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1st Grade Summer Reading List

Required Reading

Ritchie, Scott                         Look Where We Live

This fun and informational picture book follows five friends as they explore their community during a street fair. The children find adventure close to home while learning about the businesses, public spaces and people in their neighborhood. Young readers will be inspired to re-create the fun-filled day in their own communities.

We highly recommend the following books.


Picture Books

Allen, Debbie Dancing in the Wings

Sassy has a big personality, big feet, more than a few inches on her peers, and a love of being on point. Her future in dance is threatened by those who think her stature is at odds with ballet, but she shows them otherwise.

Clements, Andrew               Big Al

Poor Big Al! He just wants to make friends. And in the whole wide blue sea you can't find a nicer fish. But because Big Al is large and scary-looking, the little fish are afraid to get to know him. 

What can he do? He tries everything he can think of -- from disguising himself with seaweed to burrowing under the ocean floor so he'll look smaller. But something always goes wrong, and lonely Big Al wonders if he'll ever have a single friend. Then one frightening day, when a fishing net captures the other fish, Big Al gets the chance to prove what a wonderful friend he can be!

Colfer, Eoin   Imaginary Fred

A quirky, funny, and utterly irresistible story from Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers, two of the finest children's book creators on the planet.

Did you know that sometimes, with a little electricity, or luck, or even magic, an imaginary friend might appear when you need one? An imaginary friend like Fred.

Fred floated like a feather in the wind until Sam, a lonely little boy, wished for him and, together, they found a friendship like no other.

The perfect chemistry between Eoin Colfer's text and Oliver Jeffers's artwork makes for a dazzlingly original picture book.

Cooper, Elisha          Train

A night train, a freight train, a high-speed train. Racing across the country, from coast to coast. All aboard!

Climb aboard a red-striped Commuter Train in the East. Switch to a blue Passenger Train rolling through midwestern farmland. Then hop on a Freight Train, soar over mountains on an Overnight Train, and finish on a High-Speed Train as it races to the West Coast.

Trains are moving. Fast and loud, colorful and powerful. Experience their sights, sounds, smells--and the engineers and conductors who make them go--as they roll across the country.

Daywalt, Drew          The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors

Long ago, in an ancient and distant realm called the Kingdom of Backyard, there lived a warrior named ROCK.

Meanwhile in the Empire of Mom’s Home Office, a second great warrior sought the glory of battle. And his name was PAPER.

At the same time, in the Kitchen Realm, in the tiny village of Junk Drawer, lived a third warrior. They called her SCISSORS.

These three were the strongest, smartest, and fastest in all the land. Time and again they beat the most fearsome opponents they could find: an apricot, a computer printer—even frozen, breaded, dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets! But when the warriors finally meet each other, the most epic round of battles begins . . . and never ends. That is why, to this day, children around the world honor these worthy adversaries by playing ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS!

Frazee, Marla            A Couple of Boys and the Best Week Ever

James and Eamon, best of friends and inseparable, are so alike that Eamon's grandpa, Bill, calls them Jaemon. The boys' wild and crazy adventure for the summer is supposed to be going to Nature Camp while visiting with Eamon's grandparents, but the amusing illustrations tell a different story. 

Geisert, Arthur         Lights Out

It's a stand-off. Mama and Papa Pig are firm about lights out. Their son is just as firm about needing a light on to ward off his fears of the dark. A not so little bit of mechanical genius saves the day.

Grey, Mini     Traction Man is Here!

Enjoy the adventures of Traction Man as he and his sidekick, Scrubbing Brush, face dangers, rescue damsels in distress and search for sunken treasure.

Joyce, William         The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Morris Lessmore loved words. 

He loved stories.
He loved books.
But every story has its upsets.

Everything in Morris Lessmore’s life, including his own story, is scattered to the winds.    
But the power of story will save the day.

Juster, Norton                      Neville

Written by the acclaimed author of The Phantom Tollbooth, this is a simply told story about a boy who moves to a new neighborhood and finds a unique way to make friends. With whimsical illustrations by award-winning illustrator G. Brian Karas, here is a read-aloud that's great for story time, and is sure to be a hit among fans of Juster, Karas, and anyone who is "the new kid on the block."

