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31 BEST Chapter Books for Second Graders

Last Updated on December 1, 2023 by Louisa

Choosing chapter books for second graders can be a daunting task. At this age, it’s probably the first chapter book they’ve ever read, which makes it feel even more daunting.

But it doesn’t have to feel like a chore selecting that first chapter book for second grade kids. There are a ton of really great books for 2nd graders out there that kids absolutely love.

If you’re struggling to pick that perfect 2nd grade chapter book, don’t worry, because I have picked out the best of the best.

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through any of these links. 

31 of the BEST Chapter Books for 2nd Graders

So without further ado, here are the best chapter books for 2nd graders, whether it’s their first book or their fifth, these chapter books have been written for 6-8-year-olds, perfect for 2nd-grade kids.

1. Magic Tree House Series – Mary Pope Osborne

The New York Times number one bestselling early chapter book series for 2nd graders is The Magic Tree House. The series is filled with magic, mystery, and loads of adventure.

Jack and Annie’s lives are ordinary until they chance upon a magical tree house. The treehouse allows them to travel back in time into a world full of haunted castles, treasure chests, secret maps, and solve mysteries.

They also get a glimpse into Elizabethan England and the historic American Revolution.

Will they be able to return home in time or will they have to fight the dinosaurs?

These beautifully illustrated novels paired with simple words make it the best first chapter book for second graders.

It’s been a beloved favorite of children for over 25 years, and no doubt this chapter book series will instill a lifelong love for reading in your child.

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2. The Flat Stanley Collection – Jeff Brown

What Jeff Brown narrated as a bedtime story to his sons is now a famous book worldwide.

Stanley Lambchop was an ordinary boy until one night a bulletin board fell on him and made him flat forever.

Despite being only half an inch thick but Stanley has had some amazing, silly, and fun-filled adventures all over the world.

Be it sliding through the door-slit or mailing himself across the country in a tiny envelope or be it jetting off into an invisible space to rescue aliens, is there anything that Stanley can’t do?

A delightful read with black and white illustrations for 5 to 8-year-olds. 

3. The Invisible String – Patrice Karst

With half a million copies sold worldwide, The Invisible String holds a special place in the hearts of parents, educators, and children of course!

With heart-warming cute pictures, it simplifies various mental health issues like anxiety, grief, and separation in a very child-friendly manner.

It is a story of a mother who tells her kids that we are all bound by an invisible string called Love which cannot be seen but can only be felt.

The book tells how love can conquer everything and it also beautifully addresses deeper and more difficult conversations which kids can easily relate to but feel difficult to speak about.

This is a heartfelt chapter book full of love for your little one!

4. Dog Man: Grime And Punishment – Dav Pilkey

The ninth graphic novel of the series from Dog Man series, by worldwide bestselling author Dav Pilkey, is Dog Man Grime and Punishment.

Dogman loves to solve mysteries, and your 2nd graders will love solving mysteries with him.

Will his dog pack help him tackle it or will he have to face it alone?

Set against a backdrop of kindness, empathy, and good deeds, Dog Man is filled with hilarious moments which will have your child rolling with laughter. Some moments celebrate friendship and the victory of good over evil.

An interactive, colorful, and emotional graphic novel penned creatively into comic strips, which is read and re-read by kids and parents all over the world.

This is the ideal first chapter book for second graders because it has a lot of pictures to keep them engaged.

5. The Never Girls Collection (Disney Fairies) – Kiki Thorpe

A story of four best friends who meet a fairy, and by accident are whisked to Neverland in the blink of an eye.

A cute adaptation of the fairytale world filled with magical adventures in the forest, this book is an absolute favorite with kids and especially 2nd grade girls.

A wonderful gift for readers between the age of 6-8 years old, packed in an attractive box, this will keep them immersed in a world of dreams, fairies, and loads of magical moments as they get lost in these beautiful books for hours.

With a bit of a resemblance to the ‘Peter Pan’ series, this will surely be a hit for your second-grade child.

6. The Danger Gang – Tom Fletcher

Written by the UK’s most popular children’s book author (and singer of the pop rock band McFly), Tom Fletcher, The Danger Gang is the story of Franky who is moving out of his town, leaving his best friend Dani behind.

One night a scary storm, a strange green light, and a powerful thunder changed his life forever.

All his friends change as well, becoming a bit odd and gaining magical powers. Franky is excited with his new avatar as it resembles his hero Super Spy, Zack Danger, but what lies ahead? 

With well-written characters and a gripping plot, this makes The Danger Gang an enjoyable read not just for the kids but for the entire family as well.

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7. The Diary Of A Wimpy Kid – Jeff Kinney

Written by #1 New York Times bestselling author Jeff Kinney, this book needs no introduction.

Said to be a ‘Novel in Cartoons’ and a part of extra-curricular reading, this is based on the adventures of an imaginary character, Greg Heffley, an avid video-game lover, who is forced into writing a diary by his mother.

His journal illustrates his daily life, school stories, adventures on his vacations and so much more, which makes it relatable to every kid who reads it.

Every character in this book, from Greg, his mom, and even his not-so-loved dog, is beautifully written and has turned millions of kids into avid readers.

8. Gangsta Granny – David Walliams

A bestseller from the critically acclaimed author David Walliams, this is the story of Ben who is dropped off at his granny’s place every Friday as his parents go to watch a ballet.

He finds her to be incredibly boring as she only plays Scrabble and makes dishes with cabbage, which Ben isn’t fond of.

What Ben doesn’t know is that his granny was once an international thief and has been plotting all her life to steal the crown jewels with Ben’s help. But will they succeed?

A suspenseful and hilarious book with a bittersweet ending that is worth adding to your child’s book collection.

