Best Books for 2nd Graders (7 Year Olds)
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If you’re a parent, teacher, or librarian looking for the best books for 2nd graders (7 year olds) boys and girls, this chapter book list can help with funny books to fantasy and realistic, you’ll find your next favorite beginning chapter book for every child and interest.
You might be wondering what the age of 2nd grade is in the United States. Usually, 2nd graders are about ages 7 and 8.
As you know, it’s so important to keep your growing readers immersed in books, reading on a daily basis for at least 20 minutes or more. Daily reading means that children will grow in their reading abilities.
But, what should they read? Children need good chapter books that they get to choose themselves; books that they are interested in reading, and books that are comprehensible to them at their reading level.
That’s where I can help. I’ve curated a list of good chapter books for 2nd graders so you have a list of the best books to share with your students or children.
How do you know if a book is at the right reading level for your 7-year-old child (in 2nd grade)?
1. Glance over the density and size of the text and see if there are illustrations. I can usually tell from a glance by the amount of words on the page and their size whether or not it’s going to be around a 2nd grade reading level. Of course, I still need to read the words to investigate further if it’s a good book for 2nd graders.
2. Have your 2nd grade child use the five-finger test to see if the book is too easy, just right, or too hard. Ask the child to read a page out loud and for each word they don’t know, hold up a finger. If they have between 1 to 5 fingers, it’s probably a just-right book for them. (It’s not a perfect way to tell if the book is a great choice, but it’s a helpful starting point.)
Remember, if your child really wants to read a book but it’s too challenging, you can save it for a later time when they’ve grown as a reader or use it ow as a read aloud choice.
3. It is OK to read books that are hard and that are easy. If your child is interested in a book, don’t get stuck in thinking they shouldn’t read it because of difficulty. Let them try it. Sometimes interest in the book or topic is a great motivator.
CHOICE is essential for young readers.
Support young readers with book choice. Visit the beginning chapter book section in your library or bookstore. Or, pre-select some books that you think they’ll like. Then, ask them to look at the books and find which one they want to read next.
If they’re struggling with knowing how to choose a book, model for them your process…look at the description on the back, look at the title, make a prediction of what it will be about, flip through the pages to notice if there are illustrations, and give the 5-finger rule a try.
What other book lists will help your 2nd-grade reader find good books? Check out these lists:
Series Books for 2nd Graders
–> Best Book Series for 2nd Graders.
Read Aloud Books for 2nd Graders
–> Read Aloud Books for 2nd Grade Children (Age 7)
Nonfiction Books for 2nd Graders
–> NONFICTION books for 7 year olds
More Books for 2nd Graders:
–> Wholesome Easy Chapter Books for Boys. (No sass, no potty humor.)
–> Wholesome Easy Chapter Books for Girls. (No rudeness, no sass.)
–> 2nd Grade Summer Reading List.
If you are searching for more challenging books, check out my best books for 3rd graders.
If you need easier books, go to my best easy chapter books for 1st graders.
Best Chapter Books for 2nd Graders (7 Year Olds)
Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Princess Magnolia isn’t a regular royal — she’s also a monster-fighting “princess in black”. Not only are these books filled with girl power, but they’re also funny and entertaining. (If you like The Princess in Black, you’ll also like these books.)
Owly: The Way Home by Andy Runton
It‘s hard for a predator like Owly to make friends. But when he saves a worm from a rainstorm, he makes a friend for life. His kindness and gentle spirit help him befriend more new friends after that.
Rise of the Earth Dragon (Dragon Masters) by Tracey West, illustrated by Graham Howells
In the times of castles and kingdoms, Drake learns he is a dragon master (and that dragons are real!) He must train with the other kids to master his dragon, an earth dragon. This is an adventurous fantasy chapter book that will interest almost any child as it has just the right amount of conflict, adventure, and excitement.
Mimi and the Cutie Catastrophe by Shauna J. Grant
Mimi doesn’t want to be called cute, so she asks her magical plush friend Penelope to transform her into a superhero! She gets a superhero outfit. Next, she tries to be a teacher, and after that, a “cool kid”. Finally, Mimi realizes that being herself is best! Expressive and charming pink and purple-centric illustrations add so much cuteness.
The Fabled Stables Willa the Wisp by Jonathan Auxier, illustrated by Olga Demidova
FANTASY / MAGICAL CREATURES
Auggie, the only human, lives on an island of mythical creatures but he’s lonely. When a new stall magically appears, Auggie enters and meets a Wisp hunted by ruthless magical poachers. It’s a darling start to a new series perfect for fantasy-loving readers.
The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne
A MUST-READ series for all kids! The Magic Tree House books combine mystery, history, magic, and adventure as siblings Jack and Annie adventure through time. If you love The Magic Tree House series, you’ll also like these books.
Magic Tree House The Graphic Novel Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne, adapted by Jenny Laird, illustrated by Kelly & Nichole Matthews
Even kids who have read the novels before will love rereading the books in graphic versions. In this first book, Jack begins a book on dinosaurs and wishes that he could travel to see them and zoom, they do! Annie befriends a flying dinosaur and they help save baby dinosaurs. Try this book series with reluctant readers!
Donut Feed the Squirrels by Mika Song
Norma and Belly are squirrel friends who really, really want a donut. Can they work together, sneak in a food truck, and have the biggest ever donut party ever? Minimal text, plenty of silliness, and a lovely surprise ending!
Notebook of Doom by Troy Cummings
A kid-favorite book series that you’ll also love! Alexander discovers his new town is FILLED WITH MONSTERS! And he’s right in the middle of everything, especially after he finds an old notebook of drawings and facts about monsters. Fun with an edge of scary.
Mia Mayhem Is a Superhero! by Kara West, illustrated by Leeza Hernandez
When Mia gets accepted into the Superhero training program, she learns she is SUPER. She even learns that her parents are, too. After school at her new superhero training, she has a disastrous first day and learns that it takes work to become a superhero. Black and white illustrations, bigger print, and an exciting story make these good books for second graders.
