Best books for 12-18 month olds: where to begin
Is there a favorite type of book we should keep our eye out for when searching for the best books for 12-18 month olds? Our friends at Zero to Three say ‘yes’ and suggest reading stories with rhymes and phrases that repeat to catch your toddler’s attention. Children this age also love stories with pictures of other babies and familiar objects, such as animals.
At 12 months old, start to ask simple questions about the pictures such as “Where is the moon?” and watch to see if your baby points or gestures. Time of day plays a role too: reading before nap-time / bedtime can help your toddler wind down and relax. Plus, if you’re holding your toddler when you read, you’ve also built-in some much desired cuddle time! Now, on to our top 10 best books for 12-18 month olds!
1. Everything is Mama
Beautiful illustrations for this age group! The other words featured in this book are practical, like ‘ball’, ‘bubbles’, and ‘waffle’. This, combined with the repetition of imagery at the beginning and end of the book, makes it one of the best books for 12-18 month olds.
2. Priddy Books’ First 100 Animals
We picked this as one of the best books for 12-18 month olds because your toddler will love the colorful imagery and the padded book cover (you can squish it!). You’ll appreciate the size (it will fit nicely in a diaper bag) as well as the ability to create a story about a particular photo that sparks their interest.
This bilingual book is filled with colorful illustrations on one side and the corresponding English and Spanish words, on the other. It has numbers above each image, perfect for teaching counting. This book is very sturdy. Our children’s museum has this book in the toddler zone and it’s still in great condition!
4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
A sensory book with vibrant colors that’s been around for ages. Toddlers can push their fingers through the holes as you narrate this classic tale. It’s a great way to introduce new food words into your child’s vocabulary. It’s also available as a bilingual book.
5. Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy
Corduroy is celebrating Hanukkah with his friends. He lights the menorah, eats latkes and plays games with the dreidel. This is a great way to introduce/celebrate diversity with your child which makes it one of the best books for 12-18 month olds!
6. Goodnight Florida
There are 103 books in this series covering all 50 states and most major cities. They also have books like Goodnight Farm and Goodnight Beach. We think the one of the best books for 12-18 month olds should help toddlers understand their place in the world. What could be more special than to read your child a book that highlights attractions where they live?
7. Jane Foster’s 123
The beautiful bright colors of this book will hold the attention of your toddler. Practice counting and when you’re done, check out the other books in the series: ABC, Colors, and more!
8. London: a Book of Opposites
Another beautifully illustrated book, featuring familiar sights in London. What a creative way to teach a toddler opposites. “It’s sunny at Westminster Abbey; it’s rainy at Westminster Abbey.” If your toddler enjoys this book, look for the others in the series: Paris, San Francisco, New York, etc.
9. Llama Llama Nighty-Night
This 14 page book is the perfect length to read (or rhyme) to a toddler before whisking them off to bed. It articulates the bedtime routine from post-dinner, onwards. Toddlers will delight in seeing Llama Llama engage in the same activities they do, before bed. It might even encourage them to go to bed (wishful thinking?). Nevertheless, we think this is one of the best books for 12-18 month olds.
10. Never Touch the Monsters
This sensory book entertains my toddlers because of the rubbery textures of the monster’s bellies. It’s a glossy, colorful book, but the selling feature is the sensory component. Most nights, my youngest will ‘read’ the book with his toes while I narrate the story alongside him. If your littles can’t get enough, there are many more books in the series to enjoy. It earns a top stop as one of the best books for 12-18 month olds.
- Read Hand, Hand, Fingers Thumb by Al Perkins while drumming on a drum
- Drop by your local library during story time. Your toddler will be intrigued by other children. Many story time sessions begin with toy time and end with bubble time. Don’t like group activities? Head to the children’s section of the library, pick out some of the ones we recommended as the best books for 12-18 month olds, and read to your toddler at home. Or ask if your library offers virtual story time. You can reap the benefits of the in-person story time experience from the comfort of your home.