Books

Best Books For 1 Year Olds They Will Read For Years!

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These hand-picked books for 1 year olds are perfect for baby’s first library. 

Not only your little one will see storytime as fun, playful activity but they’ll be also learning so much about the world around them. Books help tremendously in building vocabulary, developing speech, thinking and social skills.

Plus, is there a better moment to bond with your child if not when cuddling and giggling in a cozy corner with dimmed lights. Those moment are precious.

A child who reads will be an adult who thinks.

By starting to read early, making it an integral part of their day is what will set your little one for success in the future.

Below you’ll find our picks for the best books for 1 year olds, books that they’ll want to read over and over again.

You’re sure to find stories that fit best your little ones interests.

In order to make reading books for 1 year old engaging and fun they have to be involved in the process as much as possible. That’s why we’ve selected some of the most amazing lift-the-flap books, sound books, touch and feel books, music books and other interactive books that are just perfect for little book worms.

Before we get to the list, I also wanted to share with you a few tips and tricks that you can use when picking books for 1 year old.

How To Choose Books For Young Toddlers

  • Choose books with simple illustrations. Too busy and overcrowded illustrations make it hard to focus for little readers.
  • Focus on books about animals, colors, body parts, daily life activities.and other things that help babies explore and understand the world around them.
  • Make sure to add to the list a book with anything your little one might have started showing interest for.
  • When possible give preference to rhyming books.
  • Pick stories with simple, easy to understand concepts and plots.
  • Choose sturdy board books. Not only are they more resistant to ever destroying everything toddlers, but thick pages are also easier to grasp and flip.
  • Pay attention to the message behind the story.
  • If in doubt whether the book that I’m about to order is going to meet my expectations I do this. I go to Youtube and search for a read aloud video of this book. This way I can see the whole book (illustrations, story, quality, number of pages etc) before buying it.
  • Interactive books are way more attractive for young toddlers than static books, so touch and feel, lift the flap and sound books are the favorites.
Best Books For One Year Olds They Will Love & Read for years!

Rhyming Books

Rhyming books besides being fun and joyful for the ear have more benefits than meets the eye. Rhyme helps little ones understand how language works, notice patterns in words. Ultimately rhyming helps children learn to read and write easier and quicker.

Those are all good reasons why rhyming books take a huge part of the best books for 1 year olds list.

Shark In The Park! by Nick Sharratt

One of my little man’s favorite books. 
From the colorful front cover to the delightful ending.

Park – is a very familiar and loved scene for young toddlers which makes it very relatable to them too.

Beautifully rhymed story about the boy who was playing with his telescope in the park and depending on the projection of the telescope he saw something that seemed to be a shark. From the cut out overlay it looks like a shark fin but when you flip the page you discover what it really is.

I love to add even more dynamic to this story by using a paper towel roll or a toilet paper roll as a “telescope”, move it from left to right, looking at the sky and looking at the ground.

Lots of giggles are guaranteed. It’s also a great book for all “Baby Shark” lovers.

Is Your Mama A Llama by Deborah Guarino

A delightful piece of poetry and a gorgeous classic book that every little one will love.It’s about a baby llama asking his friends, other animals if their mama is a llama until he figures out his mom is the llama. This book teaches the characteristics of the animals mentioned (a bat, swan, cow, seal, kangaroo, and the llama).
It’s a great way for a toddler to learn about animals and what is special about them and discover new animals they may not know.

If Animals Kissed Good Night by Ann Whitford Paul

Full of humor and cuddles this is one of our favorite books to read before bed.

The story is beautifully rhymed, the illustrations are great, and not too overwhelming or abstract like some baby books, and it has this adorable refrain every few pages of “and sloth and her cub? STILL kissing goodnight!” ahh! just so so cute. 

Make it more engaging for your little one by lifting him upside down whenever they do the sloth refrain and give him kisses, which they find hilarious.

You’ll appreciate that it’s not only talking about mamas but it talks equally about dads.

Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker

A lovely rhyming book about big construction trucks. 

