Books for first graders

There are certain books that first-graders just love to read! Many of these books can be found in your local library, as well as in bookstores or on These wonderful books teach more than basic reading skills. Some teach social skills. Others teach about responsibility. Many teach about how to deal with fear of the unknown. Here are just a few of great book recommendations for first-graders:

There is a Bird On Your Head! (Elephant and Piggie Series), by Mo Willems

Piggie and Elephant are best friends. One day, Piggie happily notices that there is a bird sitting right on top of Elephant’s head. Elephant is not happy about this at all. How can Piggie help his friend Elephant? What should they do? This is a really funny book, with simple language that has just enough repetition for new readers to catch on to. Piggie and Elephant remind me of the Sesame Street characters “Ernie and Bert”, in their personalities, and the way they interact. First-graders enjoy the silly situations Piggie and Elephant get into. If your first-grader likes this book, he or she can find several other books in the Piggie and Elephant series to enjoy.

A Fish Out Of Water by Helen Palmer, and P.D. Eastman

A boy buys a pet goldfish. He names the fish Otto. The boy is warned not to feed the goldfish too much, but he doesn’t listen. The goldfish starts to grow bigger and bigger, and quickly becomes more than the boy can handle. This funny story has a happy ending, comically drawn pictures, and is a great way for first-graders to remember not to overfeed their pet goldfish.

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

“Llama, Llama red pajama,

waiting, waiting for his mama.

Mama isn’t coming yet.

Baby Llama starts to fret.”

Here is a book with an infectious rhyming pattern, that first-graders will adore. The artwork is exceptional, and silly, and very colorful. First-graders who have worries about bedtime will relate to Baby Llama very much, and also learn how to deal with those fears. If you can’t get enough of the rhymes, Baby Llama, and Mama Llama, don’t worry! There are more books in the series, with new adventures, and the same catchy rhyming patterns.

Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel

This one has been around for a long time, and it never fails to delight first-graders. There is more than one story in this book, which gives it the feel of a “chapter book”, yet it contains words that beginning readers can understand. The artwork is lovely, and the stories are sweet and silly. Frog and Toad are friends who help each other when times are tough, and have simple fun together. First-graders can pick up on some ideas about just what a friend is, and how to be one, by reading about Frog and Toad. First-graders who read this book and want more can find several other Frog and Toad books to explore.

All of these books teach first-graders that reading can be fun! If something is fun, then these first-graders will want to continue the habit of reading all through their lives.