When I am asked for my references for which books one should follow to begin learning Japanese, here is what I suggest.
1. For Hiragana, Katakana (the phonetic alphabet)
This book comes with many exercises and really quick to teach you most important things as a beginner. Its an excellent and slim size book.
にほんご かんたん (reads Nihongo Kantan, in Hiragana, means: Easy Japanese)
Book Title: SPEAK JAPANESE, A textbook for young students.
Authors, Kiyo Saka and Hisako Yoshiki
2. Learning practical and wide deal of applications into living life in Japan, this “Lonely Planet Phrasebooks for Japanese” with 2000 words 2-way pocket size dictionary.