5 must-have books for 0-1 years

Children are made readers on the laps of their parents. You have an interested baby and parent. But what do you read?
Read on for tips on how to choose books for your infant and the only 5 books you really need in your library for the first year.

How to choose books

A. Sturdy.
You want your child to handle the book too independently. Make sure the book is a fabric book or board book.
B. Colors. 
For babies below 5 months, books with high contrast black and white images are great. We skipped this and used bumper cloths in the same color.
For slightly older babies, the book needs to have brightly colored pages.
C. Size
Big isnt always good. Those small books are perfect for the little fingers.
D. Content
Pick up books that have large, bold illustrations with little or no words.There are opposing schools of thought about realistic vs cartoonish illustrations. I say, strike a balance.
Preferably one or two elements per page. Babies cannot focus on details. Long sentences tend to clutter the page.
Also, many pages does not really benefit a child. Their attention spans being short, a simple 8 page book is more than enough.
E. Interactive
Babies love to explore, with or without your help. Pick up books that facilitate exploration – different textured books, lift the flaps, sound books ( personally we didn’t like them until 13 months of age this as the sounds were too stimulating for baby V), etc.
F. Familiar vs unfamiliar
Ensure that the books has a good mix of familiar and unfamiliar items. For example, family albums make wonderful reads and familiar faces soothes the baby.
G. Interest
I’ve no idea why this point came last. But observe your child’s lead and interests. Yes, they do have their own preferences. Baby V preferred only, and only animal books at that stage.
It is best if you actually visit a huge children’s library l, flip through 1000 books, feel them, and choose for your baby ( yep, I’ve done this)
But to help you until you get around to it, I’ve made a master list of the only 5 books you need in your library. Get these and you are set for a year.

1. The first book

Invest in a cloth book. It makes a great cuddle book, soother and teething toy too.
Pat the bunny is an expensive favorite. We settled for this one below.
Cloth book

Dazzle Dots and the Missing Spots. ( 200 INR)

2. Texture + board

We bought the Ladybird Baby Touch words book. It has only one word and one picture per page, has bright pages and illustrations and has touch and feel elements too. Bonus – it has a mirror at the last page.
You can find any variant of this online. Usborne books are great too.

3. A story board

Yes, your baby needs one story book that would make a perfect bedtime read because of the long reading aloud. Our pick for this is The very hungry caterpillar by Eric Carle. This makes a better book that the others in the same series, simply because of the variant page sizes, and better illustrations. Another win, is that this book grows with you. At 1 year, the child learns food vocabulary, then the difference between healthy and junk food, later on the life cycle of a butterfly, then counting 1-5 and finally the days of the week. Yep all packed in this story.
Story board

The very hungry caterpillar (99 INR)

4. An interactive book

Towards 9 months, baby V started showing signs of interest in lift the flaps. These make wonderful gifts for babies who love peek-a-boo.
My pick for this would be any Rod Campbell – Oh Dear and Dear Zoo being my favourites. But again, pick any lift the flap based on your child’s interest.
Lift the flap

Oh Dear! A lift-the-flap book ( 120 INR)

5. Any 100 words book

By the time your baby is nearing the 1 year mark, she will start showing interest towards details and learning more vocabulary. Watching you point to a picture and say a word will also interest them. So definitely pick up any 100 words or 1000 words books.
First words

First 100 words ( was a gift)

 Bonus Tip
Getting a mini library set up for your baby can be an expensive deal.
  • Consider buying books by weight.
  • Consider buying books preloved.
  • Wait for amazon sales.
  • Send a gift wishlist to friends.


This entry was posted in Books.


  1. Vinita says:

    This article is perfect for new mums.. The detailed part with book names helps a lot… Thank you Vaishali loved each and every part of it ?

    • ammatoday says:

      Hey Dr. mitali. Thanks for reading 🙂 I didnt get what you mean by price point not matching? I bought the books at the mentioned price from the sources given at the end of the post 🙂

  2. Kanika says:

    Hi, your article is really nice.

    I looked up the dazzle dot book, nowhere it’s available for INR 200. Can you please let me know from where did you buy it?

  3. Annie says:

    Hi Vaishali,
    I Thank you for this blog

    I could not get the source of these books.could you please help me with this..
    Also you mentioned about FB vendors for Preloved versions

    Could you please name those

    Thanks . Awaiting your response

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