Best Second Grade Books for the Classroom

Best Second Grade Books for the Classroom

Second graders enjoy so many kinds of books, and a well-stocked classroom library can help set your class up for an awesome year together. If you’re looking to freshen up your collection of second grade books, check out 60 of our favorite recent picture books, chapter books, series, and more!

(WeAreTeachers earns a few cents if you purchase using our links, at no extra cost to you. We only recommend items our team loves!)

1. My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero

A young girl tells the tale of a motorcycle ride around her neighborhood with her Papi. Lean on this title for studying character traits and emotions and as a fresh, diverse mentor text for personal narrative writing.

Buy it: My Papi Has a Motorcycle on Amazon

2. If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall

The illustrations in this new title from two-time Caldecott medalist Sophie Blackall are gorgeous, as are the book’s themes of connectedness and inclusivity. Share this book to open community-building conversations or to support your social studies curriculum. Having students write their own “If you come to …” letters would be an awesome writing prompt too!

Buy it: If You Come to Earth on Amazon

3. Your Name Is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

When Kora-Jalimuso’s teacher and classmates can’t pronounce her name, her mother gives her the most empowering, uplifting advice of all: Tell them her name is a song. Share this affirming story at the start of the school year or to lead off conversations about celebrating identity. Every classroom needs this book!

Buy it: Your Name Is a Song on Amazon

4. Norman: One Amazing Goldfish! by Kelly Bennett

Not Norman: A Goldfish Story is a longtime read-aloud favorite. Now there’s a sequel that makes us love that glug-glugging goldfish and his endearing owner even more! Norman and his human are excited to perform a routine of tricks at Pet-O-Rama—until an unexpected case of goldfish stage fright. The details are perfect for supporting kids’ narrative writing.

Buy it: Norman: One Amazing Goldfish! on Amazon

5. Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures by Tricia Springstubb

This sweet intergenerational story celebrates how simple shared experiences can bring people together. As Khalil digs for buried treasure and Mr. Hagerty digs for vegetables, the pair finds a new friendship. We also love how this title helps kids learn to define and give examples to explain vocabulary words.

Buy it: Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures

6. Ten Ways To Hear Snow by Cathy Camper

Lina wakes up on the morning she’s meant to visit her grandmother to help cook grape leaves, only to discover a fresh blanket of snow. Her walk to her grandmother’s house inspires a poetic list of ways to “hear” snowcapped observations for her grandmother, who is blind. Use this text to support both narrative and poetry writing, or simply enjoy it on the first snowy morning of the school year.

Buy it: Ten Ways To Hear Snow on Amazon

7. Cat Problems by Jory John

The Animal Problems books are awesome second grade books for their perfect balance of humor, vocabulary, and curriculum connections. In this one, a cat complains about its life indoors. Meanwhile, a squirrel outside the window reminds the cat how cushy a life it has. Great for lessons about reading with expression or to discuss point of view.

Buy it: Cat Problems on Amazon

8. Skywatcher by Jamie Hogan

Tamen wishes he could see the stars, but that’s basically impossible in his bright urban neighborhood. His mom surprises him with a camping trip to make his dream come true. If you need more second grade books that portray single parents, this is a good one. The back matter teaches readers about astronomy and light pollution.

Buy it: Skywatcher on Amazon

9. Something Good by Marcy Campbell

When something terrible appears on the bathroom wall, it changes the whole feeling of the school. School adults help students process the event and plan a way to heal and move forward by creating “something good” together. This book could be so helpful to work through your own school challenges or simply to spark discussion about kindness and community.

Buy it: Something Good on Amazon

10. Granny and Bean by Karen Hesse

A grandmother and small child take a beach walk on a gray day. The story tells how they “crouched to greet dogs,” “skirted a fence,” “leapt over logs,” and more. The language is gorgeous but concise. Use this book as a mentor text for reading comprehension strategies or narrative writing craft techniques.

Buy it: Granny and Bean on Amazon

11. What Are Your Words? A Book About Pronouns by Katherine Locke

This is an invaluable resource for talking to kids about pronouns and how pronoun choice is just one piece of someone’s identity. Uncle Lior, who prefers they/them pronouns, comes to visit and helps Ari explore the words that feel right to use.

Buy it: What Are Your Words? A Book About Pronouns on Amazon

12. and 13. I’m New Here and Someone New by Anne Sibley O’Brien


This pair of titles tells the story of three newly arrived immigrant children and the peers who must welcome newcomers to their school community. Presenting the two books together offers a unique chance to examine an experience from multiple perspectives.

Buy it: I’m New Here and Someone New on Amazon

14. Hey, Wall by Susan Verde

Ángel notices an ugly, neglected wall that spans an entire city block near his home and organizes a neighborhood effort to create a mural that celebrates their community. Inspire students with this kid-powered story of art and activism.

