The Best Books for a 1-Year-Old Your Baby will Love

Best Books for a 1-year-old

Your baby is soaking up the world around them and learning every minute of the day. What books are good for a 1-year-old? Storytime needs to be engaging and fun which is why we made a list of the best books for a 1-year-old.

Having raised 5 kids through this particular age, we are well-equipped to give suggestions for children with all kinds of book preferences. We’ve got suggestions for interactive picture books, board books for bedtime, and so many more suggestions to help you raise little readers.

Below, you’ll find lots of great stories divided by category. Many of the books for a 1-year-old have links to book lists with even more recommendations, so be sure to poke around.

*Post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

How do you read with a 1-year-old?

Be patient and be sure to let your child guide you. Engage them by asking them to point out images on the pages. Allow opportunities for lots of repetitions. This is why we chose these books! With endless re-read of these books, you make like them as much as your child.

Counting Books for a 1-year-old


Doggies by Sandra Boyton

Sandra Boyton makes lots of apperances on our baby lists because she GETS IT! She makes educational books for babies that are as cute as they are informative.

In this counting book for a 1-year-old, adorable dogs count with barks causing a cacophony of noise.

ten little ladybugs

Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth

This interactive book helps kids count from one to ten with little 3D ladybugs that appear on each page as you progress through the story.

We love that the raised ladybugs help tactile learners so it is a multi-sensory learning experience.

Appropriate for ages: 1-3
Find this book in Counting Books / Educational Books for a 2-Year-Old / Interactive Books for Kids

ten nine eight

Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang

I love this counting-in-reverse story that starts with 10 toes and ends with a child tucked in for bed. The story features a black father and baby which is sadly a rare site in books for 2-year-olds.

This award winner has been a classic for more than thirty years!

Good night books for a 1-year-old

Should I read my 1-year-old a story at night? We love creating a bedtime routine that includes storytime. This is a great way to get them into the habit of reading at a young age.

Time for Bed and more books for 2-year-olds

Time for Bed by Mem Fox

Rhyming, animals, and the sweet words in this book make it the perfect companion before bed. I loved setting up a routine that let my kids know bedtime was coming.

We would bathe, put on lotion, and snuggle up to read a story. I made sure that my voice was quiet and soothing. Even if you have a new baby, incorporating a book into your nightly routine is a wonderful way to end the day.

Why I Love This Book: Rhyming for language development and lovely illustrations of animals make this a perfect going-to-bed book to include in the first books for babies.

Appropriate for ages 0-3
Find this book in Bedtime Books / Classic Books for Kids / First Year Reading Tips / Newborn Books / Best Board Books / 1-year-old Books / Animal Books for Kids

the going to bed book

The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton

We read this book until it fell apart (which for a board book is difficult to do).  The story makes no sense but that is part of the reason that we love it so much. If you are looking for hilarious bedtime stories for toddlers, Sandra Boyton has a few picks perfect for you, like Pajama Time.

Why We Love This Book: Boynton’s books are filled with humor, bright colorful pictures, and wonderful rhymes. 
Appropriate for ages 0-4
Find this book in Newborn Books / Best Board Books / 1-year-old Books / 2-year-old Books / Bedtime Books / Classic Kids Books

llama Llama nighty night

Llama Llama, Night Night by Sandra Boyton

Lots of people know Llama Llama Red Pajama, but it’s a little advanced for babies. This board book bedtime story is much more appropriate and the perfect way to introduce the book series to your baby.

Alphabet Books for 1-year-olds


Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli

Each page in this book is cut into the shape of a letter with chunky pages that are easy to turn.  This huge board book is amazing to hold and a definite favorite.

It’s also the first in a series featuring countablock, dinoblock, and 12 more!

ABC Touch and learn alphabet books

TouchThinkLearn: ABC by Xavier Deneux

I love when books have texture. That added tactile element can make the difference when it comes to engagement for some kids. This book is tactile and a feast for the eyes. 

eating the alphabet

Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert

Getting kids to eat new foods can be challenging.  These great pictures have fruit and vegetables from A-Z.  And who knows, it might encourage your little one to try something new too.

