Picking out new first grade books to add to your classroom library is such fun. Of course you have your favorite standby titles, but keeping your library feeling fresh and aligned to your students’ needs is important for supporting them as readers. If you’re in the market for new books, here are 60 recent titles we recommend for first grade.
(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)
1. Real To Me by Minh Lê
A creature celebrates his imaginary friend and feels a palpable loss when she disappears. Add this to your first grade books to get kids talking about friendship. We guarantee they will have lots to say about these gorgeous illustrations and lots of connections to the author’s message.
Buy it: Real to Me on Amazon
2. Oh No, the Aunts Are Here by Adam Rex
This hilarious account of a visit by a horde of energetic aunts is a hoot to read aloud. Add it to your first grade books about families to honor the roles that extended family members play in kids’ lives.
Buy it: Oh No, the Aunts Are Here on Amazon
3. City Beet by Tziporah Cohen
When they see a sign for a summer neighborhood potluck, Victoria and Mrs. Kosta make big plans to bring beet salad—but first they have to grow the beet. When the beet grows to be giant-sized, it takes the whole neighborhood to pull it from the ground. This urban riff on the folktale The Turnip is one of our favorite new first grade books to share to talk about the power of teamwork.
Buy it: City Beet on Amazon
4. What’s Your Name? by Bethanie Deeney Murguia
Talking about kids’ names is such a big part of building classroom community in first grade. Each page of this book gives examples of how names are part of peoples’ identities, whether they are family names, nicknames, names given after people, places, traits, or more. Get ready for lots of animated discussions.
Buy it: What’s Your Name? on Amazon
5. Sallie Bee Writes a Thank-You Note by Courtney Sheinmel and Susan Verde
When Sallie’s grandma sends her a thoughtful gift, she learns how to write a thank-you note. This fun story models an important skill to first graders and gives the perfect context for conversations about gratitude.
Buy it: Sallie Bee Writes a Thank-You Note on Amazon
6. You Go First by Ariel Bernstein
We can’t wait to talk with first graders about this playground story that can be appreciated on so many levels. When a new tall, twisty slide gets installed on the playground, Duck is eager to try it, while Cat has a lot of hang-ups. Get kids talking about perspective-taking, anxious feelings, and friendship in a relatable context.
Buy it: You Go First on Amazon
7. Forever Cousins by Laurel Goodluck
Amanda and Kara are cousins and best friends, so they’re devastated when Kara’s family leaves the city to move to the rez. Kids will make many connections to how hard it is to be apart from a beloved family member or friend—and the joy of being reunited. The author’s note helps build background knowledge about reservations and their role in the culture and history of Tribal Nations.
Buy it: Forever Cousins on Amazon
8. A Bed of Stars by Jessica Love
The author of the gorgeous Julián Is a Mermaid and Julián at the Wedding gifts classrooms this new personal narrative about a child whose worries make it hard to fall asleep. Dad’s solution is to plan a camping trip in the desert, where there are too many interesting things to learn about to be anxious. You’ll especially love this title if you teach about stars in your science curriculum.
Buy it: A Bed of Stars on Amazon
9. When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L.B. Deenihan
This title’s spin on “When life gives you lemons …” has cheerful, lively illustrations and themes galore to discuss with first graders. Just like Grandma’s lemon tree, it’s a gift that keeps on giving.
Buy it: When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree on Amazon
10. When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox by Jamie L.B. Deenihan
This story features a child who wishes for a dollhouse but receives a toolbox instead. (After the initial disappointment, it actually turns out to be perfect for building a dream doll castle!) Though it’s not the focus of the story, the book also gives classrooms the chance to gently discuss avoiding gender assumptions and practice using non-binary pronouns when talking about a book character.
Add both witty Deenihan titles to your mentor texts for how-to writing too!
Buy it: When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox on Amazon
11. The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann
Add this first-time camping story to your collection of books portraying kids of color having joyful, everyday experiences. Or use it to launch a discussion of themes like overcoming fears and having new experiences. It also makes for an awesome personal-narrative writing mentor text with all the mini-lesson inspiration, from labels to detailed event sequences, sensory details to speech bubbles, and even characters’ emotions.