Buy it: Hey, Wall on Amazon

15. How To Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion by Ashima Shiraishi

This autobiography shares how Ashima Shiraishi became one of the world’s top rock climbers—as a teenager! It’s an inspirational story that will wow kids (and teachers) and is a unique addition to a biography genre study.

Buy it: How To Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion on Amazon

16. How To Write a Story by Kate Messner

Follow a young writer’s illustrated thought bubbles and tips as she works through the narrative writing process from the seed of an idea to drafting, revising, and editing, and then to showcasing her work. Share this to inspire a budding author, or use it during a fiction writing unit.

Buy it: How To Write a Story on Amazon

17. Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story by Danielle Greendeer, Anthony Perry, and Alexis Bunten

Thanksgiving stories from a Native perspective are essential to share in the classroom. Introduce students to how the Wampanoag people helped the Pilgrims survive by teaching them skills like how to grow “The Three Sisters”: corn, beans, and squash. Beyond the important social studies content, we love all the connections to second grade science standards about plants.

Buy it: Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story on Amazon

18. The First Blade of Sweetgrass by Suzanne Greenlaw and Gabriel Frey

A gorgeous Own Voices story about a present-day Wabanaki girl who joins her grandmother in harvesting sweetgrass to make baskets. Add this to your growing collection of second grade books celebrating indigenous characters.

Buy it: The First Blade of Sweetgrass on Amazon

19. Abdul’s Story by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

A new favorite! If you’re looking for second grade books to inspire students as writers, you absolutely need this one. Abdul has many stories to tell, but handwriting and spelling are so hard for him. A visiting author, Mr. Muhammad, gives him the reassuring nudge he needs to shine.

Buy it: Abdul’s Story on Amazon

20. A Different Pond by Bao Phi

A beautiful story about a father and son navigating life in a new culture.

 Buy it: A Different Pond on Amazon

21. Room for Everyone by Naaz Khan

Who says second graders are too old for counting books? Not us, especially when it’s one this vibrant and fun. A boy and his sister ride a daladala (minibus) to the beach in Zanzibar. Along the way, it stops for myriad other riders, from chickens to sugarcane vendors to divers. It’s a fantastic concrete story for talking about being inclusive. Plus, we can’t wait to make up math story problems based on the zany events.

Buy it: Room for Everyone on Amazon

22. Dream Street by Tricia Elam Walker and Ekua Holmes

On this street, “the houses and dreams inside are as different as thumbprints.” This celebration of a diverse neighborhood is based on the author’s and illustrator’s own childhood in Roxbury, Massachusetts. It would make a strong mentor text for descriptive writing. Or a class display about students’ hopes and goals would be a perfect follow-up project.

Buy it: Dream Street on Amazon

23. Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal

Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela knows her name is long, but she doesn’t know why, until her dad tells her about all the family members it honors. Get students talking about the stories behind their own names.

Buy it: Alma and How She Got Her Name on Amazon

24. The Cool Bean by Jory John and Pete Oswald

If you loved The Bad Seed and The Good Egg, you need to meet the Cool Bean! Who knew legumes could be such good models for how it’s “cool to be kind”?

Buy it: The Cool Bean on Amazon

25. The Night Gardener by Terry and Eric Fan

Every Fan Brothers book is gorgeous, but this is one of our favorite second grade books to mull over with students. One morning, William notices a mysterious topiary out his window. Soon, there are changes all over town.

Buy it: The Night Gardener on Amazon

26. Rodney Was a Tortoise by Nan Forler

Rodney was Bernadette’s treasured pet and companion. When he dies, no one seems to notice how Bernadette’s sadness lingers—until new friend Amar reaches out. This is a tender story to help second graders talk about important themes of grief, friendship, and empathy.

Buy it: Rodney Was a Tortoise on Amazon

27. The Flamingo by Guojing

This almost-wordless graphic novel shares the story of a girl who visits her grandmother, her Lao Lao, at the beach. When she finds a flamingo feather in Lao Lao’s house, the magical story-within-a-story explains where it came from. Definitely add this one to your second grade books for teaching about making inferences—there is so much to wonder and talk about!

Buy it: The Flamingo on Amazon

28. Five Minutes (That’s a Lot of Time) (No, It’s Not) (Yes, It Is) by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick

We reference it all the time, but how long is five minutes, really? Well, that depends on whether you’re waiting in line or playing your favorite game! Add some fun to your math lessons about telling time by sharing this little gem.

Buy it: Five Minutes (That’s a Lot of Time) (No, It’s Not) (Yes, It Is) on Amazon

29. A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman

This story tackles the mind-boggling concept of huge numbers. A wonderful book for science, math, or a read-aloud.