Why We Love This Book: The illustrations of the food are delightful and the end of the book provides a glossary of all the gorgeous illustrations
Appropriate for Ages: 1-3
Find this book in Best Books for a 1-Year-Old / Alphabet Books / Kids Food Books

Food Books for 1-year-olds

Each Peach Pear Plum and 12 other amazing baby books you've never heard of.

Each Peach, Pear, Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

This adorable eye spy book has wonderful pictures, featuring nursery rhymes and fairy tale characters.  The rhyming makes it memorable and easy to recite. It’s a perfect book for a 2-year-old.

I Like Fruit by Lorena Siminovich and 12 other amazing baby books you've never heard of.

I Like Fruit and I Like Vegetables by Lorena Siminovich

Any book that introduces children to healthy foods from an early age is OK in my book. Add in the lessons about colors in I Like Fruit and also the lesson of opposites in I Like Vegetables and you have two winners. Oh! And did I mention these are textured and perfect for babies to explore with their fingers too?

Why We Love This Book: Textured pages are perfect for tactile learning about colors and opposites.
Appropriate for ages 0-2
Find this book in Color Books / Best Board Books / 1-year-old Books / 2-year-old Books / Food Books for Children

Baby Lets Eat

Indestructibles: Baby, Let’s Eat by Amy Pixton

There are so many books for 1-year-olds in the Indestructible series.  These books are perfect to take anywhere, read anywhere, and not worry that they will get ruined. 

We love this book because not only does it talk about food, but it is divided into colors as well.  You can read the book and emphasize the foods, emphasize colors, or even talk about which foods are fruit and which are vegetables.

Why We Love This Book: This book lives up to its name by being indestructible. We love the great pictures as well as the colors and this book will really last.
Appropriate for Ages: 0-3
Find this book in Kids Food Books / Best Books for a 1-Year-Old

Books Set at Daycare for a 1-year-old

spot goes to school

Spot Goes to School by Eric Hill

Spot goes to school in this lift-the-flap book for 2-year-olds. If your child is getting ready for daycare, this is a great story to get them started! Your kiddo can lift the flaps to see what Spot gets up to on his first day of school.

The Kissing Hand and other first day of school books

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

Little Racoon is heading off to school for the first time but is worried that he won’t feel comfortable in his new surroundings.

Mrs. Racoon teaches him about the kissing hand so that he can have a piece of home in his heart wherever he goes. This is a must-read in my opinion.

rosie goes to preschool

Rosie Goes to Preschool by Karen Katz

Rosie, of lift-the-flap fame, is back with a story that introduces kids to preschool and daycare. It’s a marvelous way to go over the steps of the school/daycare experience in an easy-to-digest way for older 1-year-olds.

Color Books for 1-year-olds

What colors should my 1-year-old know? While kids can recognize colors, don’t be surprised if they cannot name them yet. Practicing colors is a great way to get them started.

brown bear brown bear

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See by Bill Martin Jr.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear is a classic for a reason. It uses Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle’s signature style to teach about colors and animals.  The repetitive pattern is addictive.  There are so many activities that can be done with this great book for toddlers. But the colors and pictures are perfect for even the littlest reader.

Why We Love This Book: It’s a great introduction to colors and animals.
Appropriate for ages 0-4
Find this book in Color Books / Newborn Books / Best Board Books / 1-year-old Books / Learning Books for 1-year-olds / 2-year-old Books / Classic Kids Books

Freight Train and other books for a 1-year-old

Freight Train by Donald Crews

This is another classic book for kids that has both trains and colors. What could be better? The simplicity of this book adds to the fun. If you have a child who can only sit for a very limited time, this book is a perfect choice.

