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Best Books for Second-Graders

As your child progresses through elementary school, you’ll have the joy of watching them make huge strides in their learning. In just a few years, they’ll go from simply knowing their ABCs to reading their first chapter books, typically by the time they start second grade. Great readers make great spellers, and one of the best ways to support your child as they develop their English language skills is by supplying them with plenty of new books to read. Below we discuss our selection of the best books for second-graders.

Most Heartfelt

The Infamous Ratsos: Project Fluffy (Hardcover)

List Price: $14.99 USD
New From: $11.78 USD In Stock
Used from: $6.45 USD In Stock

Second-graders will appreciate the humor in this chapter book. In their quest to be rough and tough, Ralphie and Louie wind up doing way more good than bad. This includes providing lunch for a schoolmate and ridding excess snow from their neighbors’ homes. While the brothers fear their father will think less of them for being so helpful, they come to learn their actions were far more valuable than they thought. “The Infamous Ratsos” teaches the importance of kindness to young readers, while also illustrating the emotional effects of loss and grief. The format of this book is perfectly tailored for beginners.

Most Hilarious

Mercy Watson to the Rescue (Paperback)

List Price: $6.99 USD
New From: $5.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $3.25 USD In Stock

The first in the Mercy Watson series, “Mercy Watson to the Rescue,” follows its pig heroine on a hilarious adventure through her neighborhood. At the start of the story, readers learn that Mercy loves her human parents and food (especially buttered toast!). Yet when the family bed breaks through the floor one night, Mercy takes off to look for help (and whatever delicious food the neighbors have to offer). Second-graders will love the hilarious mishaps Mercy finds herself in and may even want to read the book aloud.

Emotionally Poignant

Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie (Eleanor) (Paperback)

List Price: $6.95 USD
New From: $5.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $5.20 USD In Stock

“Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie” begins during the summer when Eleanor receives some upsetting news. Bibi, her regular babysitter, will be moving out of town to be with her ailing father. While Eleanor’s mother tries to find another babysitter, Eleanor pines for Bibi and wonders if she’ll ever feel better about the situation. In addition to being an easy read, this book teaches second graders how to cope when things change unexpectedly — they will learn how things can and do get better with time.

Best Seasonal Pick

Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time: Candlewick Sparks (Paperback)

List Price: $4.99 USD
New From: $3.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $3.94 USD In Stock

It’s winter, and when the snow finally begins to fall, Houndsley is overjoyed. For him, the snow represents a time to stay home and enjoy all of his favorite indoor activities. Catina, however, does not like the snow at all. She fears that its arrival will force the cancellation of a concert scheduled that night. She generally doesn’t like the idea of staying cooped up at home all day. With Houndsley’s help, Catina is able to see the fun of staying inside where it’s quiet. Composed of three chapters, this book is a great way to ease second-graders into chaptered stories. Its length also makes it perfect for practicing reading out loud to others.

Most Imaginative

Dory Fantasmagory (Paperback)

List Price: $7.99 USD
New From: $7.51 USD In Stock
Used from: $5.00 USD In Stock

Filled with fun illustrations, “Dory Fantasmagory” is a short chapter book that second-graders find both entertaining and easy to read. Kids enjoy Dory’s highly imaginative adventures and the mischief she gets into because of them. Readers with equally large imaginations will find common ground with Dory.

Expert Commentary 

“By second grade, some children are already excited about reading and selecting their own books. For others, reading is still a challenge. If needed, reading parts of the book aloud is a tool to draw the child into more engagement with the content.”

Our Expert Consultant

Emily Watts

Emily Watts is a mother of three (she has two adopted children and one foster child). She also is a licensed teacher with experience educating children in complex life situations. Emily has over seven years of experience in alternative education. She is passionate about children and specializes in helping those who may need a little extra attention or special care.