Books for 1st and 2nd Graders

Below is a compilation of award winning books for first and second grade students.

This collection of humorous illustrations and clever word play introduces children to the wide variety of animal groups, such as a prickle of porcupines and a tower of giraffes.


Lewis Michaux Jr. takes readers through the National Memorial African Bookstore in Harlem. This one-of-a-kind store offered a place for African Americans to read, learn, and debate ideas for over 40 years.


Three rowdy robots keep a young boy awake with their requests for more oil, tightened bolts, loosened fan belts, and more. Will a bedtime story finally lead to sleep?


Ballet Cat loves ballet more than anything. What happens when her best friend Sparkles doesn’t want to play ballet every day? Find out in an early reader that breezily dances along.


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Whether they own chickens or not, young readers will use this handy guide to answer their basic questions about the familiar fowl.


Squirrel’s nuts have been stolen!  Never fear, a bulbous toad, Detective Gordon, and his new mouse assistant, Buffy, are on the case.  A delightful mystery.


Underdog football player Mo Jackson may be the smallest kid on his team, but Coach Steve has a plan for him to save the day. (Geisel Medal Book)


In this story inspired by a real musician, a girl in Cuba longs to play the drums, and with perseverance, she breaks down the gender barrier, eventually becoming a famous drummer. (Belpré Illustrator Medal Book)


Emmanuel doesn’t allow his malformed leg to deter him from riding a bike to crusade for disability rights in Ghana. His successes chronicled in this biography are inspirational.


In this wordless picture book, a gray, rainy day turns into an adventure when a boy makes a paper boat and plays outside in the rain.


This heartening tale is an incredible account of the friendship and love shared between a soldier and the real bear that inspired Winnie-the-Pooh. (Caldecott Medal Book)


Wanda is shocked to learn that her dog, Wilbur—not Wanda—has become an instant celebrity when a selfie goes viral. Bright, bold cartoon art tells this story, emphasizing that friendship and family are more important than fame.


Fourteen poems of mammals, birds, insects, fish, and reptiles are presented in both English and Spanish. Embedded within the lively illustrations are additional words in both languages.


Little-known hero baker of the American Revolution Christopher Ludwick stars in this engaging picture book biography with a tasty twist.


Xiao Le’s grandmother passes away soon after he spends a rare day visiting her. His mother is sad, but Xiao Le helps her feel better, telling her what Grandma is doing in Heaven. (Batchelder Honor Book)


In this adaptation of Aesop’s fable, vivid, intricate watercolors bring to life hardworking ants as they prepare for the winter, while a playful grasshopper wishes they would join in his merrymaking instead.


A young Pedro Martinez, inspired by his brother Ramon, rises from humble beginnings in the Dominican Republic to become one of the best Major League Baseball players of our time.


The hippo, with its monstrous jaw and razor-sharp tusks, is the most dangerous animal in Africa. Filled with fascinating facts about the fierce, but sometimes playful, hippopotamus.


Correcting a donkey’s grammar and pronunciation comically leads to one yam’s demise.


A rabbit and mouse wait patiently for the seeds they planted to grow into delicious vegetables. When some birds want part of the harvest, everyone learns being kind is the most fruitful way to be.


A dozen intriguing sea animals in the ocean explain their unique characteristics. Readers are invited to choose which is the most amazing.


Leo, a child ghost, leaves his home when its new occupants fear him.  He soon meets Jane and discovers the wonder and joy of a true friend. Cut-paper collages capture Leo’s emotional journey.


Recalling the fight for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a 100-year-old woman on the way to cast her ballot recounts the journey her family faced in gaining the right to vote.


When Mia discovers that her Abuela can’t speak English, she finds the perfect gift that helps them both with their language barrier. Vibrant illustrations and Spanish words blend together to create a warm family story. (Belpré Author & Illustrator Honor Book)


Homemade guardians Lenny and Lucy protect Peter and his dog from the dark, scary woods and help him find fun and friendship at his new home. Pops of color bring life to the charcoal illustrations.


