These books constitute the Core Literature List for Boston public schools. You can find these titles at a Boston Public Library branch near you.
Picture BooksA Chair for My Mother
by Vera B. Williams
The Biggest House in the World
by Leo Lionni
Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables From A to Z
by Lois Ehlert
Feathers for Lunch
by Lois Ehlert
Jamaica's Blue Marker
by Juanita Havill
Julius, the Baby of the World
by Kevin Henkes
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
by Kevin Henkes
The Little Mouse, the Red, Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear
by Audrey Wood
by Michael O. Tunnell
Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs
by Tomie De Paola
Officer Buckle and Gloria
by Peggy Rathmann
Out of the Ocean
by Debra Frasier
Pete's a Pizza
by William Steig
Red Light, Green Light, Mama and Me
by Carrie Best
by Uri Shulevitz
by Trisha Cooke
Something from Nothing
by Phoebe Gilman
Something Special for Me
by Vera B. Williams
Telling Time With Big Mama Cat
by Barry Moser
by Patricia Polacco
by Mem Fox
The Ugly Duckling
by Jerry Pinkney
Poetry BooksJust Around the Corner
by Leland B. Jacobs
Not a Copper Penny in Me House
by M. Gunning
by Lee Hopkins
Chapter BooksAmanda and Grandmother Pig
by Van Leeuwen
Ant Plays Bear
by Betsy Byers
Mr. Putter and Tabby Tout the Horn
by C. Rylant
by Johanna Hurwitz
A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
A little girl and her family lose their home and belongings in a fire. The family comes together to save money so they can buy a special chair for mother.
Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables From A to Z by Lois Ehlert
An alphabet book that explores fruits and vegetables, some common and some exotic.
Feathers for Lunch by Lois Ehlert
What would a cat like to chase at lunchtime? Birds, birds, birds. The cat in this story chases twelve birds, and the only thing she gets for lunch is feathers. A perfect connection to science and nature study.
Jamaica's Blue Marker by Juanita Havill
Why is Russell being so cranky? Jamaica finds out that Russell is moving away, and she gives him a special gift.
Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes
Lilly believes her new baby brother is the worst thing that could happen to her family, but then cousin Garland comes to visit and Lilly has a change of heart.
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
Lilly, a first grader, learns a lesson after she disobeys her teacher and interrupts the class with her new purple plastic purse. A good entry to school culture.
The Little Mouse, the Red, Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood
A clever little mouse picks a delicious strawberry that is as big as he is.
Mailing May by Michael O. Tunnell
May was sent to visit her grandparents as a parcel post package when the parcel post service began. Her grandparents meet the train to find May even has a tag attached to her. Based on a historical event.
Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomie De Paola
A semi-autobiographical account of a young Tomie De Paola, who tells of his relationships with both his grandmother and his great-grandmother.
Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
Officer Buckley is having a hard time getting students to remember his safety tips until Gloria, a police dog, comes along. Together Officer Buckley and Gloria make grand presentations. Good introduction to safety rules.
Out of the Ocean by Debra Frasier
The ocean has many wonderful treasures. This is a story of a mother and daughter who discover some of the many wonders of the beach and the sea.
Pete's a Pizza by William Steig
Pete is in a bad mood until his father decides to turn him into a pizza. Great Steig humor and illustrations!
Red Light, Green Light, Mama and Me by Carrie Best
Lizzie's mother, a children's librarian, takes Lizzie to the public library where she works and introduces her to her work family.
Snow by Uri Shulevitz
One by one the snowflakes fall, and only a little boy is convinced that the snowflakes will amount to anything.
So Much by Trisha Cooke
When relatives arrive for a birthday party, they wait, they squeeze, kiss, and play with the baby.
Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman
Joseph's blanket is changed into many different items as he grows older until there is nothing left except a handkerchief. Joseph learns how to use his memory of the blanket to make a story.
Something Special For Me by Vera B. Williams
Rosa is saving her money to buy a special birthday gift. But what should she purchase? Rosa can't decide until she hears someone playing an accordion.
Telling Time With Big Mama Cat by Barry Moser
A perfect introduction to learning to tell time. Barry Moser's watercolors capture Mama Cat and the events of the day. Exquisite book design includes a clock with movable hands.
The Biggest House in the World by Leo Lionni
A little snail decides to build the biggest house in the world, but when it's built he can't move it. This is a story within a story, using exquisite language and a surprise ending.
Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco
A little girl and her grandmother weather a thunderstorm and then decide to have tea and make their own thunder cake. Original recipe for a thunder cake is included.
Tough Boris by Mem Fox
A really tough pirate shows his emotions by crying when his pet parrot dies.
The Ugly Duckling by Jerry Pinkney
An unhappy duckling spends a whole year being ridiculed by the other animals until he grows into a beautiful swan. Based on a traditional tale by Hans Christian Andersen.
Just Around the Corner by Leland B. Jacobs
Twenty-five playful poems celebrate the taste, sights, and sounds of the seasons.
Not a Copper Penny in Me House by M. Gunning
Caribbean island poems give a great feeling for life on an island.
Surprises by Lee Hopkins
All 38 poems about pets, weather, freckles, and even the subway will intrigue your children!
Amanda and Grandmother Pig by Van Leeuwen
When grandmother comes to visit, Oliver and Amanda show her all their tricks.
Ant Plays Bear by Betsy Byers
An enchanting companion to My Brother Ant. Little brother Anthony, known as Ant, wants his big brother (the narrator) to be a bear. Fabulous characters in this easy chapter book.
Mr. Putter and Tabby Tout the Horn by C. Rylant
Another wonderful series by the author of the Henry and Mudge books. Mrs. Teaberry and her dog, Zeke, and Mr. Putter and his cat, Tabby, decide to join a band.
Russell Sprouts by Johanna Hurwitz
The home and school adventures of Russell portray the everyday events of a first grader. Highlights include humorous incidents like inventing a "bad word" that Russell can say anytime without getting in trouble, and making a report card that tells his parents where they need improvement. The short, self-contained chapters are perfect for reading aloud.