Why We Love This Book: High contrast images, introduction to colors, perfect for train-loving children.
Appropriate for ages 0-3
Find this book in Color Books / Best Board Books / 1-year-old Books / Learning Books for 1-year-olds / 2-year-old Books / Classic Kids Books / 3-year-old Books

pantone colors

Pantone: Colors by Pantone

A fun book that has all different color swatches in a given color family with an animal buddy to match. I love looking at all the different shades of colors with my kids. This is a fun one to take out into the world and find the matching colors in the wild!

Season and Nature Books for a 1-year-old

planting a rainbow

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

Caldecott Honor-winner, Lois Ehlert, teaches kids about colors in this story about planting a garden and watching it grow.

His artwork reminds me of Eric Carle. It will draw your child into the beautiful garden depicted within.

spring is here

Spring is Here by Taro Gomi

A wonderful tale that introduces the concept of seasons. Watch as the field changes through the year and the cow grows too!

Beautiful illustrations make this a mommy favorite too. It’s a must-have nature book for a 1-year-old.

my tree and me

My Tree and Me by Jo Witek

This book is a lovely journey through the seasons with chunky pages that make it easy for little fingers to grasp. We adore Witek’s story on feelings if you are looking for another book for 1-year-olds!

Rhyming Books for 1-Year-Olds

But Not the Hippo

But not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton

I don’t know what it is about this book that I absolutely loved reading with my kids. It is utterly ridiculous and completely wonderful. One of my oldest son’s first words was an armadillo! It really is a perfect book for a 1-year-old.


Jamberry by Bruce Degen

This was Kirsten’s favorite book to read to her kids and as soon as you look at the pictures and start reading it, you will understand why. The rhythm of the story and the non-sensical rhymes make the book completely captivating. 

A boy and a bear head out on an adventure to pick berries in this delightful classic kids book. Marshmallow Cattails? Waffle and butter lily pads? Yes, please!

As a bonus, there is counting in this alliteration picture book as well. No list of first books for baby would be complete without this adorable read.

Why We Love This Book: It has rhythm and rhyme, counting, and alliteration, and it is adorable.
Appropriate for ages 0-5
Find this book in Alliteration Books / Counting Books / Rhyming Books / Best Board Books / Kids Food Books

Sheep in a jeep

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy E. Shaw

These sheep are driving and get stuck in the mud. The entire story does not rhyme but there are many rhyming words from the same word family. It is funny and perfect for a young reader. Everyone in my family can still recite every word of this one!

This is a perfect book to include in a list of children’s books with alliteration because there are a few examples in this hilarious and silly book.

Animal Books for a 1-year-olds

Dear Zoo and other books for a 1-year-old

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

The descriptions of the animals in this zoo book are so funny. The flaps are fun for little ones and as kids get older, they realize how silly it is to write to the zoo for a pet.

Why We Love This Book: This book was an absolute favorite in our house. It’s lift the flap pages make it a fun interactive book for babies and toddlers.
Appropriate for ages 1-3
Find this book in
Zoo books, best books for a 1-year-old, first books for newborns

Goodnight Gorilla

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

This book is hilarious and a favorite in our house to this day.  The sweet animals and the completely clueless zookeeper are laugh-out-loud funny.  One of my oldest son’s first words was “armadillo” which says something about how amusing this book is.

Why We Love This Book: This wordless picture book is perfect for making up new stories. It’s a creative exercise in storytelling that will delight over and over.
Appropriate for ages 1-3
Find this book in
Zoo Books / Bedtime Stories for Kids / Best Books for 1-year-Olds / Wordless Picture Books / Animal Children’s Books

baby beluga

Baby Beluga by Raffi

Sing along with this classic song as your turn the pages. Beautiful illustrations bring Raffi’s famed song to life. I adored reviewing my own childhood with this picture book. It’s a must-have book for a 1-year-old music lover.

For more books like these, check out our list of Zoo Books, Shark Books, and Octopus Books for kids.

Classic Books for 1-year-olds

Goodnight Moon and other books for a 2-year-old

 Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

This classic children’s literature is beloved by generations of readers and listeners. The quiet poetry of the words and the gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make a perfect book for the end of the day. This is one of the most popular bedtime stories for babies ever written.

