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56 Of Our Favorite Chapter Books For 2nd Grade Readers

It is important for 2nd graders to spend plenty of time reading so that they can become more confident.

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55 Of Our Favorite Chapter Books For 2nd Grade Readers

There are lots of books to choose from, but here are our top recommendations for chapter books that are ideal for 2nd graders.

1. The Magic Tree House – Mary Pope Osborne

This classic children’s box set includes books 1 to 8 of the Magic Tree House collection.

The stories follow Jack and Annie – a brother and sister who find a magical tree house filled with books. They are whisked away on adventures, but they have to make it home before dark.

2. The Secret Zoo – Bryan Chick

This is a gripping read for children aged 7 to 10. Noah and his sister, Megan, live next to the city.

They notice the animals behaving strangely, and when Megan goes missing Noah knows he has to do something. With the help of his friends, he sneaks into the zoo and follows the clues to find Megan.

3. Matilda – Roald Dahl

This much loved classic has now been turned into a major motion picture and a broadway musical. Matilda is a special young girl but she doesn’t fit in with her family.

Her parents think she’s a nuisance and her headteacher is a mean bully. Her only comfort is the time she spends with her kind teacher, Miss Honey.

4. The Cat In The Hat – Dr Seuss

Dr Seuss is a classic children’s author who uses rhyme and funny concepts to encourage children to read. His books are great for 2nd graders who want to start independent reading and enjoy reading aloud.

5. Little House In The Big Woods – Laura Ingalls Wilder

This heart-warming book is based on the real life of the author, who also penned ‘The Little House On The Prairie’.

It is about 4 year old Laura who lives in a log cabin in Wisconsin with her family. Together, they grow and catch their own food as they prepare for the cold winter.

6. Charlotte’s Web – E B White

This much loved story has captured the imagination of many children and has also been turned into a movie.

Wilbur is a little pig who was the runt of his litter. Fern saves his life, and they become friends. All the while, Charlotte the spider is watching from her web up in the barn.

7. The Mouse And The Motorcycle – Beverly Cleary

Ralph is a little mouse with a big dream. He has spotted a toy motorcycle that belongs to a boy called Keith, and he wants to ride it.

When Keith leaves the toy unattended, Ralph sees his chance- but it doesn’t quite go to plan.

8. Mr Popper’s Penguins – Richard Atwater

Mr Popper is a house painter, and he gets into all sorts of hilarious scrapes with his gang of troublesome penguins in this lovable children’s book. This story has now been adapted into a movie starring Jim Carrey.

9. Betsy-Tacy – Maud Hart Lovelace

Betsy doesn’t have any children her age to play with. When a new family moves in across the street she is hoping to make friends with the little girl – Tacy.

Betsy invites Tacy to her 5th birthday party, and finally finds the playmate she has been looking for. They become inseparable, and even find another member to add to their group.

10. The Courage Of Sarah Noble – Alice Dagliesh & Leonard Weisguard

This classic book is set in 1707. Young Sara Noble has to find courage as her family travels through the wilderness. They need to build a new home, but there seems to be danger around every corner.

11. The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams & William Nicholson

The Velveteen Rabbit is a classic book for children learning how to read. This homeschooling addition makes it easier for parents or teachers to support 2nd graders as they learn new words and even practice their handwriting.

There are also questions to ask children to help them gain a better understanding of the story and the concepts it explores.

12. The Wild Robot – Peter Brown

This is a New York Times bestselling middle grade novel about a robot trying to survive in the wilderness. Roz is alone on a wild island and she must learn how to adapt to her surroundings.

She befriends the animals and makes a new life for herself, but then her past catches up with her.

13. The Witch’s Cat: A Puppy Problem – Kirstie Watson & Tilia Rand Bell

This is one book in a delightful illustrated chapter series that is ideal for 2nd graders. When the witch surprises her cat with a new puppy, the cat is not very pleased.

The cat tries to train the puppy by using a magic potion but it doesn’t go according to plan.

14. A Boy Called Bat – Elana Arnold & Charles Santoso

This is the first book from a touching series that was written for middle schoolers. It is about a young boy with autism, and is a great book for educating children about neurodiversity.

