Check out our recommendation for the best books for a 1 year old. We include a variety of our favorite board books we have enjoyed with our toddlers that make great gifts and can help build your home library.
Best Books for Toddlers
I’m taking a step away from the kitchen today and instead of sharing my favorite recipes, I just had to take moment to share our list of Best Books for 1 Year Olds. We love reading in our house and have a huge home library of board books for our twin toddlers who just turned two.
I have mistakenly bought some not-so-great books and want to help you avoid doing the same. This list is a great collection of over 65 titles that we think are the best books for toddlers.
When it comes to determining the best books for a 1 year old, different people will have different metrics. My definition of the best books are the ones that our toddlers enjoy reading! A book is no good if a child doesn’t like it and I have noticed some patterns in what the kids enjoy in books and what they don’t. Books with flaps and textures for example, are always a big hit with toddlers.
Favorite Board Books
In my opinion, the best books for 1 year olds are always board books. It is non-negotiable in my experience. They are just so young and don’t understand the consequences of ripping pages at that age. I found that I could be much more relaxed with allowing our home library to be fully explored by the toddlers if it was comprised of board books.
This is yet another reason why I like buying books at this age as opposed to renting from the library. While it is disappointing if they damage our book, it’s not the same guilt as wrecking a Library book!
Loaning VS. Buying Board Books
While searching out the best board books for my 1 year olds, we took a few trips to the Library. It was a fun outing and we would loan a few books. This is a great activity for toddlers and is great for anyone who can’t afford to buy new books.
There is something to be said for owning books though. Studies have shown the benefits to having home libraries in adolescence. Books make fantastic gifts as well if you are tired of drowning in toys or don’t want to gift sugary candy for holidays like Valentine’s Day or Easter.
If costs are a concern, I highly recommend going on eBay and looking for used titles. There are tons of dirt cheap books you can buy at a fraction of the price of new.
Whether you live too far from the Library, want to grow your library or you are looking to buy a young toddler in your life a book, we have got you covered with some amazing board book recommendations!
Best Board Books for 1 Year Old
Little Blue Truck board book
This is our absolute favorite book in our entire collection of board books. It tells such a great story with kid's favorite farm animals! We received this at our baby shower and have subsequently gifted it to other expecting mothers.
Have You Ever Tickled a Tiger?
This is a fun book with an easy story told with touch and feel pages.
Night Night Farm
One of our favorite bedtime stories! This book has is a great nighttime story with the last page having glow in the dark stars.
Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book
This book is a very easy story with little text. Each page has a fold out with a different animal. It's a great book for learning animals.
Poke-A-Dot: Old Macdonald’s Farm
These Poke-A-Dot books from Melissa & Doug are a favorite with every toddler I know. My sister and I often gift them and the kids love poking all the dots on each page. They come in a variety of themes for whatever your child is interested in.
This is a sweet book we received last Valentine's Day from Grandma. My kids still love this book and request it often.
I Thought I Saw a Dinosaur!
A very simple book with sturdy cardboard push and pull elements. My twins continue to beg for this book every night and have only managed to ruin one of the pull outs.
Where O Where Is Huggle Bear?
Another regular request at bedtime, "Hugga Bugga Bear" is very loved in our house. Not only do I love hearing my toddlers say it over and over, it's a great read for little ones too!
That's Not My Unicorn
'That's Not My' books from Usbore are a toddler favorite with their fun textures and simple stories. This Unicorn book was my daughter's favorite.
That's Not My Tractor
Not to be cliche, but while my girl loved her Unicorn book, my son was obsessed with this Tractor book in the 'That's Not My' series.
Oh, Baby! Go, Baby!
This book was one of our first from the Dr. Seuss Nursery Collection and it is very cute. We continued collecting more of the collection after this purchase. Dr. Suess is always a great bet for books, but this particular collection is great with all the
This sweet book was gifted to my children on Easter and it has been a big favorite. My kids are obsessed with their Grandma, so they love this book.
After receiving Grandma Kisses and loving it, naturally we had to get Grandpa Hugs. My kids actually tend to favor this book over the Grandma version.
