HAISLN Recommended Reading List 2013 (Grade 1-2)

View all Recommendations by Grades > Recommendations for Grade 1 book lists; This list was last updated on 8/9/2013
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HAISLN lists have been compiled by librarians at member schools of the Houston Area Independent Schools Library Network (HAISLN).  It includes both fiction and nonfiction books by some of the best authors for children and young adults. Books on this list are evaluated annually by grade-level committees. This is the list for Grade 1 and 2.

For more book recommendations, please check out New York Times® Best Sellers, Children's Book Recommendations or the complete list of Featured Book Lists and Award Winners

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release date: Feb 28, 2012
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Secrets of the Garden
Perfect for spring planting season--an outstanding book about backyard science the whole family will appreciate.

Alice's family plants a vegetable garden each spring, and this budding naturalist reports all she sees about how the plants grow, what insects come to eat the plants, and what birds and animals come to eat the insects.  It's the food chain, right in her own backyard!

While Alice's narrative is simple and engaging, science concepts are presented in more depth in sidebars by a pair of very knowledgeable (and highly amusing) chickens! Noted science writer Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld knows how to layer information to make it accessible to a wide range of readers and useful for educators. And illustrator Priscilla Lamont's funny, friendly paintings make this a garden everyone will want to explore.

Kids will eat up this wonderful book of backyard science—and perhaps they'll even be inspired to eat their vegetables!

"A wonderfully informative and enjoyable journey through one family's backyard garden, from spring planting to fall harvest. . . . this is bound to spark some backyard explorations." —Kirkus, Starred Review
release date: Dec 06, 2011
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Mouse and Mole, a Winter Wonderland

Yippee! It is a winter wonderland! What better day for Mouse and Mole to go sledding, whirl around on ice skates, and build snowmen together?

But Mole does not want to go outside. Too cold! Too windy! He prefers to stay as snug as a bug in a rug inside his nice, warm bed.

Mouse is lonely. Ice skating and sledding just aren't as fun for one. Then she gets an idea…a Sno-Mole might do the trick! Mole won't be needing his hat or scarf or mittens…or will he?

Sometimes even best friends want to do different things. But at the end of a cold winter's day, it's nice to know that your best friend will be there waiting for you, with warm mittens and all.

release date: Oct 02, 2012
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Each Kindness
WINNER OF A CORETTA SCOTT KING HONOR AND THE JANE ADDAMS PEACE AWARD!

Each kindness makes the world a little better

This unforgettable book is written and illustrated by the award-winning team that created The Other Side and the Caldecott Honor winner Coming On Home Soon. With its powerful anti-bullying message and striking art, it will resonate with readers long after they've put it down.

Chloe and her friends won't play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe's teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she'd shown a little kindness toward Maya.
release date: Jan 01, 2005
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Roberto Clemente
On an island called Puerto Rico, there lived a little boy who wanted only to play baseball. Although he had no money, Roberto Clemente practiced and practiced until--eventually--he made it to the Major Leagues. America! As a right-fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, he fought tough opponents--and even tougher racism--but with his unreal catches and swift feet, he earned his nickname, "The Great One." He led the Pirates to two World Series, hit 3,000 hits, and was the first Latino to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. But it wasn't just baseball that made Clemente legendary--he was was also a humanitarian dedicated to improving the lives of others.
release date: Apr 05, 2011
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The Watcher
Acclaimed picture book biographer Jeanette Winter has found her perfect subject: Jane Goodall, the great observer of chimpanzees. Follow Jane from her childhood in London watching a robin on her windowsill, to her years in the African forests of Gombe, Tanzania, invited by brilliant scientist Louis Leakey to observe chimps, to her worldwide crusade to save these primates who are now in danger of extinction, and their habitat. Young animal lovers and Winter's many fans will welcome this fascinating and moving portrait of an extraordinary person and the animals to whom she has dedicated her life.