Addy and her family watch the moon follow them through the sky on a car ride home. Colorful cut-paper collage illustrations in luminescent tones illuminate the journey.


In this small-format board book, three squares transform into a variety of vehicles, and with each page turn, shapes turn into objects in a fun visual twist.


Mr. Squirrel’s imagination runs wild when he mistakes a wheel of cheese for the moon. Gorgeous illustrations detail his efforts to get rid of the moon before anyone comes looking for it.


Sink your teeth into a delicious collection of poetry for all seasons, complete with imaginative watercolor illustrations that bring the whimsy to life.


Aaron learns first hand from his grandfather (Tata), who cares for family, friends, and neighbors, the significance of healing with a tender touch of wisdom and medicinal herbs. (Belpré Illustrator Honor Book)


In three humorous stories, not-so-clever Fox comes out the worst for wear when he uses a box to play tricks on his friend Pig. (Geisel Honor Book)


Piper Green’s life is rich with family, friends, kittens, and magic. She meets her challenges head on and shows her spirit in everything she does.


Princess Pinecone wants a proper warrior’s horse for her birthday. The round, short, flatulent one she gets instead is not what she had in mind, but she learns it can be a secret weapon.


Beautifully detailed, up-close photos of the natural world demonstrate the wonder of raindrops as they splatter, drip, roll, and more.


A girl and her friends laugh when a classmate blushes on the playground. When one student takes the teasing too far, the girl must make a critical decision.




Cinematic art and text illuminate exuberant Emily, whose loud hobbies interrupt Roger as he tries to peacefully read his book.



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A little girl collects wildflowers while her distracted father pays little attention. In a wordless homage to the importance of small things, each flower becomes a gift, transforming the giver and the recipient.


What is a man to do when a skunk appears on his doorstep? Readers follow the man and skunk on a quirky, humorous adventure.


When a blizzard comes to town, an unassuming garbage truck secretly trades his glasses for a powerful snowplow and becomes the heroic “Supertruck.” (Geisel Honor Book)


Elegant illustrations and poetic text tell the story of Anna Pavlova, an accomplished ballerina who shared the beauty and joy of dance with the entire world.



Other than Tapir and her little one, the jungle animals are all so noisy! When a hunter comes to the jungle, the other animals learn the value of quiet. Stylized illustrations convey the jungle sounds.


On their way to catch a bus, a mother wants to hurry; her child wants to wait. A surprise stops them both, just short of the bus.


Two mice embark on adventures on the water and in the air, by both day and night. Beginning readers will enjoy the simple text, the counting experience, and the colorful illustrations.


In this autobiography, Trombone Shorty reminisces about his early life in the jazz music scene of his beloved hometown of New Orleans. (Caldecott Honor Book)


In this gentle story of five animal figurines waiting together by the window, readers and characters meet new friends, observe the unhurried passage of the seasons, and anticipate what may come next.  (Caldecott & Geisel Honor Book)



Through simple, poetic phrases and engaging watercolor illustrations, a sister and brother experience the water cycle throughout the seasons.


When her parents decide to raise a baby wolf as their own, Dot the rabbit fears that he will eat them all up, until a surprising encounter with a bear brings them closer together.


Five-year-old Eddie, after a spirited quest through the shops in her French village, parlays a brioche, a clover, a button, and a postage stamp into the perfect birthday gift for her mother. (Batchelder Award Book)


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Flip the pages to view the suspect line-ups and use the visual clues to determine the “who done it” on each page. A mystery designed for preschoolers.


Enter the world of woodpeckers and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of their everyday life. A variety of woodpecker species fly through these beautifully illustrated pages.


Henrietta is writing and illustrating a story about a three-headed monster. Liniers’ thin-lined, expressive cartoons, complete with Henrietta’s crayon-thick scrawls, track her joyful creation of a scary and funny adventure. (Batchelder Honor Book)




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