A to Z Mysteries by Rob Roy
This compelling mystery series for 2nd graders will keep your kids reading for days and months. My kids read each book more than once — we highly recommend this series because it’s a good mix of mystery and adventure and appeals to boy and girl readers.
Eerie Elementary: The School is Alive! by Jack Chabert, illustrated by Sam Ricks
Sam isn’t thrilled about becoming a hall monitor. Especially when he discovers that the school is ALIVE and trying to harm him and the other students. Sam has quite a wild adventure trying to save the students from the school. I think kids who like sort of scary things (it’s not too bad) will enjoy this book. Box set of 6 books here.
Dory and the Real True Friend by Abby Hanlon
Dory is one of my favorite book characters because her imagination is THE BEST! She has three imaginary friends: one monster friend, one fairy godmother that’s actually not a lady, and one bad lady nemesis. I love this story because she meets a real-life friend who understands all about imaginary friends; they’re the perfect match.
Good Dog by Cam Higgins, illustrated by Ariel Landy
HEARTWARMING DOG STORY
What a sweet beginning illustrated chapter book from Bo the dog’s point of view! Enthusiastic and full of personality, Bo adores his loving family and his life on the farm. But he worries when his dog tag goes missing. He searches the farm with the help of all the farm animals and his spider friends help him find it.
P.I. Butterfly Gone Guppy Case #1 by Karen Kilpatrick, illustrated by German Blanco
MYSTERY GRAPHIC NOVEL
P.I. Butterfly is a girl who loves butterflies and mysteries. When she discovers the family guppy is missing from the fish bowl, she’s determined to discover what happened. But who did it? She puts together the evidence, follows the trail of clues, and tries to get a confession–and, with hard work and persistence, solves the case! Not only is this a delightful story but it’s filled with problem-solving, critical thinking, and deductive reasoning.
Ninja Kid: From Nerd to Ninja by Anh Do
Nelson is a nerdy and likable main character who wakes up on his 10th birthday with perfect vision and… ninja moves! His mum and grandma explain that like his missing fisherman dad before him, Nelson is the last ninja in the world — and he’s destined to save the world. He immediately gets to use his powers for good on a field trip when ginormous evil spiders attack the group of kids.
Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqui, illustrated by Hatem Aly
Yasmin is an exuberant girl who is interested in everything from exploring to building to fashion. This book tells four short stories from Yasmin’s life, all in chapters with lively, full-color illustrations. Her Pakistani American culture is embedded throughout the story such as the foods Yasmin’s family eats like naan or how she calls her father Baba. This is a great choice for children who want easier books.
Real Pigeons Fight Crime by Ben Wood
HUMOR / MYSTERY
In the first of three silly stories, Rock Pigeon is a crime-fighting pigeon who helps Grandpouter and the other park pigeons solve the problem of the vanishing bread crumbs. Hilarious disguises, charming illustrations, quirky characters, and funny mysteries, this is an entertaining romp that will entice even the most reluctant readers.
Zoey and Sassafras Dragons and Marshmallows #1 by Asia Citro, illustrated by Marion Lindsay
SCIENCE / FANTASY
This is an entertaining and well-written story with the coolest mix of science and magic, a diverse main character, and fantastic illustrations that will get kids reading and learning. Zoey, like her mom, can see magical creatures and is tasked to care for any injured creatures that might need help. In this story, she uses her science skills (including research and the scientific method) to figure out how to care for a sick baby dragon.
Dog Man by Dav Pinkey
GRAPHIC NOVEL / HUMOR
Weird. Quirky. Funny. I think all three describe this new graphic novel from the creator of Captain Underpants. In the first story, a police officer and a dog are joined together — the top from the dog, the bottom from the officer to make: Dog Man. Dog Man solves crimes and has adventures, the likes of which will entertain readers for hours. Find more books like Dog Man
Baloney and Friends Going Up! by Greg Pizzoli
FRIENDSHIP / FUNNY / GRAPHIC NOVEL
Another hilarious graphic novel for growing readers about a group of friends with distinct personalities. From writing a theme song to sleepovers to thinking deep thoughts, this book of stories showcases characters you can’t help but love –Baloney the pig, Bizz the bumblebee, Peanut the horse, and Krabbit the rabbit! Plus, read the directions for drawing the characters with emotions in the back.
The Bad Guys #1 by Aaron Blabey
Bad Guys #1 is a hysterical and popular best selling book series for early readers! Mr. Wolf invites other bad guys to a meeting with hopes they will join him in being good. Lots of drawings and minimal text make this a sure-bet for first and second-grade readers who like irony and humor. (Note: If you don’t like potty humor, this is not the series for you. I will admit that after a few books, I was DONE.)
Banana Fox and the Secret Sour Society by James Kochalka
If you’re about 7 years old and like very weird and wild stories that ONLY make sense to kids, let me introduce you to Banana Fox. The totally ridiculous humor (not potty humor) hits the right spots for so many kids. Banana Fox is a character whose goofy antics to stop the Secret Sour Society will keep you laughing the entire way through this book for 2nd graders.
Emmet and Jez Adventures in Fosterland by Hannah Shaw, illustrated by Bev Johnson
REALISTIC / ANIMAL RESCUE
Jez, a kitten with three legs, assumes that Emmett is a kitten. She teaches him about their food fairy and tuna and climbing and telling cat jokes. The two friends sleep in the same bed, even when Emmett grows MUCH bigger than Jez. But Emmett notices that he’s not a very good kitten — because he’s a pig. Eventually, they both will go to their Foreverlands. Sweet, meaningful, and sometimes funny, this is a new favorite chapter book.