Buy it: The Camping Trip on Amazon
12. The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story by Tina Cho
Learn about the historic tradition of female divers in South Korea, the haenyeo, through this narrative account of a young girl’s first experiences diving with her grandmother. We love how this book encourages kids to ask questions and make inferences—it’s truly captivating!
Buy it: The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story on Amazon
13. The Cot in the Living Room by Hilda Eunice Burgos
This lovely personal narrative affirms the experiences of kids whose parents work the night shift, and adds to discussions about homes, family life, friendship, and being part of a community. Mami keeps a cot in the living room for neighborhood kids who need a place to spend the night when their parents are working, and her daughter always wishes for a turn to use it. When she finally gets a chance to try it, she learns some unexpected lessons about empathy.
Buy it: The Cot in the Living Room on Amazon
14. When the Shadbush Blooms by Carla Messinger and Susan Katz
This celebration of the seasons pairs Lenape Indian traditions past and present. So many first grade curriculum connection possibilities.
Buy it: When the Shadbush Blooms on Amazon
15. Ten Beautiful Things by Molly Beth Griffin
Lily must make a long drive across her state to move in with her Gram. When Gram suggests they pass the time by looking for 10 beautiful things, Lily’s sure there won’t be any. She learns that beauty can penetrate even deep sadness. This is one of the most tender first grade books (or any grade book) we’ve read recently.
Buy it: Ten Beautiful Things on Amazon
16. Bird Boy by Matthew Burgess
Connecting with others at school doesn’t come easily to Nico—but he loves to sit quietly and watch nature, especially birds. When classmates dub him “Bird Boy,” it feels like teasing, but it turns out Nico was just meant to make friends in his own time. Add this to your first grade books about friendship and identity; we also like the representation of wheelchair use in the illustrations.
Buy it: Bird Boy on Amazon
17. Calvin by JR and Vanessa Ford
Over summer vacation, Calvin bravely tells his parents that even though they’ve always thought of him as a girl, in his “heart and brain,” he’s a boy named Calvin. They support him in starting his new school year as his true self. The joyful illustrations and straightforward, positive language make this a helpful book for so many kids.
Buy it: Calvin on Amazon
18. Amira’s Picture Day by Reem Faruqi
Amira is excited to celebrate Eid al-Fitr with her family—until she realizes it falls on the same day as school picture day. This is one of our favorite first grade books for studying characters’ emotions. We also love adding more representation of Muslim families to our libraries.
Buy it: Amira’s Picture Day on Amazon
19. If I Built a School by Chris Van Dusen
First graders are old pros at the whole school thing, making them perfect candidates for appreciating Chris Van Dusen’s utopian imaginary upgrade.
Buy it: If I Built a School on Amazon
20. Off-Limits by Helen Yoon
A girl finds herself in her dad’s office and just can’t resist diving into ALL of the office supplies. Pretty soon it’s a hilarious mess of paper clips, tape, sticky notes, and more. Yikes! Well, everyone goes overboard sometimes. This is one of our new favorite first grade books for discussing author’s message.
Buy it: Off-Limits on Amazon
21., 22. & 23. Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn; Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter; and Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring by Kenard Pak
Engaging introductions to class nature-observation walks or to study descriptive writing, this trio of gorgeous titles encourages kids to tune in to the changes each season brings.
Buy it: Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn, Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter, and Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring on Amazon
24. Amy Wu and the Warm Welcome by Kat Zhang
Amy Wu is one of the most endearing picture book characters. Add her newest adventure to your first grade books about welcoming new students. When Lin joins Amy’s class, he hardly talks at all, but he’s totally different when he’s talking in Chinese with his family. So bighearted Amy tries to make Lin feel comfortable. Check out the entire adorable Amy Wu series.
Buy it: Amy Wu and the Warm Welcome on Amazon
25. Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed
Bilal’s buddies don’t understand why his dad asks him to come inside to help cook dinner so early in the day—until they learn how to make daal. The day ends with a delicious tasting and new appreciation for this South Asian culinary tradition. This story has all the ingredients for a fun read-aloud and narrative-writing mentor text.
