Best Books for 1-Year-Old

What's Covered

Is it worth the effort to read books on a 1-year-old baby? As a parent who has a 1-year-old baby, does this question ever cross your mind? Parents or guardians often focus on nursing the baby and making sure she/he will be comfortable and sleeping well. Other times of the day, babies will be playing. This everyday routine satisfies us, but you may want to help your child start improving early. [1]Studies have shown that books must take an important role beginning in the earliest months. Reading books to your child will result in a positive relationship between parents and child.

Guide in picking a book for your 1-year-old

There are many books available in the market; picking a few first books for your child may cause you a long time to decide. [2]Studies have shown that children’s willingness to learn and their abilities to cope with studies depends intensely on parental capacity to relate the child’s world to the books’ world of learning. It is vital to choose books that are easy to explain and add up some fun to gain the child’s attention and eventually open their interest in books even at their young age. Here are some guides to make you decide on what books to purchase for your babies.

Have drawings and coloring pages

When I was a kid, I always prefer books with drawings because illustrations help me form my imagination on how to relate to what the book is trying to imply. It is easier for me to understand the story when there are cute drawings in my reading. [3]Children, even at a very young age, engage in and appreciate visual language. Books that have photos on them provide an easy-to-understand context. And, these types of books were loved even by the adults. Beautiful drawings and exposure to colors may encourage your kids to love and get engaged to arts as he/she grows.  

Easy to read books that have rhymes

Babies start listening to their surroundings and are remembering words. [4]Babies during their early months love repetitive phrases, and they are growing their language by making a sound.[5] According to studies, babies tend to develop their vocabulary by taking the edge to rhymes and rhythms. Listening to rhyming sounds is said to nourish brain activity and early capacity to learn. Using rhymes and rhythms will make it easy to get the babies’ attention and interest.

Books that have few texts on each page

Babies are known to have a short attention span, and they can get bored quickly. Knowing that they can’t read yet, it is better to buy a book with few texts and rich in colorful illustrations.  It will be much easier for them to adapt to books that have less text on them. Repetitive words are commonly used and will make kids remember them quickly.

Go for board books

Board books are ideal for babies; thick pages are easy to hold and flip, just suitable for babies’ hands. Thick pages will last long knowing that babies love putting things on their mouths; these books will outstand babies’ wet mouths and not reap apart easily. You can also let your babies play with the board books knowing that they won’t cause any harm to them because of their sturdiness. Allowing them to hold and turn the pages independently will help in developing their motor skills.

Interactive books

Interactive books such as textured books, have sounds, lift-the-flap, a pop-up that will get your baby’s attention. These kinds of books encourage curiosity, and most often, kids also treat books as their toys because of their features. Interactive books are the ones that help for the faster development of kids. These kinds of books provide entertainment and learning.

Books that your child can relate

Choose books that have stories on them that your child will relate to. These can be something related to what’s happening around her. You can use book stories to tell your child about the changes that will occur in her life, like potty training. Other sample topics are going to school or meeting and playing with friends.


Children’s favorite books usually have topics like vehicles, animals, space, princesses, and anything you think your child will enjoy exciting reading with you. Having a good topic in a book will entertain kids. Sometimes, if they listen well, they will remember the story or the topic as a guide. Topics bring impact on kids, too, especially if they get interested in it. 

Best Books to Learn Words

These books are mostly with rhyming words that your child will love hearing. These repetitive rhymes are easier to remember and encourage your child’s language development.

1.      Moo Baa La la la

Moo Baa La La La
A perfect book that will make a great birthday present for 1-year-old.

Originally published in the year 1982, Sandra Boynton’s Moo Baa Lalala is a book that tends to educate babies about animals and their sounds. Babies will love to hear the animal sounds when reading to them and eventually react to the fun sound; they will gain interest and love this book. Introducing the animals to babies will entertain them. Letting babies hear repetitive sounds will help them develop their speech and form words.

2.      First 100 Board Book Box Set (3 Books)

First 100 Board Book Box Set (3 Books)
A book set ideal for developing children; a great tool to entertain and teach kids at the same time.

