The most recommended books for a 1 year old

Who picked these books? Meet our 93 experts.

93 authors created a book list with books for a 1 year old, and here are their favorites.

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Book cover of Everywhere Babies

Idris Goodwin Author Of Your House Is Not Just a House

From my list on books to read aloud to children.

Why am I passionate about this?

From my work as a playwright and breakbeat poet, Artistic Director of Seattle Children’s Theatre, and full-time co-parent, I've dedicated my career to crafting engaging narratives that resonate across generations. With over sixty original plays to my name, I've honed a unique approach that intertwines hip-hop rhythms with rich storytelling. My debut picture book is a testament to this approach—inviting children and parents to discover the boundless creativity that can be found in everyday spaces. It’s my hope that this book inspires families to explore their homes with fresh eyes and open hearts, turning reading into an adventure of imagination.

Idris' book list on books to read aloud to children

Idris Goodwin Why did Idris love this book?

This is a beautifully rhythmic book that captures the universal joy and diversity of babies and their families. With its bouncy rhythm and expansive illustrations showcasing cultural diversity, this book is an ode to our shared humanity.

In today's climate, where such books face challenges (this book is banned in some states), it's more important than ever to celebrate and share stories that honor our beginnings and the universal experiences of love and family.

By Susan Meyers, Marla Frazee (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everywhere Babies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With an irresistible rhyming text and delightfully endearing illustrations, here is an exuberant celebration of playing, sleeping, crawling, and of course, very noisy babies doing all the wonderful things babies do best.

Every day, everywhere, babies are born. They're kissed and dressed and rocked and fed-and completely adored by the families who love them.

New York magazine's The Strategist chose Everywhere Babies as one of the "Best (Nonobvious) Baby Books to Bring to a Shower." As The Strategist stated: "Babies love looking at other babies, and this book is filled with all kinds of adorable ones." Plus the book's art…


Book cover of Everyone's Sleepy but the Baby

Nancy Raines Day Author Of Applesauce Is Fun to Wear

From my list on sharing laughs with toddlers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe laughing together is a big part of the glue that bonds people together. Humor has gotten me through my toughest times—and given me much joy in the good times. Laughing over my books with one or both of my toddler grandsons will always be cherished memories for me. Likewise, I love hearing about moments of connection for other readers bonding over Applesauce Is Fun to Wear, Baby’s Opposites, Baby’s Firsts, and Pirate Jack Gets Dressed. Picture books should appeal to the ear as well as the eye. Coming from a family of musicians, I’m partial to rhyme, as you might guess from most of my picks here.

Nancy's book list on sharing laughs with toddlers

Nancy Raines Day Why did Nancy love this book?

Parents and older siblings will join me in identifying with the sleepy-eyed family members shown here, while toddlers will cheer on the wide-eyed baby.

The text is a litany of everyone and everything that is sleepy, with the title repeated throughout the day’s wind-down. “Sleepy moon,/ sleepy stars,/ sleepy night sky./Everyone’s sleepy/ but the baby,/ why, why, why?” In the final spread, the baby joins both dozing parents in dreamland. Parent readers can only hope their little one isn’t giggling too hard to follow suit.

By Tracy C. Gold, Adele Dafflon (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everyone's Sleepy but the Baby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sleepy Mommy, Sleepy Daddy, Sleepy little dog. Everyone's sleepy But the baby, Yawn, yawn, yawn. After a long day, the whole family is ready to hit the hay . . . except for the baby. Why is it so hard to get the baby to sleep? With hilarious illustrations that might hit a little too close to home for new parents, Everyone's Sleepy but the Baby is the perfect, true-to-life bedtime story that will help even the most reluctant sleeper wind down for bed.


Book cover of Here We Come!

Kim Howard Author Of Do Mommies Ever Sleep?

From my list on picture books to make bedtime fun.

Why am I passionate about this?

With three kids, bedtime at my house is usually nuts. When we strike gold with a great bedtime read that’s funny or cozy, or better yet, BOTH, it becomes part of our permanent rotation. I love finding books that make my kids excited about story time (and just maybe encourage them to get through their bedtime routines a little faster). As a children’s picture book author, my own books are inspired by my kids’ everyday lives, and sleep, or lack thereof, is a topic that I always find so very relatable!

Kim's book list on picture books to make bedtime fun

Kim Howard Why did Kim love this book?

My kids and I both love this book, which is a huge plus when reading at bedtime!

The story follows a procession of characters in their PJs on a whimsical nighttime stroll. It could be read as a chant or a song, and we all find ourselves pleasantly humming the rhythm long after we’ve finished storytime.

By Janna Matthies, Christine Davenier (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Here We Come! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Join a cast of friends, human and animal alike, as they embark on a musical read-aloud adventure in this upbeat, joyful picture book.

A boy sets off with his flute and his stuffed bear and a rum-pum-pum. As they make their way through the town and the woods, they ask, “Wanna come?” Soon, kids and creatures join in the fun one by one, playing instruments, singing, and dancing to the catchy tune.