The Watcher was named a Best Book of the Year by the Boston Globe, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, and the Bank Street College of Education.
release date: Aug 01, 2006
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Edwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct
Two-time Caldecott Honor winner and New York Times bestselling author Willems introduces a lovable new character--a dinosaur who plays with kids and bakes cookies. Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie is determined to prove dinosaurs are extinct, but what will happen to Edwina if anyone believes him?
release date: Sep 01, 2011
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My Uncle Martin's Words for America

In this inspirational story about Martin Luther King Jr.—told from the perspective of his niece Angela Farris Watkins—readers learn how King used his message of love and peace to effectively fight for African Americans' civil rights.

Focusing on important words and phrases from his speeches, such as justice, freedom, and equality, Watkins uses King's language to expose young readers to important events during the civil rights era. The simple yet striking text, along with a timeline and glossary, makes this book an accessible tool for helping a young audience learn about the importance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s message of nonviolence and his contributions to American history.

release date: Apr 03, 2012
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Brothers at Bat

The Acerra family had sixteen children, including twelve ball-playing boys. It was the
1930s, and many families had lots of kids. But only one had enough to field a baseball
team . . . with three on the bench! The Acerras were the longest-playing all-brother
team in baseball history. They loved the game, but more important, they cared for
and supported each other and stayed together as a team. Nothing life threw their way
could stop them.


Full of action, drama, and excitement, this never-before-told true story is vividly
brought to life by Audrey Vernick's expert storytelling and Steven Salerno's stunning
vintage-style art.

release date: Feb 19, 2009
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Amanda Pig and the Wiggly Tooth
Amanda Pig is ecstatic! She has her first wiggly tooth, and she can?t wait for the tooth fairy to come! But her loose tooth won?t fall out. Her father offers to pull it out, but Amanda is scared that it will hurt too much. Disaster strikes when Amanda realizes that her tooth has fallen out on its own. Where can it be? Will the tooth fairy still come if Amanda?s tooth is really lost?
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A Cold Winter's Good Knight
On a cold winter's night a festive ball is underway. Three little dragons make their way to the cozy castle. They have the best of intentions at the fancy party, but the clumsy trio bumbles about on the dance floor, trips by the punch bowl, and finally crashes into the fireplace. Soon the party is a shambles and the whole castle is in an uproar! But never fear—the Good Knight is ready to set all to right in his funniest outing yet.
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Mudball
Matt Tavares brings to life a winning tale of the shortest home run in history with the help of his luminous artwork and an infectious love of the game.

CRACK!
Somehow, Andy's bat had hit the ball. Everybody heard it . . . but nobody saw where it went.

Andy Oyler is the shortest player on his baseball team, the Minneapolis Millers, not to mention the whole league. And no matter how hard he tries, he just can't seem to get a hit. But one fateful spring day in 1903, a sudden change in the weather leads to a change in Andy Oyler's luck—and as Andy soon discovers, even the shortest player can become the game's biggest hero! Matt Tavares brings one of baseball's legendary stories to life and champions the underdog in all of us. Helping readers keep score is a bibliography and final note from the author about this uplifting all-American tale.


From the Hardcover edition.
release date: May 01, 2008
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United Tweets of America
A hilarious tribute to state birds!

Welcome to the United Tweets Pageant! This colorful parade of state birds competing to be Top Tweet will have readers of all ages laughing aloud. From Alabama?s Yellowhammer to Wyoming?s Western Meadowlark, each bird is a winner?and each bird loves to show off the state it calls home. Hudson Talbott has created an inspired introduction to states and their birds. His vibrant, detailed illustrations infuse the birds? interactions with energy and humor, making this a great way to spark kids? interest in United States history, geography, and, of course, wildlife!

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Jack and the Baked Beanstalk
"Fee-fi-fo-fummy, I'm always counting money!"

Jack and his mom run a little café, but business has dried up and they're nearly broke. So when Jack comes home with only an old can of baked beans in return for their last few pennies, his mother throws it out the window. Overnight it grows into a gigantic baked beanstalk, which takes Jack to the castle of a giant who spends all his time counting his huge fortune. Jack helps the giant to find something more fun to do, and saves the café in the process!
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A Place for Bats
In simple yet informative language, A Place for Bats introduces young readers to ways human action or inaction can affect bat populations and opens kids minds to a wide range of environmental issues. Describing various examples, the text provides an intriguing look at bats, at the ecosystems that support their survival, and at the efforts of some people to save them. At the end of the book, the author offers readers a list of things they can do to help protect these special creatures in their own communities. Artist Higgins Bond s glorious full-color illustrations vividly and accurately depict the bats and their surroundings.
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Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
A cherished classic is brought to life with the audio stylings of renowned actor James Earl Jones.