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
This book has far more text than most board books aimed at toddlers. When they were really little, they wouldn't sit through most books with this much text, but this one was the exception. Their love for machinery combined with a good story made this one a big hit.
Steam Train, Dream Train
A nice simple book great for learning colors!
Re-Versed Rhymes: 4-Title Collection
I absolute love the Re-Versed books. They tell our classic stories and songs with additional context for a good length story. You can buy them individually or grab four of them in this great pack. Each and every one is requested often from my kids.
Dr. Seuss's Sleep Softly Book
Another great Dr. Seuss book in their Nursery collection with textures and elements for the children to interact with. The soft felt blanket that covers the child in the bed is especially cute.
The Pout-Pout Fish
This book was gifted to us at our shower from someone who loved the book themselves. It had a great rhyming story that is fun and easy to read.
Peas on Earth
This cute book tells a simple story about getting along with a fun popup at the end of the book.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Who doesn't remember this classic book from their childhood?! It is a great gift for a toddler in boar book version.
Giraffes Can't Dance
This book is a little heavy on text for a young one year old, but around 18 months my children really started enjoying the book. I love the story and message it has about being your own unique self.
Hush, Little Baby
This is another great Re-versed Rhymes with the classic Hush Little Baby story. It has beautiful and sweet illustrations that go along with the good story.
Wet Pet, Dry Pet, Your Pet, My Pet
This was our first book from the Dr. Seuss Nursery Collection and what got us hooked on their great stories with textures and elements. We have been enjoying this book since about 6 months.
My kids have so much fun with the interactive shark bite on each page. They love to pretend they are getting their fingers bitten by the shark. A nice simple story with a a fun element.
Never Touch a Spider
There are countless versions of the 'Never Touch A' books and they are all great. We own the Spider version and I really like the story that goes with the great rubber textures on each page.
Huggy the Python Hugs Too Hard
This book tells a great story about a python that has to learn how to be gentle and give appropriate hugs so no one gets hurt. Its a fun little story with a great message.
Tinyville Town: I'm a Firefighter
This book has very little text, telling the story of a firefighter who helps put out a fire at a bakery. It has lots of detailed illustrations that are great for talking about what is going on in the story.
I'm a Veterinarian (A Tinyville Town Book)
A nice little story about Firefighter Charlie's dog (from the other Tinyville Town book) who accidentally eats something and needs a simple operation. It shows what a simple day in the life of a Veterinarian looks like.
When God Made You
If you have someone religious in your life, this book is an absolute must. It is an amazing story with gorgeous illustrations!
Busy Bug Book
This is a big book and offers trails on each page for the wind up ladybug to follow. It doesn't have much of a story, but it is a well loved book in our home for the fun interactive element!
That's Not My Zebra's Colors
This is a nice book with a simple story that helps young children learn their colors.
This book comes with a reusable band aid that you can stick on the bear's ouchie throughout the story to make him feel better. It is so adorable and kids love it!
B Is For Bedtime
This book isn't actually a board book, but it has thick laminated like pages that hold up very well. It is a cute story that goes through the alphabet to help introduce children to letters.
This is a fun and exciting little story about Nibbles who eats through each page, with holes in each page for his bite marks, as you count up to 10.
Little Bear Needs Glasses
Another great book from Usborne like All Better. It comes with 5 pairs of reusable sticky glasses that you place on the correct animals throughout the story. My twins fought constantly over the glasses, but if you have one child, I highly recommend it! haha
I'm A Hungry Dinosaur
Both my son and daughter really like this book. It is a cute story about a Dinosaur who bakes a cake.
I Want To Be An Astronaut
This board book will grow with your child as it goes through different professions your child can grow up to be. My one year olds enjoyed the beautifully illustrated pages with each page that kept them engaged.
My Grandma and I
P.K Hallinan has quickly become one of my favorite authors for these great board books. I get them used on eBay super affordable and they tell the sweetest stories!
My Grandpa and I
Grandpa and his two grandchildren have a full day's worth of activities going to the beach, fishing, watching their favorite sports on TV and resting together. Such a wholesome story that I love.