Stick Dog by Tom Watson
Stick Dog is hilarious. Why is he called Stick Dog? Because our author/narrator can’t draw. And also, because he likes sticks. The funny cartoonish illustrations make this story of stray dogs easy to read and a very entertaining series for kids. Young readers who want early chapter books with funny pictures and humor will love this book series.
Dragons of Ember City: Happy Spark Day by Shane Richardson and Sarah Marino
This is a sweet story of dragon friends with appealing, full-color illustrations that pop off the page! Three young dragon friends feel excited to get their magical spark at Spark Day. Afterward, there’s a big celebration, but two of the dragons get carried away with their fun and break the special disco ball. Three of them work together to fix it using all their Sparks, and their mayor predicts they’ll do great things with their magical powers.
King of the Birds by Elise Gravel
FRIENDSHIP (GRAPHIC NOVEL)
Arlo is a crow who is a self-proclaimed king of the birds. He meets a cute yellow bird named Pip and they become friends. Arlo explains his many talents to his new friend, Pip and together, the friends go on many adventures like visiting the big city and hunting for shiny things. Interspersed in the story are impressive crow facts (big brains, counting up to 6 objects, etc.)
Stink and the Shark Sleepover by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
I love this adventure because it’s exciting as well as includes a lot of factual information about marine life. Stink gets to sleepover at the aquarium. While there, he learns more about sharks, solves a mystery, learns a ghost story, and has tons of fun. I like that kids can easily relate to the characters in the story, the school year field trip, and the museum setting. Stink books are some of the best books for 2nd graders, especially boy readers.
Hilo The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick
SCI-FI / GRAPHIC NOVEL
Hilo can’t remember what happened to him before D.J. finds him crashed landed on Earth. Hilo does remember an evil monster robot that has followed him to Earth. This ends on a cliffhanger but is worth it — it’s a great page-turning book with an easier reading level for 2nd graders!
Love Puppies: Best Friends Furever by JaNay Brown Wood
ANIMAL FRIENDS + MAGIC
The magical Crystal Bone calls the pups to help a lonely girl named Meiko. The Love Puppies plan turns to disaster. How will the puppies accomplish their mission? Warmhearted and sweet, you’ll love these caring puppies and the kids they help. I know this book series will be a hit with 2nd graders!
Jessica Finch in Pig Trouble by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Erwin Madrid
Jessica Finch is a delightful early chapter book with exceptionally pleasing and colorful illustrations. Jessica wants nothing more than a pig for a pet. When a misunderstanding happens with her best friend, Judy Moody, she learns a valuable lesson about not making assumptions and not calling people names. (And is perfect for teaching readers the same lessons!) This is one of my top early chapter books, I loved it! BOXED SET
Dig to Disaster: A Miss Mallard Mystery by Robert Quackenbush
Miss Mallard is on an archaeological expedition in the jungles of South America but someone is trying to scare the group off. Not to worry. Miss Mallard is the duck for the job. She follows the clues in order to capture the sneaky treasure hunter.
Catnapped! Puppy Pirates by Erin Soderbergh
Calling all dog lovers! Read about the most awesome pirate puppies who due to an unfortunate prank one pulled, are now prisoners on the pirate kitten’s ship –with no escape. This is a charming and funny rollicking adventure and #3 in the new Puppy Pirate series. See also: Puppy Pirates #1 Stowaway and Puppy Pirates #2 x Marks the Spot.
Egg or Eyeball? Chick and Brain by Cece Bell
If your early reader likes weird, quirky, and silly stories, they will love this book! Brain finds an eyeball. But Chick and Spot try to explain that it’s actually an egg. Back and forth they go with misunderstandings, lessons in manners, and goofiness. Four chapters written in comic panel format that perfect for growing readers with repetition, who wouldn’t love this quirky cast of characters and the surprise ending?
Rainbow Magic Fairies by Daisy Meadows
These are totally predictable, but kids ADORE these books for 2nd graders, they are some of the most checked-out books at our library. My own kids loved them so much, we had about 100 titles from every single series! Even some UK versions. The books are about two human girls who are trusted to help the magical fairies search for something that Jack Frost’s mischievous goblins stole.
The Magic Mirror (Once Upon a Fairy Tale) by Anna Staniszewski, illustrated by Macky Pamintuan
When Kara learns the ice princess is in trouble, she and her best friend Zed travel to the ice palace to help fix a magic mirror. They also want to help the argumentative sisters get along and share their beloved pet monkey between them. Will the friends be able to solve both problems?
Pug Pals Two’s a Crowd by Flora Ahn
Sunny’s life is turned upside down when her owner brings home a new sister, Rosy. It’s hard to share her owner’s time, and especially hard to share her toys. Adorable illustrations show these personality-filled pugs who eventually develop a solid sister bond while looking for Sunny’s lost Mr. Bunny toy.
Sofia Martinez My Vida Loca by Jacquline Jules (series)
Perfecto! My Vida Loca is a warm-hearted beginning chapter book for second graders about the adventures of a spunky girl named Sopha — from her singing (that annoys everyone except abuela) to a cooking mishap of arroz con leche that her familia helps her fix. I love the bright pink text that indicates the Spanish words (maybe 1 or 2 a page). Illustrations are fun, capturing the emotions and action perfectamente.
Mighty Meg and the Magical Ring by Sammy Griffin, illustrated by Michah Player
Meg gets a ring for her 8th birthday–that gives her superpowers–speed, strength, super senses, and invisibility! At first, she doesn’t want to use her powers, but she sees a dog drowning in a river and feels she must help, so he doesn’t die. Doing so changes her mind about her using powers — and sets us up for more books in the series.
White Fur Flying by Patricia MacLachlan
Zoe’s family rescues dogs in need. A new family has moved in across the street and Phillip, the boy, has stopped speaking. He doesn’t even want to try. But Zoe’s new rescue dog might just help the boy heal and speak. (Also on: Best Chapter Books About Dogs) One of my favorite books for 2nd graders’ book clubs.
