Books to boost your 1st grader’s reading comprehension
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
by: Judith Viorst, illustrated by: Ray Cruz - (Little Simon, 2014) 34 pages.
Have you ever had a day that you’d rather forget? Then you will certainly be able to relate to poor Alexander when his day starts bad and gets progressively worse as the day goes on. From the moment Alexander wakes up, with gum in his hair, to the disappointment of not getting a surprise in his cereal box, Alexander keeps you laughing as he complains about his horrible day. This is a great book for parents and teachers to read to children when they are having “one of those days!”
Perfect for: Kids who like realism.
Find Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at your local library.
Aunt Chip & the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair
by: Patricia Polacco - (Philomel, 1996) 40 pages.
Television is so beloved in Triple Creek that no one even remembers how to read. Books are still around, but are mostly used to shore-up the local dam. When Aunt Chip teaches Eli to read, his new love of books leads him to pluck a book from the dam, producing a flood that changes the town forever.
Perfect for: Inspiring a love (and appreciation) for reading.
Find Aunt Chip & the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair at your local library.
Dad, Jackie, and Me
by: Myron Uhlberg, illustrated by: Colin Bootman - (Peachtree Publishers, 2005) 32 pages.
An amazing semi-autobiographical picture book about a young boy and his deaf father set in Brooklyn. The year is 1947 and Jackie Robinson has just been signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Although Dad was never a sports fan (since he can’t hear them on the radio), he becomes determined to meet Jackie in person. He wants to shake the hand of a man he views as a kindred spirit, “who works to overcome thoughtless prejudice.” This book is a beautiful social justice story and also a love letter from a son to his father.
Perfect for: Kids who like historical fiction.
Find Dad, Jackie, and Me at your local library.
Diary of a Wombat
by: Jackie French, illustrated by: Bruce Whatley - (Clarion Books, 2003) 32 pages.
This humorous diary takes the wombat’s point of view as he describes his daily life. In particular, he explains how he trains his neighboring humans to give him the food he likes.
Perfect for: Kids who like humor stories.
Find Diary of a Wombat at your local library.
Frog and Toad Are Friends
by: Arnold Lobel - (Harper Collins, 1970) 64 pages.
This classic features the escapades of Frog and Toad, an adorable amphibious duo who are the best of friends. Your child will love these five stories about friendship that include adventures such as feeling embarrassed when wearing a bathing suit, waiting for mail, finding a lost button and waking up from hibernation in the spring. Caldecott Honor Book, 1971.
Perfect for: Helping kids understand the benefits of a great friend.
Find Frog and Toad Are Friends at your local library.
The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum
by: Kate Bernheimer, illustrated by: Nicoletta Ceccoli - (Schwartz & Wade, 2008) 40 pages.
This is a layered story that weaves in and out, up and down, to form a fascinating fantasy. The haunting scene of a wispy, wistful girl peering into the glass case on the cover starts the journey. Inside the case, the girl in the castle, lonely in her turret, appears to be lost in a dreamlike trance. Yet as the story unfolds, the reader learns that the girl in the castle misses the children when they leave the museum and dreams of their return. She even dreams of the reader, who is, in the end, invited to leave his/her picture above the girl’s bed inside the castle, inside the glass case, inside the museum, inside the book that the reader is holding. Much like the Escher-like stairways of the illustrations, the three worlds intersect and blend into an unexpected story. And, with characters that look like dolls, dolls that look like porcelain figures from a Dali painting, strange toys, and hazy dream-like colors sparked here and there with a magical light, Bernheimer and Ceccoli have created a mesmerizing fantasy world that is both uniquely surreal, yet comfortingly real and loving.
Perfect for: Kids who like fantasy stories.
Find The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum at your local library.
What’s So Bad About Being An Only Child?
by: Cari Best, illustrated by: Sophie Blackall - (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007) 32 pages.
This sly reversal of the typical older-sibling-jealous-of-the-new-baby picture book tells the story of Rosemary Emma Angela Lynette Isabel Iris Malone, so-saddled because every relative in the extended family took a hand in the naming. Everyone, in fact, from Uncle Jeff to Aunt Barbara to the unnamed grandparents hangs on Rosemary’s every need until her life gives new meaning to the term “cosseted.” Eventually, she comes to the conclusion that being the target of everyone’s affection is hard work and she takes her complaints all the way to the top. “You need to have another kid right away,” she tells her mother, hands firmly planted on her hips. “And that’s that.” In the end, all is resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, though not in the way Rosemary demands or even imagines, and the clever title changes from a statement of fact to an open-ended question.
Perfect for: Kids who like realism.
Find What’s So Bad About Being an Only Child? at your local library.
The Little Red Fort
by: Brenda Maier, illustrated by: Sonia Sanchez - (Scholastic Press, 2018) 40 pages.
Who wants to help me build something, Ruby asks her brothers. When they refuse, saying “you don’t know how to build anything!” Ruby declares, “Then I’ll learn!” One fabulous fort later, her brothers have changed their tunes, so Ruby lets them paint and plant flowers and build a mailbox. Soon they all have a wonderful place to play. This retelling of The Little Red Hen will delight siblings, makers, and kids with big ideas.
Perfect for: Kids who persist.
Find The Little Red Fort at your local library.