In a fun, rolicking way it tells a story of a busy day at the construction site. The sut has set and all construction equipment (Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator)  are getting ready for bedtime so they’ll be ready for another day of rough and tough construction play!

A great way to unwind and teach little ones saying good night as there’s a lot of repetition in this book 

Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Beautiful rhyming story by the same author and illustrator as Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site! 

Dream train pulls into the station at a late hour. It’s very special animal crew starts to load the car with circus equipment. Once all the cars are loaded and all the crew animals are tucked in it’s heading for the next stop – another day.

You’ll appreciate new, rarely found in picture books words for your little one to learn – such as the names of all the car types.

You can even get both books in one set!

Where Do Diggers Sleep At Night by Brianna Caplan Sayres

Another great book for little truck lovers.  This one goes beyond construction equipment and includes other types of vehicles. Fire engines, tractors and monster trucks as the vehicles ask for one more good night story as their mommys tuck them in, and their daddy trucks sing a goodnight song.

Sleepy Kittens (Despicable Me Series) by Cinco Paul

If you love Despicable Me movies I bet you remember this book.

Despite Gru calling it “garbage” it’s a lovely rhyming story of three little kittens who were trying to find excuses why they can’t sleep. 

The scene might seem to trivial but it has a great lesson  – for moms!

The mommy cat was agreeing with every single kittens’ arguments while slowly making them do their bedtime rituals until they fall asleep.

It’s also super fun for kids since it really resonates with them. Plus finger puppet kittens that can drink milk add action to the whole story.

If you find finger puppets stiff that you can’t bend them to drink milk  – simply remove the cardboard backcover! This is how they are intended to be used anyway.

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees

A super fun book that will get little ones up on their feet and attempt some of the dance moves shown by the animals in the book. Seeing a giraffe try and dance is harder than it seems and will have them giggling along to the book. 

Row Row Row Your Boat by Jane Carbrera

A classic sing song story comes to live on the vibrantly-painted pages of this gorgeous book. As cat and dog row down the stream in a rain forest they meet different animals.

Little ones will have a blast if you squeak, bark, and chatter along.

For extra giggle quickly SNAP (close) the book on the verse about crocodile, “Fly the book” opening and closing the verse with singing doves, lightly squeeze your little one with your arm on the verse where the mouse “EEEK” and all other fun sillies that come to your mind.

There are quite a few Row Your Boat Books On the Market but this one by Jane Cabrera has the most beautiful illustrations and original rhymes.

Guess How Much I Love You All Year Round by Sam McBratney

The beloves Big & Little Nutbrown Hare, from the best-selling ‘Guess How Much I Love is not in 4-season little book set. 

Each book has fun, delight and unexpected seasonal story of how little and big nutbrown hare express love. The books might seem smaller than you expect them to be (in fact they’re the smallest books in terms of dimensions that we own) but they’re just PERFECT for little hands.

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle

This is probably one of the books that doesn’t realy need any advertising.

Gorgeous water color illustrations, lovely poetry and a message that teaches children the value of friendship. Featuring vehicles (a little blue truck and a big dump truck) and farm animals will call to any kid’s interests. Can you wish for more from a book for 1 year olds and up?

Ten Tiny Toes by Caroline Jayne Church 

Such a cute rhyming book that will also teach different parts of the body. You could make this an interactive book by standing up and touching each part of the body and reaching all the way down to those adorable tiny baby toes. The little ones will love to copy and point out both on their own body and that of mummy and daddy.

Lift The Flap Books For One Year Olds

Little ones love nothing more than playing peek-a-boo with their hands or hiding behind an object and jumping out to ‘surprise’ everyone around. The lift the flap books are effectively a book version of this game. Babies and toddlers love the surprise aspect of these books and discovering what is hidden behind each flap. They are a great way of getting little readers involved with the book too. Despite reading these books hundreds of times, babies and toddlers really enjoy picking them up again and again. 

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

Which of the animals can fit inside the travel crate?! We love exaggerating and repeating the words on each page when we see which animals are behind each flap. An example from one of the pages is “too big” so we always say “TOO BIG, TOO BIG” and stretch our arms out to show the meaning of big also. 

