The 16 Best Books For Your 1 Year Old To Nurture Their Minds

By Paula McLaren •  Updated: 04/09/21 •  16 min read

The world is FULL of amazing, beautiful and wonderful baby books! Right? Well… how can you even begin to decide which are the best books for 1 year old toddlers then?!

Amazon reviews? Potluck? Well, in my experience… The best books for 1 year old babies always come from RECOMMENDATIONS.

A tried and tested book from a trusted friend, family member or expert will ALWAYS give you the best unbiased advice!

And that’s what I’ve created for you in this article…

No nonsense. No sales pitch. Just my honest nanny and motherhood tried and tested book recommendations so you can choose the best books for your little one to nurture their minds and love of books.

So let’s get right on into it!

When To Start Reading To Baby

When I get asked about when to start reading to baby, my response is always the same… 

“It is never too early to introduce your baby to the wondrous world of books!”

Even newborns can begin to look at books. From the moment they are born you can start sharing this bonding activity with your little one with books from your baby registry.

Reading books with your 1 year old will provide endless developmental opportunities and there is nothing nicer than snuggling up with your little one to look at a book together!

I would say that nurturing a love for books is one of the greatest gifts you can give your 1 year old and it should feature in your daily routine, such as quiet times and at bedtime!

Remember that when you read a book to your little one their brains are absorbing it all! From the words that you speak, to the colours, patterns and pictures they see.

By 1 year old, your baby will have developed a love of books and you can teach them so much by choosing the right ones for them at this stage in their development.

Make books easily accessible for your baby so that they can read ones that cannot be destroyed! Take books with you when you are travelling or out & about.

As a source of entertainment when your little one is bored, they are a far more preferable over than a phone or tablet.

How To Read Books To Your 1 Year Old

If you have nurtured your little one’s love of books then reading to your 1 year old should be easy. They will associate reading with being close to you and having your undivided attention.

They will love to listen to you read and they will take in everything that you say. 

Fortunately, most of the classic and well loved books for young toddlers are available in board book form which is perfect for your 1 year old to enjoy with or without you.

The most important thing is to make book reading fun. Follow these simple tips to get the most out of reading time with your 1 year old!

What To Look For When Choosing The Best Books For 1 Year Old

The best books for this age group need to be robust, interactive and engaging. They should also be focusing on familiar words and everyday activities that they can relate to. 

They will love books that they can interact with by lifting flaps, pointing and looking for specific items on the page. Touch and feel books are also great for 1 year olds as well as books with rhyming text.

When choosing a great book for your 1 year old, consider the following:

16 Best Books For 1 Year Old Toddlers!

ROAR! By My Little World

What is it? This book has bright artwork, finger-holes, and a cheerful rhyming story that makes learning come alive!

Why do I recommend it? This is a great book for this age group with sturdy pages. It will hold your 1 year old’s attention with it’s bright coloured illustrations and opportunity to copy animal sounds.

Peek A Who? By Nina Laden

What is it? This is a brightly coloured board book filled with vibrant, happy images. Peek-a-Who! takes the most loved baby and toddler game and puts it in book form. The simple rhyming text helps baby guess who is peeking through the die-cut windows in this fun book.

Why do I recommend it? This book is perfect for 1 year olds with its sturdy pages & brightly coloured illustrations. Peek-A-Boo is a favourite game for this age group & Peek A Who cleverly uses this concept to offer a fun interactive book that your little one will return to again and again.

I Love You Through And Through By Caroline Jayne Church

What is it? This is a rhyming story about unconditional love between a toddler and a teddy who declare to each other… “I love you through and through!”

Why do I recommend it? This is a wonderful book for your 1 year old. It is very simple and has a straight forward message while teaching your little one about opposites too.

Moo Moo Baa La La La! By Sandra Boynton

What is it? This is a time old classic that has been around for 30 years, which is a testament to its appeal. Re-released with redrawn illustrations, this book full of silly rhymes and introduces babies to animal sounds in a unique way.

Why do I recommend it? Moo Moo Baa La La La is just the right length to keep your 1 year old engaged. It’s principle is simple… make it a fun book to share with your little one as they learn animal sounds and delight in the clever humour.

Pop-Up Peekaboo! By DK

What is it? This a charming brightly coloured book with rhyming text from the great Pop-Up Peekaboo range guaranteed to give you and your toddler lots of reading fun.

Why do I recommend it? 1 Year olds will delight in the bright colours and delightful pictures. Each page is dedicated to a colour with lift up flaps to reveal surprises underneath and encourage your toddler to be curious. The sturdy pages of this board book make the pages easy to turn and the rhyming text will keep your little one engaged!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar By Eric Carle

What is it? This timeless classic from Eric Carle with dye cut pages tells the story of a hungry caterpillar that eats its way through the days of the week.