Bat’s mum is a veterinarian, and she brings home a baby skunk that needs looking after. Bat connects with the animal right away and tries to convince his mum that they should keep him.

15. Tornado – Betsy Byars & Doron Ben Ami

This is a heart warming story from an award winning author that will captivate children of any age. Tornado was no ordinary dog – he was remarkable, and his family loved him very much.

When a tornado sends the family down into the storm cellar, farmhand Pete knows that it is time to share some stories about Tornado the dog.

16. Spectacular Stories For Curious Kids: Animals – Jesse Sullivan & Davor Ratkovic

This book is part of a series that includes lots of different themes. The stories in this book are based around animals, so it is perfect for any animal-loving 2nd graders.

The stories are designed for young readers so they are not too challenging and very accessible.

17. Owl Moon – Jane Yolen & John Schoenherr

This is a simple but moving story about a young girl who goes bowling with her father.

She learns that owls are not always easy to spot, but walking through the night time with someone you love is special even if you don’t see any owls.

18. Kate – A M Luzader & Anna Hilton

This story is part of a series of chapter books for children. When three friends turn 8 years old they are finally old enough to join the magic school.

They get to learn lots of new and exciting things, but there are some classes that are more challenging than others. This book teaches children an important lesson about trying new things.

19. El Deafo – Cece Bell

This is a number one New York Times bestselling book about a child with hearing loss. It is a great read for any child who is new to using a hearing aid, or would benefit from seeing their hearing loss represented in a book.

It also teaches other children about what it is like to have hearing loss so they can understand the people around them.

20. EllRay Jakes Is Not A Chicken – Sally Warner

EllRay Jakes is fed up being picked on by the other children. He is determined to stand up for himself, but when he does he ends up in trouble.

Things get more complicated when a trip to Disneyland is on the cards if EllRay can stay out of trouble, but will the other children think he is a chicken?

21. Billy And Blaze – C W Anderson

This is the first book in a beloved series about a boy and his love of horses. Billy gets a pony for his birthday – Blaze- and the two become best friends.

As they ride together, they learn how to trust each other and build a strong connection. Billy and Blaze decide to enter a competition at the horse show to try and win a trophy.

22. A Lion To Guard Us – Clyde Robert Bulla

This is a story about a brave young girl who must be brave and responsible when things get tough. Amanda’s father left three years ago for the Jamestown Colony in America, leaving her and her younger siblings in England with their mother.

When their mother dies, Amanda must try to look after the family herself. She decides they must go to America to find their father, but their journey won’t be easy.

23. Treasury For Children: Warm & Joyful Tales – James Herriot

James Herriot’s heart-warming tales are based on life on a Yorkshire farm. There are lots of different animal characters to meet, and the narrator of the story is the vet who looks after them all.

24. Treasures Of The Snow – Patricia St John

This is a book about a rivalry between two school children that goes too far. Lucien and Annette do not get on well, and they keep finding ways to get each other into trouble.

Annette is filled with range when Lucien gets her younger brother involved. Will they be able to set aside their differences and learn how to forgive each other?

25. All Of a Kind Family – Sydney Taylor

This is a lovely story about a family living together in New York at the turn of the century.

Ella, Henry, Sarah, Charlotte and Gerty love doing everything together – helping Mama with the cleaning, or talking to the customers in Papa’s shop. One day, they are faced with a big surprise.

26. The Children Of Noisy Village – Astrid Lindgren

This is another wonderful children’s story from the creator of Pippi Longstocking. It follows a year in the life of 6 Swedish children who live on three rural farms. Follow their activities through all the seasons in this timeless classic.

27. The Blue Fairy Book – Andrew Lang & H J Ford

This is a collection of fairytail stories for children including Arabian Nights, Rumplestiltskin, Rapunzel, Goldilocks and many more. There are 37 stories in total, which means hours of fun reading and much loved characters.

28. Miss Rumphius – Barbara Cooney

Alice Rumphius is a character based on a real-life person who was known for scattering lupin seeds wherever she went.

The lupine plants still grow in abundance along the coast of Maine, where she spent hours wandering and watching the sea. She longed to travel the world, and tried hard to make the world a more beautiful place.