Sylvester can't believe his luck when he finds a magic pebble that can make wishes come true. But when a lion jumps out at him on his way home, Sylvester is shocked into making a wish that has unexpected consequences. After overcoming a series of obstacles, Sylvester is eventually reunited with his loving family. Illustrated with William Steig's glowing pictures, this winner of the Caldecott Medal is beloved by children everywhere.

This package includes a paperback book along with a CD of this modern classic read by legendary actor James Earl Jones.
release date: May 29, 2008
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The Best Story
The best story is one that comes from the heart The library is having a contest for the best story, and the quirky narrator of this story just has to win that rollercoaster ride with her favorite author! But what makes a story the best?

Her brother Tim says the best stories have lots of action. Her father thinks the best stories are the funniest. And Aunt Jane tells her the best stories have to make people cry. A story that does all these things doesn?t seem quite right, though, and the one thing the whole family can agree on is that the best story has to be your own.

Anne Wilsdorf?s hilarious illustrations perfectly capture this colorful family and their outrageous stories in Eileen Spinelli?s heartfelt tale about creativity and finding your own voice.

release date: Feb 14, 2012
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Out of This World
Amy Sklansky and Stacey Schuett give young explorers the moon and stars and beyond!

The mysteries of the universe and the science of space exploration are perennialy popular subjects, and Out of This World is a wonderful introduction. Amy Sklansky has written evocative poems about planets and stars and rockets and moon landings and satellites. Each poem is supported by additional facts and explanations in the margins. Stacey Schuett brings it all to life with color-soaked skies and beautiful perspectives in her fabulous paintings. 

Space is a subject too grand for poetry or prose alone, so this book offers both to help readers truly appreciate our place in space.
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Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa
Baby animals are springing up on the ranch. Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa have a lot to do to help these new friends feel at home. But Cocoa's not sure he wants new friends, especially if they mean more work. With Cowgirl Kate's gentle nudging—and snacks!—Cocoa's happy to help out, and work is as fun as play.
 
Erica Silverman's sweet easy-to-read chapters lassoed to Besty Lewin's charming illustrations makes a sure-fire finale for this favorite early reader series.
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Nate the Great and the Hungry Book Club
These chapter books introduce beginning readers to the detective mystery genre. Perfect for the Common Core, kids can problem-solve with Nate, using logical thinking to solve mysteries! 

Rosamond has started a book club called Rosamond' s Ready Readers. But she claims there's an evil page monster on the loose. This monster has ripped and ruined a page of the cookbook Rosamond uses to make treats for the club.

Nate the Great and his dog, Sludge, go to the next meeting of the book club . . . as undercover detectives. All the members are there. They are reading a book when one of Rosamond's Ready Readers discovers that a page is missing. Has the evil page monster struck again?

Nate and Sludge know they have a real case. Their search for evidence takes them to Rosamond's kitchen and to a school book sale where a librarian gives them important clues. Can the pancake-eating detective and his bonemunching partner solve their hungriest case yet?


From the Hardcover edition.
release date: Oct 01, 2008
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Too Many Toys
Caldecott Honor winner and bestselling author-illustrator David Shannon makes readers laugh aloud when young Spencer's mountain of toys becomes overwhelming. A book that will be read again and again.

Spencer has too many toys! His father trips over them, his mother falls over them, and the house is overflowing with junk. Now its time to give some of the mountain of goodies away, but Spencer finds it hard. In the end, he fills a box, but decides the one toy he can't part with is the box!
release date: Jun 28, 2011
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Splat the Cat

How can there be homework when it's only the first day of school? Splat must pick only one of all of his fun summer adventures to share with his classmates at show-and-tell. But in the end, Splat may find that the best part of his summer wasn't an adventure at all. . . .