Oh Dear! by Rod Campbell

From the creator of Dear Zoo comes a lift-the-flap  Dear Farm book.

Little boy came to visit Grandma on a farm. She asked to fetch the eggs. Join the little boy on his hunt for the eggs while travels through the barnyard. Lift the flaps to check which animals had eggs and of course, finally to get them at the henhouse. 

Shark In The Park by Nick Sharratt

From the colorful front cover to the delightful ending.

Beautifully rhymed story about the boy who was playing with his telescope in the park and depending on the projection of the telescope he seemed to see a shark fin. From the cut out overlay it looks  like a shark fin but when you flip the page you discover what it really is..

I love to add even more dynamic to this story by using a paper towel roll or a toilet paper roll as a “telescope”, move it from left to right, looking at the sky and looking at the ground.

Lots of giggles are guaranteed. It’s also a great book for all “Baby Shark” lovers.

Where’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar? by Eric Carle

Classic Eric Carle illustrations and the famous Very Hungry Caterpilar are in in lift-the-flap book version.

Lift the flaps to find the caterpillar? Is it hiding in the grass or is it nibbling on a strawberry? And if not who’s muching on the cake.

If you have The Very Hungry Caterpilar fanatic in your house this book is a must have.

Can You Say It, Too? Woof Woof! by Noisy Crow

The brightly coloured illustrations are one of my favourite parts about this book. There are few pages in this book but just enough to have our toddlers jumping for joy when they see what animal is hiding away. The final page has a double flap which my daughter absolutely loves and very often goes straight for the last page.

Sound Books

What isn’t to love about books that make noises? Hearing is one of the most developed senses therefore sound books could be played even to our young babies just before nodding off to sleep. Sound books are great investment books for our collections as they can be used in various ways from such young babies up to older toddlers. The pure delight is priceless when they become toddlers and can press the buttons themselves to activate the sounds in the books. 

Farm Sounds by Sam Taplin

The gentle, realistic farm animal sounds are wonderful and the sensor touch pads are super simple for our toddlers to activate. They can feel a sense of achievement that they have managed to get the animals making the noises for themselves. I have lost count of how many times I have heard a cow ‘moo’ on repeat in a row but that’s all part of the sound book fun, right?!

Noisy Farm by Tiger Tales

Another great animal sound book that also adds a touch&feel feature.

You’ll love the realistic photos of animals, short and interesting information about the animals, textures to feel and realistic animal sounds. 

Noisy First Words by Libby Walden & Tiger Tales

A gorgeous 3 in 1 book where your baby will not only hear sounds but feel various textures and learn their very first words from familiar settings! There are a good variety of objects from every day life that your one year old will quickl pick up and be repeating in no time. 

Hammer At The Construction Site by Thea Feldman

This sound book differs from most other children’s books as it uses photo images of all the different vehicles and machines that you may find on a construction site. The sounds in this book are great for little truck and vehicle lovers and will help to understand the noises they hear when they are out and about everyday.

Musical Books

When discovering that you are soon to become a mummy you read all kinds of weird and wonderful articles about what is best to do for yourself and the baby. It is often said that playing a range of music to little ones (both in and out of our bellies) is beneficial and can often help their language development in the future. Musical books are a fabulous way to get your toddler dancing around and making storytime extra fun. 

Poppy And The Orchestra by Magali Le Huche

This has been a firm favourite in our household since around 8 months old. I would say the content of this book is perhaps more ‘grown-up’ because of having thinner pages and the push pads to play the music are slightly difficult to press. However the instruments and other sounds in the book definitely out way these. As the weeks and months pass, your little one will love trying to press the pads themselves and get a little help from mummy.

Listen To The Classical Music by Marion Billet

A perfect ‘my first classical musical book.’ It has easy touch pads which allow toddlers to play the music in an instant. Each double page has the title of the music being played and some vibrant images which relate to the music titles.

