First Grade

Open Books | Open Minds

For every purchase Open Books provides the same 3 or 5 books to kids in under-resourced Chicago communities.

Titles subject to change based on availability.

Sometimes People March by Tessa Allen

Sometimes people march
to resist injustice,
to stand in solidarity,
to inspire hope.

Throughout American history, one thing remains true: no matter how or why people march, they are powerful because they march together.

With a spare, inspiring text and gorgeous watercolor illustrations, this is a timeless and important book for activists of all ages. This hardcover picture book is perfect for sharing and for gifting.


A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams

A 1983 Caldecott Honor Book

Acclaimed author/illustrator Vera Williams tells of a young girl, who along with her waitress mother, saves coins in a big jar in hopes that they can someday buy a big, new, comfortable chair for their apartment, the kind of chair her mother deserves after being on her feet all day in the Blue Tile Diner. Into the jar also goes the money Grandma saves whenever she gets a bargain at the market.

There hasn’t been a comfortable place to sit in the apartment since a fire in their previous apartment burned everything to “charcoal and ashes.” Friends and neighbors brought furniture to their new apartment downstairs, but no one brought anything big or soft or comfortable. Finally the jar is full, the coins are rolled, and in the book’s crowning moment mother, daughter, and Grandma search four different furniture stores, and after carefully trying several chairs, like Goldilocks, they find the chair they’ve been dreaming of at last.

Vera Williams enhances this heartwarming story about the values of saving and working together towards a common goal, with her own pleasant, folk-art inspired paintings. Each illustration is bordered with natty patterning, foreshadowing the family’s eventual acquisition of their new, magnificent chair.


I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoet

Named by Parents Magazine as the “Best Book that Champions Kindness”
A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year

This simple yet powerful picture book–from a New York Times bestselling husband-and-wife team–tells the story of one girl who inspires a community to stand up to bullying. Inspired by real events,  I Walk with Vanessa explores the feelings of helplessness and anger that arise in the wake of seeing a classmate treated badly, and shows how a single act of kindness can lead to an entire community joining in to help. By choosing only pictures to tell their story, the creators underscore the idea that someone can be an ally without having to say a word. With themes of acceptance, kindness, and strength in numbers, this timeless and profound feel-good story will resonate with readers young and old.


Nino Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales

A Neal Porter Book

Fwap! Slish! Bloop! Krunch! He takes down his competition in a single move! No opponent is too big a challenge for the cunning skills of Niño—popsicle eater, toy lover, somersault expert, and world champion lucha libre competitor!

Niño Wrestles the World is in English with Spanish vocabulary, and is a fun, colorful story about a boy wrestling with imaginary monsters (including an Olmec Head and La Llorona) and adversaries like his younger sisters. This is a joyful picture book about imagination, play, and siblings.


I Love My Hair! By Natasha Anastasia Tarpley

A Black Caucus American Library Association Top Recommended Book

Every night before she goes to bed, Keyana’s mother combs her hair. Though Mama is always gentle, sometimes getting her hair combed still hurts! To soothe her hurting places, Mama tells Keyana why she’s so lucky to have her head of hair and explores with her all the wonderful styles that she can wear. This imaginative story is a celebration of the special relationship between mother and daughter, as well as the qualities that make each of us unique and beautiful. Available in a board book edition.

First Grade | Second Grade | Third Grade | Fourth Grade | Fifth Grade

To purchase books, click on your child’s grade level.