Lobel, Arnold           Ming Lo Moves the Mountain

Ming Lo's wife is tired of rocks falling through the roof, a garden without sun, and an abundance of rain. She wants the mountain causing their woes moved. With the help of a wise man, Ming Lo does just that...or does he?

Luyken, Corinna                              The Book of Mistakes

One eye was bigger than the other. That was a mistake.

The weird frog-cat-cow thing? It made an excellent bush.

And the inky smudges... they look as if they were always meant to be leaves floating gently across the sky.

As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art, she transforms her piece in quirky and unexpected ways, taking readers on a journey through her process. Told in minimal, playful text, this story shows readers that even the biggest "mistakes" can be the source of the brightest ideas -- and that, at the end of the day, we are all works in progress, too.

Martin, Jacqueline Briggs The Water Gift and the Pig of the Pig

Using a forked stick and an idea borrowed from her grandfather, Isabel searches for her lost pet pig.

McLerran, Alice        Roxaboxen

All they needed were rocks, boxes, sticks, pieces of pottery, some sand, and old brightly colored bottles. They began with Main Street.

Meddaugh, Susan    Martha Speaks

After Helen Finney feeds alphabet soup to her dog Martha, life just isn't the same.

Palatini, Margie       Lousy Rotten Stinkin' Grapes

Barry Moser's winning illustrations of fox and his pals and Margie Palatini's spot on storytelling skills give Aesop's well worn fable a whole new sparkle.

Polacco, Patrica        John Philip Duck

When Edward Pembroke finds an orphaned baby duck and trains him to do tricks, he never suspects where his pet's antics will lead them.

Recorvits, Helen       My Name is Yoon

In a new school, in a new country, Yoon is also struggling to learn a new language and fit into a new life. Even her name looks different in English. Who is Yoon when everything about her is so changed? Has she changed? Should her name change?

Reynolds, Peter        Ish

A creative spirit learns that thinking "ish-ly" is far more wonderful than "getting it right" in this gentle new fable from the creator of the award-winning picture book THE DOT.

Ramon loved to draw. Anytime. Anything. Anywhere.

Drawing is what Ramon does. It’s what makes him happy. But in one split second, all that changes. A single reckless remark by Ramon's older brother, Leon, turns Ramon's carefree sketches into joyless struggles. Luckily for Ramon, though, his little sister, Marisol, sees the world differently. She opens his eyes to something a lot more valuable than getting things just "right." Combining the spareness of fable with the potency of parable, Peter Reynolds shines a bright beam of light on the need to kindle and tend our creative flames with care.

Rosenberry, Vera     Vera's First Day of School

Vera couldn't be more excited to set off for school with her big sisters. Standing at the edge of the playground waiting for the bell to ring, Vera hesitates at the sight of so many children. She watches a caterpillar, and then loses her confidence completely when she realizes that the school doors have shut, the playground is empty, and she is going to be late.

Santat, Dan                           After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again

Everyone knows that when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened after?

Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat's poignant tale follows Humpty Dumpty, an avid bird watcher whose favorite place to be is high up on the city wall—that is, until after his famous fall. Now terrified of heights, Humpty can longer do many of the things he loves most.

Will he summon the courage to face his fear?

After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) is a masterful picture book that will remind readers of all ages that Life begins when you get back up.

Scieszka, Jon and Mac Barnett      Battle Bunny

Alex has been given a saccharine, sappy, silly-sweet picture book about Birthday Bunny that his grandma found at a garage sale. Alex isn't interested - until he decides to make the book something he'd actually like to read. So he takes out his pencil, sharpens his creativity, and totally transforms the story!

Birthday Bunny becomes Battle Bunny, and the rabbit's innocent journey through the forest morphs into a supersecret mission to unleash an evil plan - a plan that only Alex can stop.
Featuring layered, original artwork that emphasizes Alex's additions, this dynamic exploration of creative storytelling is sure to engage and inspire.

Scillan, Devin                       Memoirs of a Goldfish

When assorted intruders invade his personal space and bowl, Goldfish is put out, to say the least. But time away from his new companions gives him a chance to rethink the pros and cons of a solitary life.

Senior, Olive Anna Carries Water

Anna fetches water from the spring every day, but she can't carry it on her head like her older brothers and sisters. In this charming and poetic family story set in Jamaica, Prize-winning author Olive Senior shows young readers the power of determination, as Anna achieves her goal and overcomes her fear.