29. The Little Island – Margaret Wise Brown

Margaret Wise Brown is a legendary children’s author. This book is ideal for 2nd graders to read and enjoy. It is about a little kitten who visits a small island in the sea.

The kitten is curious about the island and its inhabitants, and learns a lot about life in the different seasons in this small place.

30. What Cats Dream About – Sophie Taylor

This read aloud book encourages children to use their imagination. It has a rhythmic rhyme and wonderful illustrations to create an exciting dreamworld where cats go on wonderful adventures in their sleep.

31. Amelia Bedeila – Herman Parish & Lynne Avril

This box set includes the first 4 books in the Amelia Bedelia series. The stories are funny and engaging, with a likable character for children to focus on. They are ideal for children aged 6 to 8 who want to practice their independent reading.

32. The Princess & The Castle – A M Luzader & Anna M Clark

This fantasy chapter book is perfect for children aged 6 to 8 who love magical stories. Princess Olivia and Princess Juniper live in Wildflower kingdom – a place of dragons, unicorns and magical wands.

When the princesses get the chance to use the Queen’s magic wand to tidy up their castle, they must learn how to share.

33. Third Grade Detectives: The Mystery Of The Stolen Statue – George E Stanley & Salvatore Murdocca

This is one of the books in the third grade detectives series – a fun mystery series that is perfect for 2nd graders.

The detectives are looking forward to their field trip to the museum, but when they arrive they find out that one of the statues has been stolen.

The police find the statue in the dumpster – it has been broken to pieces! But why?

34. The Chocolate Touch – Patrick Skene Catling & Margot Apple

This is a fun children’s story based on the legend of King Midas. A young boy can’t believe his luck when he gets the ability to turn everything he touches into chocolate.

He soon realizes that his gift is not as great as it seems – it turns out that you can have too much of a good thing.

35. LeBron James: The Boy Who Became King – Anthonry Curcio

This is the inspiring story of NBA star LeBron James, adapted for children into a fun storybook. LeBron is living with his single mother and life isn’t easy.

He loves to play basketball, and with the help of his coach he pursues this interest all the way to the top.

36. Third Grade Outsider – Marcy Blesy & Thomas Roth

Brix Wilder is a third grader with a school project to complete. He must fill a big paper with objects that describe him. He has a great idea, but it doesn’t quite go to plan.

Children will love getting to know this lovable character as he struggles with his annoying sisters and talks to his pet bird.

37. Love Is – Diane Adams & Claire Kean

This is a heartwarming story that teaches children about love and how to let go. It is about a little girl and a duckling who care for each other very much.

They do everything together, but soon the duck grows too big and must go back to live at the pond. Saying goodbye can be hard, but there is a happy ending.

38. Ivy & Bean’s Treasure Box – Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall

The Ivy and Bean book series is ideal for 2nd graders who need to practice independent reading. The books are accessible and interesting with fantastic characters.

Ivy and Bean are very different and they are determined not to like each other. But they soon realize that friendship can be found in unlikely places.

39. The No Horn Unicorn – Bleu Rubis Publishing

This inspiring interactive story helps children to learn about self-esteem and accepting differences. The no horn unicorn is sad because all of the other unicorns their age have grown their horns.

They go on an adventure to find out why they don’t have a horn, and learn something very important along the way.

40. The Adventures Of Glitter Star: The Real-Life Unicorn From Space – Andrew D Frenz

Clara is a little girl who believes in unicorns. There are so many planets out there – surely one of them must have unicorns on it?

She decides to try and find one, which begins a life-changing adventure and brings her a new best friend.

41. How Not To Start Third Grade – Cathy Hapka & Ellen Titlebaum

This book is designed for newly independent readers which makes it ideal for 2nd graders. It is a book about returning to school for a new term, but things not quite working out as planned.

Will was excited about going back to school, but his little brother is making things difficult for him.

42. The Little Mermaid – Deborah Hautzig & Darcy May

This is an adaptation of the classic story by Hans Christian Anderson that is designed for children aged 5 to 8. Illustrations are used to explain some more complex concepts, and the children will learn new vocabulary and improve their reading skills.

43. Helen Keller: Courage In The Dark – Johanna Hurwitz

This is the true story of Helen Keller in a format that is suitable for 2nd graders to read. Helen Keller was left blind and deaf by a childhood illness.

