The best books for a 1-year-old child can hold their attention with entertaining fun all the way through the book (hopefully). The best books in this age range also teach concepts such as counting, colors, the alphabet, daily rituals, kindness, helping, and even sharing. But there are a few additional things to think about when choosing a great book for a baby who is moving into toddlerhood.
The best books for one-year-old children generally are:
- Simple, easy-to-follow stories
- Pictures are appealing, but not overwhelming
- Some words, but not too many words
- Often use rhyme, rhythm, and common favourite kids’ topics
- Sturdy pages with rounded corners (generally board books)
These books are simple, meaningful, attention-grabbing, and interactive. Read on for specific examples of the best books for a 1-year-old child.
To learn about why early literacy is so important (and learn how to teach it), check out this post: Supporting early literacy at home.
Little blue truck
Little Blue Truck is a modern classic book for 1-year-old children. It tells the heartwarming story of the friendly Little Blue Truck enlisting his animal friends to help out a grumpy old dump truck that’s stuck in the mud. It also teaches animal sounds as it tells a story about helping others. I think we have three copies of this book, and I don’t even mind. They all get read ALL THE TIME.
It’s also a cute farm-themed book and they now have different titles! Good Night, Little Blue Truck is another one of their children’s books that we love.
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The Paper Bag Princess
The Paper Bag Princess is a classic for a reason. This is one of the first princess stories in which the princess is doing the saving (rather than being saved). It also reinforces the important message that life isn’t all about how you look. Plus, there are some cool dragon RRRRROOoooaaaarrrr-ing noises and funny sounds.
Along with Little Blue Truck, this was my daughter’s favorite book when she was 1-year-old. She even decided to dress up as the Paper Bag Princess for Halloween right after she turned 2! This is one classic not to be missed during the 1-year-old age range.
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Where’s the Penguin?
Where’s the Penguin? is the most durable, lovable, lift-the-flap peekaboo-style board book we’ve come across. While our 1-year-old has shredded most of his lift-the-flap and other interactive books, this one has stayed completely intact due to its fabric flaps. If all baby books were made this durable, it would be awesome!
Our baby loves this book, loves searching for the animals, and can easily turn the pages. It’s also less commonplace than some of the older books on this list and is, therefore, less likely to be a duplicate gift. Where’s the Penguin? is highly recommended!
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Goodnight Moon is a classic bedtime book for babies. The lulling and rhythmic words really do seem to put kids to sleep. The story makes no sense to adults but 1-year-olds love it! Plus, the pictures are quite beautiful. Even if your little one cannot understand words, she might love pictures. As you can see from the cover, it’s a very colorful book and is a classic story for your baby’s library.
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The Wonky Donkey
This donkey – the winky wonky honky-tonky lanky stinky dinky donkey – will have you in stitches. Hee-Haw… My son is always quoting this book now that he’s three – Proving that it’s great for different ages, too!
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Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a fun alphabet book that’s both rhythmical and full of captivating illustrations. The words are catchy and can be extremely helpful for the important development that happens as babies grow into full-blown toddlers. Plus, could the bright colors be more fun?
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Moo! Baa! La La La!
Moo! Baa! La La La! is an engaging and entertaining baby book about animal noises. Children can learn to mimic different sounds such as cows, sheep, dogs, horses, and any other animal. Your toddlers will be laughing while learning something new and practicing fun animal sounds. This book of animal noises has been listed as one of the best books children’s books for decades!
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The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is the classic counting book for one-year-old children. It’s also a meaningful and easy-to-read storybook for young kids. It tells the story of a caterpillar who overeats sweets. Who else’s one-year-old won’t eat their greens unless they’re disguised in smoothie form?
Check Out The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Going To Bed Book
The Going To Bed Book is a classic nighttime read for a reason! If your little one is always reluctant to go to bed, check out this book. It’s been around a long time, and it works. It’s a fun bedtime story that is beautifully illustrated.
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Llama Llama Red Pajama
Llama Llama Red Pajama is a nighttime rhyming book that’s a perfect fit for the 1-to-3 year-old crowd. This baby llama is a bit of a drama llama…and a bit of a tantrum thrower. Imagine that!?? Remind you of anyone??
Best of all, you can also sing (or rap) this book. Here’s some inspo:
- Camilla Cabello sings Llama Llama Red Pajama (tune of Despacito)
- Ludacris raps Llama Llama Red Pajama
What a cool way to remix fun rhymes from a children’s book, right?!
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The Pout-Pout Fish
The Pout-Pout Fish is a rhyming story. This storybook is easy to read, entertaining, and fun as well. It’s also nice to have a book to chat about when you’re talking about turning that frown upside down! This helps enhance the child’s vocabulary, especially with their emotional intelligence. Because social-emotional learning is so important, it’s nice to start it at an early age.
Check Out The Pout Pout Fish
Where Do Diggers Sleep At Night?
Where Do Diggers Sleep At Night? is a construction-themed book about bedtime rituals. The text takes young listeners through a tour of favorite trucks and diggers, while reminding them of all the things that are part of a baby’s bedtime. Even toddlers love this book with its fun pictures. They will love listening to you making funny sounds as you mimic the truck’s snoring, too!
Check Out Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night?
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site is a perfect bedtime book for 1-year-olds who love trucks and diggers. This also goes through many different construction pieces of machinery. It’s a little longer than some of the other books on this list, and it’s full of gently soothing rhymes. I’m pretty sure this book could put the wildest toddler to sleep. This book is consistently on the list of best books for a 1-year-old (and for good reason).
Check Out Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
But First, We Nap
But First, We Nap is a funny little baby book about nap time. Someone wants to nap… And someone else does NOT want to nap! Sound familiar? This is another one of the newer books on this list and is one that your little one may not have on their shelves yet. It has quickly made its way onto the list of the must-have best books for 1-year-old children. The book has really beautiful illustrations, too!
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Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is the classic board book for one-year-olds for learning colors. It’s also a good way to help your child understand the phrase “what do you see?” for everyday use. The simple language and repetitive phrases will hone your little one’s learning skills, making it the perfect book as they begin to show interest in reading.
Check Out Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Green Eggs and Ham
The board book version of this story can be a little hard to find, so snap it up if it’s available! Board books are great for little fingers because they’re much more durable. But, this title is NOT included in the Dr. Seuss Bright & Early Book Box set, and it’s certainly possible it’s not on your little one’s shelf already. Since Dr.
Seuss is so fun to read aloud that it’s fun for the whole family to enjoy at story time. Plus, Dr. Seuss books are always filled with wonderful things like exciting illustrations and fun word play, making it an interesting addition to enhance your baby’s vocabulary… And imagination!
Check Out Green Eggs and Ham
Everywhere Babies has exceptional endearing illustrations and irresistible rhymes. It’s a lovely read that focuses on the activities that the baby experiences every day, including playing, crawling, and sleeping. This book meets 1-year-olds where they are at in a thoughtful and respectful manner. It’s a very sweet book!
Check out Everywhere Babies
The Best Books for 1 Year Olds
The best books for 1 year old children are sturdy, captivating, fun, and meaningful. The books on the list above are some of the best titles for young children as they develop from the baby years into a toddler-aged child. Be sure to save a list of the books you’re considering so you can borrow them from the library, find them locally, or order them online.
Here are some other literacy-based articles you might enjoy reading!
- Letter tracing ideas: Ways to make writing fun!
- Early literacy tips for parents
- When to teach sight words
- Sight word sentences for emergent readers
- Prepositions of place for Kindergarten: Learning activities
Reading and writing with young learners
Books are just one part of a child’s literacy journey! Check out our literacy category for more articles about reading and writing.