The 100 best books for 1 year olds

When my daughter, Emma, turned one, I started asking my friends and searching the Internet for the best book recommendations for toddlers. I compiled a list of over 200 books, and we steadily read through that list all year long. As we went, we added new books that we found and loved, and removed the ones we weren't crazy
about. This post has been a long time coming, and I cannot WAIT to share with you. . . drum roll. . .

The best 100 books for a 1 year old 

(at least. . . according to us!)

Psst! If 100 books are a little overwhelming to you, I also have a post of just our top 20 favorite books for a 1 year old, and if you're looking ahead to what to read when your toddler turns 2, I've got you covered as well!

The 100 best books to read with a one year old- This website contains a printable checklist of 100 great books for a one year old. Print and take it with you to the library, or download and email to friends and family as gift ideas for a one year birthday.
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A little bit about the list: 

  • I've included the Amazon links for each book. That way, you can click and read the description or page through each one before you put it on your wish list or library list. These links are all affiliate links. (Read my full disclosure statement here.)
  • I included the links to several different versions of each book. Since we're talking about 1 year olds, I highly recommend the board book versions. (Unless your 1 year old is a whole lot less destructive than mine was...)
  • As we read, we came across some favorite favorite books. As in, my daughter slept with them beside her in bed every night and we reread them so many times that she could "read" them back to me before she turned 2. These are highlighted in the list below, and I included the summaries from Amazon. 

Download the PDF: 

I also created a PDF version of this list for easy downloading, saving and printing. (Think: bring along to the library with you or email a copy to the grandparents.) If you're really ambitious, and want to try to read them all, I even included handy dandy check boxes for you. 

10 Minutes till Bedtime
by Peggy Rathmann
100 First Words (My Big Book of Lift and Learn)
by Tiger Tales

"Encourage your child to observe and explore our world with this bright, colorful board book! Striking photographs feature familiar animals, toys, clothes, food, and more. Comprised of more than 100 words and pictures, this interactive book is an excellent way to help your child build essential vocabulary skills by lifting the flaps and describing what he or she sees."
Are You My Mother?
by P.D. Eastman
Baby Touch and Feel: Animals
by DK
Bear Snores On
by Karma Wilson, Jane Chapman
Big Red Barn
by Margaret Wise Brown, Felicia Bond
Blue Hat, Green Hat
by Sandra Boynton
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
by Bill Martin Jr., Eric Carle
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault, Lois Ehlert
Chugga Chugga Choo Choo
by Kevin Lewis, Daniel Kirk
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type
by Doreen Cronin, Betsy Lewin, Randy Travis
Clifford Collection
by Norman Bridwell
by Don Freeman
Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book
by Rod Campbell
Dinosaur in Trouble
by Sharon Gordon, Paul Harvey
Dinosaur Roar!
by Henrietta Stickland, Paul Stickland
by Sandra Boynton
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
by Mo Willems

"When a bus driver takes a break from his route, a very unlikely volunteer springs up to take his place- a pigeon! But you've never met one like this before. As he pleads, wheedles, and begs his way through the book, children will love being able to answer back and decide his fate."
Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!
by Mo Willems

"It's getting dark out, but one stubborn Pigeon is NOT going to bed! Children will love this interactive bedtime romp, which puts readers back in the driver's seat, deflecting Pigeon's sly trickery as he tries to escape his inevitable bedtime. Will you let him stay up late?"
Doodle Bites: A Tilly and Friends Book
by Polly Dunbar
Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!
by Dr. Seuss
First Words (Bright Baby)
by Roger Priddy
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
by Eileen Christelow
Freight Train
by Donald Crews
Go, Dog. Go!
by P.D. Eastman

"Reading goes to the dogs in this timeless Beginner Book edited by Dr. Seuss. From big dogs and little dogs to red, green, and blue dogs, dogs going up and dogs going fast . . . who knew dogs were so busy?"
God Gave Us You
by Lisa Tawn Bergren, Laura J. Bryant
Good Night, Gorilla
by Peggy Rathmann

