9 Books for a First-Grade Classroom

9 books for a first-grade classroomOne of my very closest friends will be a first-year teacher (teaching first grade) this fall and is looking for suggestions for her classroom library. As you could probably guess, the first thing I wanted to do when I heard the news was hop on a plane and go shopping for books and shelving. We’d have so much fun setting up her classroom! Nevermind the desks, chairs, or learning stations. I want to buy knick knacks for her desk and line all the walls with books. Instead, I’m sitting halfway across the country perusing Amazon for my very best recommendations. Here are 9 that keep coming to mind:

Days with Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel is one of my favorite books for emerging readers. Frog and Toad are just so dang funny! Anything by Arnold Lobel would be a great addition to her library, but my first choice would be this set of three different books starring my favorite amphibians.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault, and Lois Ehlert will always be one of my favorite alphabet books. I still remember when I finally understood why it was funny that the letter P had a black eye. Buyer beware here: the board book is only half of the story (and not even the best half!).

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. Anything and everything by Kevin Henkes would be at home on her classroom shelves, but Chrysanthemum is especially appropriate because it’s all about Chrysanthemum’s first week at school.

Babe the Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith. I picked this one up at the library when our oldest was in first grade having only ever seen the movie. What a cute book! We both loved it. I don’t know how many chapter books she’ll have time to read to her class, but this one definitely makes my short list of longer read alouds.

That is NOT a Good Idea! by Mo Willems. I really wanted to put Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs on this list, but I can only recommend it so many times before it seems like I don’t read anything else. I haven’t met an elementary school student yet who didn’t love Mo Willems.

The Spider: The Disgusting Critters Series by Elise Gravel. What child doesn’t love disgusting creatures? Our family favorite is Slug, but I’m including Spider because the little guy looks friendly and familiar (while still being awesomely gross).

The Pinkish, Purplish, Bluish Egg by Bill Peet. You know I love Bill Peet, but did you know that this is the first of his books I ever read by myself? It was the only Bill Peet book in our school library. I alternated between The Pinkish, Purplish, Bluish Egg and Poems of A. Nonny Mouse for at least two years’ worth of weekly library visits.

An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long is so beautiful and informative. I’d love the whole set for my own library. I don’t know how well this book would work for a classwide read aloud because the illustrations and labels include tiny, intricate details, but it would be perfect for just about anything else.

Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld is perfect for a first grade class because there’s plenty to talk about even though the book is a pretty quick read. I don’t know what her daily schedule looks like, but I’m betting there will be time for Duck! Rabbit!

I know this list is far from complete. What would you tell a new teacher to include on her classroom library shelves?

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