Why We Love This Book: Soothing, repetitive phrases guide children to sleep.
Appropriate for ages 0-4
Find this book in Newborn Books / Best Board Books / 1-year-old Books / 2-year-old Books / Bedtime Books / Classic Kids Books/ Bunny Books

Owl Babies and more gender neutral baby books

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell

This book subtly reinforces the fact that Mama (and Dada) come back. It also shows that sometimes animals get anxious feelings. For babies, the white owls and dark night forest are mesmerizing before they can see in color.

Why We Love This Book: This is a great one for working parents looking to teach little ones about separation anxiety. I found read it to my children when I went back to work.
Appropriate for ages 1-4
Find this book in
Books about Feelings / Books for 1-year-olds / Book and Game Pairings / Gender Neutral Baby Books

pat the bunny

Pat the Bunny (Touch and Feel Book) by Dorothy Kunhardt 

This touch-and-feel book is perfect for little ones to feel the soft bunny and look in the mirror.  It’s such a cute classic that launched interactive board books for babies and spawned a million spoof books!

Why we love this book: We love that this board book is multi-sensory
Find this book in Books for Newborns / Books for a 1-Year-Old / Interactive Books For Kids / Bunny Books for Babies

Books for a 1-year-old’s Motor Development

barnyard dance

Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boyton

Sandra Boyton is a go-to author and illustrator for a reason. She makes the most fun books for 2-year-olds!

This one is no exception with a group of animals dancing to a rhyme that your own child can dance along to! Your toddler will want to read this on repeat.


See, Touch, Feel: A First Sensory Book to Share with Baby by Roger Priddy

Everything is new for your baby.  Colors, sounds, and sense of touch are all brand new.  I love that this book gives your baby a chance to experience all these new things with great pictures. Each picture has a sensory activity that will stimulate your child’s natural sense of curiosity. As you read to your child, you are helping them develop a language of their senses.

peek a boo forest

Peek-a-B00-Forest by Lamaze

These interactive baby books for 1-year-old fine motor development are popular for a reason! They keep kids occupied as they practice their motor skills by crinkling pages, pulling down flaps, and petting the critters.

Books About Love for 1-year-olds


Hug by Jez Alborough

Jackie’s family loves this story! A little monkey is looking for a hug and asking all his little animal friends! When reading this book, ask your little one for a hug every time the monkey does.

Love you forever and more books for 2-year-olds

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

The words of this book run through my head and I cannot read it to my kids without crying at the end.  I adore this book for 1-year-olds about the unconditional love a mother has for her child. “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”

Guess How Much I Love you and more kids books about love

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

I love that this book is about a father and his son. The baby bunny is talking about how much he loves his dad who tells the baby bunny how much he loves him in return.  “I love you to the moon and back”.  Truer words are hard to find. We cannot think of a more perfect Father’s Day picture book.

Why We Love This Book: This book coined one of our favorite lines from a book ever “I love you to the moon and back”
Good For Ages:0-5
Find this book in Father’s Day Picture Books / Bedtime Books / Books for a 2-Year-old / Rabbit Books for Babies

Interactive Books for a 1-year-old

look look

LOOK LOOK! by Peter Linenthal

The simple text mixed with Black and White high contrast photos makes this a great book to read off the bat. My boys used to point and stare at each image as I repeated over and over again what they were seeing.

Why We Love This Book: Black and white illustrations for newborns, high contrast images
Appropriate for ages 0-1
Find this book in Newborn Books / Best Board Books / 1-year-old Books

Going on a bear hunt

Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

I loved reading this book to my kids. There is something about the family adventure that was so much fun. We would go over pillows, under the table, upstairs, and through chairs in our search. Not only was this the perfect way to learn prepositions, but it also made the book interactive.

This book is filled with repetition which is also good for child language development.  It is filled with onomatopoeia- the best words to convey sounds and sensory input that I just love: squelch, squerch; swishy swashy; etc.

