Books by Theme
First grade is when many children put it all together and begin to read independently. But reading aloud with first graders remains not only a pleasurable but an important activity. It encourages longer attention spans — children can focus on a page of images and words for longer periods, build their understanding of the connection between speech and print. Their sense of language develops as they are introduced to its use in different types of books ranging from poetry to nonfiction or even in a silly story that uses repeated sounds. And they can see themselves and others more readily as they read about other places and characters.
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type
Farmer Brown has his hands full when the cows on his farm get a typewriter. Duck, however, negotiates successfully for all parties in this very funny farm story of very clever animals. Be prepared to talk about typewriters or take a trip to a museum to see one!
Say narrates the saga of his grandfather who as a young man travels to the United States in the early 20th century, marries, and returns to Japan. Watercolor portraits of people and places glimpse the contrast of cultures and parallel the lives of grandfather and grandson. It could lead to a discovery of family histories. Country of origin: Japan
Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me
A boy's game with his father begins each morning with, "KNOCK KNOCK." Then one morning, the father is no longer there but he shares his dreams for his son through a letter. Based on the author's separation from his father, sadness and hope radiate from the pages of this affecting story.
There are three words that Martha — a dog who gained the ability to speak when she ate alphabet soup — absolutely hates. They are: No Dogs Allowed. So when Martha wins a weekend for her (human) family at the Do-Come-Inn, those words propel the Martha and the family into action with very funny results.
Mirandy and Brother Wind
Mirandy wants to win the cakewalk dance but to do so, can she capture Brother Wind? Inspired by a family photograph, the author and illustrator richly imagine a time past and what a clever girl can achieve. Realistic watercolor illustrations increase the story’s sense of time, place, and its drama.
My Father's Dragon
A boy sets off to rescue a baby dragon and has a series of adventures before the happy conclusion. Though written long ago, the slightly eccentric tale continues to engage young readers.
Parrots Over Puerto Rico
How colorful parrots that have lived on the island of Puerto Rico for “millions of years” almost disappeared but can again be seen today makes an exciting saga. Enjoy the richly colored collage cutouts illustrate alone or read the informative text which details the history of parrots and their island home.
The story of one boy’s passion for snowflakes led to a lifetime’s study. Wilson Bentley, better known as Snowflake Bentley, is presented in a fascinating picture book biography. Read just the story portion or include the factual narration which is included on each page. Illustrations evoke Snowflake’s Vermont, just the thing for a warm day.
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
When a young donkey named Sylvester comes across a magic pebble, he saves himself from a confrontation with a lion by wishing himself into a rock. Frantic parents search for Sylvester until they stop for a picnic on a large rock. Rich language and humorous cartoon illustrations make this a memorable classic.
The Three Pigs
Serafina Sow returns from her retirement in the Gulf of Pasta to help her three pig offspring to defeat the big bad wolf, Tempesto. Elements of the more traditional story are here (houses of brick, straw and sticks) but made fresh and funny (such as the family business of waffle-making) in this creative recasting of an old tale illustrated in the artist’s signature style.
Stillwater, a large panda, tells each child a story that illustrates a principle of Zen. Although the tales will captivate children, adults may recognize the philosophy imbedded in them. Delicate, handsome illustrations capture the mood and flow of the stories.
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