An awesome second grade classroom library needs so many types of books. You’ve got your favorite series, read-alouds, and teaching titles, but updating your shelves can help make sure your library represents diverse experiences and feels energizing and exciting for kids. Check out 60 of our favorite recent second grade picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, series, and more.
1. The Wilderness by Steve McCarthy
Oktober Vasylenko is part of an adventurous family, but he prefers to stay closer to home … and definitely indoors. He’s heard people speak of “the Wilderness” and he’s sure it’s a terrible monster lurking outside. This story about fear, bravery, imagination, differing perspectives, and, of course, nature, is sure to start some lively classroom discussions.
Buy it: The Wilderness on Amazon
2. This Book Is Banned by Raj Haldar
This clever book puts a hilarious spin on an important topic. Introduce kids to the dangers of censorship in a developmentally appropriate way, while simultaneously making them laugh out loud.
Buy it: This Book Is Banned on Amazon
3. Dear Unicorn by Josh Funk
Not just for unicorn lovers, though you probably have plenty of them in second grade! Pen pals Connie and Nic send letters and art back and forth all year. They learn a lot about each other—but when they finally meet, they are shocked to find out Connie is a human and Nic is a unicorn! Perfect for discussing characters and relationships, along with themes of friendship, positivity, and acceptance.
Buy it: Dear Unicorn on Amazon
4. Moving the Millers’ Minnie Moore Mine Mansion: A True Story by Dave Eggers
When Annie had to raise pigs to earn a living but her neighborhood did not allow livestock, what did she do? She figured out how to move her house 4 miles down the road! Second graders who love quirky true stories will adore this account of how a 19th-century widow in Idaho tackled a problem in an innovative way. Add this fun read-aloud to your second grade books for talking about story elements.
Buy it: Moving the Millers’ Minnie Moore Mine Mansion on Amazon
5. Lunch From Home by Joshua David Stein
Four chefs contributed memories about being teased for bringing school lunches from their home cultures to create this school lunch story. The targeted kids try out bringing sandwiches like everyone else, but soon that feels … boring. Ultimately everyone agrees that a lunch from home that you love is always delicious. This title is good for discussions about author’s message. (Plus, the lunch descriptions will make your mouth water!)
Buy it: Lunch From Home on Amazon
6. The World’s Best Class Plant by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick
Students in Room 109 envy all the other classrooms that have animal pets. All they have is a plant. It’s so boring … or is it? Over time students come to appreciate their faithful spider plant and learn lots about plants in the process. We’re adding this to our second grade books to to share during a science unit on plants.
Buy it: The World’s Best Class Plant on Amazon
7. 100 Mighty Dragons All Named Broccoli by David LaRochelle
This counting “down” book is perfect for introducing subtraction story problems. Through zany, random events, a crew of 100 dragons (all named Broccoli) gradually part ways. Perfect for adding a little laughter to math class.
Buy it: 100 Mighty Dragons All Named Broccoli on Amazon
8. 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
9. 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 it 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
10. 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
11. 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
12. 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
13. 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
14. 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
15. 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
16. 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
17. and 18. 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 welcome newcomers to their school community. Presenting the two books together offers a unique chance to examine an experience from multiple perspectives.
19. 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
20. 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
21. 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
22. 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
23. 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 that celebrate indigenous characters.
Buy it: The First Blade of Sweetgrass on Amazon
24. 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
25. 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 childhoods in Roxbury, Massachusetts. It would make a strong mentor text for descriptive writing. And a class display about students’ hopes and goals would be a perfect follow-up project.
Buy it: Dream Street on Amazon
26. The Cool Bean by Jory John and Pete Oswald
Buy it: The Cool Bean on Amazon
27. 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
28. 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
29. 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
30. 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
31. 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 it: Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré on Amazon
32. 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
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.
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. 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
39. 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
40. 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
41. 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
42. 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
43. Two-Headed Chicken series by Tom Angleberger
Share these hilarious graphic novels with your second graders who love funny books or need something to read after Dog Man. A two-headed chicken has bizarre adventures as it hops around the multiverse and back and forth through time.
Buy it: Two-Headed Chicken series on Amazon
44. Frankie and Friends: Breaking News by Christine Platt
Add this illustrated chapter book series opener to your second grade books for building kids’ background knowledge about different careers. Frankie’s mom is a busy journalist. It’s tough on Frankie when her mother has to rush out of town to cover a breaking news story, but she decides to pass the time by honing her own reporting skills at home. The back matter includes information about journalism terms.
Buy it: Frankie and Friends: Breaking News 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 has lots of titles to keep kids reading. It’s a must-own on the 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
The Branches illustrated chapter book collection offers tons of great choices, but kids especially love this funny 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 series 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. The Apartment House on Poppy Hill by Nina LaCour
This feel-good series opener stars Ella, who lives with her two moms in an apartment building in San Francisco. She delights in knowing her neighbors, their habits, and their comings and goings. Add this title to your collection of endearing, character-driven second grade early chapter books.
Buy it: The Apartment House on Poppy Hill on Amazon
52. 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
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) 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. We especially love how they highlight Muslim characters.
Buy it: Planet Omar series on Amazon
59. Legends of Lotus Island series by Christina Soontornvat
Plum learns about her own strength as a Novice student on magical and mysterious Lotus Island. Read the series opener aloud to introduce students to the fantasy genre. Or offer these chapter books as independent reading material for confident second grade readers. The stories weave in themes related to animals, protecting the environment, and friendship, making them appealing to a wide range of readers.
Buy it: Legends of Lotus Island series 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