Buy it: A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars on Amazon

30. Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise

Storyteller and author Pura Belpré was the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City. Treat yourself and your class to this gorgeous and inspirational biography that offers just the right amount of detail for a classroom read-aloud and discussion. (Plus, motivate your students to explore other Pura Belpré Award titles!)

Buy in: Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré on Amazon

31. Now You Know How It Works by Valorie Fisher

How often do we stop and think about how things we use every day, like soap or screws, work? This title explains it all, with labeled diagrams perfect for teaching students about using nonfiction text features for reading and their own writing.

Buy it: Now You Know How It Works on Amazon

32. Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere by Barb Rosenstock

In 1930, Otis Barton and Will Beebe made the first-ever deep-sea dive in a contraption they invented themselves. How cool is that?

Buy it: Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere on Amazon

33. How To Make a Mountain in Just 9 Simple Steps and Only 100 Million Years! by Amy Huntington

Introduce second grade standards about processes that shape the earth with this funny and informative guide. The different text sizes and sections give you choices about how much detail to share if reading aloud.

Buy it: How To Make a Mountain in Just 9 Simple Steps and Only 100 Million Years! on Amazon

34. Seeds Move! by Robin Page

Did you ever think of seed dispersal as involving “hitchhiking,” “catapulting,” or “parachuting”? Robin Page’s fresh, informative text and collage illustrations will get students thinking about grade-level science concepts.

Buy it: Seeds Move! on Amazon

35. We Move Together by Kelly Fritsch and Anne McGuire

Everyone deserves to be able to move through their world with ease. This is one of our favorite all-ages books to open discussions about social justice and disability. It’s especially suited to second graders who are eager to connect to others and make the world a more fair place.

Buy it: We Move Together on Amazon

36. Money Math by David Adler

Content-area book guru David Adler addresses money identification and beginning addition and subtraction. Break out the piles of change!

Buy it: Money Math on Amazon

37. The Disgusting Critters Series by Elise Gravel

This series combines science, silly humor, and just enough gross facts to delight any young reader.

Buy it: The Disgusting Critters Series on Amazon

38. Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

This book tells the story of four mathematicians who played a critical role in NASA’s early space launches.

Buy it: Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race on Amazon

39. The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng by Sophia Gholz

Share this biography of an Indian environmental activist with students when you talk about the role of plants in an ecosystem. After reading, go outside and plant some native plants in your own habitat!

Buy it: The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng on Amazon

40. Big and Small and In-Between by Carter Higgins and Daniel Miyares

Three whimsical chapters make poetic observations about the world based on size. This book invites readers to notice things like how big the quiet feels when it’s your turn to perform, the “in between” of a wiggling tooth, and how small you feel when you stare at the ocean. Add this title to your second grade books for Poetry Month or launching a poetry unit of study.

Buy it: Big and Small and In-Between on Amazon

41. On Duck Pond by Jane Yolen

We still read Owl Moon every single year, but we also love Jane Yolen’s more recent nature offerings. Here, her signature poetic and precise language chronicles the brief moment when a child walks a dog past a pond.

Buy it: On Duck Pond on Amazon

42. Once Upon a Star: A Poetic Journey Through Space by James Carter

An explanation of the Big Bang is tricky when explaining to children. But packing it into artfully illustrated and eloquent verse? That’s impressive.

Buy it: Once Upon a Star: A Poetic Journey Through Space on Amazon

43. A Place to Start a Family: Poems About Creatures That Build by David L. Harrison

As anyone who has studied a bird’s nest up close knows, animal structures are amazing. Each poem describes how an animal creates a home for its young.

Buy it: A Place to Start a Family: Poems About Creatures That Build on Amazon

44. Gone Camping: A Novel in Verse by Tamera Will Wissinger

Read about a family’s camping experience, as described by different family members. This fun title also includes a handy guide for teaching kids about different forms of poetry. Also check out Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse, starring the same characters.

Buy it: Gone Camping: A Novel in Verse on Amazon

45. Yasmin series by Saadia Faruqi


Yasmin has plenty of spirit and a talent for looking on the bright side. This early chapter book series starter adds to the small-but-growing list of kid-lit titles starring contemporary Muslim Americans.

Buy it: Yasmin series on Amazon

46. Diary of an Ice Princess series by Christina Soontornvat

Second graders love this fantasy series about a princess who lives in the clouds and wields a ton of cool weather-related powers. And teachers shouldn’t be discouraged by all the pink! The series has diverse characters and relatable themes to discuss with kids.

Buy it: Diary of an Ice Princess series on Amazon

47. Every Day With April & Mae series by Megan Dowd Lambert

April and Mae are best friends who navigate relatable kid situations and feelings. It’s so important to have second grade books available for readers who are still learning to decode. This series is easier but still engaging. Plus, we love the cheerful illustrations.

