18 Perfect Books For 1 Year Olds

Rosanna Robertson
Dec 12, 2023 By Rosanna Robertson
Originally Published on Jul 31, 2020
Mum reading a book to 1-year-old.

We have gathered a list of 18 of the best books for one-year-olds, an age when kids are delighted by storybooks and picture books alike.

From the age of 0 - 12 months, babies typically begin to respond to the stories they hear as well as interacting with the pictures and pages of a book.

From the age of one, babies begin to name familiar items that they recognise, answer questions about what they have seen and, at this stage, many 1-year-olds also enjoy turning the pages in the book themselves.

Introducing books to very young children is a great way to instil a love of reading, which is sure to bring hours of joy to your little one for many years to come.

Elmer By David McKee

One of the most beloved children's books for 1 to 2-year-olds, Elmer is the story of an elephant who is born with skin that is a patchwork of bright colours.

Everybody loves Elmer for his fun and happy spirit, but he doesn't always like being different from all the other elephants, and so he tries to disguise himself in grey mud... 1-year-olds are sure to love the charming, colourful illustrations, as well as the cheerful and optimistic storyline.

Cover of 'Elmer the Patchwork Elephant' by David McKee.

Image © Elmer Press

Goodnight Moon By Margaret Wise Brown

One of the most well-loved books for 1-2-year-old children, Goodnight Moon is the perfect bedtime storyfor your baby. Combining lovely illustrations with calming poetry, the story follows a little bunny as he says goodnight to all the things he can see from his bed. A gentle children's book that has the same effect as a night-time lullaby.

Image © Harper Collins

Little Blue Truck By Alice Schertle

This story focuses on being friendly and kind, and the rhyming, rhythmic words make it a fun and exciting read for your little one. There are lots of things for a baby to learn, such as big and small, as well as different colours and animals.

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle book cover.

Image © HMH Books

Yummy! My Favourite Nursery Stories By Lucy Cousins

With amazing, bold illustrations, Lucy Cousins brings classic nursery stories up-to-date in this vibrant picture book. A great way to introduce your 1-year-old to all of the best-known and well-loved children's stories, including Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Little Red Riding Hood, as well as many others.

Yummy! My Favourite Nursery Stories by Lucy Cousins book cover.

Image © Walker Books

Madeline By Ludwig Bemelmans

The rhyming words of this lovely story are perfect for a very young baby, as they are sure to love listening to the sing-song story as it follows a little girl called Madeline. Although Madeline gets appendicitis and needs surgery, the text is written as a  cheering, rhyming song, which your baby is sure to enjoy.

lovely story are perfect for a very young baby

Image © Viking Press Inc

All Join In By Quentin Blake

The pages of this book are filled with Quentin Blake's delightful drawings, along with simple rhymes that are perfect for one-year-olds. The book encourages young readers to make some noise and to interact with the rhymes and stories - so it's perhaps not the best choice for bedtimes, but a great choice otherwise.

Image © Red Fox

First 100 Words By Roger Priddy

A brightly coloured board book with just 16 pages, this simple book is designed to help very young kids from the age of one to build their vocabulary and knowledge.

The book has 100 everyday words, which are illustrated with clear, colour photographs, making it a great choice for parents who want a book that is both educational and fun.

First 100 Words by Roger Priddy.

Image © Priddy Books

We're Going On A Bear Hunt By Michael Rosen And Helen Oxenbury

This book follows a family as they travel through different landscapes hoping to find a bear. With lots of people, animals and other objects on each page, this is one of Rosen's books for a 1-year-old baby that offers plenty to look at and learn.

different landscapes hoping to find a bear

Image © Walker Books

Peek-A-Boo! By Jan Ormerod

A beautiful baby book about one of their all-time favourite games: peek-a-boo! Each page has a drawing of a baby playing the game, with babies from countries all around the world.

A simple but fun pull-down flap reveals each of their smiling faces, and the book is a lovely choice for babies of this age thanks to the heart-warming drawings that show babies from a variety of different backgrounds.

Peek-A-Boo! by Jan Ormerod book cover.

Image © Dutton Books

Where The Wild Things Are By Maurice Sendak

This enchanting book has become a firm favourite amongst kids of every age, and it has even been turned into a delightful family film. The story follows Max, a wild little boy, who is sent to bed one night without his dinner; Max runs away, sailing off to the Land of the Wild Things, where he is made king.

This adventure book is one of the best books for 1-2-year-olds, which will stay in their bookshelves for many years to come.

Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak book cover.

Image © Red Fox

Each Peach Pear Plum By Janet And Allan Ahlberg

First published in 1978, this book has stood the test of time, entertaining babies with beautiful pictures and fun poems and rhymes. Babies will love playing 'I spy' on each page, listening to the poem and finding the character within the illustration.

One of the most brilliant books for a baby or young child, the drawings are full of rich detail and the book is populated with lovely characters and a hopeful, happy outlook.

the book is populated with lovely characters

Image © Puffin

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

Full of lovely animals, the amazing illustrations in this book are by Eric Carle, of The Very Hungry Caterpillar fame, which are combined with a singsong story. Sure to become a favourite with your baby.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr book cover.

Image © Puffin

The Very Hungry Caterpillar By Eric Carle

A true classic for very young readers, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is the story of a small but greedy creature, who eats his way through lots of different fruits, before finally transforming into a beautiful butterfly. Available in paperback, hardback, board or giant board books, there is an edition that is suitable for kids of every age.

The book is inspired by nature, and its simple story and charming illustrations are guaranteed to make it a firm favourite with your baby.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle book cover.

Image © Puffin

Guess How Much I Love You By Sam McBratney

A lovely, gentle story that describes the love between a father and son. Little Nutbrown Hare and his dad, Big Nutbrown Hare, compete to show each other how much they love one another.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney.

Image © Walker Books

Dear Zoo: A Lift-The-Flap Book By Rod Campbell

This popular lift-the-flap book is based on a lovely story that follows one child as they receive a new pet animal from the zoo. Each page has a new animal to discover, and this book has stood the test of time, having been published more than 25 years ago.

Dear Zoo: A Lift-The-Flap Book by Rod Campbell book cover.

Image © Macmillan Children's Books

Ten Little Fingers And Ten Little Toes By Mem Fox

Designed with very young children in mind, this book has rhyming text that your young ones will want to hear over and over again. With lovely watercolour illustrations, this book celebrates your baby's tiny fingers and cute toes.

Ten Little Fingers And Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox book cover.

Image © Walker Books

Good Night, Gorilla By Peggy Rathmann

A colourful, bright board book that focuses on the illustrations, with very few words and no 'story' per se. There are a few speech bubbles throughout, but children can follow the story through the pictures, watching as lots of animals try to escape from the zoo.

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann book cover.

Image © Egmont

The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton

One of the best books young children will read about going to bed, this is sure to become a family favourite thanks to its humorous tone and fun illustrations. This sturdy board book is a brilliant bedtime story, that is filled with lovely illustrations which are also created by the author.

The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton book cover.

Image © RealSimple.com

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Written by Rosanna Robertson

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Fine Art

Rosanna Robertson picture

Rosanna RobertsonBachelor of Arts specializing in Fine Art

Rosanna is a creative and enthusiastic individual who enjoys finding ways to entertain kids through art and crafts, games, and cooking. With a Bachelor's degree in Fine Art from the Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, she brings a unique perspective to her projects, making them both colorful and educational. She is always full of ideas for homemade cards, handcrafted gifts, toys, and decorations that are perfect for children of all ages.

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