7 Picture books to encourage and support communication and language development for 1 year olds and up.


Since my youngest daughter (whom I call Baby) has turned one years old she has been wowing us with her new talents. The way in which she communicates is developing and it has inspired me to write about picture books that are supporting  and developing the skill of talking and communication.

Touch, feel, cut out board books.

Baby loves reading Here Come the Monkeys illustrated by Holli Kushnir and published by Pat a Cake. 

Observe what the monkeys are doing and applaud their actions “Let’s clap hands.” This book is so sweetly illustrated and the fabrics and textures used are varied. At the end of book there is also a fold out surprise which heavy handed little ones might get a bit excited about but older one years and up will enjoy matching and counting what they see.


Look, there’s a submarine illustrated by Esther Aarts and published by Nosy Crow.  

This is a delightful book with cut out parts. As you can see they are the perfect size for ickle fingers. This book has a question on each page “Can you see a window? Who’s inside?” The text encourages you and your child to explore and talk. I also love how this is about a less common type of transport to young ones.

Following on from this read you could make your own submarines and enjoy some water or some bath play.

Board books using photos.

Baby finds books with the use of photography so appealing. The use of real life photographs can make a book more meaningful to a child.

We have several books by publishers Dorling Kindersley (DK) but this cute book was a library find. Baby Sparkle – All About Me written by Dawn Sirett is a super diverse board book exploring different actions that your child can observe and copy. It is a sparkly, playful book that Baby instantly adored. The rhythmic text makes it a memorable, fun, read aloud. Along the way young ones are also introduced to vocabulary about their bodies.


This DK book, Cuddly Animals is also great in that it dedicates one photo to one page. Some children will find this really beneficial and it avoids the child being distracted. Whilst pointing at the picture and reading the caption, it is encouraging the child to connect the two things together. This book is also a touch and feel book!

Board books with moving parts.

Lost and Found illustrated by Emma Dodds and published by Templar Publishing is a great example of a board book with moving parts. This bright, diverse, engaging book gets Baby so excited when she can find the objects that have been lost on each page. To find the object you need to work those finger muscles and move the slider up and when moved down the object disappears again, displaying a question mark. A very fun book.

So much fun can be had when you can make parts of your page change! Baby gets super excited about parts that move in books and not only does the book allow her to hear different vocabulary but words such as up and down used while she moves the different parts will be benefiting her also.


Musical books

Monkey Music Magic Sounds is a fantastic book with a CD accompanying it published by Campbell Books. Written by Fiona Pritchard and illustrated by Emily Bolam both my girls love this.

The book itself is filled with colourful illustrations and has the song words for each song.  It includes songs which incorporate actions and songs which encourage the listener to listen to different sounds like ones on the farm. Such great tools to communicate and talk successfully.

First Word books

Britta Teckentrup has illustrated a collection of books that ooze design and flair.


First Words is a favourite of ours. Published by Templar Publishing this book is stylish and colourful. Each double page has a category, such as insects and food, and then asks a question to encourage young ones to look at the illustrations carefully and to promote discussion. Before your child begins to speak fluent sentences modeling speech is so important. This book is great for parents who prefer questions presented to them rather then a wordless picture book. Others in the series include Animals and Opposites.


Have you enjoyed any of these books with your young readers? As always, I would love to hear your suggestions.

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Disclaimer: Some of the books included in the post are our own, borrowed from the library or sent to us from the publishers.  


11 thoughts

  1. Thank you for sharing this great list, the baby days are behind us now but I still have many of the books my daughter enjoyed as a toddler.

    I absolutely love Britta Teckentrup’s illustrations, her board book looks wonderful!


    1. Thank you so much Catherine. I completely agree. There are so many amazing illustrators including Britta Teckentrup. #ReadWithMe

  2. Love this post! Baby books are so often overlooked but they are so special and provide amazing opportunities for little ones to explore and develop language. We like the photo ones from DK Books and my youngest loves any book that will make noises. #readwithme

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