sturdy pages are perfect for little hands.
Noisy Animals by Libby Walden
Noisy Animals combines touchy-feely and sound elements in a book perfect for little learners. Toddlers will love pushing the buttons to hear the animal sounds as they look at pictures of each animal.
We love the real animal sounds and the on/off switch so you can turn those sounds off when you’re done.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
Always a classic, this much-loved book has a rhythmic, repetitive text that appeals to toddlers. It’s perfect for teaching colors and animals as children guess who’s going to appear on the next page.
Animal Hide-and-Seek by Jenny Tyler
Young children will love searching for the farmyard animals hiding behind the flaps in this farm-themed touchy-feely book. The flaps are sturdy for young readers and each page contains several engaging touchy-feely elements.
My firstborn loved this book so much that it was the only book he would read for months when he was one year old!
Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill
Mommy is looking for Spot, but instead is finding all sorts of other animals all over the house. Can she find Spot so he can eat his dinner?
Kids will love opening up the flaps to discover what animals are hiding inside in this fun lift-the-flap book.
Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton
Okay, we had to throw one more Sandra Boynton book on the list of best books for 1 year olds. In this cute book, the turkey just can’t seem to get his clothes on the right way.
Little kids will crack up to see the turkey wearing his hat on his feet and his pants on his head. Soon they’ll be pointing with you and saying, “Oops!” every time they see him getting it not quite right. It’s a great story for teaching about colors, clothing, and body parts. Simple and engaging, this book is perfect for young kids (and my older kids love it too!).
Night Night Farm by Roger Priddy
It’s nighttime on the farm and all the animals are settling down in their beds for sleep. This darling rhyming book has flaps and windows for engaging little readers. It’s a perfect book to read to help your child wind down before bed.
Toddlers will be fascinated by this dynamic hide and seek pop-up book. On each page, you can help a mommy or daddy animal find their baby by opening the flap. When the flap opens, out pops a cute baby animal!
Gallop by Rufus Butler Seder
This unique book uses Scanimation technology to make moving pictures that come to life on the page. By tilting the page back and forth, you can see a horse galloping, turtles swimming, a monkey swinging through the trees, and more.
Although the (admittedy somewhat goofy) rhyme doesn’t really have a story to it, the pictures alone are enough to capture a one-year-old’s attention and keep it! This book has always been a favorite of my little kids.
Freight Train Lift-the-Flap by Donald Crews
Follow along with a freight train as it travels on it’s way, passing cities, crossing bridges, and traveling through tunnels. And with this lift-the-flap version, you can take a peek inside the colorful cars of the freight train.
Simple text and bright, vivid colors make this a great book for little readers, especially those who love trains!
Night Sounds by Sam Taplin
If you’re looking for a really not annoying toddler sound book, you’ll want to check out Usborne’s Noisy Book series.
Parents and toddlers alike will love the gentle, authentic sounds on each page with buttons easy enough for a one-year-old to press. The stunning illustrations and lovely sounds make this a perfect story to read before bed.
Jamberry by Bruce Degen
Catchy rhymes and playful illustrations make this book a delight to read for adults and kids alike. The silly story follows a bear and a boy who are out looking for berries and end up having a berry jamboree!
There is something that is so fun about the lilt and flow of the words in this book, which makes it one of our favorite books to read.
Are You There Little Tiger? by Sam Taplin
Little children will love searching for the tiger in this sweet little book. On each page a peephole lets them see what looks like the tiger on the next page, but when you turn the page it’s actually a different animal! Finally, the last page reveals the little tiger chasing butterflies.
Lovely illustrations, fingertrails, and peepholes on each page make this an engaging book for little readers.
Tips for reading to 1 year olds
Sometimes it can be hard to know how to get and keep a one-year-old’s interest in books. These little guys are always on the go and don’t necessarily have the best attention span, so it can be hard to get them to sit down and focus on a book.
Here are a few ideas for engaging your child and making your reading time together something you both enjoy.
Of course, every one-year-old is different and you know your child best, so if you have reading strategies that your child loves, stick with what’s working!
Use motions or silly voices
One of the best ways to get your child to enjoy reading is to have fun with it yourself! Read in a goofy or dramatic voice, use big gestures, and allow yourself to be silly while reading.
Let your child interact with and turn the pages
Get sturdy books that your child can interact with. This will give them a feeling of competence and independence when handling books.
Talk about what you see on each page
Point out objects or items of interest on each page to help your child start noticing what’s happening in the pictures. Ask questions that engage your child and encourage them to think about what they are seeing. This helps your child relate to the book and start connecting what they see in books with what they see in the real world.
Read consistently, even if it’s just for a few minutes
It’s more important to read consistently with your child than it is to read for long stretches of time. At this young age, your child might only last for a minute or two before they lose interest and are ready to move on to something else.
The important thing is that they are having a lot of exposure to books. Over time, consistent reading will help to build their attention span until they’re able to make it through the whole book (or two or three!).
Have a set time when your child knows that you read
Each day, have a set time when you read with your child. This could be before or after naps, after breakfast, before bed, etc. Your child will know what to expect and be prepared to sit down and enjoy a book at that time. This helps your child focus and also makes sure you get your reading time in each day.
Common Questions about Reading with a 1 Year Old
Should you read to a 1 year old?
Yes, you should absolutely read to your one-year-old! It’s never too early to start reading to your child.
And in fact, there are a lot of positive outcomes from starting an early habit of reading with your child. Reading books at a young age helps children develop speaking and listening skills, expands their vocabulary, and increases their understanding of the world around them.
And not only are you developing language and comprehension skills, but it’s also a valuable bonding time for you and your one-year-old.
How often should you read to a 1 year old?
There’s no set amount of time you should read to your one-year-old, but it’s good to get into a habit of reading together each day, preferably multiple times a day. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading with your child every day, starting at birth.
A good way to get in a routine of reading with your child is to read a book before naps and bedtime. That way both of you know that there is a certain time each day that you will read together and it’s easy to remember.
My one-year-old knows that this is our time for reading and he runs right over to pick out a book before sleep. It’s a sweet time together that we both look forward to.
What should you look for in a book for a 1 year old?
There are a few important factors to consider when choosing the best books for 1 year olds. Here are some things to think about when picking books.
If you have a one-year-old, you know how hard they can be on books. When picking books for your young child, choose sturdy board books so that they can handle the pages without damaging them.
Not only does this protect your book collection, but it also gives your child tactile stimulation and experience interacting with books.
Simple, repetitive text
For young children who are developing their vocabulary and learning language patterns, concise and repetitive text is the ideal to look for in books.
It’s easier for toddlers to understand and start to internalize meaning when they can hear the same words or phrases over and over.
Books with vivid pictures, bright colors, and high contrast are more likely to catch your child’s eye when you’re reading together. These kinds of images are easier to see for developing eyes and more interesting to little children.
Interactive elements in books are an ideal way to engage young children in reading. One-year-olds aren’t known for having the longest attention span, so when you can add in fun features such as touchy-feely parts, noises, finger trails, puppets, or peek-through windows, you’re more likely to capture and keep their focus on the book.
Reading with young kids can be so fun and rewarding for everyone involved as long as you have the right books!
With this list of the best books for 1 year olds, you can find the perfect stories for reading time with your child. And in the process, you will create memories and develop skills that will last a lifetime!
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