This book set includes First 100 Words, First 100 Animals, and Number Color Shapes and are written by Roger Priddy.  These three books were the perfect set to get your little kid started to love books. You can use these books as a tool for your child to develop their skills in vocabulary and develop their speech as you guide them. These books are suitable for kids with small hands. Your child will get interested in these books for they have colorful pages and have lots of photographs to look at and use to discuss. The books’ covers are padded so kids can hold them comfortably, and the pages are thick, easy for kids to turn pages, and strong enough to last.

3.      Tabbed Board Books: My First Animals Book: Let’s Squeak and Squawk!

Tabbed Board Books: My First Animals Book: Let's Squeak and Squawk!
An ideal book to use to start young children to learn and help them develop.

Kids love animals; use this book to introduce them to your little one. With the pictures and colorful text, your kid will indeed be encouraged to check every page of this book. Using this, you will have the chance to develop your kids’ interest in books. Kids will learn the sounds of each animal make and understand the difference between each. The author classified the animals on every page like farm animals, sea animals, and many more. The text and names on each page were easy to read aims to encourage kids for language development. The pages were thick enough to let kids browse independently.

4.      Little Green Frog Chunky Lift-a Flap Board Book

Little Green Frog Chunky Lift-a Flap Board Book
A good quality book that your kid will love and cherish as he/she grows.

This book about the little green frog shares a lot of knowledge with children. It is a perfect little book that is sturdy with thick pages designed for kids. Its size is good enough to take it with you everywhere you go. Your child will love the illustrations of this lovely book and the flip-flap parts that are enticing to look at.   With this Little Green Frog book, your child will learn about different animals such as ducks, turtles, and many more. This book is a lift-a-flap board book; using this more often by flipping the pages, your kids’ motor skills will develop.  Simple sentences in this book encourage kids to develop their language.

5.      Do Cows Meow?

Do Cows Meow?
A nice book to have for your kids; it will make a great option for a gift for any occasion.

This book provides fun and learning. The book has a colorful and cute drawing of barn animals that will surely entice your little one. It is a great tool to introduce the farm animals to your kids, and including the animal sounds is more interesting. Your child will love the rhymes that this book has. They will quickly learn the words and be encouraged to love learning as well. They can also develop their motor skills by letting them flip the pages independently. Each page was thick, will not easily be torn apart by kids. You can consider this as a great choice for gift; this will be a great and suitable gift for any occasion.

6.      Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
An excellent book with lots of rhymes that will help a lot for language development of kids.

It is a picture book that is full of rhymes that your child will love. The words are repetitive that will make it easier for kids to remember. The book is durable, and the pages are hard, perfect for kids to hold. They will develop their motor skills by flipping the pages while enjoying the book.  You can use this book to introduce the different animals to your baby. With the bright colors that the animal images have, children will undoubtedly be interested in learning. This book provides hours of entertainment and quality time for parent and child.

7.      “More More More,” Said the Baby Board Book

You will find this valuable book entertaining your child. It will encourage learning in a fun way. The repetitive words will help the child develop their language.  It is a perfect book to calm your child and spend quality time together. The illustrations in this book are colorful and will entice kids. You can educate your kids about different families and races while reading this book for three families on it were featured. It is a good start for babies to love books and love learning. 

Best Books for Bedtime Reading

Books for bedtime reading are the ones that will calm children as they listen to the stories in the book read to them.

8.      Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon
A book that will make a perfect gift for baby showers, birthday parties or any occasion.

Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd wrote this book. This book Goodnight Moon is a great book that you can use to calm and put the baby to sleep. Each page was exciting and had an excellent illustration of getting the kids in the mood for reading. The pages were thick, so you can let young kids hold them without the book getting harm. Having this book is a great way to introduce reading to babies. As you read to them nightly, they will be used to having books around and finally getting encouraged to love books too as they get old.

9.      Time for Bed

Time for Bed
An ideal book for nighttime stories that will let your kids grow their interest in animals and encourage learning.