Buy it: Bilal Cooks Daal on Amazon
26. Lizzy and the Cloud by The Fan Brothers
Every one of the Fan Brothers books is gorgeous, and we particularly love this one for first grade dreamers. Lizzy visits the cloud seller at the park and comes home with her very own cloud, Milo. She must follow the instructions that came with it, even if that means making difficult choices. This is a whimsical standalone read-aloud or fun to contrast with informational books about clouds during a weather unit.
Buy it: Lizzy and the Cloud on Amazon
27. Rules of the House by Mac Barnett
Ian loves rules. (Remind you of any first graders you know?) On a family vacation, both he and his anti-rule sister, Jenny, get a lesson in stepping outside their comfort zones.
Buy it: Rules of the House on Amazon
28. Ways To Make Friends by Jairo Buitrago
First grade books about friendship are essential for starting the school year. Toad has lots of quirky ideas for making friends that are great for class discussion. We appreciate that this book also acknowledges that working on making friends can be tiring sometimes and that some time alone can feel good too.
Buy it: Ways To Make Friends on Amazon
29. Welcome to Bobville: City of Bobs by Jonah Winter
Add this to your first grade books about names. In Bobville, everyone is named Bob. Along with their shared names, they look, think, and act the same way. That is until one Bob decides to challenge the norm and change his name to Bruce! This story manages to be discussion-worthy while also tickling first graders’ sense of humor.
Buy it: Welcome to Bobville: City of Bobs on Amazon
30. Too Many Pigs in the Pool by Wendy Hinote Lanier
Mr. Jenkins wants some company in his swimming pool, but he doesn’t expect a steadily growing pig pool party. This math story gets kids thinking about doubling in a hysterical way.
Buy it: Too Many Pigs in the Pool on Amazon
31. How Old Is Mr. Tortoise? by Dev Petty
“How old are you?” is a crucial question for first graders! No one is sure how many candles to put on Mr. Tortoise’s birthday cake, but they all have suggestions. Add this fun title to your first grade math books about representing and ordering number amounts to 1,000.
Buy it: How Old Is Mr. Tortoise? on Amazon
32. The Blunders: A Counting Catastrophe! by Christina Soontornvat
There are supposed to be 10 Blunder siblings, but what will Mom say when they report that one is missing? This story’s silly illustrations get first graders thinking about counting strategies and ways to make 10.
Buy it: The Blunders: A Counting Catastrophe! on Amazon
33. Pigeon Math by Asia Citro
Counting pigeons seems easy, but this group of unpredictable birds keeps coming and going. Share this playful “birds on a wire” scenario when you’re teaching about writing addition and subtraction number sentences.
Buy it: Pigeon Math on Amazon
34. Mr. Watson’s Chickens by Jarrett Dapier
The story follows Mr. Watson as he figures out what to do with the 456 chickens overcrowding the home he shares with his partner, Mr. Nelson. The sneaky birds find a way to escape, but even after he’s rounded them all back up, Mr. Nelson isn’t sure he’s ready to let them go. Filled with fun onomatopoeia and rhythmic writing, this book makes for a great read-aloud.
Buy it: Mr. Watson’s Chickens on Amazon
35. Firefighters’ Handbook by Meghan McCarthy
Meghan McCarthy always serves up top-notch informational read-alouds, but this one might be our favorite yet. From training to tools, it covers all things firefighting. Use it to teach students about informational text comprehension strategies and as a mentor text for writing their own.
Buy it: Firefighters’ Handbook on Amazon
36. Nacho’s Nachos: The Story Behind the World’s Favorite Snack by Sandra Nickel and Oliver Dominguez
Here’s a tasty narrative nonfiction topic! This engaging account of the “invention” of this popular snack (and cafeteria staple) offers a satisfying bite of food history, and may even inspire additional snack research or experimentation of kids’ own.
