2nd grade reading books for children aged 7-8

Books for grade 2 -this list of recommended reading books for grade 2 has been compiled by school teachers and librarians for elementary school children aged 7-8. There is a range of exciting and thought-provoking books to suit all abilities, including easy readers and more difficult chapter books. Over the course of a year, these stories should inspire both those who find reading a struggle, and also challenge more able pupils. This list of 2nd grade reading recommendations includes titles by Andrea Beaty, Jill Murphy, Jeff Brown, and Jon Scieszka.

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Books for Grade 2 – our recommendations

Double Bass Blues by Andrea J. Loney

Carefully crafted text and colorful illustrations tell the story of Nic, a young double bass player. Talented and praised at school, he always experiences problems on his journey back home – when his big instrument is seen as a nuisance by others. Once home, he is invited to play at a jazz club – making all his hardships worthwhile. A great story to read to 2nd graders to show how perseverance pays off.

Diverse

Double Bass Blues by Andrea J. Loney - grade 2 picture book

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

A great story to inspire effort and resilience. Rosie builds imaginative contraptions and inventions. Not all of them work, but with the help of her grandmother, she doesn’t give up.

STEM

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

Charlotte’s Web by E B White

The classic tale of Fern’s unlikely pet pig, Wilbur, and his clever and even unlikelier protector, Charlotte the spider. A must-read book to reread again and again.

Classic

Charlotte's Web by E B White

If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen

A rhyming easy reader about a young boy who plans to change the world with his amazing ideas. Ideal for imaginative but reluctant second grade readers.

Rhyming

If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen

Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O’Malley

When the teacher asks a boy and a girl to write a fairy tale, the pair cannot agree on the characters and setting. A unique and funny story results, which is a great 2nd grade reading books to read aloud.

Humor | Fairy tale

Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O'Malley

Could You? Would You? by Trudy White

Each page contains a quote or idea to get your child to think. Imagine you could speak any language. How could you find someone in a crowd. Ideal to discuss with your child and great for prompting questions.

Self-help

Could You? Would You? by Trudy White

Once Upon a Time by Niki Daly

A heartwarming story about a girl who struggles to read and slowly gains confidence when an old lady opens her eyes to stories.

Diverse

Once Upon a Time by Niki Daly

Mr Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater

Mr Popper wants a little more out of life. He wants to see the poles and take part in snowy expeditions. One day a penguin arrives in the mail and his life is changed forever. A hilarious adventure, ideal for 2nd grade readers.

Adventure

Mr Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater

Dear Max by Sally Grindley

When Max receives a book for Christmas, he starts to write to the author, embarking on a voyage of imaginative adventure. Great for encouraging your child to write their own stories.

Adventure

Dear Max by Sally Grindley

Duck for President by Doreen Cronin

Duck decides farm life is just too hard and sets up a vote to replace the farmer. Soon he begins to like elections and gets voted in a Governor, and then – President! A funny and easy read for 2nd graders.

Humor

Duck for President by Doreen Cronin

Roger the Jolly Pirate by Brett Helquist

Roger is a pirate with a problem. He’s just too nice, so the other pirates tell him to go away. But one day he bakes a spectacular cake and everything changes.

Picture book

Roger the Jolly Pirate by Brett Helquist

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

A classic younger chapter book about Mildred Hubble’s school adventures as she trains to be a witch.

Fantasy

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg

Peter and Judy discover an old game which plays like no other and opens up a dangerous and adventurous world. A highly imaginative picture book which is great to read with eight-year-olds.

Picture book

Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg

Julian, Secret Agent by Ann Cameron

Julian, his younger brother and friends, see wanted posters for criminals around town and decide to hunt them down to get the $25,000 reward. But the police chief has other ideas.

Mystery

Julian, Secret Agent by Ann Cameron

Brundibar by Tony Kushner

When two children try to raise money for their sick mother by singing, they are thwarted the evil Brundibar who wants to be the only musician in the town. With the help of friends, they hatch a plan to defeat him.

Fable

Brundibar by Tony Kushner

Race of the Birkebeiners by Lise Lunge-Larsen

Set in snowy Norway, warriors rescue a helpless baby Prince in this heroic adventure and timeless classic. Beautifully illustrated.

Classic

Race of the Birkebeiners by Lise Lunge-Larsen

Gator Gumbo by Candace Fleming

An old alligator is teased and tormented by the younger animals around him. So he invites them all join him for a meal – a Gumbo with some unexpected ingredients. A story of revenge which young children will love.

Picture book | Animal story

Gator Gumbo by Candace Fleming

How to Save Your Tail by Mary Hansen

Bob the rat lives in fear of being eaten by Muffin and Brutus, the royal cats, so he tells them unlikely fairy tales about each of his rat family members. This book is laugh-out-loud funny and ideal to read with your child.

Animal story

How to Save Your Tail by Mary Hansen

Science Verse by Jon Scieszka

Elementary grade science topics written in rhyming verse with eye-catching illustrations. The poems are pastiches of Frost, Poe and Kilmer, amongst others – so great for parents too!

