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
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.
This interactive book helps kids count from one to ten with little 3D ladybugs that appear on each page as your progress through the story.
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.
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 that bedtime was coming.
We would take a bath, 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 brand new baby, incorporating a book into your nightly routine is a wonderful way to end the day.
Boynton’s books are filled with humor, bright colorful pictures, and wonderful rhymes. They are completely addictive. We read these books until they fall 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.
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
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.
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.
Food Books for 1-year-olds
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 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?
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.
Books Set at Daycare for a 1-year-old
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.
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, 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 teaches about colors and animals. The repetitive pattern is addictive. There are so many activities that can be done with this great book for toddlers. However, the colors and pictures are perfect for even the littlest reader.
This is another classic book that has both trains and colors. What could be better? The simplicity of this book adds to the fun. If you have a child that can only sit for a very limited time, this book is a perfect choice.
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
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.
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.
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
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 armadillo! It really is a perfect book for a 1-year-old.
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.
Marshmallow Cattails? Waffle and butter lily pads? Yes, please! As a bonus, there is counting in this alliteration picture book as well. No list would be complete without this adorable read.
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
This book was an absolute favorite in our house. The descriptions of the animals are so funny, the flaps are fun and the story is so cute. As kids get older, they realize how silly it is to write to the zoo for a pet.
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.
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
In this classic of modern children’s literature, 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.
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.
This is a great one for working parents. I found I started it early with my little one when I went back to work.
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 basically launched interactive board books for babies and spawned a million spoof books!
Books for a 1-year-old’s Motor Development
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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
Interactive Books for a 1-year-old
The simple text mixed with Black and White high contrast photos also makes this a great book to read off the bat. My boys use to point and stare at each image as I repeated over and over again what they were seeing.
This book is filled with repetition which is so 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. On rainy days, I would hide a stuffed bear in the house and we would go on a bear hunt!
This black-and-white board book is perfect for newborns since they can only see black and white initially. Make it interactive by following the tasks talked about in the book – tickling, hugging, and kissing!
Family Books for 1-year-olds
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!
My husband loved to read this to our little one over and over again. 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!
A sweet rhyming book about a mother’s love (or fathers 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.
Creativity Books for a 1-year-old
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.
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.
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
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.”
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. 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.
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!