Buy it: Nacho’s Nachos: The Story Behind the World’s Favorite Snack on Amazon
37. What’s in Your Pocket? Collecting Nature’s Treasures by Heather L. Montgomery
Scientists (especially first grade ones!) are always collecting interesting things they find. This clever book presents famous scientists using anecdotes about how they found nature items as kids. Encourage scientific inquiry and introduce types of scientists with this awesome addition to your first grade books about science.
Buy it: What’s in Your Pocket? Collecting Nature’s Treasures on Amazon
38. Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh / This Is How I Know by Brittany Luby
How do you know when summer, or fall, or winter, or spring really arrive? This beautiful bilingual book is written in Anishinaabemowin (the language of the Ojibwe) and English.
Buy it: Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh / This Is How I Know on Amazon
39. Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark
Share this story as an example of persistence and also to help your students appreciate the origin of the tablets, laptops, and desktops they use today.
Buy it: Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code on Amazon
40. Saving the Day: Garrett Morgan’s Life-Changing Invention of the Traffic Signal by Karyn Parsons
The traffic signal is such a concrete example for first grade minds of how an invention can solve a problem. This rhyming story brings Garrett Morgan’s work to life. It will definitely get kids thinking and wondering about other inventions too.
Buy it: Saving the Day: Garrett Morgan’s Life-Changing Invention of the Traffic Signal on Amazon
41. The Floating Field: How a Group of Thai Boys Built Their Own Soccer Field by Scott Riley
When first graders see a problem, they want to fix it—which makes this true story about a determined crew of soccer-loving friends extra fascinating. Prasit Hemmin and his buddies live on a small Thai island, meaning they only have room to play soccer occasionally at low tide on a sandbar. So they decide to build themselves a floating soccer field! Add this to your first grade books about perseverance.
Buy it: The Floating Field: How a Group of Thai Boys Built Their Own Soccer Field on Amazon
42. A Peek at Beaks: Tools Birds Use by Sara Levine
A fun text structure turns learning about different types of bird beaks into a guessing game. What kind of bird has a beak that works like a knife? A net? Needle-nose pliers? A straw? We love first grade books that let us dig into science standards through reading aloud.
Buy it: A Peek at Beaks: Tools Birds Use on Amazon
43. Seedlings series by various authors
Engaging topics, great photos, clear informational text features? Check, check, check. If you need to beef up your collection of informational books your firsties can tackle independently, you’ll want to click through the many (many!) options in this series.
Buy it: Seedlings on Amazon
44. Giggle and Learn books by Kevin McCloskey
The Giggle and Learn series takes on high-interest topics in their readable, comic-style nonfiction texts. Explore the whole series.
Buy it: Giggle and Learn books on Amazon
45. Seeing Into Tomorrow by Richard Wright
This collection of haiku highlights common childhood experiences, like noticing shadows, playing outside, and watching trains. The unique photo collage artwork is a much-needed, everyday portrayal of African American boys.
Buy it: Seeing Into Tomorrow on Amazon
46. Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market by Michelle Schaub
This collection has a shopping list’s worth of creative rhymes, fun illustrations, and great vocabulary, all while celebrating healthy, local food.
Buy it: Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market on Amazon
47. Decodable books
Hopefully you’re loading up your first graders’ phonics knowledge! It’s important for them to have access to decodable books that let them put their new skills to work. Two series we especially love for first grade classroom libraries are Half-Pint Kids by LuAnn Santillo and Express Readers by Elise Lovejoy. They have fun stories and lots of books available for each skill. This makes it easy to pull out of a basket of, say, books focused on short vowels or digraphs for kids to review during independent reading time. For more decodable text options we love, check out our full list.
Buy it: Half-Pint Kids decodable books
Buy it: Express Readers decodable books
48. Thunder and Cluck series by Jill Esbaum
Thunder and Cluck are different in many ways. Is friendship possible? First graders will love the odd-couple hilarity. This series is part of the Ready to Read Graphics collection, which are all fantastic. Each book starts with an amazing tutorial about how to read graphic novels, perfect for class mini-lessons or small-group work.
