Although I am calling this a list of 2nd grade read aloud books, of of these chapter books are appropriate for more than just the 7-8 year old set, so please don't feel limited. All of these are books which I have read this school year to my own second grader, but my 11 year old listened in to most of them, as well.
I was tempted to include many books that are also on previous lists, but resisted and gave you mostly new titles to explore! I've included links at the end of the post to other lists with fantastic age appropriate books. What are your favorite read aloud chapter books for second grade? (Note: book covers and titles are affiliate links.)
Freddy the Detective by Walter R. Brooks is a wonderful and funny classic book from 1932. I wish Freddy the Pig got more attention that he does because my sons loved this book. After reading Sherlock Holmes, Freddy decides to try his hand at barnyard sleuthing. After a bit of success (some of it hilariously accidental), some of the other animals realize that the jail is actually more cushy than the outdoors. While reading it, I couldn't help but compare it to my kids' other favorite pig, Nanny Piggins. The humor in Freddy, while charmingly silly is much less over-the-top ridiculous.
Bless the Mouse by Lois Lowry is a lovely short chapter book about a group of mice who live in Saint Bartholemew's church. Mouse Mistress Hildegarde looks after her community of furry friends, making sure they stay out of sight. When one of the mice is spotted, the mice must come up with a clever plan to thwart the extermination attempt, and all on the eve of the Feast of Saint Francis. My 7 year old and I enjoyed this funny and touching story which has a wonderful, old-fashioned and classic flavor.
Toes is our latest read aloud by Tor Seidler. We discovered Seidler's books in past year and have been reading them like crazy people. This is the story of a cat with seven toes on each paw. He loves his life in the family home, despite being rejected by his siblings, but he accidentally gets lost after getting frightened on a trip outside. He meets the violinist, Sebastian, and learns about bravery and friendship. The ending is rather sad, compared to the other Seidler books we have read, and deals with aging and death, but still, a well-loved book. For another Seidler book we recently loved, check out Mean Margaret, a funny tale of a preschool-aged girl who gets lost and is adopted by a pair of woodchucks.
Pugs of the Frozen North by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre is for families and kids who enjoy a healthy dose of quirky humor. (-- as you might guess from seeing the cover. I would also assert that the book is much, much better than the cover makes it look.) A shipping accident leaves a gaggle of pugs stranded in the snowy, frozen north. They are saved and adopted by a pair of kids, Sika and Shen. Sika and Shen harness the pugs in attempt to win the Great Northern Race, which ends at the home of a mythical man called Snowfather. There are many shenanigans along the race, including a bizarre encounter with noodle loving creatures! This is the first Not-So-Impossible-Tale we have read, but you can bet we will pick up more.
MORE: If you kids like to laugh, then these 100 funny chapter books are just the ticket!
Little Cat's Luck by Marion Dane Bauer is the companion book to the verse novel Little Dog Lost, a book which I recommended to the point of annoyance last year on several of my book lists. If you enjoyed the first book, you will want to pick up this one with speed. A little cat goes in search of a cozy nesting place and much to her surprise, she delivers a few kittens. A neighborhood dog, whom everyone believed was a menace displays great gentleness and pride when the kittens take over his doghouse. But little cat wants to get back home. Can she do so without losing her kittens? A book you are sure to love.
Invisible Inkling. (trilogy) Somehow, an invisible (not imaginary) bandapat from the Peruvian Woods of Mystery has made it to Brooklyn, where he is now dragging Hank in all sorts of adventures. This series is very funny and my kids have enjoyed it both as a read aloud and as an independent read. Emily Jenkins is one of my favorite authors (readers of this blog may recall the numerous times I have professed my love for another early chapter book series, Toys Go Out).
The Paddington books by Michael Bond. I read the original book to my kids when they were younger, but I recently started reading the sequels to my 2nd grader and he appreciated them so much! He was literally jumping all over the bed in hysterics at Paddington's antics.
The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong. I actually read this to my sons last year, but I think it's probably better suited for most 2nd graders, than 1st graders. In Holland, Lina and her friends wonder why there are no longer any storks in their village. They work together to build a nest for the birds on the school, and in doing so discover their individual and collective strengths. I remember loving it as a kid, for some reason I was expecting my kids to find it boring. Quite the contrary! Even my then-6 year old couldn't wait to hear more.
The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly by Luis Sepúlveda. I read this book to both my boys (ages 7 and 11) at dinner and the story charmed us. A injured bird wants to save her progeny so she lands on a balcony and extracts a promise from Zorba, the resident cat, to look after her egg. The cat, unsure how to care for the egg consults the several of his neighborhood cat friends to help him. The menagerie of colorful characters take their research and duties seriously and together they keep the egg safe, raise the tiny hatchling and somehow manage to teach it how to fly. Wonderful.
Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol. My second grader is the perfect age to listen to these books right now. The solutions are not too easy but they are not so difficult he can't make an educated guess about them. If for some reason you are not familiar with this classic series, each book contains a collection of short mysteries that whiz kid Encyclopedia solves. The solutions to each mystery is revealed at the back of the book, so readers have a chance to try and guess the answer.
The Little Witch is our second read aloud written by Ofried Preussler. (The Little Water Sprite is on our list of Spring Read Alouds) First published in 1957, it has been released in translation by the New York Review Children's Collections. After sneaking away from Walpurgis Night, the other witches take away Little Witch's broomstick as punishment. In order to get it back, she must exhibit witch-worthy behavior for a year. But the little witch finds out that she likes being a good witch much better! The way she manages to be a good witch in every sense made for a very satisfying ending.
Oona Finds and Egg (Oodlethunks series) by Adele Griffin. I am going to tell you that I judged this book by it's cover. Honestly, it did not look very good to me. You'd think by now I'd know better (see, for example, Pugs of the Frozen North, above). However, when Kirkus gave it a starred review, I picked it up. Well, we all enjoyed it. The plot revolves around Oona, who finds and egg and decides to nurture it, in hopes that it will hatch into something that her brother will not be allergic to. The bully neighbor, Bruce Brute, has taken the egg and Oona and her brother must find a way to get it back. There is a lot of humor in this book that kids will love and I loved the touches like the career mom who is trying to reinvent the wheel, and the stay at home dad, even the relationship of the siblings was touchingly adorable.
Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins is a funny tale about adventurous woodland creatures. A group of friends head out into the unknown when their squirrel pal is carried off by a hawk. The captured squirrel, manages to escape the hawk's clutches and lands in an unknown area and befriends the local squirrels. The narration alternates between the quirky group of searchers and the lost squirrel. The disparate groups of squirrels come together as they learn of a threat even greater than hawks.
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. I suspect I don't need to give you a synopsis of this well-known story of a boy who goes for the ride of his life inside a giant peach. My son's teachers read this to the class in both 1st and 2nd grade. Every day when I picked him up from school he eagerly told me what happened in the chapter of the day.
More book lists to explore:
- Spring family read alouds. Some of my favorite recent read alouds are on this list. Books I read to my second grader!
- Fall family read alouds
- Read aloud books for 1st graders
- Our best read alouds of 2015
- Chapter books for preschoolers. We have also enjoyed most of these as read alouds as my kids get older.
- Read alouds for 4 to 6 year olds. All of these are wonderful choices to read aloud to 2nd graders.
- On my (newly updated!) book list index I've grouped the read aloud book lists together for your convenience.
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