Time for Bed is Mem Fox’s book for the nighttime story. This is a cute, sturdy book that your child will love. The illustrations were beautifully made, colored in watercolor. With this book, your child will be aware of the parent and child animals’ names. The drawings, wording, and rhymes fit for putting babies to sleep. You can use this book to introduce the animals to your little one. Your child will surely love how the illustrator painted them in a simple yet fantastic way. The animals in the stories were the pup, deer, snake, bee, bird, sheep, fish, foal, calf, cat, goose, and mouse. The setting in drawings where animals live is an excellent way to let your child know which habitat each animal lives in.  This book is a perfect encouragement and introduction to learning and encourages your little one to enhance his speech.

10.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
A book that has a simple story yet so much to learn offers fun and entertainment.

It is a classic book that you can read anytime to your little one. The story is simple and straight, but kids will surely love it. It has a lovely illustration of what happened in the story, making it easy for kids to imagine the scenes and understand the story more. Your child will learn few numbers with this story, which was the counting of food that the caterpillar ate. Parents may also teach kids the days of the week using this book, or when you always read this on your kids, they will get familiar with the days.

11.  Guess How Much I Love You

Guess How Much I Love You
A perfect to read in putting your child to sleep.

This book is a lovely book that every parent can relate to. The drawings in these books were beautifully made and colored in watercolor. The pages of the book were made thick to let babies and kids turn the pages safely. It is a heartwarming book that you will love to read for your children while putting them to sleep. The book is just tiny, making it easier to carry everywhere. Ideal for long travels to entertain your child.

12.  Will You be My Sunshine?

Will You Be My Sunshine?
A lovely books for kids to enjoy and fall in love with.

You are my sunshine is a cute book that is made beautifully for children. Kids of all ages will love to hear the phrases in this book or even adults. The illustrations in this book will entertain kids. They will love to look at this book over and over again. Reading this to your child is a fantastic way to express your deep love for them simultaneously; you get to bond and encourage him/her to love books. It will make a great gift on any occasion. You can also give these books to grannies for them to read and entertain their grandchildren.

13.  The Giving Tree

I believe that this book is a must-read for all ages. It is perfect for reading the nighttime story to kids, and it can be interpreted base on how your child might understand it. You might find this helpful to calm your little ones and get them to their right mood to sleep. With this book, you can teach your child the art of unconditional love at a very young age. Reading this to children will spark their interest in learning how to read and encourage them to develop their speech. You can also use this book to imply the essence of being a parent and how a parent-child relationship goes.

14.  Counting Kisses: A Kiss and Read Book

Counting Kisses is an interactive book that will entertain both parent and child. Your baby will love this book for its huge colorful illustrations. Each page was thick and big enough to let the little hands of your baby flip them comfortably. Kids will learn to count from 1-10 with this book as you count kisses.

15.  Kitten’s First Fullmoon Board Book

This book provides an excellent story to tell your little one. The illustrations are beautiful, even though it is not colorful, your child will still love this book. It is a board book with thin pages but bendable. It provides the kitty adventure that will keep your child’s attention. It has repetitive lines and few words on every page that are easy for kids to understand. This kitty book will make kids engaged in learning and help them develop their language skills.

16.  Look, Look

Look, Look
A good book to have for babies to help them develop their vision.

This book will catch the attention of your little one. It is a sturdy book with only six pages and with high contrast that will attract kids. It is made for babies that are starting to develop their visions. It has thick pages with round edges to make it easier for babies to grab it and help them develop their motor skills.  This book shows text that relates to the illustrations made simple. Having this as a gift to give baby occasions is a good idea; younger babies will surely appreciate this.

17.  On My Leaf

This book is an interactive one, and it provides a fun time with kids, especially with finger puppets. Your child will find this book interesting, and he/she will be engaged in learning. Your child will love this book for its colorful and lovely illustrations, made thick and durable, suitable for baby use. You can use this as an early introduction to books, and your child will develop their natural skills. This book implies that what makes a house a home is the family.

18.  Are You My Mother?

Are You Are My Mother?
An ideal book to have in helping your child in mental development.

The story in this book is about a baby bird who’s in search of its mother. This book is good to read to kids of any age, and they will surely enjoy this. You can use this to introduce the different animals in this book to your child. Children will love the motivation of the small bird in finding its mom. It is a great way to convey a message of a positive attitude towards children. This book is ideal for early readers but will also do in younger babies. Exposing babies to books will encourage them to love learning and will help them develop their speech abilities.

