Best Interactive Books For 1-Year-Olds
Quick Things You Need To Know:
I started making this a whole book list for 1-year-olds, and got as far as the flap books. I’ll finish this later.
- Smash the kyriarchy:
- Feature powerful protagonists of color with agency
- Feature characters with disabilities as competent equals
- Recognize that not all homes and neighborhoods look like the ones we live in (and they are no better or worse than ours.)
- Familiarity vs. Novelty: At this age they will want to re-read the same book over and over for a few weeks or even months in a row.
- Repetition: They’ll develop interests in particular themes: trucks, farm animals, beards (yes, like the facial hair), babies, etc. Just run with it. If you get really sick of a particular book, try getting another book with the same theme to mix it up and keep yourself from dying of boredom.
- Meet tots where they are:
- Cognitive development
- From 12-18 months: Starting to get excited about properties of items (colors, shapes). Can follow simple directions, “Can you point to the purple cat?” Separation anxiety peaks around now.
- From 18-24 months: Big leap in interest from simple board books featuring single items to books with a simple story line. For instance, they’ll see ‘Goodnight Moon’ as more than a collection of items, and understand it’s a wider narrative of a bunny going to bed.
- From 24-30 months: Temper tantrums in full swing. Starting to feel agency in feeding themselves with a cup/spoon, and getting undressed by themselves – but they still suck at everything, and get suuuper frustrated when a sock won’t come off. Starting to realize how weak they are while all the older folks around them can do these things easily.
- From 30-36 months: Preschool enrollment opens up about starts around 2.5-2.75 years, so expect to deal with some separation anxiety, new school jitters (if they previously stayed at home with a caregiver), and the adjustment from lots of open play at home to a more structured day schedule (depending on the home and school atmospheres.)
- Non-linear reading: Don’t expect a kid under 3 to sit still and read a book cover-to-cover. Around 18 months and again at 2.5 years and 3.5 years, your kid will have a big cognitive leap and will be more ready for storybooks with increasingly linear story lines.
- Destruction: Some kids are delicate and cautious. Mine were not. Expect all books to be tugged, thrown, and stepped on. Never leave them alone with a library book. This is not the time for delicate flaps and pop-up books.
- Cognitive development
Quick & Messy Book List:
They’re starting to understand properties (ex: red, soft) and putting language to experience.
1-year-olds are still going love the sensory books from the 6-12-month collection, even more so now that they can confidently turn pages and sit with the books and ponder them independently.
my first wonder woman – cute, with caveats – text is similar to pat the bunny. As usual, bad/good guys dynamic because heaven forbid we have superheroes with a growth mindset. Not the BEST touch and feel book, but super cute if you’re into Wonder Woman. At the end, we see “Wonder woman is one of the world’s strongest super heroes. Look – there’s another little super hero!” And the reader sees a mirror. All the superheroes pictured in the crowd are white, so we’re skipping this. 6m-3.5
Pat the Bunny, if you can stand the comb binding (I cannot – auditory sensory HELL) and the smell of the ‘flowers.’ I see they have a hardcover and paperback, which I haven’t gotten my hands on. I’ve never seen a copy without a comb binding. But then again, I don’t get out much.
Durable Flaps for Fine Motor Control:
Now that they can smoothly use fingers and turn pages, they are going to be SO INTO the interactive flaps and windows. If you’re doing elimination communication, keep a basket of interactive books next tot the potty for independent reading.
Fisher Price Little People Series – These are all boring, some of them lean Christian (not a bad thing, but worth noting). I can’t remember a single thing about them, but they are SUPER durable and occupied my toddlers for short periods of time with like a bazillion flaps so I could wash dishes. You will probably find a copy of one at your local thrift store, they last forever.
out of sight – pittau -This is a big book with big flaps that are moderately sturdy (18m+). can work for toddlers who don’t need you to read it to them, but works for other kids since there are animal factoids too. paintings but detailed enough that could be acceptable for montessori classroom.
Other Interactive Books
What Makes a Rainbow – this isn’t a flap book, but an interactive ribbon book. They think it’s MAGIC, and will sit there flipping the pages back and forth trying to figure it out, going “whoaaaaaaaoooaaa!” (18 months to 3.5 years)
Smash That Trash – For kids who are wild about trucks – this one features a feminine garbage truck (alas, she’s pink). If you get a library version, it’s likely the gear will be all worn out, but if you can get your hands on an intact version, this was surprisingly entertaining. 12m-3y.
Chomp! – I didn’t think this would have sticking power, but the Earthquakes STILL love this book. Just make sure to get the one with the pull-tab, not the static book. (The Chomp Zoo! spin-off has hardcover bait-and-switch, which has no pull tab. WHY!?) I’m PRETTY sure that the board book version is the one with the pull tab, but double check it before you order. Also these come in kindle format and….again…why?
The Ubiquitous & Problematic Karen Katz
Karen Katz Lift The Flap books are popular at this age, and it’s worth noting they’re somewhat durable compared to most flap books (or can be easily repaired with clear packing tape.) BUT – most of her books featuring characters of color (ex: My First Kwanzaa) do NOT have flaps (rendering them frustratingly worthless for kids who associate her style with flaps) and she’s got a heck of a lot of problematic books celebrating this bullshit with pilgrim hats, betraying her objectifying white gaze equating people of color with food in The Colors of Us, and she adheres with strict gender roles with mom-cleans while dad-builds nonsense.
THAT SAID: Her book Grandpa and me, features an East Asian/Pacific Islander grandpa who is not only a caretaker but also a cook. Depending on how you look at this, this is either tokenizing (which it totally is) or breaking gender and race constructs, since in my family at least, no Chinese grandpa would ever step food in the kitchen or help with childcare. We read it as a ‘do as you see in the book, not as your real grandpa does.’
Auntie And Me looks promising, but it doesn’t come out until 12/11/18 so I haven’t read it yet.
Where is Baby’s Belly Button? – More token kids of color (note that a white kid gets the cover), and note that palms of hands are the same color as faces. Which begs the question – does Katz even know any people of color? But, sigh, until we get more flap books, this will have to do.
Toes, Ears, & Nose! – Same token issues as above, plus she puts a comma before an ampersand, which shows how hard they’re working on these books (not very hard). Sigh. Whatever. It’s fine.
Auntie And Me looks promising, but it doesn’t come out until 12/11/18
Interactive I wanted the kids to love, but were duds:
A is for Apple -No story, just tracing letters and a flap on each page. kinda boring, and they won’t play with it unless i’m sitting right next to them, in which case why not read a real book?
Flora and the Peacocks – So beautiful, and yet SO FRAGILE! Way too delicate for younger kids, save this for 3+
Tuck me In! – Maybe for way more gentle kids, but it’s not a board book and the flaps are thin and easy to rip. By age 3 (when he’s more gentle) the story is too boring.
Warthog – Counting book. SO CUTE illustrations, but the flaps are way too fragile. Completely forgettable. MAYBE worth checking out from the library, but meh.