22 chapter books for second graders beneficial by academics

Choosing chapter books for second graders may seem like a daunting task. Finally, second grade is an important time in reading development, when the focus shifts from basic decoding to reading for meaning. Good chapter books support students’ language skills and understanding while turning them into lifelong readers. That’s a high bar for a book! But these books deliver. We created this list of second year chapter books with distinct characters, heartwarming stories, and a mix of magic and adventure to captivate early readers and keep them coming back for more.

(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a portion of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)

1. Yasmin series by Saadia Faruqi

Yasmin is a smart and imaginative Pakistani-American girl who shares adventures with her parents and grandparents. In four short, easy-to-read chapters, she finds creative solutions to the problems in her life. Filled with captivating stories about the joys and frustrations of being a kid, this is a second grader’s gem.

Buy: Yasmin Series on Amazon

2. Toys Go Out series by Emily Jenkins

Doesn’t every child wonder what it would be like if our toys and stuffed animals were brought to life? This fun, endearing tale of three special toys explores this magical idea and is a delight for second graders willing to explore longer chapter books. With accessible and entertaining writing, this series is one you and your students won’t want to miss.

Buy it: Toys Go Out Series at Amazon

3. Little Bear series by Else Holmelund Minarik

Little Bear is a popular character that is sure to enchant new readers. Curious and cute, the bear cub goes on adventures with his animal friends, but sometimes needs help and guidance from mother bear. Imaginative storytelling and delightful illustrations enrich this classic tale, and the simple word choice makes it a great choice for second graders new to chapter books.

Buy it: Little Bear Series at Amazon

4. Alvin Ho Series by Lenore Look

Alvin Ho is an Asian-American second grader with a long list of debilitating fears, the biggest fear of which is speaking in school. With strong characters and emotional honesty, this series meets fear with humor and grace. Alvin’s exams with his siblings and friends at school will appeal to hesitant readers.

Buy: Alvin Ho Series at Amazon

5. Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo

Mercy is an adorable pet pig who loves toast with hot butter. Her fondness for toast and other delicious treats gets her and her owners in trouble. Extraordinary author Kate DiCamillo creates a cast of intriguing characters who embark on offbeat adventures centered on Mercy. Humorous and light-hearted, these chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

Buy: Mercy Watson Series at Amazon

6. The Princess in Black series by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

The brave Princess in Black is a secret superhero – she must hide her identity from the curious Duchess. Full of fantasy and intrigue, this series is so much fun. These stories are also the perfect length for readers just starting out with longer books, and kids will love the fresh take on princesses and superheroes.

Buy it: The Princess in Black Series at Amazon

7. Sadiq Series by Siman Noorali

Sadiq is a Somali-American third grader dealing with real-life challenges like friendship, family, and school. In this engaging series, Sadiq takes part in many new activities with his friends while struggling with being left out and feeling like he’s not good enough. This series showcases a diverse community while also showing the day-to-day experiences of growing up as a child.

Buy: Sadiq Series on Amazon

8. Gooney Bird Greene series by Lois Lowry

Acclaimed author Lois Lowry introduces us to an unforgettable new character: Gooney Bird Greene. As a new student in her class, she causes a stir when she shows up in pajamas and cowboy boots. Through her wild imagination, Gooney teaches us the art of storytelling. Readers will love this unique chapter book series.

Buy: Gooney Bird Greene Series at Amazon

9. Stink Series by Megan McDonald

In this spin-off of the popular Judy Moody series, Judy’s brother Stink can’t stand being the smallest kid and will do anything to grow up. Full of humor and heart, these chapter books for second graders will entertain and give them something to relate to.

Buy: Stink Series at Amazon

10. Ralph Mouse Series by Beverly Cleary

Some writers just never go out of style, and Beverly Cleary is one of them. In this delightfully entertaining story, Ralph is a young mouse who lives in an old inn and finds a human friend with a toy motorbike that he can’t wait to ride. The fantastic tale of friendship between a boy and a mouse is a perfect introduction to Cleary’s imaginative writing and engaging prose and is sure to captivate many second grade readers.

Buy: Ralph Maus Series at Amazon

11. Absolut Alfie series by Sally Warner

Alfie is a strong and charismatic seven year old, sister to the main character of the popular Ellray Jakes series. In each story, she navigates how to resolve realistic conflicts with her friends and family. This relatable, fun, and honest series is a great choice for intermediate readers looking for books with longer chapters.