release date: Sep 22, 2009
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Robot Zot!
From the minds of Scieszka and Shannon comes a tale of a quixotic robot determined to conquer the earth. The only problem is that the earth he lands on is a suburban kitchen and he is three inches tall. Robot Zot, the fearless and unstoppable warrior, leaves a trail of destruction as he encounters blenders, toasters, and televisions. But when he discovers the princess...a pink cell phone...his mission takes a new course. Robot Zot must learn how to be a hero - in the name of true love.
release date: Jan 01, 2008
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Pale Male
The birdwatchers of Central Park were buzzing–a young red-tailed hawk had been spotted, would he stay? The bird they dubbed Pale Male not only stayed, he became one of New York City's most famous residents. Pale Male and his mate built their nest near the top of one of Fifth Avenue's swankiest apartment buildings. Nine years and 23 chicks later, Pale Male's fame had grown so large that a CBS newsman named him Father of the Year! But Pale Male was less beloved by the residents of the building, and in 2004 the owners suddenly removed the nest–setting off an international outcry on behalf of the birds.
release date: May 02, 2011
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Tales for Very Picky Eaters
2012 Winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award!

James is a very picky eater. His dad has to get creative—very creative—in order to get James to eat foods he thinks he doesn't like. He presents James with a series of outlandish scenarios packed with fanciful and gross kid-friendly details—like pre-chewed gum as an alternative to broccoli and lumpy oatmeal that grows so big it eats the dog—in an effort to get James to eat. But it is eventually James himself who discovers that some foods are not so bad, after all, if you're willing to give them a try.

This irreverently hilarious early reader, illustrated in full color, explores a universal point of contention between parent and child in a playful, satisfying way.
release date: Mar 01, 2002
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Army Ant Parade
An evocation of an army ant parade set in the rain forest.

One morning there is a strange stillness in the forest. A few birds call. There is a rustling, like rain. Suddenly insects scurry into view. The army ants are coming!

They swarm over the ground in a thick stream, searching for food. Antbirds follow them to eat the insects that flee from the swarm. Most animals escape the army ant attack, but one frog isn't so lucky: it becomes a meal. The hungry army ants move on, and soon the forest is quiet again.

Simple, evocative text and vibrant illustrations capture the drama and excitement of an army ant parade.
release date: Aug 01, 2009
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Chicken Dance

Meet Marge and Lola, chickens on a mission: to win tickets for the Elvis Poultry Show! But their toughest competition—a pack of menacing ducks—sneers that “all a chicken can do is bawk, flap, and shake.” Can our two feisty chicks show those quackers how to rock 'n' roll the barnyard?

Tammi Sauer and Dan Santat have whipped up a giddy, goofy romp where cows fly over the moon, ducks surf in a water trough, and one very familiar-looking rooster gets all shook up!

 

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High-Rise Private Eyes #8: The Case of the Desperate Duck

Mabel's Tea Room is missing a box of fancy sugar cubes! But who would steal sugar? And why? Thank goodness the High-Rise Private Eyes, Jack Jones and Bunny Brown, are on the case!

release date: May 22, 2007
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Henry and Mudge and the big sleepover
Henry and Mudge are going to a sleepover at Patrick's house! There's pizza and popcorn, games and monster movies...and Mudge even has his own sleeping bag (he's too big to share Henry's). But will anyone at this sleepover ever get to sleep?
release date: Feb 07, 2012
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Annie and Snowball and the Book Bugs Club
Now in paperback, Annie and Henry discover the joys of reading!

When Annie hears about the Book Bugs club at the library, she wants to join right away, but her cousin Henry isn't so sure. He likes to do outside things with his dog, Mudge, and Annie's bunny, Snowball. Reading is an inside thing—right?

Henry is surprised to learn you can read anywhere: on the porch steps, on the swings, under the maple tree, or even in the maple tree! And after a wonderful summer of reading, Annie and Henry discover the best part is yet to come: They get to bring Snowball and Mudge to a Book Bugs picnic!
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Aggie Gets Lost
Aggie and Ben are back with another adventure in three short chapters just right for beginning readers. Ben and Aggie are playing fetch in the park. When Ben throws too far, Aggie doesn't come back! Ben looks and looks, but he cannot find her. It is the worst day ever. Ben's sadness turns into determination as he retraces his steps, makes posters, and enlists other people to help turn Aggie from a lost pup to a found one.
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