There are tons of baby books for the first year, but what are the best books for 1-year-olds and how to choose the most suitable for your baby’s first library? In general, children who are read to from an early age do better when they get to school. Learning baby rhymes and very short stories for kids together will give them a flying start in life! These are the major benefits of reading to children, but there is certainly more to that.
But doing better in school is not the most important point among them all. Reading to a toddler is, indeed, the most incredible paid-off activity because it enhances your child’s language skills, develops all mother-tongue languages at once, improves imagination of creating new stories, characters, and even learns to dream. I can’t stress out more about the importance of reading, especially if you read aloud to toddlers.
Check the age-by-age guide to reading to your baby, including the benefits of reading to children and toddlers.
Choosing the best books for 1 year old is a very pleasant and interesting task. As a trilingual family, we have prepared for you an amazing selection of books in three different languages for different age groups.
- Black and white books for newborns + FREE printables of black and white pictures for babies
- Best books for 1-year-olds (see the selection is below)
- Best books for 2-year-olds
- Russian children’s books (available on order)
- Spanish children’s books
15+ Best Baby Books for First Year: Popular Classic Children’s Books You Should Read to Your Baby up to One Year of Age (0-12m)
It is important to note that all age groups are different and unique. So, when choosing board books for one-year-olds, keep in mind a few things:
- How old is your baby?
- What does your routine look like?
- What does she like doing the most? Does she like listening to music, touching different textures and surfaces, or looking at pictures?
Babies from birth up to one year of age are quite different from the toddlers who reached two years. They just start their journey in this world, and it is important to support them in every step, such as build an understanding of the world’s environment and their own body.
Check our special post on the benefits of black and white visual stimulation for babies.
Tip: because babies this age tend to be hard on their playthings, stick mostly to board books for toddlers, which can take rough handling and even chewing. Cloth or vinyl books are good too, though turning the pages can be trickier for a baby.
Six months to twelve months (6-12)
Up to one year of age, your baby may start producing some noises, including animal sounds, and even pronouncing the most common words that he hears in the daily life, such as “mommy”, “daddy”, “milk”, etc.
The best books for one year olds are the books with one object, person, or action. Your baby will learn new words, enhance his vocabulary, and repeat the actions that are in the book.
It is important to consider books for babies with little or no text and high-contrast pictures. Consider additional interactive accessories, such as mirrors or puppets.
Reading for infants at this stage is more about hearing the tone of your voice and receiving lots of cuddles.
Twelve months to eighteen months (12-18)
Now you can begin to introduce books with a sentence to five per page. At this stage, your toddler won’t be able to patiently sit on a lap and listen to the whole story if it is long. This is more time for fun and pretend. The sillier you are while acting out the story, the better. For instance, if you’re reading about animals, make animal noises. Your baby will think it’s really funny. Sooner or later, he will “moo” or “baa” back to you and you’ll be ready to fall off the couch laughing.
It is a good idea to start asking questions to your baby, such as
- What does the cow say?
- Where is the sheep?
- Do you see the cat?
- Where is your nose?
Later on, when your child is able to respond in one word, ask what this object or person is. If you get an answer, expand his vocabulary by adding some features to this object, for example,
- “What is this?”
- “Yes, it is a big blue elephant. He has big ears and a long trunk.”
Eighteen months to twenty-four months (18-24)
Many toddlers find the familiar routine of reading reassuring and calming. The same goes for familiar books. This helps explain why, starting at about 18 months, children may ask for the same book repeatedly. Experts think it helps children make sense of and then remember new words.
1. Lamaze Peek-A-Boo Forest Soft Book
Peek-a-Boo Forest is an interactive soft story book that allows your little explorer to learn about different animals that live in the forest. This baby book has durable pages with soft peek-a-boo flaps that are easy for little fingers to open and close, promoting hand-eye coordination.
Lamaze has an extensive selection which I like the most. Compare the table below and choose the one you like the most.
- very good size for babies,
- very colourful and bright images,
- a handle for easy carry-on hanging,
- no sharp edges provide additional safety,
- each page has a flap to uncover the hidden images and crinkle sound.
2. Old Macdonald: A Hand-Puppet Board Book
This was my son’s favourite for almost three years, primarily because the “Old Macdonald” rhymetime hit all the records. But also, because it has tiny puppets that you put on each of your fingers. Here are the major advantages:
- Lots of fun playing and learning animals and their sounds;
- Baby teething lifesaver;
- Works as a dummy;
- Teaches to create stories;
- Used for tickling.
3. Vtech Musical Rhymes Book
You will never lose by getting this fantastic book at your home. This musical book is perfect for baby rhyme time and is completely safe for babies. Plus, as VTech specializes in tech sounds, this product features 6 playful rhymes, melodies, sounds, and cheerful phrases. It will require two AAA batteries, and it takes ages to use one set. My son is 30 months old and we still haven’t changed the battery once.