Sorell, Traci  We Are Grateful: Otsalihelga

A look at modern Native American life as told by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation

The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences.

Appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah.

Steig, William           Amos and Boris 

This  gentle fable about friendship has become a classic. An accident at sea brings together an unlikely animal duo, who become fast friends when they discover how much they have in common. 

Uegaki, Chieri           Suki's Kimono

A blithe spirit bucks conformity with great success on her very first day at school.

Woodson, Jacqueline          The Day You Begin

There will be times when you walk into a room

and no one there is quite like you.

There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it's how you look or talk, or where you're from; maybe it's what you eat, or something just as random. It's not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.

Jacqueline Woodson's lyrical text and Rafael Lopez's dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.


Arnold, Tedd             Hi! Fly Guy

Buzz is determined to find a pet to enter into the pet contest. The fly that he catches is not thrilled with being stuck in a jar. Buzz's parents think flies are pests not pets. What will the judges decide? Further exploits include: Shoo Fly, Super Fly Guy, and Fly High Fly Guy!

Becker, Bonny          A Birthday for Bear

Bear is grumpily intent on cleaning his house. He resists all of mouse's ingenious efforts to get him to celebrate his birthday...except one.

Byars, Betsy My Brother Ant

Whether you're the oldest, the youngest, or in-between, these four gentle stories about a pesky little brother and his lovable quirkiness will surely make you smile.

Cushman, Doug       Inspector Hopper 

Mrs. Ladybug is missing and the only clue is a blue stain on the carpet.

DiCamillo, Kate        Bink and Gollie, Two for One

The state fair is in town, and now Bink and Gollie - utter opposites and best friends extraordinaire - must use teamwork and their gray matter while navigating its many wonders. Will the energetic Bink win the world's largest donut in the Whack-a-Duck game? Will the artistic Gollie wow the crowd in the talent show? As the undaunted duo steps into the mysterious tent of fortune-teller Madame Prunely, one prediction is crystal clear: this unlikely pair will always be the closest of pals.

George, Jean Craighead      Goose and Duck 

In a delightful case of double mistaken identity, a boy who happens on an egg just when it is about to hatch, suddenly becomes the mother of a duck, only to then find another egg about to open, but perhaps you can guess the result.

Hayes, Geoffrey        Benny and Penny in Just Pretend

Benny does not want his sister barging in on his fun. Just when he thinks he has managed to get away from her, he has second thoughts. Fans of these cartoon readers may also enjoy Benny and Penny in The Big No-No! and in The Toy Breaker.

Henkes, Kevin          Penny and Her Song

Strike up the band! Ready the confetti! Meet Penny--a brand-new mouse from Caldecott Medalist Henkes. Penny joins the beloved Lilly, Owen, Chrysanthemum, and Wemberly with her very own new picture book series.

Michalak, Jamie       Joe and Sparky Get New Wheels

The adventure begins when Joe Giraffe wins the grand prize in a contest: a bright yellow convertible sports car.

Milgrim, David         Go, Otto, Go

Since landing on Earth, Otto has made many friends, but what Otto wants most is to visit his family. Will Otto’s spaceship take him up, up, up, so he can go, go, go?

Mills, Claudia            Gus and Grandpa and the Piano Lesson

A family jam session is just what Gus needs to get the music in his fingers.

Paterson, Katherine            The Smallest Cow in the World

She may be a grumpy old cow, but Marvin can't bear the thought of losing Rosie, so he lets his imagination take over.

Rylant, Cynthia        Mr. Putter and Tabby Write the Book

When Mr. Putter decides to write a mystery, so many things seem to get in the way of putting words on a page.

Santat, Dan   The Cookie Fiasco

Four friends. Three cookies. One problem.

Hippo, Croc, and the Squirrels are determined to have equal cookies for all! But how? There are only three cookies . . . and four of them! They need to act fast before nervous Hippo breaks all the cookies into crumbs!

Thomas, Shelley Moore      Good Night, Good Knight

During his evening watch, a kindly knight hears a deafening roar. Off he gallops ready to do battle with a dragon. If you have read this one, be sure to try Get Well, Good Knight, the sequel.