But will a storm bring their fun-filled musical parade to an end?


Book cover of Little Blue Truck Board Book

Linda Ulleseit Author Of The River Remembers

From Linda's 2-year-old's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Avid reader Grandmother Cross-stitcher Leather tooler

Linda's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Linda's 2-year-old's favorite books.

Linda Ulleseit Why did Linda's 2-year-old love this book?

He is obsessed with trucks and sounds right now. This one features Blue, the truck, getting stuck in the mud. He asks all the animals to help him. My grandson likes all the animals and sounds in this one, and when the dump truck goes, “Honk!” And he learns why it’s important to be nice to animals!

By Alice Schertle, Jill McElmurry (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Little Blue Truck Board Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beep! Beep! Meet Blue! Filled with truck sounds and animal noises, Little Blue Truck is a rollicking homage to the power of friendship and the rewards of helping others.

A muddy country road is no match for this little pick-up—that is, until he gets stuck while pushing a dump truck out of the muck.

Luckily, Blue has made a pack of farm animal friends along his route. And they're willing to do whatever it takes to get their pal back on the road.

Little Blue Truck is a joyful cacophony of animal and truck sounds that will have youngsters beeping…


Book cover of The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Stephanie Calmenson Author Of Dinner at the Panda Palace

From my list on counting for young children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've written more than 100 books including the counting books Dinner at the Panda Palace (HarperCollins / PBS StoryTime) and Dozens of Dachshunds (Bloomsbury / Scholastic Book Clubs).  I also write easy readers such as Stomp! (Ready-to-Read / JLG) and early chapter books including the Our Principal series and, with Magic School Bus author Joanna Cole, The Adventures of Allie and Amy series. As a former early childhood teacher and children's book editor, I'm a big fan of counting books and look forward to writing – and reading – many more. 

Stephanie's book list on counting for young children

Stephanie Calmenson Why did Stephanie love this book?

On Monday, a tiny, very hungry caterpillar ate through one apple. 

"But he was still hungry." 

On Tuesday, he ate through two pears, on Wednesday, three plums, and so on through the week. 

When he gets to Saturday, he eats way too much, starting with one piece of chocolate cake and ending with one slice of watermelon. 

That night he has a stomach ache! The caterpillar recovers on Sunday and, no longer tiny and no longer hungry, he builds a small house around himself called a cocoon.

In time, he becomes a beautiful butterfly.

With cutout pages and gorgeous Eric Carle art, this book is a joy to share with young children. 

By Eric Carle,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Very Hungry Caterpillar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There are so many ways to spend a sunny summer day. Join The Very Hungry Caterpillar and explore everything the season has to offer!

Celebrate summer with The Very Hungry Caterpillar and his friends in this exploration of the season. Young readers can learn all about seasonal sensory experiences, like listening to noisy bugs, feeling the warm sunshine, smelling the yummy scents of a cookout, and so much more!


Book cover of Owl Babies

Why am I passionate about this?

Lots of us rely occasionally on technology to help us entertain a young child, but the connection we form when looking at a book together cannot be beaten. I have found, both personally and professionally, that great books are born when a kind of magical mix-up is created in a child’s imagination between the words you read and the pictures they see. It feels so wonderful when this happens that they want to revisit the book again and again. I have written many books for young children over more than 20 years, and I am always striving to help cast that magical spell.

Fiona's book list on families and growing up–the funny bits, the comforting bits. . .and the scary bits

Fiona Munro Why did Fiona love this book?

At some point, every child is in a situation, maybe just for a few seconds, where they are not totally sure that their parent is coming back. I can still remember the look on my kids’ faces on their first day at nursery school! That feeling is no different for the young owl siblings in this story, left alone in the dark woods when their mother flies off in search of food. 

I love the simplicity of this tale, and the language is beautiful. We often turned to it at bedtime in our house, and no matter how many times I read, “Soft and silent, she swooped through the trees to Sarah and Percy and Bill,” it never got old.

By Martin Waddell, Patrick Benson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Owl Babies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A special 25th anniversary edition of a modern classic, Owl Babies reassures young children that Mummy will always come home.

"The perfect picture book" Guardian

A special 25th anniversary board book edition of a bestselling modern classic, Owl Babies is a comforting read for any toddler who has ever worried about mum leaving them alone, or any child starting pre-school for the very first time. Sarah, Percy and Bill the baby owls wake one night to find their mother gone. And as the darkness gathers and they perch patiently on their branch waiting for her return, oh how they worry!…


Book cover of Finn's Little Fibs: A Big Bright Feelings Book

Donna Earnhardt Author Of Being Frank

From my list on honesty.

Why am I passionate about this?

My southern mama raised me to be honest; she always knew the truth and spoke the truth. I soon found out that being honest could clear my name—or get me in trouble. It could draw me closer to my friends—or hurt their feelings. Now that I’m grown and have children of my own, I understand and appreciate my mama’s emphasis on truth-telling from an entirely new angle. And as a writer, honest storytelling helps me write more authentic characters and connect more authentically with my readers. In my personal and professional life, my “honest” upbringing has helped me recognize other truth-tellers—and the not-so-truthful. (I’m eyeballing you, politicians!) 