Why We Love This Book: It is interactive, helps with language development, has wonderful pictures as well as repetition
Appropriate for Ages: 2-6
Find this book in Educational Books for 2-Year-Olds / The Best Books for a 2-Year-Old

I kissed the baby

I Kissed the Baby by Mary Murphy

This black-and-white board book is perfect for newborns since they can only see black and white initially. It’s all about a new baby duckling and animals talking about their interactions with it. Make it interactive by following the tasks talked about in the book – tickling, hugging, and kissing!

Why We Love This Book: It has repetition and rhyme, black and white illustrations for newborns, interactive.
Appropriate for ages 0-1
Find this book in Newborn Books / Best Board Books / 1-year-old Books / 2-year-old Books

Family Books for 1-year-olds

the runaway bunny

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

A charming tale about a mother’s love. This is all about a young bunny who wants to run away and a mother explaining all the lengths she’ll go to find him again. It’s a classic book for 1-year-olds for a reason!

Baby, boo and more books for 1-year-olds

Baby, Boo! by Beth Hardwood

My husband loved to read this to our little one repeatedly. It’s peekaboo in a board book. There are black and white photos of other babies, then the baby goes missing and a mirror appears for your child to find themselves. The giggles this book produced from kids were the best!

Why We Love This Book: Black and white illustrations for newborns, high contrast images, interactive, baby faces
Appropriate for ages 0-18 months
Find this book in Newborn Books / Best Board Books / 1-year-old Books

mama mama

Mama Mama by Jean Marzollo

A sweet rhyming book about a mother’s love (or father’s if you get that version too.) Featuring mama and baby pairings from the animal kingdom this book allows you to point out new species to your little one.

Why We Love This Book: Rhyming words, introduction of animals.
Appropriate for ages 0-4
Find this book in Newborn Books / Best Board Books / 1-year-old Books / 2-year-old Books / Bedtime Books / Classic Kids Books

Creativity Books for a 1-year-old

this little artist

This Little Artist by Joan Holub

This charming board book introduces babies to famous artists! It’s got colorful illustrations that draw kids in and easy-to-turn pages for little hands.

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

I think this is the original book about the power of the imagination. It’s a classic book for 1-year-olds for a reason. The worlds that Harold creates with one purple crayon can inspire anyone’s imagination.

Mini Masters

Mini Masters by Julie Merberg

With enchanting rhymes pointing out details in the paintings, this board book series is perfect for introducing famous artists to your toddler.

I swear this book series is the reason my kiddos loved going to the art museum at such a young age.

Feelings Books for 1-year-olds

Baby Faces and other books for a 1-year-old

Baby Faces by Margaret Miller

We mentioned this book in our essential first-year books post because babies love to look at each other. As they get older, they can start to vocalize the faces that the babies are making.

They can also listen to you and make the faces the baby in the picture is making. You can use the book to prompt your baby. For example “That is yucky. Show me yucky.”

Why We Love This Book: Faces to mimic and teaches emotions.
Appropriate for ages 0-1
Find this book in Newborn Books / Best Board Books / 1-year-old Books / Learning Books for 1-Year-Olds 

Go Away, Big Green Monster and other Monster Books for Kids

Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly

What a wonderful way to explore fears.  As children turn the pages of this book, they are in charge.  They can build the big green monster and tell him to go away. 

Why We Love This Book: This book is so helpful for kids who may not be able to express their fears but, it can help them conquer them just the same.
Appropriate for ages 1-4
Find this book in: Monster Books / Books for a 2-year-old / Books about Feelings

The Feelings Book and more books for 1-year-olds

The Feelings Book by Todd Parr

This is a classic feelings book for 1-year-olds for a reason! Todd Parr uses his signature colorful illustrations to showcase the range of emotions we all feel from time to time. Have your little one make the faces in the book for more fun!

Did you find any books for a 1-year-old to add to your home library? For more options, check out our list of books for a 2-year-old.

Want to help your 1-year-old with their language development? We created this list to help you make story time a fun learning experience.

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