December 9, 2020

M loves books. I think she would sit and read books all day if I let her. I had been meaning to post a list of her favorites for a while and finally got a chance when she decided to take a 2+ hour nap.

Links are affiliate links to, a wonderful website that supports local, independent bookstores. If I can’t get a book at my local bookstore, I get it from them. I’m sure you already have more than a few of these, but hopefully you can find something new in this list.

1.If I Had a Little Dream by Nina Laden

“If I had a little dream, I would name it you. You would make life magical, where wishes do come true.” We don’t even call this book by its name anymore. We call it Favorite Book. Given to M by her aunt for her birthday, this is easily her favorite book. She can sit and read it by herself or with me over and over again. The words are lyrical, the illustrations are beautiful, and the message is wonderful.

2. Little You by Richard Van Camp

The words in this book are lyrical and beautiful. This book is about a parent’s love for their child and celebrates little ones for who they are.

3. My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith

Author Monique Gray Smith, a woman of Cree, Lakota, and Scottish ancestry, wrote this book to inspire indigenous children and their families. This book is about the simple things that make our hearts fill with happiness, from feeling the sun on your face to holding the hand of someone you love. I love the message of this book. The book’s illustrator, Julie Flett, also illustrated Little You. The illustrations in both are stunning.

4. Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer

M loves the bright illustrations in this book, and I love the message. Depicting different kinds of families throughout the day, the book talks about the small things that make a family a family. Things like waking up bright and early, baking a cake, and a kiss before bed, those are the things that make a family. It’s a beautiful book with a powerful message.

5. Baby’s First Words by Stella Blackstone

When we are reading, M loves to point at different objects, and I tell her what they are. Or, I will ask her to spot different things and she will point to them. It’s one of our favorite games. This book is basically just that, taking baby and dad on a journey throughout their day and pointing out different words. I think that it is also important that this book features two dads, but that the fact that the baby has two dads is not the main theme of the book. It’s just about baby and dads enjoying their day and night.

6. Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora

M loves to read this book, and I think it’s because she recognizes so many of the words – mommy, daddy, grandma, grandpa, friend. This book follows a toddler’s morning, finding parents, grandparents, a friend, and more. A simple, beautifully illustrated book.

7. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

A classic for a reason. This was one of my favorite books, and I love that it’s one of M’s. She loves lifting flaps and this was her first flap book. She still loves it. A child wrote to the zoo asking for a pet, but each pet is too big, too naughty, etc… until the perfect pet is sent! M loves this book so much that I have purchased all of Rod Campbell’s other books. They are all disappointing (including his Santa book) and not very good, except for Oh Dear, which is also a flap book and just as good as Dear Zoo.

8. I’ve Loved You Since Forever by Hoda Kotb

M absolutely loves this book. The illustrations are simple and beautiful and the message is super sweet – I’ve waited my whole life, and longer, for you, and I was meant to be yours.

9. Almost Any Todd Parr Book

Our favorites are The Mommy Book, The Feelings Book, and The I Love You Book. M might be getting The Daddy Book for Christmas. I think that M likes how bright and colorful all of his books are, and I like the messages that they send. The only one I don’t like is The Thankful Book, which I am planning on donating during my next donation run.

10. Any Byron Barton Book

I found Boats at a random thrift store on base for twenty-five cents. M became immediately obsessed with it at around 6 months old. Since then, I’ve purchased My House, Planes, Machines at Work, and Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs. I think Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs is M’s favorite, and mine too, but they are all really good. Actually, the first time M crawled, it was to get Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs. I haven’t decided which books I am getting for M for Christmas, but she is obsessed with the moon currently, so I am looking at I Want to Be an Astronaut. These books and illustrations are simple. They are almost crude in a few of them, like My House, but M loves them.

11. I Look Up to Series

There are so many amazing women in this series. Like many of M’s favorite books, the words are simple and the illustrations are bold. We have I Look Up to Ruth Bader Ginsburg and I Look Up to Malala Yousafzai. She always asks me to read them over and over. I definitely will be adding to our collection of these books.

12. A is for All the Wonderful Things You Are: A Joyful ABC Book by Anna Forgerson Hindley

Developed by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, this book celebrates what makes each of us special and unique. “A is for Amazing, B is for Brave….”

What I really love about this book is that it can grow with your child. Right now, I just read “A is for Amazing, B is for Brave,” etc. But there are descriptions of what it means to be amazing and brave. And underneath that, on each page, there are discussion questions. I think that we will be reading this book together for years and years. It was recommended to me by Christy, and I always trust her recommendations!

13. My Mom is Magical & My Dad is Amazing, both by Sabrina Moyle

Bold and bright illustrations, these books celebrate how amazing and magical parents are.

14. Mama Loves You So by Terry Price

I love books that both rhyme and have a special message, and this book crosses off both of those. Mama loves you higher than an eager flies and endless as the stars ablaze. We love reading this one.

