10+ awesome board books to buy for a 1 year old

Now that your little one’s becoming a toddler, you’re on a hunt for the best board books for one year olds, right? You’ve probably had story time for months but it’s so much more fun for both of you now – because your newly minted toddler now has a clue what’s going on. Books are beginning to mean something to her – and that’s so great for you too.

It’ll be wonderful to see her pick one of her board books and have a look inside – and maybe a feel because many of these are sensory books. One year olds learn and develop so fast – and board books are a perfect resource to feed their little imaginations.

And an awesome gift to give too.

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Try these great board books to get your toddler off to a great start with reading stories. #toddler #baby #parenting

Toddlers and books – what to expect and what to do

As a mum and a teacher, I spend a lot of time looking for ways to engage children with books!

From the earliest days, books are a wonderful way to develop children’s language.  If you do it right, you can build a love of reading that will be a joy and an academic benefit for their whole lives.

Related: How to end battles over toys

So what to expect when you give a baby a book?

A few things might happen when you give your baby a book. They might ignore it and do something else entirely. They might put it in their mouth – which is normal – what doesn’t go in there at this stage? They might throw it or put it somewhere of their own choosing.

All these things are fine.

Young toddlers don’t yet know what books are for or what to do with them so they experiment. It might look like they are ‘doing it wrong’ but don’t worry. They are just figuring it out and it will take time.

One day you will notice that your baby is looking at a book a little more like we do. Pointing to the pictures or babbling. That’s a great time to invest in a few more books!

Board books are awesome for one-year-olds! Here's a selection of perfect story ideas for young children and toddlers - classic and modern, any of these will kick-start your child's learning & love of reading - and they make the best gift! #reading #parenting #toddlers #babies #oneyearolds #mom #mumadvice
A one year old with her favourite book

Tough but tactile - board books are ideal for older babies and toddlers. Let them explore and enjoy looking at and touching books to start them on the road to literacy one little book at a time. #toddlers #babyplay #babies #christmas

What can you do to help a baby enjoy books?

To encourage your baby to associate books with story time and language, have some parent led book time and some play that is baby led.

Let your baby pick up books and play with them whenever they like. Also, at least a couple of times a day, choose a book yourself or accept the one your baby gives you. Open the book and read it, pointing out what you can see in the pictures and touching if it’s sensory.

Your baby will learn how to hold a book and move through from front to back by watching you. It will probably take a long time before they do that themselves though. Young babies typically turn back and forward in books, looking at whatever interests them and it’s fine to allow them to do that.

Related: How to get your toddler to go to sleep on their own.

Best board books for one year olds

Baby’s Very First Black and White Little Library

This is my little girl’s favourite book at the moment. She looks at it every day and says, “Baba,” when she sees the pictures of babies.

It's never too soon for story time and board books are ideal for babies and toddlers! Here's a selection of the best baby books for reading fun with your little one - or the perfect gift for Christmas! #reading #parenting #toddlers #babies #oneyearolds #mom #mumadvice #christmas

The illustrations are very clear and it’s mostly black and white because that is easier for babies’ eyes to focus on. It’s also a teeny-tiny book that’s easy for little hands to lift and open. You can get it in this set:

Black and white board books are becoming very popular with parents of babies now that it’s well-known that contrast is good. Babies are born with limited vision that develops over time. In the early days, the high contrast of black and white images and patterns are interesting and helpful for tiny babies.

Here is a wider selection.

For more great black and white board books for babies, click here.

That’s Not My books

One year olds (and even younger) are also the perfect audience for the popular That’s Not My series of touch-feely board books.

We have 9 so far and I expect there will be more come Christmas.

My little one loves grabbing one of these from the shelf and finding the sensory elements on each page – there are many materials to touch from fuzzy felt to soft fur fabric. The bumpy cardboard and scratchy velcro bits are our favourites. Big brother still likes to revisit them regularly too, so you will get good use out of a set of these.

There are literally dozens to choose from – click here to check them out.

Lions, trains, monkeys, dinosaurs, monsters, princesses, ponies, penguins – whatever your little one likes, they will find a That’s Not My book to suit them!

Here’s a peek inside That’s Not My Piglet.

Board books are perfect for one-year-olds! Here's a selection of awesome story ideas for young children - classic and modern, any of these will kick-start your child's learning - and they make the best gift! #reading #parenting #toddlers #babies #oneyearolds #mom #mumadvice

Related: How to get your toddler to obey you – without yelling

Where’s Spot

A true classic of the genre! I remember my mum reading this to me and now I read it to my kids. It’s so much fun, opening each door and seeing which dangerous wild animal is hiding there.

I suggest supervising this book and others with flaps to lift because I left it lying out and my girly has ripped out just about every door! I like her to explore but I don’t want her stuff wrecked.

Spot does have a few other adventures to collect if your kids love him too.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

This classic tale of insect gluttony and metamorphosis is a beautiful board book. It’s perfect for toddlers with it’s finger sized holes in the pages and Eric Carle’s stand-out illustrations.

Baby bear, baby bear, What do you see?

This book is a collaboration between Eric Carle and Bill Martin Jr.

Rhyming text and beautiful, quirky illustrations of North American wildlife combine to make this a must buy.

Mouse is Small

This is a very short story for the youngest readers. Each page only has a few words but it’s bright, engaging and great fun – my kids love the funny ending.

Related: How to end teen baby jealousy

Baby’s Very First Word Book

One year olds love looking at pictures and figuring out what is happening. Both my little ones have really enjoyed the bright, clear illustrations in this book. As my son got older, our talk turned more and more to naming the vehicles or whatever was on the page, extending his vocabulary. There’s a peek inside at the bottom of the tall image below.

Start your child's love of reading with these cute board books. Perfect for snuggling up with mum and dad with sensory pages and awesome illustrations. Give one or two of these for a classic gift this Christmas. #reading #parenting #toddlers #babies #oneyearolds #mom #mumadvice #Christmas #sensorybooks

These simple board books will help you ignite a love of story in your little one. It's never to early to begin your journey into literacy and moms and dads will love these books as much as the toddlers. #toddler#baby #mom #parents #parentinghacks #childhood

Animal board books

Either of these two lovely board books is a great choice. Both bright with lovely pictures, they will encourage your baby’s natural fascination with all living things.

Board book sets

My 1 year old is my third child and only daughter. I never know what to buy her because we have a ton of toys already and she’s happy with a cardboard box! This year, I’m buying her this – look at the description to see why! (Click image to view)

What do you think?

Comment your own favourite board books or early readers if you think I’ve missed something great! 

More parenting tips:

How to sucker your toddler into doing what you want

How to calm your angry toddler down

To tips for getting little kids to share