She struggles to adapt to her new life, but a kind teacher gives her the courage and support she needs to thrive.

44. Mercy Watson To The Rescue – Katie DiCamillo

This is the first book in the Mercy Watson series. Mercy is a very lovable pig who loves buttered toast.

She is looked after by the Watson family, who are put in danger when Mercy breaks their bed. They are trapped, and Mercy must alert the fire department. But will she get distracted by a sugary treat along the way?

45. Freckle Juice – Judy Blume

Andrew is jealous of his classmate Nicky, who is covered in freckles. Nicky was born with them, so how will Andrew manage to get freckles of his own?

Sharon offers Andrew some of her special freckle potion in exchange for 50 cents. He agrees, but it turns into a bit of a disaster.

46. Looking For Bigfoot – Bonnie Worth & Jim Nelson

This is a non-fiction book for children to learn about the legend of bigfoot. The evidence for and against the existence of bigfoot is presented in an objective way that is accessible for children, letting them learn and come to their own conclusions. It also encourages critical thinking.

47. The Masterpiece Adventures: The Miniature World Of Marvin & James – Elise Broach & Kelly Murphy

When James goes on vacation for a week he is sad that he must leave his pet beetle behind. Marvin is lonely without James, so he seeks the company of his cousin.

Elaine ends up getting Marvin into all sorts of trouble, distracting him from his concern that James will come back from vacation with a new best friend.

48. Dragon Slayers’ Academy: The New Kid At School – Kate McMullan & Bill Basso

Wiglaf is the newest student at the Dragon Slayers academy. He is there to fulfill a prophecy that he will become a hero, but his squeamish nature makes this seem quite unlikely. This fun story is part of a great chapter series that is ideal for children aged 7 to 10.

49. A-Z Mysteries: The Absent Author – Ron Roy & John Steven Gurney

The A-Z mystery series is ideal for 2nd graders who love problem solving. Dink is excited about meeting his favorite author – Wallis Wallace – and getting some books signed.

When Wallis Wallace doesn’t show up for the event, it is up to Dink and his friends to find out why.

50. A Poor Excuse For A Dragon – Geoffrey Hayes

Fred isn’t very good at being a dragon. He tries his best, but he can’t complete any of the tasks that he is meant to do.

He tries to eat people, but it just leaves him with a bad stomach. Luckily, he makes a new friend who helps him to get the people out of his belly.

51. Paddle To The Sea – Holling C Holling

This wonderful book provides geographical and historical information about the Great Lakes and the Atlantic coast in a fun and engaging way.

It is about a little boy who carves a small wooden canoe with a figure inside. He calls it Paddle-To-The-Sea.

52. Brambly Hedge Treasury – Jill Barklam

This is a collection of the much loved Brambly Hedge stories which have captured the imaginations of many children since they were first published over 40 years ago. It follows the lives of the miniature families who live in the hedgerow.

53. The Adventures Of Geraldine Woolkins

Geraldine is a mouse who longs for adventure, just like in the books her father reads to her and her younger brother, Buttons.

She wants to be brave, but it seems that every creature she comes across is dangerous. How will she cope with being the smallest creature?

54. Ballerina Dreams: From Orphan To Dancer – Michaela DePrince & Elaine DePrince

This inspiring true story about Micaela DePrince teaches children to never give up on their dreams. She was adopted from an orphanage in Sierra Leone and brought to America.

She never forgets the photograph she once saw of a ballerina, and pursues her dream of becoming a dancer.

55. The Saturdays – Elizabeth Enright

The Melendy’s are a family living in New York. The four children are bored of wasting their Saturdays, so they start a club where they pool their resources and work together to find fun things to do together, making happy memories every weekend.

56. Nelson Mandela: From Prisoner To President – Suzi Capozzi & Nicole Tadgell

This book is great for 2nd grade independent readers who want to learn about the story of Nelson Mandela.

It opens up important conversations about race and prejudice and teaches children about an important part of world history. The story is told in short paragraphs that are easy to follow.


These fun and heart-warming books are ideal for 2nd graders who want to improve their reading skills and become more confident with spelling and vocabulary.

There is something for everyone on this list, with various themes and topics covered.

Simon Lewis

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