39 Great Books For Babies Under 1 (Baby-Approved Faves!)

As a book lover who has been obsessed with books since I was little, it was very important to me to try to cultivate a love of books in Riley. books have meant a lot in my life and I hope one day they mean a lot to her too.

It was very important to me to read to him as early as I could for many reasons other than wanting to cultivate that love of reading early.

You are reading: Books to read to a newborn

From the developmental benefits to being visually entertaining to the wonderful bonding and snuggling time reading provided, it’s a good idea to read with your baby!

With all that being said, I’d love to share some of our favorite books that I think are great books to read with baby if you’re looking to make it a part of your daily routine and life and are in need of some good baby books!

It’s a good thing I am meticulous about keeping track of everything we read (with little notes sometimes!) so that I can reference them when I inevitable wait forever to share about what books we love in each stages.

If I were to trust my memory, this post of our best books for babies under 1 would be incredibly difficult to write. so let’s get to it!

I am often asked, “what kind of books are best to read to your baby?

At the basic level, whenever people ask me what books are good to read to babies, I’m a team, honestly, I’ll just read them anything to start with. I think it’s great for them to hear language and to be read to in general, so read whatever picture books you have on hand. don’t worry if it’s the “right” one.

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But did I find and read books that are appropriate for a baby’s age or development? Yes. I absolutely did but don’t let insecurity about it stop you from just reading, even if it’s too long or over the top.

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Just read to your baby, from the earliest age you can handle.

(side note: there were always people asking me when I started reading to riley and I remember pulling out some short board books we had maybe 2 weeks while she was in my arms , more so to ground me during this time of postpartum anxiety and transition, but obviously also to start our lifelong reading habit haha).

Anyway, I basically had two kinds of books to read to him when he was a baby under 1:

1) things that were supposed to be developmentally appropriate or like “first concept” type books or anything that reinforced that early language, especially in the 6-12 month range when he started associating things in the books with the world around her.

2) any short board book that grabs her attention because of the pictures/pacing (or whatever seemed to captivate her about it) even if the story crossed her mind at the time. I loved books like this because most of the time they really grew with her. what interested him in the book at 6 months would be different 6 months or a year later.

There were definitely things I looked for when trying to specifically choose books to get from the library or to buy in hopes that they were on par with his age and development. things like:

  • books that weren’t too busy illustration wise
  • bold & colorful illustrations
  • nothing too wordy
  • repetition, repetition, repetition (seriously, books with repetition are really fun for this age)
  • good rhythms or anything that felt “bouncy” or funny when I was reading it (can’t explain it, I knew it when I found it haha)
  • anything tactile
  • anything interactive
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[disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on a link and purchase something I’ve discussed or recommended, I’ll receive a very small percentage of the sale. see my disclosure policy for more information.

If you want to avoid the guesswork, after following the recommendations below, I recommend a children’s book subscription box like bookroo or reading bug box, as they are very adept at choosing age-appropriate books for babies ( and beyond).

Don’t forget to check out these other great baby books:

  • best flap up books
  • best black books & high contrast white books for babies
  • best christmas books for babies
  • best fall books for babies & toddlers
  • best books for 1 year olds
  • best bedtime books for babies

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alright, let’s move on to these great books for babies 0-12 months, okay?

best books for babies under 1 year old

As you read above about how I approach choosing books to read for the baby’s age, I just want to say that approach is reflected in these selections. I think it’s worth having a mix of more books that are more story-oriented, as well as books that are conceptual/educational and experience-based (touch and feel).

While books that just had an object and a word about them were boring to me (give me the substance!), I saw the value in these types of simple books to connect things to the larger world and, to Sometimes, it actually called her in a way my adult brain couldn’t understand.

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so, yes, some of these books will be great baby books, not in the great award-winning literature sense, but more in the sense that “babies really like this/are entertained by it” or ” It’s good for development.” sense/learning/concepts”.

this was something i had to remind myself of often as someone who was often bored by some of the books riley loved. she wanted great books and stories, but sometimes those weren’t the books that initially attracted her. I found that having a combination of everything is a complete approach to developing her early love of reading! Plus, as she got older, we could really dive into those story-based books I was so eager to introduce her to.

so, that’s what we read so far from all the books we have! I’ve mostly stuck to their board books or the ones that are really interactive. i plan on going to the library to pick out a few more books to see which ones we want to add to our collection… so let me know what books you think are good little baby books or must read picture books for when she grows up that should be in our library.

pin it for later:

ps. check out the birth story of riley & my struggle with ppd // newborn essentials // how to live in a one bedroom apartment with a baby

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