We just love reading to our kids and it’s important that you start early, from black and white board books to ones that you can connect with their favourite nursery rhymes. But, with so many choices it can be difficult to pick the best. So we’ve put together our list of Best Books for 1 Year-Olds to help you navigate the book store and find books that you and they will love to read time and time again as well as some top tips for reading aloud and making books accessible for them.
What makes a good book for 1-year-olds
When we looked at books to get and read with our 12 – 24 month old we looked to fulfil 2 different times of the day.
Books to Read Throughout the Day
To encourage a love of reading it’s important that books are easily available for your little ones to handle, flick through and enjoy.
So we kept a book basket in the room we spent our time in and filled it with sturdy, interactive, sensory books that our little one could take out and “read” to themselves or bring us to read throughout the day.
The book basket started off life as a cardboard box but then we got creative and made our own book basket/box that the kids knew was theirs and it was well used and always filled with books at the start and after tidy-up time.
But, what you use is up to you. A basket, a box, or even a shelf that they can reach that you can fill with fun books to enjoy.
We kept different books for bedtime stories, although often books from the book basket would be requested the bedtime books.
These were often longer stories, paperback or hardback books instead of board books and had more words. Still with beautiful illustrations they were picked so that we could snuggle together and explore the pages at quiet time before sleep.
Some of these still remain in our book collection today whereas the day time books have made their way, well-loved, to younger cousins and friends with toddlers.
How to Pick Great Books for your 1 Year Old
Although we’ve provided a list below and try and add some new books to it as we see them it’s just a pick of the best there are plenty more and just because it’s not on the list it doesn’t mean it won’t be good. You can check out our book lists for toddlers for more ideas on specific topics and themes.
If you are hunting then here’s a few tips that we look for:
- Sturdy Books ~ if the books are there for your child to “read” to themselves then make sure they are sturdy. Board books are great and those with thicker pages.
- Bright and Colourful ~ whereas your books for your newborn were black and white now is the time for vibrant colours and images.
- Books with Rhymes or Rhythms ~ reading books with rhymes and rhythms just like singing nursery rhymes and songs helps your toddler to develop language skills for writing later on.
If you read a lot about books for your babies, toddlers, and preschoolers you’ll find that opinions differ on whether to include books on favourite characters from TV shows, movies, etc…
We are of the opinion here at Rainy Day Mum that these are fine, but shouldn’t make up the majority of your books instead take books on topics that interest your toddlers, classic fairy tales, stories that feed the imagination and add a sprinkle of the other ones.
How to Read with your 1 Year Old
It’s easy for us to say that books are important and we should read daily at least once, but from experience sometimes it can be like wrestling with an octopus and sitting with a troop of howler monkeys so how can you get your little one to read with you?
It’s time to make it fun, especially when the books are brought to you during the day. Make silly noises, act out bits and ask your little one questions about what they can see on the pages.
We’ve got more information in our tips for reading with babies and toddlers for you.
Top Books for 12 – 24 month olds
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- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? by Bill Martin and Eric Carle
- Where’s Spot by Eric Hill
- Goodnight Moon by Margret Wise Brown
- Moo Baa La La by Sandra Boynton
- First 100 Words
- Dear Zoo by Rob Campbell
- We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
- Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
- Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
- The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
- Peek A Who by Nina Laden
- Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman
- Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, teacher, mum, and home educator from the UK. She loves getting creative, whether it is with simple and easy crafts and ideas, activities to make learning fun, or delicious recipes that you and your kids can cook together you'll find them all shared here on Rainy Day Mum.