ABC & 123 Learning Songs Book by Scarlett Wing

This song book has some classic songs that all children seem to love. They may not be able to control their excitement and try to press more than one button at a time to hear all the songs at once. It is a sturdy book ready to be rocked around the room as they are dancing too.

Baby Shark Sing-Alongs Song Book by Pinkfong

If you haven’t already played this song to your babies and toddlers then you need to do it now! Baby Shark is on our daily playlist in this household and everyone who is at home must stand up with my daughter and dance too. This book can be a perfect addition for them to recognise the book with the song.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Surprise Mirror Sound Book by Phoenix International Publications

Everywhere we go Mickey Mouse is around, whether that be on nappies, on tv or even on clothes. Our little ones quickly come to know who Mickey Mouse is. This song book has some fun songs and illustrations including Mickey’s friends. The only slight disappointment is that the songs aren’t the characters voices which I think would have improved the book.

Poke-A-Dot Books

Poke a dot books are fantastic for working on fine motor skills, language development and colour recognition. The dots which ‘pop’ are a creative way to encourage young toddlers to point at certain objects and furthermore try saying the words for those objects too. 

Old McDonald Had A Farm by Melissa And Doug

Probably, this is one of the most popular Poke-A-Dot books from the series. The illustrations and text are pretty ordinary but here’s what unique about this book.

There are poppers or plastic buttons on each page that follow the story:10 cows (10 poppers), 9 pigs (9 poppers), 8 chickens (8 poppers) etc.

As you read/sing through the book the little one has a ton of fun poking and popping those dot. Not only it = helps reinforce counting, it’s great book for kinesthetic learners. 

This is PERFECT book for quite time as it can keep toddlers of all ages busy for long time!

Poke A Dot! First Words by Melissa And Doug

What better way to learn some familiar first words by using a great poke-a-dot book by some of our favourites Melissa and Doug. The real life photos allow our toddlers to relate to items they have seen around the house or whilst out. It could be good to play an activity with this book to see how many of the objects in the book they can find at home.

Ten Little Ladybugs by Bendon & Piggy Toes Press

Poke-a-dot or in this case poke-a-ladybug. A cute book to help to learn to count from one to ten and seeing the ladybugs disappear through the pages. Your little one will love this!

Pop! Goes The Zebra by Baby Einstein

A twist on the song Pop Goes The Weasel which sees an adventure of the zebra and friends. The poke-a-dot buttons not only give that satisfying pop for the little ones but also has a sound button too- what a wonderful combination.

Poke-A-Dot Who’s In The Ocean by Melissa and Doug

Our toddlers will love to discover that the dots make different sounds if they are pressed in slightly different ways. An interactive fun book where they can learn what lives under the sea with the brightly coloured pages.

Touch & Feel Books

Even before reaching the 1 year old milestone, most if not all babies are wanting to touch and reach EVERYTHING in sight. They want to feel and experiment with all the different materials and textures that the world has to offer. Their senses are going wild and their development moving leaps at a time. Touch and feel books are perfect to allow our babies and toddlers to turn each page and explore something new with their little fingers. 

That’s Not My Tractor by Fiona Watt

A lovely touchy-feely book that’s especially appealing for boys.

Flip the pages and discover different tractor parts along with different textures that feel bumpy, scratchy,t squeeshy, shiny etc. As your little one gets already you can count apples on the tree in the background, mice and notice other smaller objects along the book.

Awesome not on in sensory aspect but in language development as well.

Of course, there are also a lot of other books in “That’s Not My…” Series.

Never Touch A Hedgehog

Despite all of the touch areas being made from the same rubbery material this book somehow manages to explore various textures on each page. The text is is coloured, mismatched font which just works so perfectly. Perhaps with the larger words you could emphasise them that little bit more when you are reading the story aloud?! The title of the book ‘Never Touch A Hedgehog’ is oh so ironic because despite being told not to touch, these little explorers do exactly that anyway!

Check out other awesome books in Never Touch A… Series! such as Never Touch a Shark, a Monster, The Dinosaurs, a Porcupineand much more.