Buy it: Thunder and Cluck series on Amazon
49. World of Reading: Mother Bruce books by Ryan T. Higgins
Hooray for early readers starring one of our all-time favorite picture book characters! Mother Bruce is just as funny as ever and new readers will be proud to be able to read about his antics on their own.
Buy it: World of Reading: Mother Bruce books on Amazon
50. Unicorn and Yeti series by Heather Ayris Burnell
Fun creatures and classic friendship themes are a great combo in this fun series. The short chapters, color-coded speech bubbles, and supportive pictures are awesome for first grade readers. This series is part of the Acorn Books early reader collection—a must-look for updating your first grade books for independent reading. (For more advanced readers, you’ll also love the Branches collection of transitional chapter books.)
Buy it: Unicorn and Yeti series on Amazon
51. The Mo Jackson series by David A. Adler
What Mo lacks in size and athleticism he makes up for in determination and love of the game. Young sports enthusiasts will be eager to read the play-by-play accounts of his experiences with soccer, baseball, swimming, and more.
Buy it: The Mo Jackson series on Amazon
52. The Confetti Kids series by various authors
With their diverse cast and portrayals of varied childhood experiences, the Confetti Kids allow students to see themselves in books.
Buy it: The Confetti Kids series on Amazon
53. Pee, Bee, & Jay series by Brian “Smitty” Smith
This series had us at its clever title. Kids love the wacky combination of characters in these pun-filled emergent-reader graphic stories.
Buy it: Pee, Bee, & Jay series on Amazon
54. Henry, Like Always by Jenn Bailey
This illustrated chapter book stars Henry, a child on the autism spectrum. Henry prefers his classroom’s predictable schedule, so when his teacher announces a parade on Friday, he worries about the changes, the noise, the missed Friday Share Time—everything. With the help of supportive friends, Henry finds his own way to enjoy the event. You’ll want to add this to your first grade books to affirm kids’ preferences and needs and to build empathy.
Buy it: Henry, Like Always on Amazon
55. Charlie & Mouse books by Laurel Snyder
Books about sibling conflict make for great discussion, but these vignettes about two brothers who love to be together are so refreshingly sweet.
Buy it: Charlie & Mouse books on Amazon
56. Norma and Belly series by Mika Song
These crafty squirrel friends are always up to something, and it usually involves plotting to score yummy snacks. These longer but fast-paced graphic novels are hilarious first grade books for reading aloud or for advanced readers to enjoy.
Buy it: Norma and Belly series on Amazon
57. Magic Tree House Graphic Novels by Jenny Laird and Mary Pope Osborne
Striving toward being able to read Magic Tree House books is a rite of passage for so many kiddos. These new graphic novel adaptations introduce all the treasured details from the original books with amazing fresh artwork and new energy. You’ll definitely want to add these to your first grade books for advanced readers or to read them aloud as part of introducing this iconic series.
Buy it: Magic Tree House Graphic Novels on Amazon
58. Zoey and Sassafras books by Asia Citro
With sick magical animals in need of help and an inspiring, relatable girl-scientist hero, this is a series to collect for your classroom. Read them aloud or share them with advanced first grade readers.
Buy it: Zoey and Sassafras books on Amazon
59. Our Friend Hedgehog by Lauren Castillo
When Hedgehog loses his cherished stuffed dog Mutty in a storm, he’s beside himself, but a series of meetings with other forest residents brings hope, resilience, and new friendship. This gorgeous illustrated chapter book makes for a sweet classroom read-aloud to pair with conversations about what it means to be a friend. It’s also an age-appropriate choice for advanced first grade readers.
More great news: This sweet story has a sequel to enjoy. Check out Our Friend Hedgehog: A Place to Call Home.
Buy it: Our Friend Hedgehog on Amazon
60. Rabbit & Bear series by Julian Gough and Jim Field
These illustrated chapter books are prime first grade books that work as both appealing classroom read-alouds and independent reading choices for your more advanced readers. Bear and Rabbit are forest neighbors, but their friendship includes plenty of hilarious twists and turns. (FYI: There’s some bathroom content in the first installment, but in our opinion, it’s not a deal-breaker.)
Buy it: Rabbit & Bear series on Amazon