Buy: Absolut Alfie Series on Amazon

12. Rainbow Magic Series by Daisy Meadows

Fairies, rainbows and unicorns – what’s not to love? The fantastic series is perfect for independent readers who might want to lose themselves in the magical world of books for the first time. With over 200 books in the series, the reader can always dive into the mystical world of fairies.

Buy: Rainbow Magic Series on Amazon

13. Charlotte’s Web by EB White

The Classic Story of Charlotte’s Web is one of our all-time favorite chapter books for second graders. Fern is a young girl who befriends a special pig named Wilbur on her uncle’s farm. Can a precocious spider save a pig’s life? This heartbreaking and deeply beautiful story will inspire compassion and wonder in its readers.

Buy: Charlotte’s Web at Amazon

14. Juana & Lucas Series by Juana Medina

Juana is a brave girl who lives in Bogota, Colombia with her dog and her best friend Lucas. She loves many things about school and life in her city, but dreads learning English – until Abuelo promises to take her on a special adventure to the United States if she can. Author Juana Medina weaves rich illustrations and Spanish words throughout the story, bringing to life this relatable chapter book.

Buy: Juana & Lucas Series at Amazon

15. Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant

Henry is lonely with no siblings or friends on his block, so he asks his parents for a dog. From the moment Henry meets his new dog, Mudge, the two are inseparable. This cute series is perfect for readers who are just ready to explore chapter books. The sentences are simple but the characters are full of heart. Children will enjoy the friendship between a boy and his dog and the many adventures together.

Buy: The Henry and Mudge Series on Amazon

16. The Bad Guys series by Aaron Blabey

These hilarious and eye-catching graphic novels are the perfect choice for independent readers who aren’t quite ready for longer books. The fast-paced, entertaining series hits the mark with silly jokes and entertaining adventures that will captivate even the most hesitant reader.

Buy It: The Bad Guys Series at Amazon

17. Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne

This hugely popular series had to be on our list. Siblings Jack and Annie discover a tree house full of books that takes them back in time. Packed with adventure, excitement and magic, these second grader chapter books are an excellent choice for your classroom. We’ve seen so many new readers hooked on this, and with 38 books in the series, your students can time travel and explore the story as much as they want.

Buy: Magic Tree House Series on Amazon

18. The Cobble Street Cousins ​​series by Cynthia Rylant

Cynthia Rylant’s charming series tells the story of three cousins ​​who start a cookie business, write a newspaper, and pursue all sorts of other creative endeavors. Readers will enjoy the engaging characters and light-hearted stories in these second-grade chapter books that hark back to an older, simpler time.

Buy: The Cobble Street Cousins ​​Series on Amazon

19. Press Start! Series by Thomas Flintham

A great read for beginning readers who also love video games. This graphic novel series tells the story of characters as they embark on video game adventures and makes the reader feel as though they are in the game. Bold illustrations and simple yet compelling text will keep kids coming back for more.

Buy: press start! Series on Amazon

20. Diary of an Ice Princess series by Christina Soontornvat

Princess and windbender Lina has special powers, but she still wants to go to school with “Groundlings” and her best friend Claudia. Frozen fans will love these stories full of magic and adventure that also explore the desire to belong and be like everyone else. Attractive pink and black illustrations and candid journal entries will appeal to children looking for a quick, fun read.

Buy it: Diary of an Ice Princess Series at Amazon

21. King & Kayla Series by Dori Hillestad Butler

Kayla’s dog, King, narrates this charming and entertaining series. Funny, sweet, and compelling, it’s a must read for readers who are becoming more independent. These books with transitional chapters are great for helping flow while keeping readers engaged.

Buy: King & Kayla Series at Amazon

22. Zoey and Sassafras series by Asia Citro

Filled with investigative scholarship and a touch of magic, Zoey and Sassafras is an informative and engaging chapter book series. Armed with a scientific journal and her “thinking goggles,” Zoey concocts hypotheses to solve problems with the help of her faithful sidekick, Sassafras. The unique combination of scientific investigation and storytelling makes this the perfect choice for any reader who wants to read to learn and have fun.

Buy: Zoey and Sassafras Series at Amazon

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Also, check out these second grade classroom ideas for more inspiration.

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