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🦋 Best Books for One Year Olds - From a Children's Librarian

Updated: Nov 23, 2023

You've had a year filled with firsts. Here are books to read to and engage with the most active 1 year olds, with many tips on how to make reading a whole body experience.



12 - 24 MONTHS


1☀ Where's Spot by Eric Hill

A classic! Hard to resist looking for our puppy in all sorts of places.

Engage: While reading, keep repeating, "Where's Spot?" Model knocking on the door in the book. Want to get physical? Bring out a stuffed animal and play hide and seek with it, placing it in, behind, under etc.

*Recommended: 1 to 2 years.

2☀ Peek-a-Moo! by Marie Torres Cimarusti. Illustrated by Stephanie Peterson

This large, sturdy book has flaps to lift, simple language and of course many opportunities for making animal noises, a key to language development.

Engage: Lift each flap, pausing with anticipation, or ask your little one to do so - good fine motor skill task. Or, show them turn taking as you alternate lifting the flap saying, "my turn, your turn." Say hello, wave and make the animal noises. Point out details in pictures like the mouse's whiskers, then waving goodbye to the animal. Use the book to sing Old McDonald.

*Recommended: 1 to 3 years.

(Also by author: Peek-a-Moo! Peek-a-Pet! Peek-a-Choo Choo!)

3☀ I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison. Illustrated by Frank Morrison

A book that draws you in from the first page! I named her Ella, Ella wants to show us ways to enjoy rhythms in and around us.

Engage: "Let's wave to Ella!" Tap the parts of the body referred to in the text and repeat, repeat, repeat!

Follow with Head, shoulders, knees and toes in English and/or another language. Sing "Clap, clap clap your hand, clap your hands like me!" Listen to the song below.

*Recommended: 1 to 3 years.

(Also by author: I Got the School Spirit, I Got the Christmas Spirit )


4☀ Hooray for Birds by Lucy Cousins

Two exuberant books that demand that you soar and hop like birds, and dive and swirl like fish. Good verbs and vocabulary. A useful title for little ones who love and need to move their bodies.

Engage: Read each page then move your bodies together to match the words for e.g. practice standing on one leg like the flamingo or swoop up, swoop down, swoop round and around or scratch the ground with your feet! So many ways to make this book active.

(Also by author: Hooray for Fish)

*Recommended: 1 to 3 years.

5☀Peek-a-Who by Elsa Mroziewicz

The triangular shape and the way the flaps open to reveal the beautiful details in this book, makes it a sure hit for an interactive storytime. Each page turn asks the reader to guess an animal based on the sound it makes. “Who says meow?” "Who says hisssss?"

Engage: Lift each flap slowly, with a bit of suspense,to reveal the dramatic animal inside. Leave time for thinking and guessing. Point out the shape of the book and together, find other triangles inside the book and around your home. Use it to sing Old MacDonald taking turns remembering what animal comes next.

Recommended: 1 to 3 years.

6☀ Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell

A counting book about a family going grocery shopping. From 1 cart into the grocery store, choosing 6 tomatoes and 7 potatoes, beans and greens and much more. Then, back home to unpack, cook, look and taste.

Engage: Note some of the details in the illustrations. There are familiar foods to be recognized and new ones to discover. Share which foods you like and ask your child about their favorites. Come up with other rhyming pairs - eggs and legs, nose and toes etc. On the last picture, count the chairs and see who is sitting around the family table.

Recommended: 1 to 3 years.

(Also by author: David's Drawings, Rainbow Stew)


Good to remember:

At this age, they understand many more words than they can say, so it remains important to share books and songs that help to build their vocabulary and offer engaging ways to practice the sounds and structure of language.

Don't forget, a young child's brain is working a lot to process all the input so give them time to formulate their output..


Coming: Part Two Best Books for 1-Year-olds, Best Books for Newborns, Best Books for Two, Three, Four and Five Year Olds and a look at "what qualities to look for when selecting books for each age group", and much more!

I hope you enjoy checking out these recommended books for young children. Thank you for tuning in to me and to your child!


Miss Pam

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