Waffles and Pancake Planetary-Yum by Drew Brockington (graphic novel)
On their day together, Dad-Cat takes brother and sister, Waffles and Pancake, to the science museum. It’s a fun adventure even though the kittens get lost. But they know how to ask for help, find their dad, and enjoy their day. When they drive to Mom-Cat’s house (the parents don’t live together), the kittens tell dad their favorite part of the day– LUNCH! Don’t miss the next book in the series: Flight or Fright.
The Critter Club series by Callie Barkley, illustrated by Martha Riti
REALISTIC / ANIMALS
The girls in the Critter Club love animals and want to help them any way they can. Sweet fiction books for 2nd graders will interest kids who love animals and mysteries!
Bird and Squirrel on Ice by James Burks
HUMOR / GRAPHIC NOVEL
In these hilarious books for 2nd graders, Bird’s over-confident, laissez-faire character pairs perfectly with Squirrel’s logical, fearful one. The duo crash land in the Penguin world where Bird is thought to be the “Chosen One” meant to save the penguins from the Great Whale.
Rica Baptista Llamas, Iguanas, and My Very Best Friend by Janet Costa Bates, illustrated by Gladys Jose
Rica wants writes sweet letters to God about wanting a pet. She tries to be more responsible and earn money — and is helped by her best friend who she thinks will be moving away. A quiet younger girl inspires Rica to be brave and enter a poetry contest to earn the contest money. Warm-hearted, this is a sweet story about family, friends, growing up, and community.
Sadiq and the Desert Starby Siman Nuurali, illustrated by Anjan Sarkar
Not only is this a great STEM story about a young boy who finds the stars to be fascinating, but it’s also a story with diversity because Sadiq’s Muslim family is originally from Somalia. The story is also about how after a field trip to the planetarium, Sadiq and his friends start a space club and work together to raise money for a DIY telescope.
More Beginning Chapter Books for 2nd Graders (7 year olds)
Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
ADVENTURE / HUMOR
Guided Reading M
Get ready to laugh along with these charming young friends who are always involved in funny situations and problems. Get kids to read with this fantastic early chapter book series about two friends with unique personalities.
Fox and Rabbit by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Gergely Dudas
Reminiscent of Frog and Toad, these are darling stories in graphic novel format about two best friends who have wonderful adventures.
Too Small Tola by Atinuke, illustrated by Onyinye Iwu
Tola lives in Nigeria in an apartment with her sister, brother, and Grandmommy. Readers feel the love in Tola’s close-knit family and experience her life in her Nigerian community with kind-hearted neighbors and diversity of religion (Eid and Easter) and see that even when you’re small, you can make a difference.
Super Detectives Simon and Chester by Cale Atkinson
MYSTERY (GRAPHIC NOVEL)
A new, funny beginning graphic novel! Nic and his ghost friend Simon are bored so they dress up and pretend to be detectives. The friends advertise but no one shows up — except a mysterious pug who doesn’t belong to them. Who is the pug? The detectives ask around and follow clues — and it’s hilarious!
Ivy Lost and Found by Cynthia Lord, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
A heartwarming story about the life of an old doll who gets a new life as a book buddy! Ivy’ gets donated to the Book Buddy’s shelf at the library. A lonely girl named Fern borrows Ivy because Fern feels so many different feelings about her dad’s new family. Then, when Ivy gets left outside in the rain, she has a surprise adventure of her own and makes friends with two other Book Buddies. Eventually, Fern feels better about her new blended family and returns her to the library.
Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door by Hilary McKay
This is one of my favorite early chapter books for 2nd graders! I loved this story of how Lulu and her cousin help their neighbor Arthur learn to love and care for his rabbit. She does this by writing George the rabbit notes and giving him gifts — not from her but from her pet rabbit named Thumper. (I also appreciate that the main characters are diverse – Lulu and her family have brown skin!!)
Rabbit & Bear: Rabbit’s Bad Habits by Julian Gough & Jim Field
The Rabbit & Bear books for 2nd graders are delightfully weird, hilarious, and tender-hearted. I also love the thoughtfully developed character arc of Rabbit, who begins by stealing Bear’s food and is a rude, know-it-all but becomes self-reflective, repentant, and kind.
Hound Heroes: Beware the Claw by Todd H. Doodler, illustrated by Todd Goldman
Get ready for a new SILLY graphic novel for your beginning readers…When a spaceship crash lands, it gives a group of dog friends superpowers…and superhero outfits. Each dog in the group has a unique personality but none of the dogs take their powers seriously at first because they’re too busy wreaking havoc and goofing around. Until…the evil kitties TAKE OVER THE CITY!! Can the Hound Heroes save the day?
Tally Tuttle Turns into a Turtle (Class Critters #1) by Kathryn Holmes
Tally’s nervous about her new school and wants to hide in a shell when the other students make fun of her name. That’s when she turns into a turtle! As a turtle, Tally meets helpful and kind animals who help her see that if she can make friends with them, she can make friends with people, too. When she decides she’s ready to be a girl again, she transforms into a kid.
Marya Khan and the Incredible Henna Party by Saadia Faruqi, illustrated by Ani Bushry
Marya feels jealous of her neighbor’s big, fancy birthdays, so she lies to her friends and says she’ll be throwing a big party even though her parents are against it. She tries to be helpful and good, but that doesn’t always work out. Will she get her big party and will she learn a few things about herself and others in the process?
Creature Campers The Secret of Shadow Lake by Joe McGee, Bea Tormo
A tall Bigfoot named Norm doesn’t want to go to summer camp and hates being different. At camp, he meets a human kid named Oliver who thinks Norm will eat him. But little do the campers know that there’s a nefarious creature collector named Barnaby Soup lurking nearby preparing to capture a Bigfoot. Relatable themes of feeling like an outsider and making new friends plus some dry humor make this a fun, readable story.