Van Leeuwen, Jean Amanda Pig and the Really Hot Day 

Four short stories tell of a very hot summer day and the inventive ways in which Amanda's family still managed to enjoy it. 

Willems, Mo Elephant & Piggie Series

Mo Willems brings us a book series that will have kids laughing out loud and learning to read. These beginning readers have earned the Theodore Seuss Geisel Award for best beginning readers and kids will want to read them again and again.


Alley, Zoe B.  There’s a Wolf at the Door; There’s a Princess in the Palace

Enjoy these funny and creative retellings of five classic folk tales and fables. Kids will laugh at loud at these fantastic stories. There’s a Princess in the Palace, by the same author, retells five classic fairy tales.

Bang, Molly   Living Sunlight

Photosynthesis is the name for how plants use sunlight to grow and create a livable environment for animals and people. Bang does a terrific job of making this important and complex scientific process interesting and understandable.

Blake, Robert J.        Togo

Togo is an animal whose instincts can seem almost human. Small, independent, and strong-willed he is determined to be a sled dog rather than a pet and eventually proves himself to be the greatest of them all.

Bowen, Fred No Easy Way

Ted Williams wanted to do the impossible. He wanted to hit .400. This is the story of the baseball season when he held the entire country spellbound with his batting ability and strength of character.

Burleigh, Robert      One Giant Leap

Although it is now over forty years since Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed on the moon while Michael Collins orbited the Columbia, this historic moment is so wonderfully captured here it seems like yesterday.

Campbell, Sarah C.  Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator

Large, stunning, close-up photographs accompany a spare, but information-packed text, describing a day in the life of a snail. Unlike other land snails and slugs, the Wolfsnail does not eat anything green. It is a carnivore. 

Diakite, Baba Wague           The Hatseller and the Monkeys: A West African Folktale

Africa too has a tale about a peddler with some monkey trouble. Diakite's evocative illustrations give an old favorite a delightful new twist.

Ehlert, Lois   The Scraps Book     

The renowned Caldecott Honoree and illustrator of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom provides a moving, intimate, and inspiring inside look at her colorful picture book career. Lois Ehlert always knew she was an artist. Her parents encouraged her from a young age by teaching her how to sew and saw wood and pound nails, and by giving her colorful art supplies. They even gave her a special spot to work that was all her own. Today, many years and many books later, Lois takes readers and aspiring artists on a delightful behind-the-scenes tour of her books and her book-making process. Part fascinating retrospective, part moving testament to the value of following your dreams, this richly illustrated picture book is sure to inspire children and adults alike to explore their own creativity.

Jenkins, Steve          What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?; Move 

Steve Jenkins brings us two beautifully illustrated and informative books on animal parts and how animals move.

Lewis, J. Patrick       Doddle Dandies: Poems that Take Shape

You'll never be stumped by what these poems might mean. They are shaped ever so cleverly to look like what they are about.

Mannis, Celeste Davidson  One Leaf Rides the Wind 

A young girl dressed in a kimono shares the pleasures of her Japanese garden through haiku. 

Markle, Sandra         A Mother's Journey

Mother emperor penguins make an amazing journey of over 900 miles across snow and ice in search of food to feed their chicks. Beautiful watercolor illustrations help to tell this story of penguins and their young.

Mattick, Lindsay                  Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear

Before Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real bear named Winnie.

In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian on his way to tend horses in World War I, followed his heart and rescued a baby bear. He named her Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg, and he took the bear to war.

Harry Colebourn's real-life great-granddaughter tells the true story of a remarkable friendship and an even more remarkable journey--from the fields of Canada to a convoy across the ocean to an army base in England...

And finally to the London Zoo, where Winnie made another new friend: a real boy named Christopher Robin.

Here is the remarkable true story of the bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.

McDonald, Margaret           The Boy from the Dragon Palace: A Folktale from Japan

One day, a poor flower sellers drops his leftover flowers into the sea as a gift for the Dragon King. What does he get in return? A little snot-nosed boy--with the power to grant wishes! Soon the flower seller is rich, but when he forgets the meaning of "thank you," he loses everything once again. "You just can't help some humans," say the snot-nosed little boy and the Dragon King.