Donna's book list on honesty

Donna Earnhardt Why did Donna love this book?

This book is one of my new favorites! Finn has a special place in my heart—as does his relationship with his grandma! My grandmother was also kind and loving, so it still eats me up inside that I lied to her one time. The look on her face told me that she knew what I’d done—and kindly gave me a chance to tell her the truth. But I chose poorly, just like Finn. I can honestly say that I never lied to her again!

Tom Percival illustrates (quite brilliantly) how it feels to carry around the guilt of lying to someone you love. Here’s to all the grandmas out there who love us…even in our not-so-honest moments!!

By Tom Percival,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Finn's Little Fibs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of It Had to Be You

Samantha Gassman Author Of Dear Rainbow Baby

From my list on reading to your rainbow baby.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I started writing children’s stories in 2018, I never would've guessed that my first book would be about rainbow babies. I hadn’t even heard of the term until I miscarried the following year. As I grieved the baby we would never hold, I used writing to work through the mess of emotions I felt: pain, disappointment, sorrow… until the words “Dear Rainbow Baby” appeared. My husband and I didn’t know if we could or would have a rainbow baby, yet, writing a letter filled me with hope that one day she would come. We recently celebrated our daughter’s second birthday, and the publication of my first picture book Dear Rainbow Baby.

Samantha's book list on reading to your rainbow baby

Samantha Gassman Why did Samantha love this book?

The first thing I noticed about this book was its simple black, white, and red illustrations. They are simple and clean and add so much to the book’s message. While the text doesn’t explicitly mention rainbow babies, parents who have endured previous losses will resonate with its beautiful refrain: it had to be you. 

By Loryn Brantz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It Had to Be You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This sweet and playful board book features bold, high-contrast black-and-white illustrations that babies can actually see!

In simple, beautiful verse, bestselling Feminist Baby creator and two-time Emmy Award winner Loryn Brantz narrates the journey that parents take to have their perfect little one.

New York magazine's The Strategist chose It Had to Be You as one of the "Best (Nonobvious) Baby Books to Bring to a Shower." As The Strategist stated: "Because of its high-contrast color scheme (with red accents), it's easy for babies to see the illustrations. Plus, the lyrical text is a love poem to the child that's…


Book cover of Where's Spot?

Diane Billas Author Of Does Love Always Win?

From Diane's 1-year-old's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Writer Pansexual Classical music enthusiast Reader Mom

Diane's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Diane's 1-year-old's favorite books.

Diane Billas Why did Diane's 1-year-old love this book?

My son loves the flaps on each page of this book, especially the one where it asks, “Is Spot in the closet?” and he opens the closet door to reveal a monkey. “No!” says the monkey.

My son keeps opening and closing the closet doors, making himself smile, before moving on to the next page. Eventually Spot is found and can have his dinner, but it’s so good that we must read the book again, and see the monkey in the closet.

By Eric Hill,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Where's Spot? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Eric Hill's classic Where's Spot? lift the flaps to find Spot!

In Spot's first adventure children can join in the search for the mischievous puppy by lifting the flaps on every page to see where he is hiding. The simple text and colourful pictures will engage a whole new generation of pre-readers as they lift the picture flaps in search of Spot. A No.1 bestseller since it was first published in 1980, this interactive favourite has stayed in the charts ever since.

This is a bigger, brighter paperback edition of Eric Hill's iconic first lift-the-flap book.

'Spot is one…


Book cover of Guess How Much I Love You

Eugenia Yoh & Vivienne Chang Author Of This Is Not My Home

From my list on making you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Why am I passionate about this?

We’re picture book lovers and best friends that met in college at Washington University in St. Louis. Our friendship started out with long telephone conversations during the pandemic, and have now blossomed into a picture book partnership where we hope to write books that make people feel warm and fuzzy through the universality of the human experience. Vivienne is still currently a student at WashU, but will move to New York post-graduation. Eugenia has since graduated and is currently a designer in the children’s department at Chronicle Books in the Bay Area.

Vivienne's book list on making you feel warm and fuzzy inside

Eugenia Yoh & Vivienne Chang Why did Vivienne love this book?

There is so much we love about this book. Every page stretches the imagination on how much one can love in physical distance form and it makes you realize that love, in a sense, has not bounds. You can’t guess how much Little Nutbrown Hare is loved, but he are loved endlessly. Not only is this book warm and fuzzy vibes, it makes you want to cry with this father and child relationship. Vivienne’s dad is a big inspiration in my life and it makes her realize how much she love him and hope to be just like him one day.

By Sam McBratney, Anita Jeram (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Guess How Much I Love You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Celebrate twenty-five years of love right up to the moon and back! A new board-book edition is perfect for little hands.

How much does Little Nutbrown Hare love his daddy? And how much does Big Nutbrown Hare love him back? The cherished tale of boundless affection is ready for boundless sharing in a durable board-book edition for the younger set.