"Good night, Gorilla. Good night, Elephant. 
It's bedtime at the zoo, and all the animals are going to sleep. Or are they? Who's that short, furry guy with the key in his hand and the mischievous grin?"
Goodnight Moon
by Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
by Sherri Duskey Rinker, Tom Lichtenheld

"As the sun sets behind the big construction site, all the hardworking trucks get ready to say goodnight. One by one, Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator finish their work and lie down to rest—so they'll be ready for another day of rough and tough construction play!"
Gossie and Friends Board Book Set
by Olivier Dunrea
Guess How Much I Love You
by Sam McBratney, Anita Jeram
Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb
by Al Perkins, Eric Gurney
Harold and the Purple Crayon
by Crockett Johnson
Horns to Toes and in Between
by Sandra Boynton
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?
by Jane Yolen

"Brimming with humor and familiar good-night antics, here is a playful peek into the homes of dinosaur children and their parents at bedtime. Perfect for sharing and reading aloud, this is one nighttime book your own little dinosaur will want to read again and again."
How to Catch a Star
by Oliver Jeffers
I Like It When . . .
by Mary Murphy
I Like Myself!
by Karen Beaumont, David Catrow
I Love You Through And Through
by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak, Caroline Jayne Church
I Love You, Stinky Face
by Lisa Mccourt

"Lisa McCourt and Cyd Moore beautifully weave a reassuring tale of the love and affection of a parent. The imaginative son turns himself into a meat-eating dinosaur, a swamp creature and much, much more before being satisfied with the fact that no matter how stinky he is or how slimy of a creature he could possibly be, he is loved and nothing will change that."
I Was So Mad (Little Critter)
by Mercer Mayer
If Animals Kissed Good Night
by Ann Whitford Paul, David Walker
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
by Laura Joffe Numeroff, Felicia Bond
It's Okay To Be Different
by Todd Parr
by Bruce Degen
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
by Mo Willems

"Trixie, Daddy, and Knuffle Bunny take a trip to the neighborhood Laundromat. But the exciting adventure takes a dramatic turn when Trixie realizes somebunny was left behind. Using a combination of muted black-and-white photographs and expressive illustrations, this stunning book tells a brilliantly true-to-life tale about what happens when Daddy's in charge and things go terribly, hilariously wrong."
Little Blue Truck Leads the Way
by Alice Schertle, Jill McElmurry
Little Blue Truck
by Alice Schertle, Jill McElmurry

"Little Blue Truck is a joyful cacophony of animal and truck sounds that will have youngsters beeping and quacking—and begging for one more go-round! Along the way, readers see that it pays to be kind to our animal friends . . . if we show a friendly respect to others, we’re more likely to get help when we’re, say, stuck in the muck in a truck."
Little Elliot, Big City
by Mike Curato
Little Monster's Bedtime Book
by Mercer Mayer
Little Pea
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Jen Corace
Llama Llama Red Pajama
by Anna Dewdney  

"In this infectious rhyming read-aloud, Baby Llama turns bedtime into an all-out llama drama! Tucked into bed by his mama, Baby Llama immediately starts worrying when she goes downstairs, and his soft whimpers turn to hollers when she doesn't come right back. But just in time, Mama returns to set things right. Children will relate to Baby Llama's need for comfort, as much as parents will appreciate Mama Llama's reassuring message."
Love from The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by Eric Carle  
Love Monster
by Rachel Bright
Maisy 7 Picture Books Collection Set (Maisy Dresses Up, Maisy Goes Shopping,Maisy Tidies Up,Maisy's Bathtime,Maisy​'s Bedtime, Maisy Makes Lemonade, Maisy Makes Gingerbread)
by Lucy Cousins  
Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!
by Dr. Seuss  
May I Please Have a Cookie?
by Jennifer E. Morris  
Mouse Paint
by Ellen Stoll Walsh (Paperback)
My First Busy Book
by Eric Carle  
My Big Book of Lift and Learn: 100 First Animals
by Caterpillar Books  

"Encourage your child to observe and explore our world with this bright, colorful board book! Striking photographs feature familiar animals, toys, clothes, food, and more. Comprised of more than 100 words and pictures, this interactive book is an excellent way to help your child build essential vocabulary skills by lifting the flaps and describing what he or she sees."