Undersea Mystery Club Problem at the Playground by Courtney Carbone, illustrated by Melanie Demmer
Not only is this beginning chapter book a creative, entertaining mystery story with adorable full-color illustrations but it shows the power of problem-solving, listening, and working together. Violet and her best friend, the always-hungry narwhal named Wally, need to find out who is sabotaging the playground. Helpful back matter provides information and photos about decorator crabs, narwhals, and civil engineers.
The Storm (The Lighthouse Family) by Cynthia Rylant
Pandora is a kindhearted cat who lives in a lighthouse all alone. Seabold lives on a boat all alone. Until one day a storm shipwrecks him at the lighthouse. Soon, a friendship develops and the lighthouse isn’t lonely anymore, especially after the friends rescue family of orphaned mice. Kind characters and a cozy family theme with a gentle adventure make this a wholesome reading choice. (Also on: Wholesome Easy Chapter Books for Boys and Wholesome Easy Chapter Books for Girls)
Secret Spy Society The Case of the Missing Cheetah by Veronica Mang
Three friends out that their teacher is a spy…and when she catches them watching her, they meet her spy friends. The female spies, all historically famous from different time periods, ask the friends to help them spy on a neighbor because they think that he kidnapped Josephine Baker’s pet cheetah. Not only do the girls spy on him, but they sneak into his house, find the cheetah, and get caught. Luckily, the Lady Spies come to the rescue! Afterward, the girls decide to emulate their new spy friends and make a spy club of their own.
Some Pigtails by Jonathan Eig, illustrated by Alicia Teba Godoy
Lola uses a literary character role model to advocate and persist when she feels something is unfair. She decides to keep trying unusual hairstyles with grampa. But, that all stops when her school principal bans any unusual hairstyles. Lola thinks of how in Charlotte’s Web, Charlotte the spider uses words to try to change the situation. When talking doesn’t work, she organizes the students to start distraction days. Finally, she tries a petition which leads to a compromise.
The Year of the Book series by Andrea Chang
Growing up is challenging and in the first novel, The Year of the Book, Anna turns to books for company while she learns how to make friendships in real life. The subsequent books for 2nd graders in the series are just as realistic and well-written. I highly recommend this series!
Captain Awesome to the Rescue by Stan Kirby
Can Eugene aka. Captain Awesome, a comic-book and superhero fan, save the town from villains without revealing his secret identity? Totally funny — and a great action-packed adventure.
Princess Evie by Sarah Kilbridge
Before Princess Evie starts a new class at school, she and her magical pony, Willow, and cat, Sparkles, help the fairies on their first day of school. She partners with a new friend to rescue a baby hedgehog. Kids will love the combination of horses, magic, and friendship in a wonderful adventure story.
The Infamous Ratsos by Kara Lareau, illustrated by Matt Myers
Louie and Ralphie Ratso keep trying to do mean, tough-guy things but every time it ends up helping someone. Ultimately, both boys and their dad decide to be kind but before they do, their experiences are very funny.
Our Principal is a Frog by Stephanie Calmenson, illustration Aaron Blecha
I love this SHORT, engaging story about a great school principal who is accidentally turned into a frog by a bumbling magician. But, this is one dedicated leader. He finds a way to keep running the school — even as an amphibian.
Piper Green: Too Much Good Luck by Ellen Potter, illustrated by Qin Leng
Piper is a lovable girl makes mistakes and hopes for her luck to change. She learns a valuable lesson about jealousy and friendship in this short, sweet story. Also, read the other book in the series, Piper Green and the Fairy Tree.
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
One of our favorite graphic novels, Zita the Spacegirl, is a hero who saves not only her best friend but the entire galaxy! BOX SET
Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol: The Haunted House Next Door by Andres Miedoso, illustrated by Victor Rivas
GHOST MYSTERY ADVENTURE
Big Bad Detective Agency by Bruce Hale
The Big Bad Wolf named Wolfgang is the only suspect in the destruction of the Little Pigs house. And he doesn’t have an alibi. But he didn’t do it either so he partners with the cheerful 4th Little Pig, Ferkel, (who knew!?) to find the real culprit. I love this humorous fairy-tale mash-up and can’t wait for more adventures in this series.
Star Friends Mirror Magic by Linda Chapman, illustrated by Lucy Fleming
This is the first book in a new and popular chapter book series about magic and friendship. In this first story, the magical animal friends are matched to their star friends in the human world. Mia suspects her sister’s under a dark magic spell from a mirror and accidentally releases a Shade into the world. This sets us up for more books for 2nd graders about the friends fighting the dark magic…
Shivers! The Pirate Who’s Afraid of EVERYTHING by Annabeth Bondor-Stone & Connor White
Poor land-locked Shivers. He’s terrified of everything, especially snails. But when his sea-faring family of pirates is captured, Shivers is their only hope for rescue. Luckily he meets the daring and adventurous Margo who gets them off of dry land, teaches Shivers about sword fighting and helps him find and rescue his parents. This book is very comical and will keep your kids thoroughly entertained.
Blue, Barry, & Pancakes by Dan & Jason
FUNNY / GRAPHIC NOVEL
This graphic novel adventure begins with a beach ball. Blue the worm doesn’t want to share the beach ball with Barry and Pancakes because of what inevitably happens– they lose it. (Well, it’s swallowed by a whale.) The misadventures continue a silly cause & effect story, where one disaster leads to another even into outer space and a volcano but ends with a sweet celebration of friendship.
Bee & Flea and the Compost Caper by Anna Humphrey, illustrated by Mike Deas
HUMOR / SCIENCE
If you like funny and gross stories with wordplay and science, don’t miss this hilarious choice! A bored bee offers to help a flea with her rule enforcement for the agents of F.L.E.A. Bee and Flea land on a compost pile where Bee and Flea encounter danger, a daring rescue, and a heartwarming, developing friendship moment — plus, we learn all about the purpose of compost and the jobs of its many residents!
