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Other Books for First Graders
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This is a list of book appropriate for first graders who are ready to read more challenging books than easy readers. I have a separate list containing other series not mentioned here in the section My Daughter in 1st Grade. My son is now in 1st grade (November 2014) and I use the following list I put together as a reference because it is sometimes hard to find chapter books that interest young kids but are not daunting. I also added series for girls my daughter did not read.
The books on my lists are tips from different websites and discussion forums. Read the reviews if you’d like to learn more about the titles. Every child is unique. Books my kids liked might not be an enjoyable read for your child and the other way around. Most of these books are great for any child, no matter if it is a girl or a boy.
When my son reads a book and likes it I move itto my list My Son in 1st Gradeso check out that list as well. You will no longer find it here. I can only trust other people about the books listed here but if my son actually reads a book from this category and likes it, I know that the tip was good and feel better about recommending it to other parents. I hope you will find the tips useful and will not waste time searching for a good read for your child at his/her level.
The books toward the end of the list are probably harder and I am saving them for the second half/end of 1st grade.
Captain Awesome to the Rescue! For a list of books in this series click here. My son started reading it but did not finish—said there was not much happening. But it has a lot of great reviews so maybe it would appeal to your child.
The Kids of the Polk Street School To see more ratings, reviews, and a complete list of books in this series click here. Don’t let the recommended age fool you. I have read reviews and it is good for beginning readers.
Leroy Ninker Saddles Up My son did not like it. His friend did, and since they are at the same reading level I guess it was just not his cup of tea.
Jenny and the Cat Club For a list of books in this series and more reviews click here. To see more books about this cat on Amazon click here. I’ve seen this book recommended for younger kids as a read-aloud so it is probably very good.
Baby Mouse(graphic novel) She read one or two because her friend recommended it to her but she was not really into them. It seems very popular though so give it a try. You can find a complete list of the books in this serieshere.
Tiara Club My daughter has never been into books about princesses but I have seen this series mentioned several times on different discussion forums where moms shared tips for their daughters. Click here for a list of the books in this series.
Betsy-Tacy(Betsy-Tacy Books) You can find a list of the titles in this serieshere. I have read somewhere that the beginning books are in simpler language, but as you progress to higher numbers, they have a more complicated vocabulary as Betsy gets older. You can read more about this series on this website or check out the article in the New York Times.
Martin Bridge: On the Lookout! Click here for more reviews. To see other titles in this series, their ratings and reviews click here. You can find them on Amazon here. My son started to read this in 1st grade in March but he did not like it.
These following books were to difficult in the first trimester of 1st grade for my son. I am keeping them on this list because from my experience with my daughter, he may be ready to read them toward the end of the school year.
White Fur Flying Click here to see the ratings and reviews. I looked at this book in the library and it has no pictures so we’ll try it toward the end of the school year.
Beast Keeper #1(Beasts of Olympus) My son tried this book in March in 1st grade but he did not like it—he said not much was happening. I think he either needs to mature a bit more for this book or it was not his cup of tea.
Little Wolf’s Book of Badness Read more reviews here. If your child likes it, give the Awesome Animals series by this author (Ian Whybrow) a shot. The letters are smaller and my son did not want to read this in January in 1st grade. I started reading it to him but he said it was kind of boring.
My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish This book has mixed reviews but mostly from the parents (because it contains a lot of name calling, etc.) but they all agree that their boys loved it. It is apparently geared toward boys and it is funny. It reminds me Junie B. Jones books a bit—a lot of people hate them because of the way Junie B. talks and behaves. I am trying to instill a love of reading in my son and if he reads a few books with a bit less appropriate behavior, I can deal with that. I can always talk to him about it. Check out the sequel Fins of Fury.
A Mouse Called Wolf and other stories by Dick King-Smith. Parents recommend them everywhere as read-alouds or for the kids to read on their own (but I am not sure about the reading level but we will try them). Update. I checked it out from the library in January (1st grade) and it is probably not for my son yet. I could have waited a few months and let him try it but I decided to read it to both my kids and they liked it.
I know that most people in the US know the author Astrid Lindgren because of Pippi Longstocking. But not everybody knows that she wrote several other fantastic books that are very popular with kids in Europe. We read most of them in Czech but I looked them up, checked the reviews (if the translation is good) and decided to share them with you. Among our favorites are The Children of Noisy Village (my daughter’s all-time favorite) but it is probably more suitable for kids 7 or 8 and up, not for a beginning reader (but a great read-aloud for younger kids). However, there are other titles that are easier so I added them to this list.
Emil’s Pranks My daughter read it in Czech and enjoyed it. Little boys will be especially delighted. Read more reviews here. You can find more Emil books on Amazon (and you can check more reviews on www.goodreads.com). I am not sure about the reading level, maybe it is better to save this one for the end of the school year or 2nd grade.
Mr Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire This is the second book in Mr. Gum series, check the reviews here. I have also seen this book mentioned several times, it is supposed to be hilarious. For a list of books in this series click here.
Moonsilver For a list of books in The Unicorn’s Secretseries click here. (especially for girls, recommended for 7 and up but some girls read it in 1st grade)
Marty McGuire For other titles in this series, reviews, and ratings, click here or you can check them out on Amazon here. My daughter discovered Marty McGuire in 2nd grade and loved it.
Moongobble and Me For a complete list of books in this series click here. My son listened to most of the books in the car (and loved it) so he decided to read the books. They were too difficult at the beginning of 1st grade but he had no problem reading them in the third trimester.
Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryMy daughter had never seen the movie before she read the book. It was her first longer book to read, she couldn’t put it down. My son read it over the summer before he went to 2nd grade.
2014 Notable Children’s BooksThe reading list from the Association for Library Service to Children of the American Library Association includes the current Newbery, Caldecott, Belpré, Sibert, Coretta Scott King, Geisel, and Batchelder Award winners and Honor books, among other notable books.