Happy FIRST Birthday! Giftable Suggestions for the 1 Year Old

My nephew is turning ONE! So, I’m simultaneously shaking my head at how fast the time is flying, loving watching my nephew’s personality start to shine through, and….trying to narrow down my first birthday gift list!


In addition to a few toys that have been favorites in our household, I am of course purchasing some books for this upcoming year. The second year of reading with kids is just so exciting! They move past seeing books as teething toys and there is so much reading fun ahead! This is the time I saw the greatest development of my own Baby Bookworm #1.

This post contains affiliate links for your gift giving convenience; they should be readily available at your local library as well.  

Book for a 2 Minute Attention Span


aka First Birthday Book List


Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin. This is the first true storybook my son would sit through. A great message, a tune to sing, and learning colors! This book has it all.  Check out the whole series and online content including free song downloads. The song I made up wasn’t quite what Eric Litwin had in mind, but that didn’t seem to bother my son.

Llama Llama Hoppity-Hop by Anna Dewdney. Great for wiggly readers! A short read that you can act out together.

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle. Another one to act out!

Gallop!: A Scanimation Picture Book by Rufus Butler Seder. An entrancing book! Learn more here about scanimation and what the “persistence of vision” principle and striped acetate overlay have to do with storytime fun. (Think flip book without all those pages.)  The animals appear to be “galloping” and “strutting” across the page, which will inspire your little one to imitate for lots of active reading fun!

Machines At Work by Byron Barton.  The second book my son memorized. (And also helped his vocabulary, because what toddler doesn’t need the word “rubble” in their repertoire?)

Gossie by Olivier Dunrea. Sharing, colors, directional words, and a cute little gosling.

How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends (and series) by Jane Yolen. A great way to introduce social skills, counting, colors, etc. based on the title you select.



Ever stop to wonder why it’s so popular to ask kids “what sound does a cow make”? We intuitively know that animal sounds are important to language development. All those sound words (“moo,” “roar,” “zoom”) are the building blocks to language.  Our little pre-talkers are working on vowel and consonant combinations that they’ll need to form words.

Planes Go (and series) by Steve Light. This series was a library favorite for MONTHS. Be sure to point to the sound word as you read, moving your finger along as you imitate the sound- this series is how my son began to understand that those squiggly lines tell readers what sounds to make.

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle. I’ve got this one memorized! Animal sounds and all!

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? By Dr. Seuss.  Our first favorite Seuss.

Moo, Baa, La La La! By Sandra Boynton.  The first book my son memorized. So. Much. Fun. Boynton has many classics; another of our favorites is Blue Hat, Green Hat.

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Nonfiction/Info Books

Pre-toddler readers are sponges taking in the wide world around them.  They are especially fascinated by nonfiction/informational books with bright, colorful pictures.


At this age, our family gets immersed in baby sign language, and word books are a great tool for practicing signs, reinforcing real world signing in another context.

We are big fans of Roger Priddy’s informational books, including his “First 100” series and Colors, ABC, Numbers by Roger Priddy.  An oversized board book, this one is still loved by my 2.5 year old.


Pre-toddlers are also typically entranced by animals! These titles have spectacular photos and include some less common animals.

Animal A to Z (Smart Kids series) by Roger Priddy.  There’s that Roger again!

ABC Zooborns by Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland. Animal babies! Adorable!

Our family sends a selfie with Dr. Seuss's Happy Birthday to You to our friends & fam on their special day

Our family sends a selfie with Dr. Seuss’s Happy Birthday to You to our friends & fam on their special day

What are your favorites for brand new one year olds?


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