McMillan, Bruce      Nights of the Pufflings

Once a year the children on an island near Iceland make a nighttime rescue.

Murphy, Stuart J.     Bigger, Better, Best; Elevator Magic; Lemonade for Sale;
The Penny Pot

Four mathematical stories make addition and subtraction a snap by finding arithmetic in an elevator ride touched by a smidgen of fantasy, the booming business of a lemonade stand, and a day spent at the fair's face painting booth.

Pinkney, Andrea Davis       A Poem for Peter

A celebration of the extraordinary life of Ezra Jack Keats, creator of The Snowy Day.

The story of The Snowy Day begins more than one hundred years ago, when Ezra Jack Keats was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. The family were struggling Polish immigrants, and despite Keats’s obvious talent, his father worried that Ezra’s dream of being an artist was an unrealistic one. But Ezra was determined. By high school he was winning prizes and scholarships. Later, jobs followed with the WPA and Marvel comics. But it was many years before Keats’s greatest dream was realized and he had the opportunity to write and illustrate his own book.

For more than two decades, Ezra had kept pinned to his wall a series of photographs of an adorable African American child. In Keats’s hands, the boy morphed into Peter, a boy in a red snowsuit, out enjoying the pristine snow; the book became The Snowy Day, winner of the Caldecott Medal, the first mainstream book to feature an African American child. It was also the first of many books featuring Peter and the children of his — and Keats’s — neighborhood.

Andrea David Pinkney’s lyrical narrative tells the inspiring story of a boy who pursued a dream, and who, in turn, inspired generations of other dreamers.

Rabinowitz, Alan     A Boy and a Jaguar

Alan loves animals, but the great cat house at the Bronx Zoo makes him sad. Why are they all alone in empty cages? Are they being punished? More than anything, he wants to be their champion—their voice—but he stutters uncontrollably.

Except when he talks to animals…

Then he is fluent.

Follow the life of the man Time Magazine calls, "the Indiana Jones of wildlife conservation"as he searches for his voice and fulfills a promise to speak for animals, and people, who cannot speak for themselves. This real-life story with tender illustrations by Catia Chien explores truths not defined by the spoken word.

Rosenstock, Barb     The Camping Trip that Changed America

Caldecott medalist Mordicai Gerstein captures the majestic redwoods of Yosemite in this little-known but important story from our nation's history. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt joined naturalist John Muir on a trip to Yosemite. Camping by themselves in the uncharted woods, the two men saw sights and held discussions that would ultimately lead to the establishment of our National Parks.

Sakade, Florence      Japanese Children's Favorite Stories 

Discover the stories that the Kamishibai man brings to life in his paper theatre (see entry under picture books) in this classic collection of Japanese folk tales. 

Sayre, April Pulley   Stars Beneath Your Bed

Dust surrounds us. Only the roar of the vacuum cleaner makes it disappear and then only for a short time. Where does it come from? What does it do?

Sierra, Judy   Tasty Baby Belly Buttons 

A princess, magically discovered by a childless couple inside a melon, saves the children of a Japanese village from the wicked oni.

Shelton, Paula Young                      Child of the Civil Rights Movement

This moving story brings to life the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of a young girl who was on the front lines. Paula Young Shelton, the daughter of Andrew Young, provides a beautiful introduction to a complicated period in our history.

Smith, Penny and Zahavit Shalev A School Like Mine

Children from six continents describe a typical school day inviting cross cultural comparisons.

Tchana, Katrin          Sense Pass King

Many folktale elements show up in this tale from Cameroon about a child who is wiser than a king.

Tonaiuth, Duncan   Diego Rivera: His World and Ours

This charming book introduces one of the most popular artists of the twentieth century, Diego Rivera, to young readers. It tells the story of Diego as a young, mischievous boy who demonstrated a clear passion for art and then went on to become one of the most famous painters in the world. 

Duncan Tonatiuh also prompts readers to think about what Diego would paint today. Just as Diego's murals depicted great historical events in Mexican culture or celebrated native peoples, if Diego were painting today, what would his artwork depict? How would his paintings reflect today's culture?
Diego Rivera: His World and Ours is a wonderful introduction to this great artist.

Yaccarino, Dan         The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau

Enjoy this beautifully illustrated biography of the man who brought the fate of the seas to public attention.


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