Choosing Books for First Graders
Great care should be taken when selecting books for young children. Books for seven-year-olds should:
- . . .affirm the values of your family without moralizing.
- Not be based on television and film characters, or toys. The Winnie the Pooh movie was based on a classic children’s book. Paw Patrol books were put out to capitalize on the success of the television show and toys. Big difference.
- . . .be warm and beautiful without being cloyingly sentimental
- . . .have positive role models. Would you want your child to act like the main character? There is a reason that ether-sniffing Curious George did not make my list.
This list was compiled by comparing reading lists given out by Waldorf schools, my own experiences with choosing books for my son when he was in first grade, and suggestions made by other Waldorf parents on the various Waldorf groups on Facebook.
Read-Aloud Books for 1st Grade
- Adelita A Mexican Cinderella Story by by Tomie dePaola
- Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish – Very silly stories about a housekeeper that takes instructions a bit too literally. Can be used as a funny read-aloud now or as a reader in the 2nd grade.
- Aunt Flossie’s Hats (and Crab Cakes Later) by by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard
- The Borrowers (5 books in the series) by Mary Norton – A tiny family living hidden inside a country house in England who live by borrowing things like thimbles and matchbooks from the humans. Some people find the language of this book too old-fashioned. You might need to explain what some items are that your children may not have seen before, like blotting paper or wainscotting, but children often pick up new vocabulary quickly through context.
- The Circle of Days by Reeve Lindbergh
- Eloise by Kay Thompson
- The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship: A Russian Tale by by Arthur Ransome
- Freddy the Pig (26 book series) by Walter R. Brooks
- Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
- Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
This series of books is a childhood classic but be aware that very sensitive children may find the hunting and slaughtering of animals too disturbing. This is the only book in the series that is usually recommended for first grade, save the rest of the books in the series for later.
- Madeline (series) by Ludwig Bemelmans
- The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook by Joyce Lankester Brisley
- The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales by Virginia Hamilton
- Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater and Florence Atwater
- Paddington by Michael Bond
- Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran
- The Seven-Year-Old Wonder Book by Isabel Wyatt
- Six-Dinner Sid by Inga Moore – A clever cat pretends to be the pet of six different owners so that he can get six dinners every night. There is a sequel called Six Dinner Sid: A Highland Adventure.
- The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
- Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola
- Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
- Twig by Elizabeth Orton James
- Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A West African Tale by Verna Aardema