When it comes to reading, the second grade is where it’s at. Students have learned enough to be able to work on their own, yet they are still awed and fascinated by the world around them. If you’re wanting to add to your library of books for second graders, here are 60 of our picks for new releases to get you started.
My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero
A young girl recalls a motorcycle ride she took with her Papi around the neighborhood. Using this book as a mentor text for writing personal narratives is a great way to learn about character traits and emotions.
If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall
Both the visuals and the book’s central themes of belonging and inclusion are stunning in this new release from the two-time Caldecott Medalist. This book can be used as a springboard for community-building discussions or as a supplement to your school’s social studies program. In addition, having kids compose their own “If you come to…” letters would be a great writing assignment!
Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
Kora-mother Jalimuso’s gives her the most inspiring and uplifted advice when her teacher and classmates can’t pronounce her name: Tell them her name is a song. In the beginning of the school year or as a starting point for discussions about celebrating one’s uniqueness, share this story. You can’t go wrong with this book!
Norman: One Amazing Goldfish! by Kelly Bennett
It’s been a long-time favorite for reading aloud. A sequel has been released that makes us even more smitten with the glug-glugging goldfish and his adorable owner! A series of tricks is all set for the couple to perform at Pet-O-Rama, but a bout of goldfish stage fright interrupts their plans. These particulars are ideal for assisting children’s narrative compositions, as well.
Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures by Tricia Springstubb
This heartwarming intergenerational tale emphasizes the power of simple shared experiences to unite people. Khalil and Mr. Hagerty form a new friendship as they search for buried gold and veggies, respectively. We particularly appreciate how this book teaches kids to define and explain vocabulary terms.
Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper
Snow has fallen on the day Lina was supposed to visit her grandma and assist her in the preparation of grape leaves. For her grandma, who is blind, every stroll to her house generates a poetic list of ways to “hear” the snow-capped views. This book can be used to inspire students to write narratives or poems, or it can be read aloud on the first snowy day of school.
Giraffe Problems by Jory John
To celebrate your unique talents and use them to help others is the message of this story from the team behind Penguin Problems. After meeting a new friend, Giraffe begins to appreciate his “too necky” neck.
The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke
In this video, a group of siblings builds a bike using scraps found about their house and community. Writing craft mini-lessons can also benefit from this title.
Fruit Bowl by Mark Hoffman
For our second-grade literature, we appreciate a good double-duty read-aloud. This one not only discusses the differences between fruits and vegetables, but also promotes diversity and tolerance. In spite of the other fruits’ protests, Tomato insists on being included in the bowl of fruit.
Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise by David Ezra Stein
Little Chicken is searching for “element of surprise” in stories instead of elephants due to a lesson that was misheard. A study of tale structure would benefit from reading this sequel, as would a leisurely read.
Jack (Not Jackie) by Erica Silverman
This book is a good starting point for a conversation on gender identity. Her little sister Jackie gets a short haircut, goes shopping in the boys’ clothing section and wants to be called Jack; Susan experiences a wide range of feelings. In the end, she comes to terms with the fact that Jack will always be her sibling.
I’m New Here and 13. Someone New by Anne Sibley O’Brien
They recount the story of three newly-arrived immigrants and the peers who must help them integrate into their new school community. If you’re looking for an opportunity to assess your life from many points of view, this is it!
Hey, Wall by Susan Verde
He organizes a neighborhood effort to paint a mural honoring the people in his neighborhood on a dilapidated wall that extends over a whole city block. Students will be inspired by the narrative of a young artist and activist.
How To Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion by Ashima Shiraishi
As a youth, Ashima Shiraishi rose to prominence as one of the world’s best rock climbers in this autobiography. Students and instructors alike are sure to be impressed by this inspirational story, which is a great supplement to a biography study.
How to Write a Story by Kate Messner
As she works her way from the germ of an idea to a first draft, revisions, and editing, a young writer shows us her creative process in the form of animated thought bubbles. For a fledgling novelist, or for a class on fiction writing, pass this along.
Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots by Michael Rex
Make an important idea stick out with this interactive title. Respect for other people’s viewpoints is another lesson that children can learn from the clever robot characters.
Life by Cynthia Rylant
A beautiful tale portrayed from the perspective of animals that serves as a constant reminder that life is full of surprises and growth.
The Cool Bean by Jory John and Pete Oswald
What are you waiting for? The Cool Bean is going to blow you away! It’s hard to believe legumes are such amazing role models for how to be kind in our society.
The Night Gardener by Terry and Eric Fan
This is one of our favorite Fan Brothers novels to discuss with students in second grade. William sees a topiary outside his window one morning. Soon, there will be a flurry of activity in the city.
Quiet Please, Owen McPhee! by Trudy Ludwig
This title is great for conversations about listening because it comes from the same team who brought us The Invisible Boy (a classroom must-have for all ages). A bout of laryngitis changes Owen McPhee’s habit of talking nonstop, and he learns the value of keeping his mouth shut as well.
My Dog Mouse by Eva Lindstrom
In this quiet, moving tale of a young woman walking her neighbor’s dog, an unsung hero emerges. It’s full with examples that can be used in mini-lessons on narrative writing.
Rot, the Cutest in the World by Ben Clanton
Certainly not the cutest thing in the world, Rot is a plain mutant potato. However, he still has the self-assurance to be himself.
Five Minutes (That’s a Lot of Time) (No, It’s Not) (Yes, It Is) by Audrey Vernick
We talk about it all the time, but how long truly is five minutes?? If you’re waiting in line or playing your favorite game, you’ll have different experiences! This little treasure will spice up your time-telling math lessons.
A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman
The topic of enormous numbers is explored in this narrative. Science, math, and read-alouds will all benefit from this book.