Expedition Backyard by Rosemary Mosco, illustrated by Binglin Hu
NATURE ADVENTURES / GRAPHIC NOVEL
Two best friends, Mole and Vole, go on adventures together in nature. When the two friends accidentally move to the city, they make the best of it with positive attitudes. In the city, they have exciting new city nature adventures and discover new animal friends, sights, and sounds interspersed with facts about everything. It’s a delightful friendship story with appealing, beautiful pictures!
Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus, illustrated by Paul Galdone
Living with the famous Sherlock Holmes is how Basil learns to be a skilled detective. He must race against the clock to find the kidnapped mouse twins before it’s too late. Kids will love these suspenseful beginning reader mysteries narrated by Basil’s friend, Dr. Dawson.
Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Badness of Badgers by John Dougherty
Judy Moody Was in a Mood by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Want to get your kids reading a great series? Try Judy Moody. She’s a relatable third grader with a big personality, an annoying little brother, the coolest aunt ever, and lots of humorous antics. Box Set Here.
They Didn’t Teach This in Worm School: One Worm’s Tale of Survival by Simone Lia
Bug Blonsky and His Very Long List of Don’ts by E.S. Redmond
Bug is a wiggly kid who has written a list of very important don’ts. His advice is clearly well earned since he knows just what will happen if he does those things. For example: Don’t spray whipped cream into your mouth for breakfast. And so on. Read exactly what happens when Bug does everything on his list of don’ts.
Bark Park by Brandi Dougherty, illustrated by Paige Pooler
Scout’s life is filled with mystery and adventure as she helps her dog friends. Charming characters and a gentle story lines are good for 2nd grade kids.
Big Words Small Stories: The Missing Donut by Judith Henderson, illustrated by T L McBeth
Good Dog, McTavish by Meg Rosoff, illustrated by Grace Easton
The writing is brilliant with subtle, rye humor. When a mom quits “momming”, the youngest daughter, Betty, suggests that the family get a dog. Betty chooses McTavish the dog at a shelter, or does McTavish choose them? Right away, he gets to work organizing the family which… takes plans and more plans.
Parker Bell and the Science of Friendship by Cynthia Platt, illustrated by Rea Zhai
Parker loves science and hopes she and her team will win a medal in the science competition. The lovely friendship and STEM book engages readers in a relatable story about Parker’s new friendships as well as using the scientific method for invention, robots, & egg drops.
Cat Ninja by Matthew Cody, illustrated by Yehudi Mercado
GRAPHIC NOVEL / SUPERHERO
By day Claude is Leon’s pet, but by night, he’s Cat Ninja, Metro City’s protector! His nemesis is Leon’s sister’s evil hamster, Master Hamster. Learn the Cat Ninja’s origin story then follow his perilous, exciting, and humorous adventures!
Zebra at the Zoo: Mysteries on Zoo Lane by Patricia Reilly Giff, illustrated by Abby Carter
Relatable and lovely, this beginning chapter book is about making mistakes, fixing them, saving animals, and kindness. Alex is having a tough day. Before school, he snuck into the zoo and gets caught. At school, he doesn’t get his favorite animal, the red panda, for his animal report — instead, he gets the wolf. Even worse, his cat Oreo is missing! When he stops to help his friend Callie who is crying, his kindness solves their problems.
The Last Firehawk: The Ember Stone by Katrina Charman, illustrated by Jeremy Norton
Tag is in training to become an Owl of Valor. One day while playing tag with his squirrel friend, Skyla, he finds a golden egg who hatches into a Firehawk, the last one alive. Tag and friends must keep the Firehawk, Blaze, safe. Then they’ll quest to find the magical stone that may save their land from the Vulture and his army of tiger bats. This easy chapter book introduces kids to epic fantasy stories about good vs. evil.
Monkey Me and the New Neighbor by Timothy Roland
Get ready for super imaginative books for second graders! Clyde turns into a mischievous monkey when he gets excited – which ends up being a big disaster when he’s in school. To make matters worse, his principal moves NEXT DOOR. Then, he sees his new neighbor’s house being burglarized and finds the robbers, saving the day.
Puppy Problem by Laura James, illustrated by Charlie Adler
Read this sweet story about teamwork, friendship, and the power of writing! Gizmo’s journalist human moves them from the city to the country. He meets a new friend next door, a wolfhound named Jilly who shows him what to expect in the country and introduces him to more friends. Gizmo helps Jilly in return when Jilly’s worried about her humans selling her puppies to people far away. Gizmo takes a page from his human and writes a special newspaper article all Jilly’s situation.
Sparkling Jewel: Silver Pony Ranch by D.L. Green, illustrated by Emily Wallis
Tori and her little sister spend the summer at their grandma’s ranch. Tori falls in love with the spunky pony named Jewel who she can’t ride just yet, which is really hard. This is a charming story for animal lovers!
Stella and the Night Sprites Tooth Bandits by Sam Hay, illustrated by Lisa Manuzak
This is part of the Branches series of early chapter books and a sweet story about a little girl named Stella who sees a mischievous sprite steal her Tooth Fairy money. She learns more about why Stella wants the money and helps her find different ways to solve her problems and make friends.
Magic on the Map: Let’s Moooove!by Courtney Sheinmel and Bianca Turetsky, illustrated by Stevie Lewis
Mrs. Frogbottom’s Field Trips I Want My Mummy by Nancy Krulik
Welcome to 4th grade with a teacher who isn’t like any other teachers…mostly because of her magic map that transports the entire class all over the world. In this story, Mrs. Frogbottom takes the class to Egypt — and our narrator, Tony, does not like it one bit, not the black cat following them, not that his friend Sofia disappears and not that Aiden wanders into a tomb where the friends get trapped!