Touch And Feel Wild Animals by Little Hippo Books

Despite the touch and feel areas being slightly small, we really enjoy this book as it gives interesting facts about the animals in a rhyming way. This book can grow with our children from babies to older toddlers when they are wanting to find out about animals. 

The Not So Scary Hairy Spider by Rosie Greening

The cover of this book immediately makes me smile and want to explore inside with my little one. Each page has a different texture so it really is a sensory sensation and will have little readers going in search of this book again and again. As my daughter says “more, more.”

Touch! My Big Touch-And-Feel Word Book by Xavier Deneux 

30 touch and feel pieces in one book-wow!! Such a good mix of content in this book; it can be used for increasing vocabulary, picture and word recognition plus exploring various textures with their curious fingers. 

Bath Books

What an amazing invention! The bath books are just such a good idea and can be stuck on to the bath tub to look at each page more closely. The bath books which change colour when they emerge in the water are even more special for the little ones and create a magical effect. Bath time doesn’t always have to be chaos and can help relax babies and toddlers while reading. 

Baby Einstein Splish! Splash! Bath! by Kathy Broderick

A sweet sealife book which can open our kiddies eyes to lots of different things you can find under the sea. The adorable smiley faces of the sea animals make it a friendly book to grab during bath time fun. 

Bath Time by Sandra Boynton

This messy pig gets covered in paint and needs to have a bath. The rhyming words in this bath book or lots of fun and flow really well. The basic paint colours can be a good way of teaching colours in a fun way. The pig definitely represents a dirty, mucky child after a busy day.

Color Me: Who’s In The Water? by Surya Sajnani

Love love love these Color Me books. I love the book equally as a black and white book and as when it becomes coloured after coming in contact with water. Your toddler will love to see the colours changing before their very eyes whilst learning about the animals that live under the sea. 

The Rainbow Fish Bath Book by Marcus Pfister-Herbert

This is one of the very few bath books that actually has more than just a couple of words. The Rainbow Fish is beautiful both as a ‘regular’ book and as a bath book. The shiny, foil effect scales on the fish will make it glisten in the bath water and give the effect of movement in the book. 

First Baby Days Bath Time by Pat-A-Cake

This was our very first bath book we started using when my daughter was a couple of months old and continued reading most bath times. Over time she gets more and more involved and at almost 18 months old is currently turning the pages herself, making the animal noises and doing the splash actions with the water as it repeats on each double page. One of our best purchases for sure!

Peekaboo Books

Peekaboo is such a good game that is played with most tiny babies to get one of their first giggles. Who would have thought such a simple thing as covering your eyes with your hands would bring so much delight. Even as those tiny babies soon become growing toddlers peekaboo remains a favourite to play around the house. The sense of surprise is a big hit for all kiddies and the peekaboo books are no exception. Most peekaboo could actually come in the lift-a-flap category too.

Peek a Who? by Nina Laden

This lovable, funny and full of anticipation little board book is the perfect book for those little hands. It’s a timeless classics in its genre for all good reasons.

There’s a sneak peak hole on the page that makes you guess what’s around the corner. As you flip the page you discover what that really is.

Simple rhyme flows seamlessly as you flip the pages. A darling book for 1 year olds that they’ll continue to adore as they grow.

It’s also a great book for beginner readers.

Pop-Up Peekaboo! Things That Go by DK

A lovely book to look at different kinds of transport and see which will be the next one under the flaps. Encourage your toddlers to guess what is the next form of transport they will see. Even after reading a few times when they will know what is to come next, they still love the ‘surprise.’

Baby Peekaboo by Amy Pixton

This book brings the ‘real life’ game of peekaboo into the book as it shows this family playing with each other around the house and going into different rooms. Your little one will be beyond excited to play with you again after reading this book.

Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora

Super cute illustrations which will give your little hiding monkeys ideas about where they can hide next. Get practicing your shocked faces mummies as they ‘hide’ behind a small cushion or even your leg 😉

Peekaboo, Elmo! by Constance Allen

Elmo and his friends will play a fun game of peekaboo around Sesame Street. Can you and your son/daughter find the characters hiding among the objects?! This will have a hint of nostalgia for you seeing all the Sesame Street characters.

