My One Year Old's Favorite Books
You know what I wasn't prepared for as a parent? How short the attention span of a kid is. Who knew a one-year-old wouldn't be able to look at a page in a book for more than five seconds?
Answer: any parent who's ever had a one-year-old.
I started paying attention to the age appropriateness of books with my oldest son. I've never been a huge believer in limiting kids options due to their age, so the books I had bought for him ranged from board books to Dinotopia. Which is great because he loves books and is interested in a lot of different types now that he's older and I think the introduction to a variety helped this, but at the time it took a while to figure out which books he actually had the attention span for. Now that I'm on my second one-year-old I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the type of book that appeals to this age and I wanted to share our favorite one-year-old books.
Books that are good for one-year-olds often have these characteristics in common:
Books with only a short amount of text per page are important. Like I said, five second attention span. If there is a page my child wants to spend more than five seconds on (any page with diggers on it), there's no need to rush.
2. Onomatopoeia words and noises.
Maybe it's because my one-year-olds have still had a pretty limited grasp on the English language, but both my boys have really loved books with onomatopoeia words (those are the type of words that sound like the noise- for example, vrooom), A lot of our favorite books also contain words that are just noises, like bird calls.
3. Are easy to engage with.
Obviously reading the words is part of engaging, but in my experience the more I engage with a book, the more my kids will engage as well. For example, if the text says, "BUMP!", I move like I just hit a bump when reading that word. My one-year-olds have loved when I use silly voices and voice levels, hand movements, and motion. I also like to ask simple questions like, "Where's the digger?" and affirm things they get really excited about when they see them on the page, "that's a digger! You love diggers!".
And here are my one-year-olds favorite books. They have all been hits with my older son as well. Some of these are classics and some are new finds, but I hope you find a few that your child will ask you to read again and again.
My One-Year-Old's Favorite Books
Have You Heard the Nesting Bird. by Rita Gray. This book has the most beautiful illustrations (by Kenard Pak) and my kids love all the different birds and their calls. But the nesting bird isn't singing. Read the book and find out why.
Toot Toot Beep Beep and Tip Tip Dig Dig By Emma Garcia. These sweet, simple board books have super fun sounds and super exciting vehicles. Although let's be honest, I'd personally be a little more excited if one of the vehicles was a Tesla...
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. There's something so soothing about this classic. I love reading it to my kids before bed to really help them wind down for sleep (but it's just as wonderful when bedtime is hours away).
Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Martin Bill Jr. Another classic. We have the board book slide-and-find edition and my son especially loves moving the sliders on each page.
Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. I have a big soft spot for anything by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and Little Pea is as delightful as you'd hope. It also answers your long wondered question: what do peas eat for dinner? We also love Little Hoot and Little Oink, the follow-up books.
We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. I know this book is a classic, but we recently were gifted it for Christmas and hadn't ever read it before. We couldn't love it more. Since the pages are a little longer, my kids really love it when I get into this more by doing motions or raising and lower my voice.
Jamberry by Bruse Degen. I'm so glad my kids both love this book because it is one of my favorite books EVER. I remember staring at it's pages as a kid wishing I could jump in. The illustrations are that good. A boy, a bear, and some fantastical berries. Also rhyme and rhythm and on point.
10 Little fingers and 10 little toes by Mem Fox. This is one of my all-time favorite kids books. If you're looking for a book with diverse babies that will make you tear up, read this now. It's also great to teach your kids where their fingers and toes are! (Surprise!)
You know why Nancy Tillman is amazing? She makes beautiful pictures of animals and children playing together in a way that makes kids imaginations BLOW UP. Also writing sweet, rhyming verse to go along with the illustrations. Although in the past I have been guilty of writing the words off as being cheesy, I've realized they're reaffirming the things I want my kids to know. So I am now 100% on board. I love her signature sign off: You are loved. I'd Know You Anywhere is my one-year-old's favorite Nancy Tillman book (and we have several).
Freight Train by Donald Crews. We recently checked this one out from the library. It's super simple, super short, and has lots of fun chooo-chooo sounds. We actually got the English and Spanish version and all those words are so fun to say in Spanish as well.
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle. Another classic. I love this one as much as my kids do. If you have a child who loves animals and animal sounds, this book is for them. Or vehicles. My boys like the animals, looove the truck.
Red Sled by Lita Judd. This book is pretty sentimental for me because it's the first book my oldest son ever loved. It's almost wordless and it shows what happens when some wild animals find a little red sled. . If you're looking for a book with lots of great onomatopoeia sounds, try this one first. But even if you don't read it first, read it! It's so much fun.
The Diggers by Margaret Wise Brown. As you have probably gathered, I have a few digger obsessed boys, making this one an instant hit. And count on Margaret Wise Brown to make a book with the most lovely rhythm. It's one of those books that is fun to read aloud because the words flow so well.
I would LOVE to hear some of your favorite books for one-year-olds. I would also LOVE to hear any tips you have for reading to one-year-olds. And guess what else I would LOVE? If you would share this using the share buttons to your social network of choice! And from the bottom of my book pile, thanks for reading this.
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