Our Favorite Book Recommendations for PreK through 5th Grade

At Briya Public Charter School, Mary’s Center’s partner in education, we believe that parents are children’s most important teachers — and a love of reading is a powerful lesson that parents can teach. Reading helps children build a strong foundation for school success and exposes them to new ideas about the world. And reading together is a wonderful way for families to bond!

We hope this multicultural book list inspires you to take the time to read with your children and to encourage your children to read on their own.


  • Gracias/Thanks by Pat Mora
  • Green is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  • I Love My Hair! by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
  • Llama, Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
  • Rainbow Stew by Cathryn Falwell
  • The Color of Us by Karen Katz
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin


children readingKindergarten

  • A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni
  • Apple Pie 4th of July by Janet S. Wong
  • I Love Saturdays y Domingos by Alma Flor Ada
  • Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
  • Rubia and the Three Osos by Susan M. Elya
  • The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli
  • What Can You Do with a Paleta? by Carmen Tafolla
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
  • You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang


First grade

  • Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  • Day Of Ahmed's Secret by Florence P. Heide
  • Harriet and the Promised Land by Jacob Lawrence
  • I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klaasen
  • Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña
  • Mice and Beans by Pam Muñoz Ryan
  • My Granny Went to Market by Stella Blackstone
  • School's FIrst Day of School by Adam Rex
  • The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
  • Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto


children readingSecond grade

  • A Bear for Miguel by Elaine Marie Alphin
  • A is for Africa by Ifeoma Onyefulu
  • Everybody Cooks Rice by Norah Dooley
  • Frod and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel
  • I'm New Here by Anne Sibley O'Brien
  • In My Family/En mi Familia by Carmen Garza
  • Lailah's Lunchbox by Reem Faruq
  • Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same!  by Grace Lin
  • My Name is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada
  • Sitti's Secrets by Naomi Shihab Nye


Third grade

  • A Crazy Mixed-up Spanglish Day by Marisa Montes
  • Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa by Veronic Chambers
  • Drum Dream girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle
  • First Day in Grapes by L. King Perez
  • Justin Case: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters by Rachel Vail
  • Maya's Blanket/La Manta de Maya by Monica Brown
  • One Green Apple by Eve Bunting
  • Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & her Family's Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
  • Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie
  • Under the Moon & Over the Sea: A Collection of Caribbean Poems by John Agard


Fourth grade

  • Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford
  • Growing Up Pedro: How the Martinez Brothers Made it from the Dominican Republic All the Way to the Major Leagues by Matt Tavares
  • James and the Giant Peach  by Roald Dahl
  • My Diary from Here to There/Mi Diario de Aqui Hasta Alla by Amada Irma Perez
  • The Red Bicycle by Jude Isabella
  • The Tequila Worm by Viola Canales
  • The Wild Book by Margarita Engle
  • Under the Mambo Moon by Julia Durango
  • Yes! We are Latinos: Poems and Prose About the Latino Experience by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy


Fifth grade

  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
  • Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • Gaby, Lost and Found by Angela Cervantes
  • A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord
  • How Tia Lola Came to Stay by Julia Alvarez
  • Ruby on the OUtside by Nora Raleigh Baskin
  • Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes


To check out some great book recommendations for adults and teens, see this blog post featuring books personally recommended by Mary’s Center staff.

About Briya Public Charter School

Briya PCS offers a Two-Generation Program where parents and young children learn at the same time. Adults gain English, parenting, and digital literacy skills while their young children prepare for school success in infant, toddler, and PreK classes across the hall. The school also offers a high school diploma and workforce development programs. To learn more about how you can join the Briya family, visit or call 202-232-7777.


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