Push and Pull Books

Push and pull books are fantastic to bring the stories and books to life. See animals/ objects move and change around the pages as you push and pull the element.

Allow the story to become animated and fun for all. Show and model  your little ones how the push and pull motions work first and then allow them follow the lead. Yes, the will need constant reminders at first, but that’s how they learn – but repetition.

We learnt the hard way with our very first push and pull book as my little one was heavy-handed and ripped most of the pages. Yes it broke my heart seeing this happen! Keep a special eye on your 1 year old when using these books but don’t let that block you from all the fun you and your little one can have with these books.

Freddy The Frog by Axel Scheffler

A wonderful push and pull book following Freddy The Frog around and seeing what he does. The push and pull motions allow kids to bring Freddy to life and watch him move around the pages. Copy the motions that Freddy makes and see if your son/ daughter will get involved too and hop around the room. 

Stomp! Little Dinosaur by Jo Lodge

The vivid colours and the fun looking dinosaur creates a great push and pull book. This is a great book for 1 year old as they can can help wag the tail, rumble the tummy, stomp the feet and bogle the eyes. The hungry dinosaur will bring so much delight to our toddlers when they are looking through the pages.

Busy Boats by Campbell Books

There are lots of Busy books to choose from but we decided on the Busy Boats as my little girl is obsessed with boats at the moment. Everytime we see an image of a boat she is making the noise of a boat horn which is just adorable. This book has beautiful illustrations of not just boats but by the seaside too. 

Time For Bed by Bedouet Thierry

You’ll love the cute story as these baby animals ask for an extra hug before going to bed. The simple pages are very calming and effective with just the animals and bed on a plain background. This pull the tab book is a great bedtime story for little ones. 

Heads by Matthew Van Fleet

Push and pull, textured and fold out page all in one book!! Heads is a delightful book which shows lots of different shapes and sizes of heads which you will find with animals. As with most push and pull books, they can be quite sensitive to the rough hands of little munchkins and attention should be paid when using this book when they are at a younger age to avoid any rips.

Wind Up / Pull Back Books

Wind up books are a complete interactive immersion for the little ones into the books. 

It’s a book and a toy, a story and a play – all at the same time.

Little ones are fascinated by the movement of the wind-up (pull back) characters of these books. They simply adore watching them move along the track and (maybe even more so) they adore knocking them off the track!

There isn’t much to read in these books, but that’s not really why kids like them

The wind up objects can be used separately for role play and open-ended play.

Wind Up Tractor Book by Heather Amery and Gillian Doherty

The tractor and tracks which are included within the book are perfect for steering the tractor amongst the book as you are reading the story to your little munchkin. They will love getting any other vehicles involved which they have at home to be chugged along the tracks. 

Pull Back Busy Santa Book by Fiona Watt

Ok, I admit this book isn’t for those who only want to hear about Christmas for a couple weeks! Our toddlers will come back to this book year after year to follow Santa on his sleigh to deliver all the presents to the good children. I’m definitely happy to have Santa on our shelves all year round, he can always bring a bit of joy (even during summer).

Pull Back Busy Bug Book by Fiona Watt and Usborne

A vibrant book which follows the ladybird around the garden to explore what the great outdoors has to offer. You and your toddler could use the 4 tracks included to see if they are familiar with other creatures and bugs that are lying around. 

Wind Up Train by Usborne

Four separate tracks that can also be made into one large train track. The wind up train will see your little one jumping for joy when they see it choo chooing along. There is lots to see on the big track which our curious toddlers will be pointing at in no time. My little girl has recently become obsessed with trains and loves nothing more than shouting ‘choo choo’ in order to find the train book.

Wind Up Plane Book by Gill Doherty

This is a great book to explain what happens when you go to an airport and how airplanes take people on big adventures. The plane can be used to go flying around and you and your little ones can go on your very own big adventures around the house and garden.

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