Buy it: April & Mae and the Tea Party on Amazon

48. Pets Rule! series by Susan Tan

If you have funds for second grade books and haven’t dived into the Branches illustrated chapter book collection, check them out immediately. There are tons of great choices, but we think kids will especially love this funny new series about a pet chihuahua who has big dreams of world—or at least, neighborhood—domination.

Buy it: Pets Rule! series on Amazon

49. Word Travelers series by Raj Haldar

Best friends Eddie and MJ use an enchanted word book to go on fantastic treasure-hunting adventures. They’ve got to stretch their vocabulary knowledge to figure out clues. This is a fun series for advanced second grade readers who still need age-appropriate content.

Buy it: Word Travelers and the Taj Mahal Mystery on Amazon

50. Dragon Kingdom of Wrenly series by Jordan Quinn

A crew of young dragons goes head-to-head with one danger after another. These imaginative graphic novel spinoffs of a popular chapter book series have wide appeal, and there are plenty of titles to keep kids reading.

Buy it: The Coldfire Curse (Dragon Kingdom of Wrenly) on Amazon

51. Too Small Tola series by Atinuke

Stories by this author—we also love the Anna Hibiscus series—are great for adding representation of life in contemporary Africa to your classroom libraries. Tola lives with her siblings and grandmother in an apartment in Lagos, Nigeria, where things are never dull. These collections of stories have endearing characters and rich descriptions for kids working on noticing details about setting.

Buy it: Too Small Tola on Amazon

52. Lola Levine series by Monica Brown


We love how Monica Brown highlights feisty, bicultural female characters. Lola Levine encounters her share of everyday kid challenges and navigates them with grace and spunk.

Buy it: Lola Levine series on Amazon

53. Ada Twist, Scientist: The Why Files by Andrea Beaty and Theanne Griffith

We love the Questioneers, and these nonfiction partner titles based on the Netflix show are awesome additions to your second grade science books. A fun journal format keeps readers interested.

Buy it: All About Plants (Ada Twist, Scientist: The Why Files) and The Science of Baking (Ada Twist, Scientist: The Why Files) on Amazon

54. Geraldine Pu series by Maggie Chang

Geraldine Pu has lots of relatable school experiences and is proud of her family’s Taiwanese culture. These are the perfect second grade books for introducing kids to reading graphic novels. Each one has a “How To Read This Book” tutorial to teach kids about speech and thought bubbles and how to read panels left to right and top to bottom.

Buy it: Geraldine Pu series on Amazon

55. Class Critters series by Kathryn Holmes

Mrs. Norrell’s second grade class seems normal, but kids learn in unusual ways. Each student gets the chance to turn into an animal for a day, giving them an interesting perspective! Relatable themes with an appealing fantasy twist make these excellent second grade chapter books.

Buy it: Class Critters series on Amazon

56. Classroom 13 series by Honest Lee and Matthew J. Gilbert

Spark those 7- and 8-year-old imaginations! These second grade books work well as fun class read-alouds, book club picks, or independent reads. Each short chapter stars one student in Classroom 13, where plenty of wacky things take place.

Buy it: Classroom 13 series on Amazon

57. Mac B., Kid Spy series by Mac Barnett


Mac Barnett tells his childhood story—as a spy for the queen of England. It’s a spoof, of course, but there are real themes here too. This series would be a great fit for advanced but reluctant readers or as fun read-alouds (especially if you’re a kid of the ’80s and treasured your Game Boy as much as the author did).

Buy it: Mac B., Kid Spy series on Amazon

58. Planet Omar series by Zanib Mian

Omar is a fun-loving and imaginative kid navigating relatable kid challenges like starting at a new school and trying to earn money. These fast-paced illustrated chapter books work well as read-alouds or as independent reading. You’ll especially want to check them out if you’re working on incorporating more literature featuring Muslim characters into your classroom library.

Buy it: Planet Omar series on Amazon

59. Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

If you’re looking for a mesmerizing chapter book read-aloud, consider this tale of Livy and Bob, the mysterious golem living in Livy’s grandmother’s closet who just wants to find his home.

Buy it: Bob on Amazon

60. The Sheep, the Rooster, and the Duck by Matt Phelan

This is one of our new favorite second grade chapter books to read aloud. Kids and clever farm animals (inspired by the real animals who rode in the first hot-air balloon!) work together to take down a villainous plot in 18th-century France. There’s some historical context, great vocabulary, humor, fun illustrations, and plenty of adventure.

Buy it: The Sheep, the Rooster, and the Duck on Amazon

Which second grade books have you loved recently? Let us know in the comments!

Want more articles like this? Be sure to subscribe to our newsletters. Plus, check out our book lists for the other elementary grade levels here:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *