We don’t have to tell you that this is a great age. Your baby is starting to sit up or will soon; is tracking you across the room with their sweet little eyes; and the world is bursting with information and colors that fascinate them. Now that the newborn stupor is in the rearview mirror, but the toddler days are still many months away, you can connect and bond so much with your 6-12-month-old baby through reading. 

In this age range, babies no longer need high-contrast imagery to help them focus…they’re ready to explore colors! It’ll probably be some time before they learn which one is which, but it’s a perfect moment to introduce these—plus shapes, human faces, and animal types—to them. Reach for books that inspire them to move, clap, and giggle, and have a few on your shelves that prep them for bath and bedtime. Babies love exploring with their hands and mouths, so add a few soft, touch-and-feel, and lift-the-flap books to their growing collection. 

From classics that have delighted generations to newer picks you can discover together, these are our 30 favorite books for babies, ages 6 to 12 months. 

Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

Baby book: Pat the Bunny

It doesn’t get any sweeter than this classic tactile baby book, with simple words and illustrations that you and your little will love.  

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox

Baby Book: Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

This cute book uses the cadence of a nursery rhyme to tell a new story, complete with simple illustrations to catch your bub’s eye.

Global Babies by the Global Fund for Children

Baby Book: Global Babies

Faces are so important for your baby to look at, especially at this age when they are grasping the world around them. This beautiful book features photographs of babies from around the world, exposing littles to other cultures and a wide array of skin tones and facial features.  

See, Touch, Feel by Roger Priddy

Baby Book: See, Touch, Feel

An early sensory book geared toward young babies, the pages are bursting with texture and color to engage growing minds. 

Read to Your Baby Every Day by Rachel Williams

Baby books: Read to Your Baby Every Day

As the title puts it, you should aim to read to your baby every day…and this lovely book makes it easy to do so! It features appealing illustrations alongside short retellings of thirty classic nursery rhymes, making storytime seamlessly fit into your daily routine.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Soft Book by Eric Carle

Baby Books: The Very Hungry Caterpillar Soft Book

The classic tale of the hungry caterpillar nummering up lots of snacks ahead of metamorphosis gets a baby-friendly boost with this soft version. The illustrations are plucked from the original, in a soft book form that Baby can even chew on. There are simple words to accompany the pictures, and when you introduce the real book in a few months, they’ll be ready to love it from the first page.  

Look Look! by Peter Linenthal 

Baby books: Look Look

A charming early board book that can be read to them before 6 months, but starts to really click now. From cars to stars, it covers lots of interesting themes for your little explorer.  

Baby Touch and Feel: Cuddly Animals

 Baby books: Baby Touch and Feel Cuddly Animals

Any book in this series will delight, but the cuddly animals that cozy-up these pages make it a must. Featuring an array of textures to explore and illustrated with beautiful photographs of animals, this is sure to be among your favorites. Pro tip: It’s a great diaper bag book for entertainment on the run, as its pages can be explored independently, too. 

BabyLit Series: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Jennifer Adams

Baby books: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Hand down your love of literature to your baby with the entire BabyLit series, featuring reworked classic novels into beautifully illustrated “primers” that give a loose concept of the story at hand. Starting with Shakespeare certainly can’t be a bad idea!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin & Eric Carle

Baby books: Brown Bear Brown Bear

You can introduce the pared-down Baby Bear board book or cut right to the classic with your babe. A warning: your child will not tire of this book, so get ready to read it often, now and throughout the next several years.  

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

Baby books: Dear Zoo

A classic lift-the-flap book designed to keep your little one guessing, it’s been beloved for over 30 years with sweet animals on every page. 

Five Little Monkeys by Eileen Christelow

Baby books: Five Little Monkeys

Books that teach early rhymes are a great for kickstarting language exploration and a love of reading. And this one amps it all up with engaging illustrations to bring this much-loved story to life. We’ll bet it ends up being one your tot reaches for again and again!

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss

Baby books: One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

This classic serves up the familiar sing-song patter, colorful illustrations, and big dash of silliness that one can expect from a Dr. Seuss book. And yet, it’s still simple enough to grab a baby’s attention…making it the perfect introduction to Seuss’s work.

Pop-Up Peekaboo! Colors Board Book 

Baby books: Colors Pop-Up Peekaboo

All of the Pop-Up Peekaboo! books (from Baby Animals to The Farm) are designed to get your baby interacting with their environment, and color learning is a great place to start. With pretty images, surprise-packed flaps, and a simple story, you will both have so much fun reading this one. 