Poetry | STEM

Science Verse by Jon Scieszka

What Presidents are Made of by Hanoch Piven

Famous American presidents are built from common household objects to create the collage illustrations in this book, complemented by short character descriptions of each leader. This is an ideal 2nd grade reading book for the classroom.

Art | Historical

What Presidents are Made of by Hanoch Piven

Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong

The heroic yet desperate story of Shackleton’s Endurance arctic expedition in 1914 told through by Jennifer Armstrong and set to fact boxes, photographs and exceptional illustrations.

Historical

Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

One night a young girl and her father go outside to look for owls. The nighttime walk is a magical adventure, wonderfully illustrated and with few words – ideal for encouraging emerging readers.

Adventure

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Bartholemew and the Oobleck by Dr Seuss

Everything that can go wrong for King Derwin of Didd does in this classic Dr Seuss picture book. Only the smart young page boy Bartholemew can save the day. Great for reluctant readers in Grade 2.

Picture book

Bartholemew and the Oobleck by Dr Seuss

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins

An innovative and clever picture book which shows real objects at their actual size. There are lots of facts for enquiring minds in this non-fiction book for 7-9 year olds.

Non fiction

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins

Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown

The adventures of Stanley Lambchop who is flattened and mailed, amongst other things, and becomes the most unlikely hero in this much-loved classic by Jeff Brown.

Classic

Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

A thought provoking picture book about the importance of giving and not just taking. Excellent for 2nd grade class discussion.

Classic

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry

A visually awe-inspiring picture book about a man who hears voices from the forest warning him not to cut down the precious rainforest trees. A great introduction to environmentalism and ecology.

Diverse | Environment

The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry

You Can’t Eat Your Chicken Pox, Amber Brown by Paula Danziger

Amber Brown has been looking forward to an exciting vacation to London when all her plans are wrecked by Chicken Pox. But can she make something good come out of this predicament? A heartwarming story.

Contemporary

You Can't Eat Your Chicken Pox, Amber Brown by Paula Danziger

Mr Pants by Scott McCormick

Mr Pants is a cat on a mission to get what he wants. Great graphic novel action and fun for younger readers.

Graphic novel

Mr Pants by Scott McCormick

Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

An unbeatable book for reluctant younger readers. Bright, lively and engaging, this superhero story is great fun and bound to be a hit with a second grade class.

Graphic novel

Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

13 Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

This book will spark your child’s imagination with the wacky and zany home improvement creations going on in Andy and Terry’s treehouse. Fun and anarchic with great comic-style illustrations.

Humor | Graphic novel

13 Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O’Hara

When Frankie the goldfish is turned into something very strange and scary with magic powers, Tom’s brother has a lot to answer. Great characters, dialogue and action – and a very funny ending.

Humor

My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O'Hara

Never Girls by Kiki Thorpe

A group of girls wish themselves to Neverland with Tinker Bell and fairies in these page-turning adventure chapter book stories set in the world of JM Barrie.

Fantasy

Never Girls by Kiki Thorpe

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Zita is a space travelling heroine who takes on aliens, ancient prophesies and planetary disasters in these rollercoaster paced thrillers for younger readers.

Science fiction

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Galaxy Zack by Ray O’Ryan

Join Zack on his quest through the stars to save the universe, meet aliens and travel through time. Think Star Trek for eight-year-olds – this is a great 2nd grade reading choice for reluctant readers.

Science fiction

Galaxy Zack by Ray O'Ryan

The Notebook of Doom by Troy Cummings

Alexander finds a mysterious notebook with “Doom” written on the cover. Inside are top secret details of many, many monsters – monsters which are living nearby…

Mystery | Fantasy

The Notebook of Doom by Troy Cummings

Cam Jansen by David A Adler

Cam Jansen is a girl with an amazing photographic memory which she uses to outsmart the local police and solve neighborhood crime. Ideal for independent readers in grade 2.

Classic | Mystery

Cam Jansen by David A Adler

Stink by Megan McDonald

The adventures of Stink, a boy who gets up to all sorts of mischievous adventures and escapades. Very funny and highly likely to appeal to reluctant readers, especially second graders who prefer shorter stories.

Humor

Stink by Megan McDonald

A Bargain for Frances by Russell Hoban

Frances faces a difficult situation and a promise that it’s best not to keep. The Frances stories are classics and ideal for emerging readers.

Animal story

A Bargain for Frances by Russell Hoban

Life Doesn’t Frighten Me by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s touching poem written to help children confront their fears is set to vibrant and powerful paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat. A modern classic and an ideal 2nd grade reading book for class discussion.

Poetry

Life Doesn't Frighten Me by Maya Angelou


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About Tom Tolkien

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Tom Tolkien is an educational management professional who has written extensively for US K-12 curriculum publishing, focusing on literacy teaching, reading recommendations and school improvement advice.