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Reading to your child is one of the best things you can do for their brain development, plus it's a fun way to spend some downtime together. Enjoying a good book can help them wind down for bed after a busy day of play and discovery, help pass the time in waiting rooms or keep them busy at the grocery store or in the car.
And it's never too early to start reading. One-year-olds are old enough to follow simple storylines, and it's the perfect age to start engaging them in books that help them learn about the world around them. Reading together can help them expand their spoken vocabulary and develop phonic and literacy skills like recognizing the alphabet and that words are made up of certain sounds and letters.
As they reach one to two years old, your child may start to be able to recognize familiar pictures in books and be able to respond when you ask, "Where is the cow?" or, "Show me the square!" Around that same age range, they'll probably begin to have favorite children books and want you to read them over (and over, and over) again.
Below you'll find the best books for one-year-olds, including baby board books with sturdy pages that will help little fingers develop fine motor skills, flap reveals to surprise and delight, and touch and feel reads.
I'm Still Up! by Antoinette Portis
Parents, you'll recognize the story behind this picture-perfect board book. Everyone in the house is sleepy, so baby must be too. Right? Right?! It's as hilariously accurate as it is cute.
My Party, Mi Fiesta: A Coco Rocho Book by Raúl the Third III
This bilingual board book centers around a first birthday party, so it's the perfect introduction to the concept for little readers. It's also a great way to start teaching both English and Spanish grammar.
Sunrise Dance by Serena Gingold Allen
Durable interactive components, like a wheel to turn and tabs to pull, make this quiet story about how animals start their day a nice way to begin yours, too.
Me and My Mama: Celebrate Black Joy and Family Love by Carole Boston Weatherford
Celebrate the unique bond between mother and child with this rhyming board book that's sweet but not saccharine. Colorful crayon-style illustrations accompany the story.
Roar! I’m a Dinosaur by Merrill Rainey
This fun board book does double duty as a mask for a reading adventure that will have your little one in stitches. It also features facts about dinosaur species as your kiddo develops a seemingly-inevitable interest in the prehistoric.
A Bedtime Hug for You! by Samantha Sweeney
With soft arms toddlers can cuddle while you read, the structure of this bedtime board book is as comforting as the story it tells.
Where Is Baby's Belly Button? by Karen Katz
Teach your toddler their body parts with this engaging lift-the-flap book. With thick pages and flaps that are easy to lift for little fingers, this book won't fall apart if they get a little overexcited.
Crinkle, Crinkle, Little Car by Jay Fleck
Make reading a tactile experience with this space-age twist on "twinkle twinkle, little star." After your little one enjoys the main character's crinkly body, the car's facial expressions can help them learn to recognize emotions.
First 100 Words: A Padded Board Book by Roger Priddy
An oldie but a goodie, this padded version of the classic has lots of words and pictures to help your little one begin to put them together.
Cat's First Baby by Natalie Nelson
This purr-fectly adorable book is great for the feline fans among us. Kids who live with cats will love that this story is told from the kitty's perspective.
Corduroy by Don Freeman
You may remember Corduroy from your own childhood, so carry on the engaging storytime tradition with your own little one. When you're done with this one, shop the other 28 Corduroy stories.
Paper Peek: Alphabet by Chihiro Takeuchi
Not all alphabet books are created equal, and we like this one because it harnesses — and encourages — your child's powers of observation while introducing new letters three at a time.
Hear Bear Roar By Eric Carle
Enter the gorgeous, fanciful world of picture book master Eric Carle with this gem that has 30 animal sound buttons for your kiddo to push. It's not the quietest book, but it sure is cute.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
If your child's library doesn't already include this bedtime classic, go for the board version so they can interact with themselves.
The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
Come for that fish's grin-inducing pout, stay for the lesson about feelings. It's perfect for introducing toddlers to how emotions can impact others.
Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Rod Campbell
Animal-lovers will have a blast lifting the flaps to reveal an array of zoo animals in this classic book that's been on toddler shelves since 1982.
Where's Spot? by Eric Hill
Spot is a celebrity in the toddler world, so if you don't already have this one on your bookshelf, it's the perfect addition. It's been a bestseller for decades, and it won't take you long to see why.
Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae
Teach your toddler that they can do anything they set their mind to with this colorful and inspiring board book about a giraffe who just wants to dance.
I Love You to the Moon and Back by Amelia Hepworth
A touching story, beautiful illustrations and customizable pages at the beginning make this a wonderful addition to your own collection or a great gift for a special one-year-old.
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
One of my earliest memories is of my mom getting choked up as she read this emotional book. It's a must-have for any toddler's library, even — or especially — because it hits parents right in the feels.
What kind of books are good for a 1-year-old?
At this age, your child will be able to follow simple storylines, so it's the perfect age for books that help them learn about the world while strengthening their vocabulary and early literacy like recognizing that the letters of the alphabet form words that correspond with pictures.
How do I choose a book for my 1-year-old?
At this age, your kiddo will start to have favorite books, so if they already gravitate toward a particular subject or style (like dinosaurs or touch-and-feel), start there. Also think about little hands: If you want them to start reading on their own, look for board books with sturdy pages, so they don't rip them as they work on their fine motor skills.
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