19.  Daddy

A book for dad, a great way to teach kids to love and appreciate their dad more.

This “Daddy” book is a perfect gift for daddy to read on for your little one, you can consider this book. The content of this book shows appreciation to daddy and how he’s helping around the house. The illustrations are lovely, good to catch children’s attention. Simple and few texts will help kids to remember words much more effortlessly. It’s nice to have a book with a father as a topic for most books focusing on mom’s love for their children. It will make kids grow their fathers’ love, improve their listening skills as you read to them, language skills, and encourage learning.

Best Books for Interactive Reading

These books requires participation from the reader or listener. Interactive books makes reading so much fun and less boring.

20.  Peek-A Who?

Peek-A Who?
An interactive book that will make learning fun and easy.

This book author is Nina Laden. The illustration in the book is simple yet very creative. This boois best to give as a gift during baby showers, first birthdays, and any occasion for kids. This book provides rhyme that your baby will love. Rhymes and repetitive words make kids remember the words easily. It is an interactive book that will entertain your kids as they read. There is a hole in the book. That hole is provided to make the kids peek and guess what or who is on the next page.  The provided hole is also used to make the flipping of pages more manageable.

21.  Noisy First Word

Noisy First Word
An exciting and interactive books for kids; surely worth every penny.

This book Noisy First Word is written by Libby Wladen and compiled by Tiger Tales. Your child will love this interactive book for sounds and words can be heard once you pushed the buttons. There are also textured parts that your kids will enjoy and help them develop their senses. This will make introducing words and sounds a little easier for parents. The words with sounds have pictures provided, making it easier for kids to absorb the teachings well while making fun. You can allow your child hold the book and play on his own after reading; the book is thick and sturdy enough to withstand damages that your baby might cause.

22.  Hop On Pop

Dr. Seuss’s Hop On Pop book is a rhyming children’s book. The rhythm and rhymes on every page will get kids’ attention and entertain them. This book is perfect for kids three years old and above and those who are starting to read. Having those rhymes and rhythms will also be suitable for younger ages to hear and develop their speech by getting used to the book’s words. You may find this book very useful in entertaining your child or simply spending time with him/her. Dr. Seuss’s book provides learning and parent-child bonding.

23.  Where is Baby’s Belly Button

Where is baby's Belly Button
A fun book that your child will love; a great tool for teaching.

Karen Katz is the author of this cute book. Your kid will fall in love with this book, for the illustrations are cute and colorful. You will find this book helpful in teaching kids their body parts and what they are called. It is an excellent book to spare your time with your baby. Not only will you develop your child’s eagerness to learn, but the best part is you can make your relationship much closer. It is an excellent option if you are looking for something as a gift for young children. It’s a useful and practical gift that will last long.

24.  Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes
A helpful book to encourage learning, sturdy and cute.

The author of this book is Mem Fox. With this book, your kids will learn about their ten little fingers. This book’s illustrations were colored in watercolor, making them pleasing to the eyes and looks simple. You will see in the images that there are kids of different races. Use the illustrations to make your child aware of other races. The word used in this book were rhymes and have repetition, which is suitable for babies to help them remember the words. This book will make an excellent gift for any occasion. You might find it helpful to calm your child or pass the time together.

25.  National Geographic Kids Look and Learn: Colors!

This board book will entice the kids with its vibrant colors. This is a perfect book to use to introduce colors to kids. They will be encouraged to learn as they see the lovely photos on it. You can let your kids turn the pages independently without them tearing them apart because it is made of sturdy material and designed to last. You can also let your older kids enjoy this too; there are so many things to learn.

26.  Dear Zoo: A Lift-the Flap Book

This book has a simple story that your kid will love reading again and again. The illustrations, too, are simple yet good to look at. The kids will enjoy the lift-flaps while revealing the animals under them.  By reading this book to kids, they will learn the names of different animals. This book will make an excellent gift for any occasion. You can use this book to entertain and calm kids. It is perfect enough to get kids engaged in listening to stories and a good start for kids to love books.

