Best Books for 1 Year Olds

The 15 Best Books for 1 Year Olds to Read in 2024

Reading to your baby from an early age is one of the best things you can do to foster a lifelong love of learning. Even at just 1 year old, babies soak up new words, sounds, and concepts from hearing stories read aloud. Board books with simple words, bright colors, and engaging illustrations are perfect for this age group.

In this post, we’ve rounded up 15 of the very best books for 1 year olds. These books are durable, developmentally appropriate, and tons of fun for little ones just beginning their reading journey. We’ve included classic favorites as well as some newer titles that are sure to become beloved repeat reads in your house.

15 Best Books for 1 Year Olds

1. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

This soothing, lyrical bedtime story is a timeless classic. The gentle rhymes and muted illustrations create a calming atmosphere perfect for settling down to sleep.

2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Babies love the colorful collage-style illustrations and the fun story of a caterpillar munching his way through various foods before transforming into a beautiful butterfly. The pages with holes are especially engaging for little fingers to explore.

3. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

In this interactive lift-the-flap book, the zoo sends the narrator a series of animals that aren’t quite right as pets. Babies will have fun lifting the flaps to reveal the silly animals and guessing what creature will be under the next one.

4. Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz

This playful book helps babies learn the names for different body parts. Each page asks where baby’s hands, feet, eyes, etc. are hiding, with a fun lift-the-flap reveal. The bold, simple illustrations keep babies engaged.

5. Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton

Sandra Boynton’s goofy animal characters and silly rhymes are always a hit with little ones. In this book, a variety of animals demonstrate the different, often incorrect sounds they make, ending with three singing pigs saying “La la la!”

6. Global Babies by Global Fund for Children

This beautiful board book celebrates the diversity of babies around the world with engaging photos from seventeen cultures. It’s never too early to open your child’s eyes to the wonderfully varied world we live in. Simple, poetic text describes the universal joys of babyhood.

7. First 100 Words by Roger Priddy

This sturdy book is packed with essential first words for babies to learn, paired with bright, clear photos. The pages are organized by category, like colors, food, animals, and vehicles. It’s a fantastic vocabulary-builder for growing minds.

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

The repetitive, rhyming text and boldly colored illustrations make this a captivating read-aloud. Each page introduces a new animal and color, with a fun twist at the end. It’s great for reinforcing color recognition and animal names.

9. Peek-A-Who? by Nina Laden

Babies love interactive books like this one, with its clever cut-out “windows” that offer a tantalizing peek at the cheerful illustrations. The rhyming guessing game on each page builds suspense and keeps little ones eagerly engaged to see what will be revealed next.

10. Mrs. Peanuckle’s Fruit Alphabet by Mrs. Peanuckle

This unique board book teaches the alphabet using colorful fruits, from apples to zucchini. Each page features a big, bold capital and lowercase letter, the name of a fruit, and a friendly illustrated face made out of that fruit. The alliterative text is fun to read aloud.

11. Daddy Hugs by Karen Katz

This sweet, simple counting book celebrates the special bond between fathers and babies. From one cuddle to ten buzzing bees, the warm illustrations and sparse text capture everyday moments of delight. It’s perfect for dads to share with their little ones.

12. Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

Little ones will relate to Baby Llama’s nighttime anxiety when Mama Llama doesn’t respond right away to his calls. The rhyming text and expressive illustrations convey the drama and ultimate reassurance of the story. It’s a soothing read for bedtime.

13. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

This lively alphabet rhyme follows the lowercase letters as they race to the top of a coconut tree, with suspenseful page turns building to a “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!” crash. The bright illustrations and rollicking rhythm make it an entertaining read-aloud.

14. Families Belong by Dan Saks

This affirming board book showcases the many ways families can look, with heartwarming scenes of diverse family structures and a comforting message that all families belong together. It’s a great way to teach acceptance and celebrate your own unique family.

15. TouchThinkLearn: Feelings by Xavier Deneux

This innovative book introduces emotional intelligence concepts in an interactive, tactile format. Each page features a single word, like “proud” or “scared,” with a unique raised shape that invites babies to trace with their fingers as they explore the expressive illustrations.


Reading to your 1 year old is a precious opportunity to bond, teach, and instill a lifelong love of books. The 15 titles we’ve recommended here are just a sampling of the wonderful board books available for babies, with options to suit every interest and developmental stage.

Remember, at this age, the content of the book is less important than the act of snuggling up together and sharing the joy of reading. Let your child set the pace, pausing to point out interesting pictures or skipping ahead if they lose interest. The more positive and engaging you make storytime, the more your baby will come to associate books with happiness and comfort.

As your baby grows, continue to expand their library with fresh titles alongside familiar favorites. Before you know it, they’ll be eagerly turning pages and “reading” aloud themselves!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I read to my 1 year old each day?

Aim for at least one dedicated reading session per day, lasting around 10-20 minutes. You can break this up into shorter sessions if your baby’s attention span is limited. Remember, reading doesn’t have to be limited to scheduled “storytime” – feel free to pick up a book anytime your baby seems interested!

My baby keeps grabbing the book and trying to chew on it. Is this normal?

Yes, this is completely normal behavior for a 1 year old. Board books are designed to withstand rough handling and even a bit of chewing. Babies explore the world with their mouths, so don’t worry if your books show some teething wear and tear. Just be sure to choose durable board books and supervise your baby during reading sessions.

Should I stick to reading the text on the page, or is it okay to ad-lib?

While it’s great to read the actual words when you can, don’t feel limited by them. Feel free to point out interesting details in the pictures, ask your baby questions, or make funny sounds that relate to the story. The more interactive and engaging you make reading time, the more your baby will enjoy it. Ad-libbing can also help tailor the story to your child’s interests and attention span.

My baby doesn’t seem to sit still for stories. What should I do?

It’s normal for 1 year olds to have short attention spans and be physically active. Don’t worry if your baby wanders off or loses interest part way through a book – just keep reading in an engaging voice, and they’ll likely circle back to check in. You can also try reading in short bursts throughout the day, or incorporating book time into active play by acting out scenes together.

How can I tell if a book is age-appropriate for my 1 year old?

When choosing books for a 1 year old, look for sturdy board books with simple, colorful illustrations and minimal text. Avoid books with small or delicate paper pages, as these are likely to get torn. Opt for stories with rhyming or repetitive language, which babies find engaging, and subject matter that relates to their everyday experiences (e.g. bedtime, mealtimes, animals, etc.). Most publishers include age recommendations on the book or in the online description, which can help guide your selections.

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