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The Very Best Books for 1-Year-Olds

They're not reading on their own yet, but the sooner you start reading to your little one, the better. From classics to newer titles, these books won't let you down.

There’s nothing worse than rushing through the library with a 1-year-old on your arm, grabbing random board books and hoping you’ve stumbled upon something worthwhile. What are the best books for 1-year-olds, anyway? It’s terrible to rely on algorithms from Amazon, or just hoping that you get good books gifts for baby showers. That’s where we come in.

After all, even one-year-old babies have taste in books. And on the off chance that you accidentally picked up a book that your baby is into, chances are it will be insane enough to make you crazy as it is requested (demanded) for the 20th time. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the very best books for your one-year-old, with special attention paid to stuff that won’t drive you nuts. 

Dad Tip: Email yourself a link to this page and then pull it up next time you’re in the children’s section of the library or bookstore.

Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

Yes, a classic, and for good reason. Beautifully illustrated and total baby brain candy. It’s tough to get sick of this one and that’s because it’s it doesn’t insult your kids’ intelligence. Instead, it starts a conversation with your little one, where they have the power to answer back.

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry 

I don’t know why, but babies love trucks, and this might be the cutest truck book out there. Little Blue Truck enthralls your child while he helps out his friends. Also, it’s part of a series so you and yours can keep the adventure going!

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Another classic. You probably got this one at the baby shower. Your one-year-old will be hungry for multiple readings. Best of all: that surprise ending works every time!

Where’s Spot?  by Eric Hill

Another flap lifting delight. Looking for Spot the Dog, your baby will be shocked every time they discover another hiding animal, and deeply gratified when they finally uncover him in the basket!

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

Repetition is a powerful learning tool for babies. On each page, a little bird sees a potential mother in everyone. Don’t worry, it’s got a happy ending!

Where Do Diggers Sleep At Night?  by Brianna Caplan Sayres  

Great reading for going to bed. This book humanizes the heaviest machinery, as it lulls your little one into a construction zone dreamland.

Crayon’s Book of Colors  by Drew Dewalt and Oliver Jeffers

Part of an immensely popular series, this is the best for those under two. The bright colors and charmingly crude illustrations draw your baby in. The sense of humor and strangely compelling social commentary won’t make you hate reading this one over and over again.

The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boyton 

Before having a child, you might have wondered why the animals all jump up and decide to exercise before bed. But, now that you have an energetic one-year-old, it all makes sense. A classic since the ’80s for a reason.

Daddy Hugs by Karen Katz 

There is, of course, the alternate universe version of this book; Mommy Hugs, which is equally adorable. But this is Fatherly, and we’re all about the daddy hugs.

Credit: Amazon

Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee

Your baby can live vicariously through the naughty yet adorable character in Spike Lee and wife Tonya’s bestseller. Beautifully illustrated and super-relatable to both babies and their beleaguered parents.