When I first came across a post from Megan of Mom’s Got it Made, I thought she was hysterical. Her ability to describe the issues we moms all face (like getting out the door on time) in a way that makes us all feel like we are in this thing together is uncanny. I awkwardly introduced myself to her in an email, and we became instant blogger friends!
I was so excited that she agreed to do a guest post for me about her favorite books for a 1-year-old. I know a few of you have been asking for book recommendations for the younger crowd, so I thought this would be a PERFECT way to give you some.
She asked me to do a post about raising readers (you can find it here), which with a 3 1/2-year-old and almost 7-year-old, who knows if I will really do in the long run… but we have been successful so far… fingers crossed!
Thanks so much to Megan for writing this up for us! Enjoy!!
The minute I came across Raising Boys with Books, I had one thought for Jenny – TEACH ME YOUR WAYS! Help me figure out how to pin down a very acrobatic toddler long enough to instill a love of reading.
She took my request to heart and sent me a guest post packed with awesome tips for raising readers. She also offered me a chance to share some of my favorite books to read to my one-year-old son.
I’m not an expert in children’s literature and I’m definitely not an expert in parenting. But I’m committed to finding books my son and I enjoy reading together through endless trial and error. Today, I’m excited to share the five books we have the highest chance of reading cover-to-cover and the lowest chance of flinging across the room before I can get through the first page.
My Five Favorite Books for Busy One-Year-Olds
Somehow, my sweet baby boy is fifteen months old already. Witnessing his transformation from baby to toddler has been adorable, endearing, entertaining, miraculous and of course, super-frustrating.
His sweet easy-going disposition has transformed into a full-on riotous personality. Our home is a lawless place where everything from TV remotes to blocks might be stockpiled in the bathtub, dinner is whatever I can cajole him into eating and getting out the door without a meltdown requires meticulous planning and negotiation.
It takes impeccable timing to get my little guy to sit still long enough to read with me. At any given moment, hurricane toddler can be found rearranging the furniture, offering his food to the dog or ordering me around with calculated finger-pointing and grunting. That is, at any given moment except bedtime. I. LOVE. BEDTIME.
At bedtime, I get to hang out with a slightly groggy, snuggly little bookworm. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still his rambunctious and opinionated self. But 8 p.m. rolls around and softens his edges just enough to make him susceptible to comfort and routine.
Right before bedtime I ask, “do you want to read a story”? At that point, he usually marches over to the shelf where we keep his books, selects one proudly, plants himself in my lap and let’s me read to him. Every night, we sit down and start reading a handful of books. Some triumphant nights, we finish one or two of them before he loses interest and toddles off to select another.
Below are five of the books we’ve had the highest success rate with so far.
1. The Boss Baby by Marla Frazee for my entertainment
Finally! A children’s book that’s relatable to parents. Although Go the F**k to Sleep still takes the cake when it comes to children’s books that crack me up, The Boss Baby is an awesome reminder of who’s really in charge in our house.
In this hilariously accurate book, a baby runs his “business” with meticulous precision and a ruthless approach to staff management. The pages are easy for teeny fingers to grab and turn, the text is witty and short and it’s an all-around fun read.
2. The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss for short attention spans
The foot book is the book equivalent of calling someone when you know they’re at work. You get to leave a voicemail and get credit for the call without actually having to talk to anyone. It’s a total win-win.
On days when I know our son is too squirmy for reading, we can plow through The Foot Book in about 15 glorious seconds. It’s classic Seuss with cute, goofy rhymes and wacky illustrations that are as imaginative as they are perplexing.
3. Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Rod Campbell for audience participation
Although Dear Zoo doesn’t have a particularly elaborate plot, the pictures are adorable and every page contains a different animal hidden under a flap.
My little guy loves lifting open the flaps on every page to reveal a new animal sent from the zoo. This is one of my favorite books to read to him when he’s a little restless. It’s perfect to pack in a diaper bag because it consistently holds his attention.
4. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney for endless sappy mom tears
This book about a big nutbrown hare putting a little nutbrown hare to bed is so adorably sweet that it hurts my heart. I am barely capable of making it through Guess How Much I Love You without totally falling apart (which is more than I can say for Love You Forever and The Giving Tree).
The best part about this book is the interactive hand motions that go with it. I won’t say anything else in case you haven’t read it yet. Just trust me on this one, it’s the best.
5. Curious George by H.A. Rey for big-time nostalgia
This is a recent addition to our book collection now that my son can finally be trusted with pages that tear.
Every time I read Curious George, I am reminded of my own childhood. Suddenly, I want to eat orange slices at half-time and watch The Sandlot on VHS.
Plus, can any book quote compete with “George promised to be good. But it’s easy for little monkeys to forget.”? Gets me every single time.
My baby brother dressed as the Man in the Yellow Hat on Halloween, age 3
What Does Your Busy Toddler Like to Read?
Leave a comment and share your favorite books to read with your babies and toddlers. We are always on the lookout for new books to add to the rotation!
Thanks again to Megan for writing this awesome list for us!
And don’t forget to check out my guest post filled with tips to help parents raise readers.
Megan is an upstate New Yorker seeking the elusive balance of family, work and sanity. You can find more of her dubious wisdom over at Mom’s Got it Made. She can also be spotted pouring iced-coffee into a sippy cup or locking herself out of the house with no shoes, her 15-month-old son and her leashless dog.