Best Books for a 1-year-old: What to Know
Is there a favorite type of book we should keep our eye out for when searching for the best books for a 1-year-old? 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 a 1-year-old!
1. Everything is Mama
One of our favorite books for a 1-year-old is written by the very talented Jimmy Fallon. This adorable book has beautiful illustrations, perfect for this age group!
While ‘Mama’ is the dominant word throughout the book, the other words featured in this book are practical words to incorporate into your little one’s vocabulary, like ‘ball’, ‘bubbles’, and ‘waffle’.
These elements in combination with the repetition of imagery at the beginning and end of the book, make it one of the best books for a 1-year-old.
2. Priddy Books’ First 100 Animals
Next up is one of the best books for a 1-year-old because of 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 for you to easily create a story about a particular photo that sparks your toddler’s interest.
Next up in the line up for best books for a 1-year-old was proudly displayed at our local children’s museum, and it held up well amongst the many little hands that were grabbing it!
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 introducing the concept of counting.
I can’t emphasize enough how sturdy this book is. It has stayed intact for the three years that we’ve had it in our library at home.
4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Our next pick for best books for a 1-year-old is one you are probably very familiar with: The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is 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.
What 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
Our next book in the line up of best books for a 1-year-old features Corduroy. As a child, you may remember this teddy bear who spent the night wandering through a department store looking for his lost button.
Well Corduroy is back and this time he 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 a 1-year-old!
6. Goodnight Florida
Our next recommendation for our favorite books for a 1-year-old is a new twist on an old favorite, Goodnight Moon.
Now, there are 103 books in this Goodnight series covering all 50 states and most major cities, like Goodnight Fort Worth.
They also have books like Goodnight Farm and Goodnight Beach.
We think what’s truly unique about these books for a 1-year-old is that they 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
Jane Foster is an author and illustrator of some of our favorite books for a 1-year-old.
The beautiful bright colors of this book, 123, 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
Keeping on trend with beautifully illustrated books for a 1-year-old is London: a Book of Opposites. This delightful book features familiar sights in London. It’s such a creative way to teach a toddler opposites.
To give you a taste of what you will experience with this book, I’ll describe two the pages. They read, “It’s sunny at Westminster Abbey; it’s rainy at Westminster Abbey”, with accompanying illustrations.
If your toddler enjoys this book, look out for the other cities in the series: Paris, San Francisco, New York, and more!
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 a 1-year-old.
10. Never Touch the Monsters
Closing out our list of best books for a 1-year-old is 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. This is a must-have book for your 1 year old’s collection.
- If you have the book, Hand, Hand, Fingers Thumb by Al Perkins in your collection, read it 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 a 1-year-old, and read to your toddler at home. Or ask if your library offers virtual story time where you can reap the benefits of the in-person story time experience from the comfort of your home.