Let's Be Polite
Another sweet story from P.K. Hallinan about manners. All of his books usually have some religious element incorporated into the story which is something to consider when picking your toddler books.
I Spy With My Little Eye
A fun story with animals that helps young children learn their colors.
Daniel Goes to the Potty
This is a novelty board book, which I'm usually not a fan of. I don't like books with tons of buttons and sounds, but this particular one is so loved by my kids. Daniel is one of their favorite characters and they love reading the story and "flushing the toilet".
The More We Get Together
This is a sing song book with the classic verse. It is simple and cute, like most Caroline Jayne Church books.
Blue Hat, Green Hat
I will admit story isn't a personal favorite of mine to read, but for some reason my kids just love it. Each page has an "oops!" and they loved yelling it out each time when they were young. It is also great for learning colors.
Ladybug Girl and Her Mama
This is a very short and simple story of Ladybug Girl and the day she spends with her mom. I really like all of the Ladybug short stories we have with this being our favorite of them.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
One of the first books we introduced to our toddlers to help them learn their colors. They absolutely loved it and quickly caught on to what animal was on the next page and would excitedly shout it out before I could turn the page.
Chick 'n' Pug
This is a goofy story and will grow with your child as they get older and understand ore of the humor. It was a fun reprieve for me to read a full story like this in board book form while they were very little.
All of the Sandra Boynton books are loved in our house and this is a fun nighttime story.
How to Bath Your Dinosaur
These 'How To' books from Usborne are a great series my kids still love. They come in a 4 pack, which I highly suggest.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
A Classic Eric Carle book with fun hole cutouts on the pages to represent the Caterpillar eating through the foods.
This was one of the only books we kept from our Literati boxes. While I wasn't a big fan of the service and it's costs, we loved this book enough to buy it. It has really cool acetate pages that, when turned, form a painting of an animal.
We love all of the Sesame Beginnings books in our house, but this ones is a particular favorite. The combination of Elmo and bubbles is unbeatable for my kids.
How To Brush Your Teeth With Snappy Croc
Another great book from the Usborne 'How To' series to remind kids about the importance of brushing with a cute story.
Night-Night, Little Pookie
A great Boynton book that is perfect for bedtime stories!
Mama Says Good Night
This book was gifted to us and it has more text than most toddler board books. I was surprised how quickly my children fell in love with it and it is still in regular rotation at bedtime.
First Stories: The Jungle Book
This abbreviated version of The Jungle Book is a great introduction to the story with fun push and pull elements to engage the kids.
How To Feed Your Monkey
A cute little story about a monkey and his bananas he gets everywhere.
Clap Your Hands
We received this book from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and it is amazing! My kids love clapping, stomping and moving along to the fun story.
The Wheels on the Bus
This Pudgy Board Book is a favorite with the classic story and sweet illustrations.
Ten Tiny Toes
A short and sweet story that helps kids learn their body parts.
I picked up this board book for my son who loves machinery and both of my kids fell in love with it. It's a great story with repetitive elements that the kids love to help shout out throughout the book.
Where Is Baby's Belly Button?
A fun Lift-the-Flap Book for young toddlers to learn their body parts.
Goodnight, I Love You
A short and sweet bedtime book perfect for toddlers.
Good Morning, Farm Friends
Another book we received from Imagination Library and absolutely love. It is a great story of the farm animals waking up for the day.
A super simple lift-the-flap book with a number on each page and an element underneath the flap with that mount. It's a great first book of numbers.
How to Tuck in Your Sleepy Lion
Another sweet bedtime book with a short story about a lion going to sleep.
Alison LaFortune says
Definitely bookmarking this for my nieces and nephews! So many good choices.
Thanks for compiling this great list! It was so very helpful!
Thanks for the great ideas! My toddler LOVES his pop button book. It will also be on our list for birthday gifts for anyone with a toddler! Thanks for the awesome list!
Malinda Linnebur says
Thank you for all these suggestions!! Putting them on my child’s birthday list for family members to give!