4. First 100 Board Book Set
This set of three sturdy board books are best books to read to baby of one year of age. Only three words to say:
They provide a set of 100 animals, 100 words, colours, shapes, and numbers. This set will serve you throughout the years of your child’s growth.
5. A Baby-Sized Introduction to Speaking with Sign Language Board Book
Among all the best books for 1-year-olds, this is a brilliant idea to combine sign language with amazing pictures and the most common words during a baby’s first year of life. It introduces such words as “mommy”, “daddy”, “milk”, “diaper”, etc. to show your baby another great of communication and let you understand better her needs, wants and feelings. It even helps her make basic observations with a simple gesture.
Studies show that babies who use sign language feel less frustrated, throw fewer tantrums, and often learn to talk more easily. Just point to a sign in the book, say the word while making the sign, and the baby will soon be signing.
6. If Animals Kissed Good Night Board Book
This is a bedtime story that is perfect for your one-year-old baby. It introduces a lot of animals and their sounds in a variety of settings. What I like the best about this book that it is structured in a rhyme, so your baby soon is able to recite this book.
It also has a great collection:
7. You Are My Sunshine Board Book
It is a very cute and shiny book lovingly illustrated with a foil cover. The bestselling artist from “I love you through and through”, this is the first of her new three-book song series. “You are my sunshine” has become well-known and well-loved by parents and children everywhere. This author, indeed, has the best stories for kids.
8. I Love You Through and Through Board Book
A bestseller of an amazing artist, Caroline Jayne Church, it is a rhyming story of unconditional love and adorable illustrations of a toddler and a teddy bear who declares “I love you through and through!”
This book introduces a variety of emotions and the baby’s feelings, such as happiness, sadness, madness, and more.
You can view this author’s greatest selection here.
9. Toes, Ears, & Nose! A Lift-the-Flap Board Book
I absolutely love and highly recommend this book collection from Karen Katz. The best about it is that you can peek under the flaps of clothing to find out what’s underneath and play this fun peekaboo book.
In this series, your baby can discover knees, toes, elbows, and more.
10. Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? A Lift-the-Flap Board Book
This is another great book from Karen Katz’s collection. It is made from very sturdy material and hard to be torn at an early stage. This book goes further and offers different sceneries with animals introducing prepositions, for example, the baby’s feet are behind the cat.
Also, this one is absolutely amazing for your child
11. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Board Book
This board book pictures a variety of animals, such as a yellow duck, brown bear, blue horse, black sheep, goldfish, and more introducing a question “What do you see?” The best feature about this book is that some of the pages contain little windows that you can open and see the animal that looks at you, which is ultimately a lot of fun for kids.
12. Moo Baa La La La Board Book
“Cow says Moo
Sheep says BAA
Three singing pigs say La La La
No, No, you say, that isn’t right
Pigs say Oink! all day and night!”
The text is simple, and the pictures are pleasing. It may seem at first that this book is to easy for your child, but the simpler it is the more attractive it is for a baby. This book contains rhymes that help a lot to memorize and play with the content. My son and I have read this book hundreds of times. If he was upset in the car we would start “reading” without the book. He would instantly simmer down and start filling in the animal sounds.
13. See, Touch, Feel: A First Sensory Book
This is book is an absolutely must-have. It has so much to offer for your baby, it seems the artist of the book thought of everything to entertain a little man. There is a drum, a mirror, interesting paint texture, a feel of raindrops and so much more.
One important thing, it helps to keep your baby’s attention trying different textures, so she doesn’t even want to turn the page until she has enough of the page she is on. This book makes your child want to explore and read books even more.
14. Peek-A Who? Board Book
This book is just a lot of fun. The colours, the cut-out peekaboo pages, the rhyming – it is all there. The book does peek a who (owl), boo (little booger coloured ghost), zoo (a group of animals including zebra, penguin, toucan, giraffe, and elephant), choo choo (train), and you (mirror).
Colourful pictures and simple rhyming texts help children guess what’s peeking through the die-cut windows in this fun board book. They love it a lot!
15. Mama Loves You So Board Book
I would like to finish our book selection for babies up to one year of age with an amazing book called “Mama Loves You So”. Not only it has absolutely loving and fantastic sceneries and pictures of animals, but this book also has a great story that is dedicated to all moms.
Enjoy your time together reading a book!
Do you have a more interesting book to offer? Share with us in the comments below!
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Also, check out:
- Black and White Baby Books: The 10 Best Books to Read to Baby in the First Year.
- 30+ Best Books for 2-Year-Olds and 3-year-olds (24-48).
- 60 + Best Stories for Kids: Where to Buy Russian Children’s Books.
- The Importance of Reading to Your Child, Toddler, and Baby – Why?When?How?
- 13 Benefits of Reading to Children and Toddlers: Age-by-age Guide to Reading to Your Baby.
- 25+ Perfect Indoor Activities For Babies And Toddlers.
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