I started researching books for 1 year olds when my son was still a newborn. Clearly, I was most excited about introducing my son to books over other things. But many classic book recommendations didn’t work for my son early on. I will try those again in the future. Until then I found some age-appropriate books for 1 year olds that became instant favorites of my son. Maybe this list and my experience with my son will help other new moms looking for recommendations.
At 12 months of age, most children are now trying to speak and books that showcase sounds and new words are very interesting to this age group. My son loved pointing out at different pictures in the book and asking us to name things. Reading books introduced him to names of animals, vehicles, colors, and different objects in his surroundings.
How to encourage reading in your 1 year old?
- Start by creating a separate corner dedicated to reading. We bought a bookshelf that was the same height as my son. Owning a corner in the house dedicated to reading creates an environment around reading books. We sit by his bookshelf in the mornings and he picks out books he would like us to read.
- Carry books with you wherever you go. To be honest I am slacking on this recently, but initially, I carried books wherever we went. Books for car rides, restaurants, vacations etc. Small board books work best on trips outside the house.
- Create a routine around reading. In the morning the first thing we do together is read a few books before moving on to breakfast and then some more reading at bedtime. Consistency with this routine helps a lot. It’s an amazing feeling when you enter a room and see your child sitting with his favorite books laid out on the bed waiting for Mumma to read them to him.
- Another habit we started in our home in order to create enthusiasm around books is asking my son to show his books to guests or friends who visit. It was a very simple gesture that I started more as a way to keep him engaged with guests while I worked in the kitchen. But he received this idea so well that now when we have guests at home he takes them to his bookshelf and asks to read his books.
Books for 1 year olds
- Usborne Touchy Feely Diggers
This is a touch and feel book with pictures of different diggers. A great book to introduce vehicles other than cars especially if you live in a city with a lot of construction work happening all year round. There is something to explore on every page. It’s easy to talk about every page with your one-year-olds since each page has a new landscape and so many things to point at. They learn new words by pointing and asking for names of things on the page. This was one of the biggest hits in terms of books for a 1 year olds. There is just something about a bright yellow digger on the cover that is appealing to a toddler.
- Dosa Amma Dosa – Tulika Publishers
More apt for a 14-16 month old. Since our son loves dosas (Indian breakfast pancake) I bought this book in order to create more interest in the food. Dosa Amma Dosa is a counting book, teaching numbers 1 to 5 while introducing members of a family. We read the book in a sing-song way. A combination of sing along, dosa (food that my son loves) and family members showcased in the book made this book a family favorite. Goes to show that reading about foods also gets children excited about food. Now when my son wants more Dosa he sings “Dosa Amma, Dosa Amma”!
- Here Come Poopy And Max – Lindsey Gardiner
A book about a little girl named Poppy and her dog Max. They enact different animals in a funny way making kids giggle at their silliness. This is an amazing book to introduce names of animals and their sounds and the peculiar characteristics of each animal. We act out this book for my son which makes reading even more fun for him.
- Ammachi’s Glasses – Tulika Publishers
A wordless book, Ammachi’s glasses tells the tale of a grandma who misplaces her glasses and goes through a series of funny events before her family helps find her glasses. I like this book as a way to introduce some Indian themes. You see a simple Indian family here and can point at the familiar looking objects in their home. Since we see crows daily on our walks my son instantly recognized the crow in the book. That was the initial hook for him. As kids grow with this book from 1 to 2 years they start narrating the story on their own. Wordless books like these help spark creativity and storytelling skills and for that reason, I had to feature this book on the list.
- Usborne First Picture ABC
I bought this book without much thought but my son instantly took to the book. He loves pointing out at the different objects and asking me names of things and then repeating after me. He learned a lot of new words through this book and was obsessed with it for many months. This book has impacted my son’s vocabulary quite a bit so I had to include it here.
- The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson
We introduced this book as a bedtime read at 12 months of age. Julia Donaldson’s style of writing is so engaging that even though it’s a long book for a 1-year-old we would always complete it cover to cover with my son rapt in attention. Gruffalo is the story of a witty mouse who tricks and scares the Gruffalo. Moral of the story being, even tiny creatures can make an impact on their world using intelligence.
- The Dirty Great Dinosaur – Martin Waddell And Leonie Lord
A huge dinosaur enters the garden of a little boy named Hal and announces he will eat his family. The story revolves around how the boy captures the dinosaur and then makes him apologize. In the end, the boy’s mother cooks the dinosaur a yummy spaghetti meal. No points for guessing what my son loves about the book – the food part, ha!.
- Are you my mother? – P. D Eastman
Another classic bedtime read. The story revolves around a newborn bird looking for his mother. On his journey, he learns about different animals and things. The illustrations in this book are engaging and so is the short story. Every time we reach the end of the book and the bird meets his mother my son claps in joy! This book is most apt for children 16-18 months and above.
- A Squash And A Squeeze – Julia Donaldson
This Julia Donaldson book, with repetitive and rhyming words, make it an engaging storytelling experience. At 1 most children are getting introduced to animals, that’s why this book is great because there are animals in the book that 1 year olds will recognize easily. The story also has a lovely moral in the end for older readers that materialism isn’t worth a pursuit and sometimes there is joy in the simple things in life. That is why I love Julia Donaldson books because they can be used from age 1 to age 6 and more. These stories will grow with your child offering a new learning each time.
- Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? – Eric Carle
This is one for the collection! And not without reason. This book acts as an introduction to animals and colors. Every page is beautifully illustrated and a child can never tire of reading this book. We know the sequence from the book by heart now. To say that my son loves this book is an understatement.
These were some of the books we enjoyed reading together as a family. Each of these is very much part of our book library at age 2. Reading every day has impacted my son’s vocabulary and personality in a great way and has been one of my greatest joys as a mother. Do you have other recommendations on books for 1 year olds? Leave me your picks in the comments below.
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