No, David!
by David Shannon  

"Over fifteen years after its initial publication, NO, DAVID! remains a perennial household favorite, delighting children, parents, and teachers alike. David is a beloved character, whose unabashed good humor, mischievous smile, and laughter-inducing antics underline the love parents have for their children--even when they misbehave."
Old Hat New Hat
by Stan Berenstain, Jan Berenstain
by Ian Falconer  
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
by Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel
by Kevin Henkes  
Pat the Bunny (Touch and Feel Book)
by Dorothy Kunhardt  
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons
by James Dean, Eric Litwin  
Please, Mr. Panda
by Steve Antony  
Pottytime for Chickies
by Janee Trasler  

"Learning to go potty is tricky for the Chickies! With engaging rhymes, endearing illustrations, and a soft padded cover, this book is perfect for babies and toddlers to enjoy."
Press Here
by Herve Tullet  
Put Me In the Zoo
by Robert Lopshire  
Shark vs. Train
by Chris Barton
Something Good
by Robert Munsch, Michael Martchenko  
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes
by Mem Fox, Helen Oxenbury  
The Best Nest
by P.D. Eastman  Hardcover
The Book with No Pictures
by B.J. Novak
The Boss Baby
by Marla Frazee  
The Day Louis Got Eaten
by John Fardell  
The Going-To-Bed Book
by Sandra Boynton  
The Goodnight Train
by June Sobel, Laura Huliska-Beith  
The Gruffalo
by Julia Donaldson
The Kissing Hand
by Audrey Penn, Ruth E. Harper, Nancy M. Leak  
The Little Engine That Could
by Watty Piper, George and Doris Hauman  
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear
by Don Wood, Audrey Wood  
The Monster at the End of This Book
by Jon Stone, Michael Smollin  
The Pout-Pout Fish
by Deborah Diesen, Dan Hanna  
The Runaway Bunny
by Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd  
The Very Cranky Bear
by Nick Bland  
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by Eric Carle  

"The classic edition of the bestselling story written for the very young. A newly hatched caterpillar eats his way through all kinds of food."
The Wonderful Things You Will Be
by Emily Winfield Martin  
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly!
by Lucille Colandro (Board book)
Toddle Waddle
by Julia Donaldson, Nick Sharratt  
Waiting Is Not Easy! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
by Mo Willems  

"Gerald is careful. Piggie is not. Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can. Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to. Gerald and Piggie are best friends. In Waiting Is Not Easy!, Piggie has a surprise for Gerald, but he is going to have to wait for it. And Wait. And wait some more..."
The Watermelon Seed
by Greg Pizzoli  
We're Going on a Bear Hunt
by Helen Oxenbury, Michael Rosen  
Welcome to the Zoo
by Alison Jay  
What Color Is Your Underwear?
by Sam Lloyd  
Where Is Baby's Belly Button? A Lift-the-Flap Book
by Karen Katz  

"Karen Katz's adorable babies play peekaboo in this delightful interactive book. The sturdy format and easy-to-lift flaps are perfect for parents and children to share."
Where the Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak
Where's Spot?
by Eric Hill  

What do you think of our choices? Are there any that you would add that we didn't have on our list? Please let me know in the comments. And if you do decide to try to read them all, I'd love to hear about that as well. Happy reading!

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The 100 best books to read with a one year old- This website contains a printable checklist of 100 great books for a one year old. Print and take it with you to the library, or download and email to friends and family as gift ideas for a one year birthday.
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