15. First 100 Words Series by Roger Priddy

This book is pretty much our favorite game of pointing and naming things. M asks me to read these to her over and over. We have First 100 WordsNumbers, Colors, Shapes, and First 100 Christmas Words, which she is currently obsessed with. These aren’t my favorite to read to her because they are just words. I find them kind of boring, but M loves them and I think she learns a lot from them, so we read them. She can point out a lot of different photos now, like if I ask her, “where’s the dog” or whatever, she can pick out a lot of them. So we read them.

16. Pouch! By David Ezra Stein

Joey is a little kangaroo who lives in his mommy’s pouch. He likes to leave the pouch to explore, but becomes scared when he meets other animals and always comes running back to the pouch. That is, until one day, when he meets another baby kangaroo, and they become friends. It’s a sweet, short book that holds her attention well. I also really like the message – I’ll hold your hand until you let go.

17. My First I See You by Eric Carle

We love Eric Carle books. M loves looking at herself in the mirror, and she squeals with delight every time we bring this book out. Each page is cut out in such a way that you can see yourself in the mirror. It’s super cute and M loves it.

18. Little Feminist Box Set

M loves this set and I think it’s mainly because the books are just the perfect size for her little hands. This set comes with 4 different books, each with a different theme – leaders, pioneers, artists, and activists. Each page has one sentence about a different woman. We also love the Little Traveler series. The books are the same size and talk about different animals, food, landmarks, and vehicles you can see around the world. Such a great series!

19. Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke

I recently subscribed M to the Little Feminist book subscription when they were having their 30% off sale. This is one of the first books we got in it. Baby and Mama go to a southwest Nigerian marketplace. All of the sellers love baby and keep giving him different foods. The banana seller gives baby 6 bananas. Baby eats one and puts 5 in the basket… This continues until the coconut seller gives baby two pieces of coconut. Baby eats one and puts one in his basket. This book is sweet and funny and also has lots of numbers in it. M asks me to read this over and over and over and over and over. And I love it so much that I don’t mind! The illustrations are also bright and beautiful.

20. Littles and How They Grow by Kelly Dipucchio

“Littles are loved from the moment they’re born. They’re swaddled and coddled and kissed every morn.” And so begins one of the sweetest baby books I’ve ever read. It talks about all the ways babies are loved, and ends with a note to how quickly they grow up. This is another book that we can never read just ones because both M and I just love it so much.

This is the other book we got in our first Little Feminist boxes. It might just be the best thing I’ve purchases for her this year.

Our Favorite Goodnight Books

We have a good set of goodnight books that we rotate through, usually reading about 4 per night. These are some of our favorites.

21. All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon

“Rock, stone, pebble, sand. Body, shoulder, arm, hand. A moat to dig, a shell to keep, all the world is wide and deep.” This is my favorite book of M’s, and one of hers, too. This one, we read every night. It follows a group of family and friends throughout their day, pointing out the little and big things that make life so special. Like most of our favorite books, it’s more of a poem than a book.

22. Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey by Emily Winfield Martin

When Nick and I went away for a night, over a year ago, we stopped in the gift shop of our hotel on the way out. I spotted this book and immediately knew I had to get it for M. It talks about the different animals that carry you to your dreams and the different things you might see in your dreams. Beautifully written and illustrated. The author also wrote All the Wonderful Things You Will Be, which we also love.

23. Together by Emma Dodd

“Today we had a special day, we saw the rising sun. It was so special watching it with you, my little one.” The words are simple and lyrical. It celebrates how special every day is and how much a parent loves being with their child.

24. If I Were a Kangaroo: A Bedtime Tale by Mylisa Larsen

“If I were a Kangaroo, I’d pick you up and carry you in my pocket, sleepyhead, and hope you gently off to bed.” This book talks about how different animals sleep with their babies. It’s super sweet.

25. Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue

A little girl does not want to go to sleep, but she agrees to put her pajamas on and get ready for bed anyway. She talks to her parents about how different animals sleep, and eventually falls asleep curled up in her bed. The illustrations in this book are gorgeous, too.

What are your favorite kids books for 1-2 year olds? I need some ideas for what to get her for Christmas!

3 responses to “My 16-Month Old’s Favorite Books”

  1. Nadine says:

    We have the first 100 words book, but I don’t know that I have seen the rest of these. Looks like so many good ones!! Zoe really loves books as well, and we read every night before bed. Right now she is really into Inside the Fairytale series and anything related to Christmas.

  2. Audrey says:

    Wow wow wow, what a fantastic list! I’m essentially adding all of these to M’s wishlist! (I’m going to share this post on my blog, too! I love it!)
    Hoda’s book is so beautiful! It’s one of my favorites on our shelves!

  3. Carly says:

    This is such a great roundup! Priddy books are always such a hit– Mason still likes looking through the first words ones. I don’t think we have anything by Todd Parr, but the illustrations look somewhat similar to one of the potty books that T is currently obsessed with (& I am so tired of reading, lol).

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