27.  Melissa & Doug Poke-a-Dot – Whose in the Ocean?

Melissa & Doug Poke-a-Dot – Whose in the Ocean?
An interactive board book that will help in your child's development.

It is an interactive board book that your kid will enjoy. In this book, you get the chance to teach your kids the different sea creatures. Each creature has a tab on them that your child can poke as you read to them.  The kids will enjoy the colorful and beautifully designed pages of the book with the facts and learnings that it provides. This book is sturdy enough to let your kids flip the pages and enjoy the tabs independently. By doing so, they will get the chance to develop their motor skills and be motivated to learn words.

28.  Snap! Snap!: Guess the Animal!

It is a lift-a-flap book that reveals the animals that kids will be trying to guess. This kind of book will ignite curiosity in younger children. This book is made sturdy for kids to flap the pages freely without causing any damage to it. It will surely last long. The illustrations are lovely and will make kids engaged in reading it again and again. With this book, your child will have the chance to recognize the animals. It will encourage curiosity and will grow a love of learning for kids. Reading to kids will help them improve their language skills much faster.

29.  Baby Touch and Feel: Animals

This interactive book will let your kids touch and feel the different textures animals have. Kids will have the chance to explore their favorite animals such as rabbits, cats, fishes, and many more. This book encourages learning and fun. Each page provides entertaining images of animals along with their sounds. These features that this book has will make reading more fun and exciting. Kids will be interested in learning. The short text on each page will encourage kids to develop their language.  The book’s size is just right for kids; they can browse the book by themselves while developing their natural skills.

30.  Roar, Roar, Baby!

This book will provide a fun way to teach your baby about animals. The illustrations are cute with bright, attractive colors and will keep your child attached while reading.  This fun book is interactive; you can let your little one flip the flap and discover the zoo animals. This book will make your kids engaged in learning. The short story is suitable for kids with a small attention span and will make them remember the words well. You can use this as a tool to spend your time with your kids much enjoyable, and you get to educate your child.

31.  My Very First Book of Numbers

This lovely book is helpful to make teaching numbers for kids easy. Introducing this book to your baby helps your child familiarize the numbers at an early age. Your child will find this entertaining, for it has colorful drawings that are good enough to keep your child interested. It will make a good book for those kids who know to count already, but it is also a good idea to expose kids to problem-solving at a young age to get used to it. This book will help develop babies with number recognition, problem-solving, and developing motor skills.

Final thoughts

Books were indeed helpful in a child’s development. Having your baby get used to books will help them develop their needed skills as they grow. Having books for your baby will encourage them to use their senses in touching, pointing, and they will learn to pay attention and focus. It will also be a big help to develop their thinking and social skills. Going through all the list above, what I found that interests me is Noisy First Word; we are aware that at the age of 1, kids need sound to help them develop their speech. I found this helpful, including the texturized feature of this book that will let kids use their sense of touch. If I were to choose a second one, it would be Where Is Baby's Belly Button it would be entertaining and educational to have this for your child. Third, I want my kids to learn about giving and being happy to be of use to others. It is nice to think about having a child who knows how to appreciate things or love unconditionally.

[1] Butler, Dorothy. Babies need books: Sharing the joy of books with children from birth to six. Heinemann, 88 Post Road West, PO Box 5007, Westport, CT 06881-5007, 1998.

[2] De Temple, Jeanne, and Catherine E. Snow. “Learning words from books.” On reading books to children: Parents and teachers (2003): 16-36.

[3] Gibbons, Joan. “Visual Literacy and Picture Books.” Teachers and Curriculum 3 (1999): 71-75

[4] Honig, Alice S. Talking with your baby: Family as the first school. Syracuse University Press, 1996.

[5] Honig, Alice Sterling. “Learning through rhythm and rhyme.” Scholastic Early Childhood Today 21.2 (2006): 18.

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Tiffany Biondi

Tiffany Biondi

Mother of 4 kids, Tiffany is a certified childcarer and during her free time, she write posts in thebabychoice to share her hands on experience and knowledge.