The Dragonsitter by Josh Lacey illustrated by Garry Parsons
Written in increasingly funny (and alarming) letters we learn that Uncle Morton left his pet dragon for Edward and his mom and sister to watch — with no directions!! The dragon poops in their shoes, eats their pet bunny, and causes all kinds of destruction which become the topics of Edward’s letters to his nowhere-to-be-found uncle. Finally, Edward hears from his uncle who suggests feeding the dragon chocolate. Will Edward’s mom lose her mind? Will the chocolate work? One of the best books for 2nd graders.
Crime Biters: My Dog Is Better Than Your Dog by Tommy Greenwald
This is a funny beginning chapter book about a boy who is convinced (rightly so?!) that his rescue dog is a crime-solving, vampire, genius!
The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Big Birthday Bash by Frank Cammuso
In this Salem adventure, Salem predictably makes disasters happen everywhere she goes. She has some trouble with making things (herself) gigantic and other things (the birthday party kids) small. Hilarious, wacky, and totally enjoyable.
Dragon Slayer’s Academy: New Kid at School by Kate McMullan
Amelia Bedelia Means Business by Herman Parish, illustrated by Lynne Avril
I’ve been enjoying these updated Amelia chapter books by the original author’s son. In this silly story, Amelia looks for ways to earn money for a new bicycle.
Cat Kid Comic Club by Dav Pilkey
My writing teacher’s heart adores this book about encouraging kids to write their own comics! Plus, it’s totally hilarious. Cat Kid teaches a class for the tadpoles about making your own comic books…which doesn’t go well until the tadpoles get excited about failure and get started writing and drawing. If you like a lot of silliness (including potty humor) with great messages about writing, creativity, and persistence, read this book next.
The Whodunit Detective Agency The Diamond Mystery by Martin Widmark, illustrated by Helena Willis
Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business by Lyla Lee, illustrated by Dung Ho
Mindy and her dad recently moved to Florida after her mom’s death. When the other kids at school make fun of her seaweed snacks at lunch, Mindy and her new friend Sally start a snack business to save money for a puppy. This doesn’t go as planned yet it’s a big learning experience showing Mindy to be herself and be proud of her Korean-American culture.
All About Plants: Ada Twist, Scientist The Why Files by Andrea Beaty and Dr. Theanne Griffith
PLANTS / NONFICTION FOR AGE 7
Packed full of information, this informational book hits the right spot for primary ages. Full-color photographs, diagrams, labels, cartoons, and informational text answer big questions like “How do they eat?” and “Do plants need air like me?“ I like this book — the writing and format are excellent. However, I’m disappointed the book doesn’t include a table of contents or a glossary.
The Case of the Weird Blue Chicken by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Kevin Cornell
Kids know it’s not the blue chicken (who is a bird, not a chicken) who is weird, it’s the chicken squad — they are downright wacky! In this adventure, the chickens are asked to investigate who has stolen the blue bird’s house. And despite the chickens’ inability to actually investigate anything, they do discover the culprit and a solution.
Doodle Adventures: The Search for Slimy Space Slugs! by Mike Lowery
This book not only hooks the reader with its space-adventure plot but the hilarious narrator Carl invites YOU to find the missing priceless artifact requiring bravery, heroism, and drawing. Along the journey to retrieve the artifact from Captain Sleezoog (a slug,) you must do your part. So you’ll make sure (by drawing) that you’ve got a spacesuit, you’ve packed everything you need to bring, the rocket design is perfect plus has some silly (bandages!?) extras, and lots more as the adventure ensues. It may sound contrived but it’s a fun, engaging adventure that any kid, artist or not, will love.
Wondrous Rex by Patricia MacLachlan
WHOLESOME / WRITING
Maxwell the Magicial brings Grace and her writer aunt Lily his dog Rex to be aunt’s assistant when Aunt Lily and Grace both have writer’s block. Rex is a kind and magical dog who reads, writes, and gives wonderful wisdom about life and writing. His guidance helps both Lily and Grace grow in confidence, inspiration, and love. Absolutely charming!
Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye by Colleen AF Venable, Stephanie Yue
MYSTERY / GRAPHIC NOVEL
My kids (and I) love these HILARIOUS adventures of pet shop pets told in graphic novel format.
Never Girls by Niki Thorpe, illustrated by Jana Christy
Accidentally, the friends travel from England to the Never Land world of Tinker Bell. Disney fans won’t want to miss these magical stories.
Roscoe Riley Rules: Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs by Katherine Applegate
This is the first book in the series of the innocent but funny misadventures of Roscoe Riley. As you’ll learn, it is those misadventures that lead to Roscoe’s extensive list of rules for his own behavior. (Which might be common sense to us, but they aren’t to Roscoe. At least not until after the fact.) In this story, Roscoe wants to help his teacher with his unruly classmates during their school performance. His idea to help is super gluing kids to chairs and bug headbands onto heads! Needless to say, this latest disaster leads to more rules.
Daisy Dawson series by Steve Voake, illustrated by Jessica Messerve
Daisy can talk to animals! You’ll love her free spirit personality and her kindness in all sorts of adventures.
Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus! by Atinuke
Anna Hibiscus lives in amazing Africa but in this story, she goes by herself to visit her Granny Canada in Canada where it’s snowy and cold. Anna gets to wear warm clothes and eat new foods. She even gets comfortable with Granny Canada’s dog and makes new friends. This is a delightful story of a sweet girl on an exciting new adventure.
Mega Mash Up
My kids loved these fun, interactive books where you get to help tell the story.
Galaxy Zack by Ray O’Ryan
What a fun concept for a new reader, illustrated chapter book — moving to a new planet! Kids enjoy reading Galaxy Zack because it’s fun and relatable. Boys (and girls) are sure to devour this far-out series.
Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest Episode 1: The Quest for Screen Time by Marti Dumas
What kid doesn’t want more screen time? Jaden has a plan for convincing his parents that he needs more screen time — and he’s going to use his big brain and his fellow kindergarteners to help.
Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
This is one of the classic adventure/fantasy books for 2nd graders who are beginning readers. The first story is about a boy (now a father retelling the stories to his son) who rescues a dragon held hostage on a wild island.