Flutter By Birdie

Baby books: Flutter by Birdie

Not all soft books are created equally. This one is exceptionally beautiful in its aesthetic and illustrations with cute, exploratory language. A variety of textures from silky to fuzzy make it a favorite for Baby to explore on their own or in your arms.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

Baby books: Guess How Much I Love You

It doesn’t get much sweeter than this classic story of a parent’s love. You might even tear up at times, but it’s worth it to share this beautiful story with your baby. 

First 100 Words by Roger Priddy 

Baby books: First 100 Words

Once Baby discovers their own interests (like trucks or animals) there are so many more books in this series to explore together. First 100 Words exposes them to photographs of everyday items and people with the word associated, a perfect start to their journey of speaking on their own.  

Sesame Street Beginnings

Baby books: Sesame Street box set

Not one book but a set of four, these adorable books for Baby introduce them to the Sesame Street gang in baby form. With soft images and sweet stories, they teach your baby about basic concepts like bathtime and animals, opening the door to lots more learning ahead with these beloved characters.  

Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang

Baby books: Ten, Nine, Eight

A Caldecott winner that the whole family will love cuddling up to enjoy, this sweet counting book helps Baby get ready for bed while the story counts items and even fingers and toes.

Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill

Baby books: Where's Spot

You really can’t beat the curious little puppy and his mother on a mission in this adorable lift-the-flap book that babies and toddlers alike will enjoy. 

Baby, See the Colors Indestructible Book by Ekaterina Trukhan

Baby books: Baby See the Colors

Every baby’s library needs at least one indestructible book. These nontoxic books can be chewed, crinkled, and sucked on, and will not be destroyed. The pages are not even rippable, making them a go-to for toy boxes and diaper bags. See the Colors is a perfect introduction to shape and color. 

Are You My Mother? Cloth Book by PD Eastman

Baby books: Are You My Mother? Soft Book

A precious tale that brings baby animals to life for your little one, this starter version is soft, cozy, and squishy for babies under 1. 

Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton Baby books: Moo, Baa, La La La

It wouldn’t be childhood without Sandra Boynton. Her board books are sure to be fast favorites! But if we had to pick one to seed your collection, you can’t go wrong with Moo, Baa, La La La!, which offers humor, rhyming, and cute farm animals on every page.

Where is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz

Baby books: Where Is Baby's Belly Button?

It’s not too early to introduce Baby to their body! This colorful lift-the-flap book is a darling way to start. 

Little You by Richard Van Camp

Baby book: Little You

A beautiful testimony to the promise and potential of every baby and child, it’s a moving and hopeful book to read to little ones of every age, starting right now. 

My First: I See You by Eric Carle

Baby book: Eric Carl My First I See You

Mirrors are so important from a young age, and the 6- to 12-month range is a perfect time to start using mirrored books. Babies get to know themselves in the mirrors on each page, while lovely rhymes and pictures enhance the experience. (You can learn about the Montessori learning link and the importance of mirrors for babies here).

Yes, Baby! Baby Signing

Baby books: Yes Baby Baby Signing

Introducing sign language to your baby can help exponentially with communication in these early months (and beyond!). Have fun reading and learning together with your baby using this book that highlights 25 key signs.

This Is Baby by Jimmy Fallon

Baby book: This Is Baby

Who would have thought that late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon would become a best-selling author of children's books? If you haven’t checked them out yet, this cutie is a great place to start, teaching Baby about their body parts with clear illustrations and simple language.

Welcome to the Party by Gabrielle Union

Baby book: Welcome to the Party

A love letter from Mama to Baby, inspired by the author’s excited anticipation for the birth of her little one. It’s a fun, positive take on the early days with Baby, staging life as a party where the baby is the guest of honor.

Wonderful Babies by Emily Winfield Martin

Baby book: Wonderful Babies

A board book preamble to the beloved The Wonderful Things You Will Be, breathtaking illustrations pair with clear explanations of emotions and moods for Baby in this adorable quick read.

 More Books to Add to Your Library:

About Jenny Studenroth Gerson

Jenny Studenroth Gerson is an Atlanta-based lifestyle journalist and novelist (Let Me Let You Go, 2020). Her work can be seen in publications including HuffPost, Cosmo, and WSJ, among many others. Jenny has researched thousands of baby names, combed through hundreds of nursery designs, and curated dozens of baby shower guides, making her absolutely the mom—and writer—you want to talk to when planning for Baby. When not meeting deadlines, she is chasing toddlers or chugging coffee—or both! Find her on Instagram @ourlifeinrosegold for mom hacks and more.

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