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, Katherine Applegate, Jon Scieszka, and more.
Books for Grade 2 – our recommendations
You Are Home by Evan Turk
Celebrate the awesome sights of America’s national parks by reading this inspirational picture book. Through lush, detailed illustrations and lyrical prose, You Are Home takes readers on a mesmerizing journey, showing young readers the beauty and importance of these natural treasures and inspiring a love for the environment.
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
An ancient oak named Red narrates a touching tale of empathy and togetherness. When a young girl’s family faces discrimination, the tree becomes a symbol of hope, as wishes are tied to its branches. This heartwarming story showcases the power of kindness, acceptance, humility, and friendship. An ideal class reader.
Friendship | Nature
Ocean Meets Sky by The Fan Brothers
Finn builds a boat to honor his late grandfather’s memory and sets sail to a mythical world that his late grandfather told him about – a strange place where the ocean meets the sky. Along the way, he encounters enchanting wonders and creatures. This beautifully illustrated picture book with few words explores the power of imagination and the connection between generations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
A classic younger chapter book about Mildred Hubble’s school adventures as she trains to be a witch.
Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
Peter and Judy discover an old game that plays like no other and opens up a dangerous and adventurous world. A highly imaginative picture book that is great to read with eight-year-olds.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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