Polly Diamond and the Super Stunning Spectacular School Fair by Alice Kulpers, illustrated by Diana Toledano
Book-loving Polly Diamond has a magic journal. Whatever she writes in it comes true –– which she learned the hard way in the first book, can have a way of backfiring. Now Polly’s planning for her school fair. Only maybe she didn’t quite remember what can happen when she writes everything in her magic book. Because this school fair is about to be a magic-carpet-ride, dragon- and fairy-filled event to remember!
Geronimo Stilton #1 Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye by Geronimo Stilton
Geronimo Stilton is a newspaper writer/adventurist. These books share his adventures with interesting fonts and colorful illustrations. I find the design of the books distracting, but for many kids, the style adds to the engagement and entertainment factor.
Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets! by Kate Messner, illustrated by Brian Floca
Just like her mother, 3rd grader Marty loves animals. She wants to “adopt” a chimp in the chimp sanctuary. To raise money, she decides to pet sit. Soon she gets more pets than she and her friends can handle including a trash-talking parrot, a python who escapes, and a gerbil who might just be that big bulge in the snake. Luckily, Marty’s cool grandma helps save the pet-sitting business from total disaster.
Battle Bugs #1: The Lizard War by Jack Patton
Max LOVES bugs — but he never expects to become one! Not that he’s a bug, he decides to help his new bug friends fight the invading lizards who want the bug’s island. Adventure, battles, and bugs make this a fun first read in a new early chapter book series for 7-year-olds in second grade.
Kylie Jean by Marci Peschke
Kylie Jean is all Texas, determined and spunky! Very cute books for 2nd graders in a series aimed at girl second grade readers. My daughter was addicted to the Kylie jean book series!
The Oodlethunks: Oona Finds an Egg by Adele Griffin, illustrated by Mike Wu
Oona brings home a gigantic egg that she hopes will hatch into a wonderful pet. At school after her opposable thumb exercises and tall-tale-telling, she learns that Egg needs a habitat so she makes Egg a habitat. A wild adventure of stolen Egg and hatching at the neighbors who wants to keep him, Oona gets to keep her new pet Steg! I love this story and adore Oona’s family because they defy all stereotypes about cave-people — the dad is quite the cook (crepes with mushrooms, anyone?) and the mom is the hunter/gatherer for the family.
These popular books for 2nd graders are about colorful princesses (printed on the same color paper) with engaging stories.
Unicorn Academy: Sophia and Rainbow by Julie Skyes, illustrated by Lucy Truman
Well-written and charming, this unicorn book series is sure to entrance many young readers. In this story, Sophia arrives at Unicorn Academy and is paired with the lovely Rainbow. But, she feels guilty for making a new friend and leaving her best pony, Clover, back at home. On top of that, the unicorns’ magic is wonky because the lake is being poisoned. When someone accuses Sophia, she and her new friends decide to investigate.
Mermaid Tales by Debbie Dadey
If your second-grade 7-year-old child is a fantasy and mermaid fan, these adventure books about friendship are sure to keep them reading.
Planet Omar by Zanib Mian
Mal and Chadby Stephen McCranie
These two friends and their hilarious adventures will remind you of Calvin and Hobbes. Second grade kids will love this graphic novel!
Lunch Lady by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
If you haven’t read these addictive and hilarious graphic novels, they are a must — anyone who has eaten lunch in school will appreciate the humor; even parents love these books.
Giants Beware! by Jorge Aguirre, illustrated by Rafael Rosado
Written And Drawn By Henrietta a Toon Level 3 Book by Liniers
This beginning chapter book is about a young writer who gets new colored pencils that inspire her to write and illustrate a story. As it continues, we see her discussing the plotting with her cat — it’s such a great example of the story writing process!! LOVE! Also see: The Big Wet Balloon by Liniers.
Miranda and Maude: The Princess and the Absolutely NOT a Princess by Emma Wunsch, illustrated by Jessika Von Innerbner
About two girls who are quite different — one is a sensitive, pinked-up princess and the other is a chicken-raising, social justice-loving regular girl. The two are in the same class at school, where right away, a misunderstanding grows and grows until it results in a disastrous birthday party with no one attending. Don’t worry — it will end up well. It’s a terrific story with great life lessons about communication and kindness.
The Amazing Life of Azaleah Lane by Nikki Shannon Smith, illustrated by Mari Lobo
8-year-old Azaleah helps her little sister find her favorite stuffed animal even though she needs to work on her diorama for the upcoming zoo field trip. It’s a sweet story about mysteries, family dynamics, and life.
Anna Finds a Friend by Kate Egan, illustrated by Elizabetta Melarance
A lovely story of Anna who makes up a friend to write letters…and surprisingly, she gets letters in return. Who could be writing back when she just made up a friend? As Anna searches for answers, she also finds a way to reconnect with her sister who is just as lonely as Anna is.
Easy Reader Books for 5- and 6- year olds
Books for 1st graders, 6 Year Olds
Books for 3rd graders, 8year olds
Books for 4th graders, 9 year olds
Books for 5th graders, 10 year olds
Books for 6th graders, 11-year olds
Books for 7th graders, 12-year olds
As a homeschooling mom, when teaching my children to read, I skipped the beginning readers and headed straight for easy chapter books that were interesting and well written with a slightly challenging vocabulary. Kids dont want to read books with dumb-downed language. It bores them.
I agree! That’s why I have written this list of engaging books that kids want to read. 🙂
There are many books on this list I hadn’t heard of before, so I’m excited to introduce them to my kids! Logic Lotty and Franny K Stein are new favorites in our house that I didn’t see listed.
Oh, I LOVE Franny. I’ll have to check out Logic Lotty- thanks!
Yeah! Thanks for including the Mermaid Tales series, where you can have fun reading and learn about the ocean.
my daughter just loves them!