Why do I recommend it? No children’s library would be complete without a copy of this all-time favourite! I have yet to come across a young child that is not drawn to this book again and again. Although there have been many more books in the hungry caterpillar story, to my mind you can’t beat this 2018 edition of the original board book, which is ideal for the very young.

Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? By Karen Katiz

What is it? Another great lift-the-flap book. Ideal for 1 year olds that teaches parts of the body in a fun way.

Why do I recommend it? It is a sturdy book with flaps that your little one can lift and handle with ease. This is also a great book for learning parts of the body and being able to interact and point at the pages will keep your toddler hooked!

Peepo! By Janet And Allan Ahlberg

What is it? This book takes your little one on a rhyming Peek-A-Boo journey, through the day in the life of a baby boy. With a series of holes peeping through to the next page, you get a glimpse of what is to come in the next stage of baby’s day.

Why do I recommend it? This book has become a classic for toddlers and parents. I love the wonderful illustrations that provide fun and promote investigation and your 1 year old will love to join in with a joyful ‘peepo’ at every turn of the page.

Never Touch A Dinosaur! By Make Believe Ideas

What is it? A dinosaur themed touch and feel board book

Why do I recommend it? Your 1 year old will love that this book says ‘don’t touch the dinosaur’ and then allow them to go on to touch it! I love the easy to read silly rhymes with touch and feel silicone on every page.

Where’s Spot? By Eric Hill

What is it? An all time classical favourite lift-the-flap book that is ideal for this 1 year olds.

Why do I recommend it? This is the perfect board book for one year olds and beyond. They will love to take part in the story lifting the flaps to see what lies beneath as they look for the elusive Spot. This will without doubt become a firm favourite that teaches the concepts or inside, underneath and so much more.

Counting Kisses By Karen Katiz

What is it? Another wonderful board book from Karen Katiz that teaches counting with the help of kisses.

Why do I recommend it? I love the fact that this book allows you to interact with your little one in such a wonderfully touching and bonding way. Your 1 year old will love to be kissed and this book has the added bonus of teaching simple counting too. It’s a charming book!

Dear Zoo By Rod Campbell

What is it? A perfect board book for little hands about zoo animals.

Why do I recommend it? This is another classic that all 1 year olds will love. It is the perfect size and sturdy enough to withstand toddler hands. They will love the lifting the flaps to reveal the animal surprise beneath.  I have loved this book for many years and so will your little one!

First 100 Words Board Book Set By Roger Priddy

What is it? A great trio of small chunky board books that will kick start your 1 year olds vocabulary.

Why do I recommend it? I love these books as they are an ideal size for little hands and are just perfect for building vocabulary and developing speech. They are great to be read alone or with you helping!

Goodnight Moon By Margaret Wise Brown

What is it? This charming book, tells the story of a little bunny who says goodnight to all the familiar things around him one by one.

Why do I recommend it? The subject matter, pace, rhythm and repetition of this book make it an ideal bedtime storybook for 1 year olds. I love this story, I think it’s a charming read for all children.

Guess How Much I Love You By Sam McBratney

What is it? This book comes in many forms from hardback, pop up, board book to soft and cuddly. Whichever you choose it is sure to be a hit with your little one for many years.

Why do I recommend it? This book was my son’s favourite as a child and I recently bought him the anniversary edition for him to keep and read to his own children one day. It has a simple message that your 1 year old will love now and in the future. For me, the message in this book that proves that love is not an easy thing to measure and it is very special.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? By Bill Martin Jr & Eric Carle

What is it? A lovely board book with bold illustrations that introduces your 1 year old to animals from North America as a baby bear looks for his mother.

Why do I recommend it? What I like most about this classic book is the easy to remember singsong  text and the simplicity of the story. It is an ideal book for young toddlers. They will love the bright bold colours and the repetitive easy to remember text.

Choosing The Best Of The Best!

Even narrowing down books for 1 year old toddlers down to 16 books… it can still be a lot!

So, here are my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE books for 1 year olds from this list: 

And there you have it! My 16 best books for 1 year old children!

If you enjoyed this post about the best books for 1 year old and know other parents who would enjoy this content, be sure to give it a share! 

Also, if you’re looking for any more books or products for your little one, head over to my Parenting Toolbox! It is full of all my top baby and toddler recommendations which I’ve tried to ensure are all non-toxic, eco friendly, sustainable and, of course, baby proof! 

So, do you have any blog recommendations that you’d like me to write about? Drop me an email [email protected] and let me know!

I love hearing from you! And as always, thank you for your continued support! 

Paula McLaren

Paul Mclaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and has been in the child care industry as a Norland Nanny since 1982. Since then, her mission has been to help parents become the best they can possibly be. And each year, she continues to help more families understand their child's development, the trials and joys of parenting and of course, how to care for their little ones.