Best Books for Second-Graders

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After getting some inspiration from his younger sister, EllRay decides to hold an audition for his classmates to become his friends. EllRay wants to be recess king, so he also has to think of some fun things to do with his new buddies. Second graders of all sorts will find this story fun and interesting, as they may struggle to make friends as well. Plus, while this book is a great stand-alone, it is also the eighth book in a nine-book series, so children can continue reading about EllRay if they enjoy this book.

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It can be tough to admit the truth when you get involved in a mix-up, so many second graders may find this story both funny and relatable. Keena Ford is excited to start off a new school year, but finds herself in the middle of a mix-up— her teacher thought it was her birthday and brought her a huge chocolate cake. While it actually isn’t her birthday, she has a hard time saying no to delicious cake. Will she tell the truth and fix the mix-up? Or, will she go along with it and enjoy her “birthday”? This book is a great starter chapter book for second graders as it is engaging, funny, relatable and just about 100 pages long.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.”