I love being a volunteer reader, and have the good fortunate to stop in weekly at a couple of first- and second-grade classes in a nearby city. At its heart, literacy is about connection. "They're reading a book, and so are we!" one first grader observed about an illustration in Windows. Yes!
This fall I bought a bunch of new books, following the suggestions of others. (See a source list, below.)
Here are some titles, including a few older ones, that the children were especially fond of. I am linking them to Powell's so you can see them; I'm not a sales affiliate. All will work with either grade.
After the Fall, by Dan Santat (Roaring Brook, 2017). Humpty Dumpty brilliantly re-imagined.
The Book with No Pictures, by B.J. Novak (Dial Books, 2014) Hysterically hilarious. Recommendation to the adult reader: give in to the comic anarchy.
Dragons Love Tacos, written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri (Dial Books, 2012). But don't give them spicy salsa–or else...
Jabari Jumps, by Gaia Cornwall (Candlewick, 2017). Summoning up bravery.
Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing, written by Kay Haring and illustrated by Robert Neubecker (Dial Books, 2017). A sister's loving account of the boyhood of a famous artist.
Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood, written by F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell and illustrated by Rafael López (Penguin Random House, 2016). Everyone pitches in.
Mr. Huff, by Ana Walker (Penguin Random House Australia, 2015). Dealing with a bad mood. (Book Depository link)
No Kimchi for Me, by Aram Kim (Holiday House, 2017). Trying something new.
The One Day House, written by Julia Durango and illustrated by Bianca Diaz (Charlesbridge, 2017). Helping others.
Pecan Pie Baby, written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Sophie Blackall (G.P. Putnam, 2010). New baby on the way and a sibling's conflicting emotions, perfectly captured.
Windows, written by Julia Denos and illustrated by E.B. Goodale (Candlewick, 2017). Seeing the neighborhood in a new light.
Some good book-finding resources, just to name a few:
We're the People lists from 2015, 2016, and 2017. Recommendations from a diverse group of authors and reading professionals.
American Indians in Children's Literature.
Crystal Brunelle's Twitter feed. Teacher/librarian and co-blogger at the site Rich in Color.
The Horn Book's Calling Caldecott blog. Considerations of picture book art.
International Latino Book Awards. Via La Bloga.
Jama Rattigan's blog Jama's Alphabet Soup. Kids' books about food.
New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children's Book Award
Tomás Rivera Book Award. Books celebrating the Mexican American experience.
A big list of resources on the "Where to Find Diverse Books" page at We Need Diverse Books
If you haven't read it already, do see Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop's important 1990 essay "Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors," available in a PDF file and posted by Reading Is Fundamental here.