Kindergarten to Grade 3 Early Reader Picks for January 2016
Kindergarten to Grade 3 Early Readers January 2016

Intro

Oh, learning to read. For some it is as natural as breathing. For others, as natural as breathing underwater. And just as fun.

Along with my initial list of books for babies and toddlers, this first list of beginning readers was tougher to put together than others. As with books for babies, reviews from the experts on early readers were hard to come by.  I’m surprised. When do kids need super amazing books more than when they’re first learning to read?? Hmmm? Craziness.

OK, mini rant aside, there are some awesome books out there. It took a little extra digging, but oh man… There are treats to be had!

First off, Little Robot by Ben Hatke. So, so good. It totally draws you into its world. It's rich and imaginative and has a strong female character.  Ah-mazing.  

Because this is a graphic novel (written in the style of a comic strip, except the same length as a book), it might be an unconventional choice for a list of books meant for beginning readers. There are very few words in the book, but these types of stories teach early readers the left to right sequence, plot and character development that exceeds a beginner’s reading ability, and most of all, graphic novels are huge motivators. Trudging through beginning reading can be torturous for some kids, and the reward? Pat sat on the mat. Ohhhh. He did, did he? Tell me more. (That was me being sarcastic… you see because that Pat sentence is LAME and puts kids to sleep. Oh, you got it? Duh, sorry. )

Of course the tough work of early reading must be done, and there are really phenomenal beginning reader books out there, but I’m a huge fan of graphic novels as one of the tools of promoting solid reading skills. (Can you tell? :D) 

Mmm-kay, so speaking of awesome early readers? Mo Willems put out a new Elephant and Piggie story called I Really Like Slop. I’m still waiting on mine to arrive, but this series is AWE-SOME. The books are funny, but with a lot of heart. I love them.

The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party is a lot of fun. It’s like a girl’s night out with some benign monsters and a nice little lesson in serendipity. The book’s for slightly more advanced readers – late second or third graders.

I included a Star Wars series book because the movie recently came out and there’s a lot of Star Wars excitement in the air. Use it! Whatever your kids are interested in – Batman, princesses, gerbils, doesn’t matter. That interest can carry kiddos through this phase of reading, and on to the next. 

Have fun!!

 

 Seeing stars?  Professional book reviewers only award a star to exceptional books.  More than one star means experts from multiple organizations felt the book was outstanding. 

Dory Fantasmagory Book Cover
Dory Fantasmagory
Approximate Early Reader Level: Grade 3
by Abby Hanlon
published July 7, 2015
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publisher's Weekly  

Move over, Junie B. Jones and Ivy & Bean! Here comes a lovably energetic little sister with a BIG personality—and an imagination to match!

As the youngest in her family, Dory really wants attention, and more than anything she wants her brother and sister to play with her. But...READ MORE

Ballet Cat The Totally Secret Secret Book Cover
Ballet Cat The Totally Secret Secret
Approximate Early Reader Level: Grade 1
by Bob Shea
published May 5, 2015
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist Star Image Publisher's Weekly  

Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony are trying to decide what to play today. Nothing that Sparkles suggests--making crafts, playing checkers, and selling lemonade--goes well with the leaping, spinning, and twirling that Ballet Cat likes to do. When Sparkles's leaps, spins, and twirls seem halfhearted, Ballet Cat asks him what's...READ MORE

The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party Book Cover
The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party
Approximate Early Reader Level: Grade 2
by Shannon Hale
published October 13, 2015

Inconvenient monster alarms, a sparkly array of princess guests, and spot-on slapstick pacing make for a party readers will celebrate.

Today is Princess Magnolia’s birthday party, and she wants everything to be perfect. But just as her guests are arriving . . . Brring! Brring! The monster alarm! Princess Magnolia runs...READ MORE

I Really Like Slop Book Cover
I Really Like Slop! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
Approximate Early Reader Level: Kindergarten,
Approximate Early Reader Level: Grade 1
by Mo Willems
published October 27, 2015
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist

Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.
Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.

Gerald and Piggie are best friends.READ MORE

Flop to the Top Book Cover
Flop to the Top!: TOON Level 3 (Toon Books)
Approximate Early Reader Level: Grade 1
by Eleanor Davis
illustrated by Drew Weing
published September 8, 2015
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star ImageHorn Book

 

In this modern-day fable, Wanda calls her brother and sister "fans," keeps up with celebrity news, and never misses a chance to share a selfie. She's ready to show the world how Wanda-ful she really is, but all people are interested in is . . . her dog! Superstar...READ MORE

Big Dog and Little Dog Wear Sweaters Book Cover
Big Dog and Little Dog Wearing Sweaters
Approximate Early Reader Level: Grade 1
by Dav Pilkey
published October 13, 2015

Little Dog has a sweater, but what about Big Dog? After a quick search in the bedroom (and making a bit of a mess), Big Dog finds the perfect one. But how will he put it on? Good thing he has Little Dog to help!
With deceptively simple text, graphic...READ MORE

Pinkalicious and the Sick Day (I Can Read Level 1) Book Cover
Pinkalicious and the Sick Day (I Can Read Level 1)
Approximate Early Reader Level: Grade 2
by Victoria Kann
published October 6, 2015

#1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Kann is back with a new I Can Read story featuring Pinkalicious!

Pinkalicious gets to be Principal for a Day because she has perfect attendance! Pinkalicious can't wait to be in charge, but when she wakes up sick on the big day, will her dreams...READ MORE

Little Robot Book Cover
Little Robot
Approximate Early Reader Level: Grade 1
by Ben Hatke
published September 1, 2015
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews  

When a little girl finds an adorable robot in the woods, she presses a button and accidentally activates him for the first time. Now, she finally has a friend. But the big, bad robots are coming to collect the little guy for nefarious purposes, and it's all up to a...READ MORE

Pete the Cat: Scuba-Cat (My First I Can Read)
Pete the Cat: Scuba-Cat (My First I Can Read)
Approximate Early Reader Level: Grade 1
by James Dean
published January 5, 2016

New York Times bestselling author and artist James Dean brings Pete the Cat’s world to life under the sea in this new I Can Read book.

Pete the Cat is going scuba diving! Before he hits the water, Captain Joe tells him about all the sea creatures he can encounter, and...READ MORE

World of Reading Star Wars At At Attack Book Cover
World of Reading Star Wars AT-AT Attack! (Level 1)
Approximate Early Reader Level: Grade 1
by Calliope Glass
published November 3, 2015

Luke Skywalker does some fast flying as he protects Hoth's rebel base from the Empire. This level 1 early reader retells classic scenes from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back as the rebels face off against the Empires dreaded mechanical AT-ATs. Featuring beautiful full-color illustrations, this World of Reading book is perfect for little...READ MORE

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Hello there!

Hi!  I'm Sarah.  I'm a former librarian and mother of two -- a teen daughter and a preschooler son.  We love to play outdoors... and read.  :)

This site is all about discovering great books to share with kids and teens. ...Read more

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