Top 10 Books for your one-year-old

“There are many little ways to enlarge your world.  Love of books is the best of all.” – Jacqueline Kennedy


Time and time again, we all hear that one of the best things you can do to help your child develop is to read to them. Research indicates that reading to your child helps them with developing their speech and later with their literacy skills. My mother was a librarian, and I grew up with my nose buried in books and can strongly attest to the benefits it provides; however, I find that it can get extremely tedious reading the same book over and over again to your child. I have some suggestions on how to combat against this boredom, but also some suggestions for you of some great books that you will not get tired of quickly. Do know that repetition is a good thing for your child though, so even if it may seem boring and repetitive to you, rereading books is still incredibly beneficial for a growing mind.

Suggestions to avoid (your own) boredom

  • Rotate through several books. Get your hands on enough books so that you are not reading the same ones every single day. Either through purchasing your own, hand-me downs, checking books out from the library, or even asking for books as gifts whenever someone generously wants to get your child something.
  • Look for some books that are collections of stories. This is the same premise as above, but an easy way to get more bang for your buck in one book.
  • Find books that you and your child both love. You will enjoy reading it if you like it, but you will also be thrilled watching your child engage and enjoy the stories.
  • Use different voices and accents when reading or make funny sounds. This gives you something fun to do, but also entertains your child and exposes them to voices beyond your own standard reading voice.
  • Ask questions about the book or make additional statements about the pictures. Again, this creates variation in reading the same story, but also involves your child and gives them an opportunity to speak (when they are ready of course).

What should you look for in a book

  • Tough books. For little readers, I have found board books are best. They are tough and durable and withstand those grabby hands and slobbery mouths. Your child will be interested in the colorful pictures and the flipping of pages, having a book that allows them to grab and explore is beneficial both for them and for the longevity of the book.
  • Rhyme and repetition. Both rhyme and repetition have been found to have positive effects on language development. I’ve found that these books are also easier to read aloud, so a win-win for both you and your kids!
  • Colorful illustration. The bright illustrative pictures not only draw in a child’s attention, but they also help translate the spoken word into a concrete meaning. When you say ‘Rhino’ and point to a picture of a rhino, you are helping your child make that connection.
  • Simple story structure. Obviously, your child probably does not have a long enough attention span to listen to a Dickens’ novel read aloud. However, I have also found that there are many children’s books that have no story structure at all. Not only is this extremely boring for you (flipping through pages of seemingly uncorrelated material), exposing your child to simple story telling is beneficial for their literary and cognitive development. They can begin to expand their understanding of cause-and-effect relationships and literary skills through exposure to simple stories.
  • Interactive Books. Having an interactive component (like a flap to lift, door to slide, or texture to feel), helps with keeping your child engaged and enjoying reading time. It also makes it feel more like you are reading with your child not at your child. Even for books without interactive components, I like to give my daughter a chance to turn the page to keep her involved.

My personal favorite books for my one-year-old:

  1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Such a beautifully illustrated classic that everyone should own. This is also my daughter’s favorite. The story of a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly with exposure to counting, fruits and foods, and a simple narrative to follow.
  2. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. Another classic, this one is a lift-the-flap book about the various animals a zoo sends until they land on the perfect one. Kids will enjoy lifting the flap to discover what animal comes next.
  3. The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen. My personal favorite, and a relatively new book compared with the others on this list. It’s the story of one sad fish and his journey to discover his true nature. This one is easy to read, full of fun characters to make up voices for and funny fish sounds.
  4. Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina. As the book indicates, this one is ‘A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys, and Their Monkey Business’. Another classic that is fun and easy to read with colorful pictures. My daughter laughs every time at the monkeys’ responses in this book.
  5. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees. A story of Gerald the giraffe who only wants to join in on the jungle dance with all the other animals. A fun story full of animals and inspiration for teaching your child to be true to themselves.
  6. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry. This one is the story of a friendly little blue truck and the rewards of friendships. Full of animal noises, colorful pictures, and beep-beeps, this one is sure to be a hit with your little one.
  7. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. Once again, a classic with beautiful illustrations. I love it for all the animals and colors (and animal noises you can make as your read it aloud) and for all the repetition it provides. 
  8. If I Were a Puppy by Jellycat. This one is a fun interactive one perfect for the child who loves puppies. It has a big tail hanging off of the book and is full of textured things for your child to touch and feel. This works well for younger babies too since it has a lot of bright contrasting colors that are easy for them to see.
  9. The Foot Book by Dr. Suess. No children’s book list would be complete without at least one from the great Dr. Suess. Many of them are geared towards slightly older children (either being too long, too many tongue twisters, or not available in a board book version); however, this one is short and sweet and packed with rhymes and repetition.
  10. Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton. If you haven’t heard this sung aloud, you will definitely need to before reading the book. We have so much fun reading/singing this one together, and my daughter loves it. Again, if your child has a love for puppies, this is a must have for them.

Thanks for stopping by. Let me know in the comments if any of these are your favorites too? What other favorites did I miss?

3 thoughts on “Top 10 Books for your one-year-old”

  1. Here are some we enjoy:
    * Llama Llama Red Pajama
    * Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
    * Steam Train, Dream Train

    1. Thanks! We have a variant of Llama Llama, but that reminds me I should get the original. I haven’t heard of the third one, so I’ll be sure to check it out 🙂

  2. Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

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