9. Fancy Nancy Series – Jane O’Connor

A beautiful children’s picture book series based on the life of Nancy, a young girl with a larger-than-life persona who loves dressing up and likes all her things to be stylish.

She isn’t too pleased with how ordinary her family is, so she hosts a class on ‘The Art of Fanciness’ for them to which they oblige.

Filled with pleasing pastel artwork, detailed illustrations, and a variety of new words, this series will help your second-grade child learn valuable life lessons from the protagonist.

A beautiful gifting option that will help enrich your child’s vocabulary in the process of enjoying this wonderfully written series.

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10. Diary Of An Ice Princess: Snow Place Like Home – Christina Soontornvat

Princess Lina hails from a magical family and stays in an enchanting palace in the clouds. She has the power to fly and her bedroom can magically transform into a real-life snow globe.

But all Princess Lina wants is a normal non-magical life in a non-magical school with her best friend Claudia. But will she be able to keep the secret of her icy life from others?

A visual delight, this awesome book is filled with values like the importance of friendship, love, and dealing with pressure from the family. A magical read for your kid!

11. Stink: The Super Incredible Shrinking Kid – Megan Mcdonald

Brother of the popular character, Judy Moody, Stink is a short boy and continues to shrink each day.

He measures himself daily only to realize there isn’t much that he can do about it and will only have to wait till he is older to become tall again.

A must-read for comic book fans, the child-savvy humor brings Stink’s story to life.

It perfectly captures the love between the two siblings with playful language and simple illustrations that will surely keep your child engrossed in this book for hours together.

A simple and funny book with good life lessons. If you’re looking for similar chapter books for 2nd graders, check out the Judy Moody was in a Mood series, too!

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12. Yasmin Series – Saadia Faruqi

A colorful, inspiring, and wonderfully written series based on the life of a young girl, Yasmin, who describes incidents from her day-to-day life.

In one book she is stuck on an idea for her school project until recess time when she suddenly gets inspired and comes up with a new idea for the various roles she plays, such as a Teacher, a Chef, and many more.

What’s important is the way she deals with all her problems in her life creatively and cleverly, without ever giving up hope.

 This series will surely bring a smile to your child’s face! It comes with a craft suggestion at the end of the book which is an added bonus.

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13. A Bear Called Paddington – Michael Bond

Meet Paddington! Our friendly bear wearing an old hat, a battered coat, and carrying a suitcase with a jar of marmalade. He is polite and kind-hearted but often innocently finds himself getting into trouble.

Found at the Paddington station and adopted by the Brown family, he has been receiving love from many generations across the world for his cute and funny adventures.

This bear will teach your child some of the most beautiful life lessons in an engaging way.

A delightful jolly ride with this loveable accident-prone bear is sure to make you and your child laugh out loud.

This is not only a great introductory chapter book for second graders, but a novel that will stay in the family for generations.

Related post: Books about Food for Children

14. The Zack Files – Dan Greenburg

The Zack Files is a humorous series based on the life of a ten-year-old who encounters paranormal problems.

Zack always manages to get into some trouble in the course of his adventures, but his best friends somehow manage to get him out of it in some way or the other.

Be it when Zack’s Grandpa had reincarnated into a cat or the time when he shared a room with a ghost, all these funny and silly misadventures are sure to tickle the funny bone of your little one!

A big hit with kids aged 7 and above.

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15. Stuart Little – E.B. White

A famous and worldwide bestseller, E.B. White’s Stuart Little is based on the life of a tiny, smart, kind, and extremely brave mouse who loves adventures.

He lives in New York with his parents, elder brother, and a cat named Snowbell.

He loves his family and goes to great lengths to help them. He jumps down a drain to find his mom’s lost ring and crawls down a piano to fix the piano keys before his brother’s piano concert.

He befriends a cute bird named Margalo, but once she disappears suddenly, Stuart steps out of his house for the first time to find her. But what happens next?

This is a wonderful book worth buying for your young second-grade reader.

16. Martin Luther King Jr. (Little People Big Dreams) – Maria Isabel Sanchez V

A worldwide bestseller from the critically acclaimed author, this book chronicles the life of an inspiring minister and an activist for civil rights, Martin Luther King Jr.

An empowering series that highlights the importance of not tolerating injustice and fighting for what is right.

They say ‘A pen is mightier than the sword’ and he proved that. A real-life hero whose stories will greatly inspire your children. Important life lessons written in lucid language make this book worth adding to your child’s book collection.

It has some extra facts and a biographical timeline at the end of the book, which makes it very interesting to read.

17. Ivy And Bean – Annie Barrows

A fabulous book for young readers from Grade 1 to 4, Ivy and Bean is a story of two friends who are complete opposites.

Bean finds Ivy to be boring, but one fine day Bean rescues her from trouble and things take a U-turn. They both become the best of friends.

The book is filled with a plethora of new words which will enrich your child’s vocabulary and also some important lessons based on friendship, love, and empathy.

Some incidents make them incredibly happy and at the same time, they make some mistakes only to learn from them later. This book beautifully celebrates the joy of friendship.

18. Frog And Toad Are Friends – Arnold Lobel

Frog and Toad are Friends is a chapter book series of five adventurous tales of the friendship of a frog and a toad, written in simple language for those beginning chapter books.

The frog is cheerful and likes to relax and enjoy life, whereas the toad is a bit uptight, but they love going together for a swim, flying kites, and writing letters to each other.

They set a great example of friendship and loyalty by supporting each other through thick and thin times perfectly describing ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’.

Wonderfully illustrated, this chapter book series is filled with heartwarming stories and is sure to make your 2nd grade child fall in love with reading from an early age.

19. Hi! Fly Guy – Tedd Arnold

Imaginative and creatively written, this is a story of a boy named Buzz who has an unusual pet. A fly!

It is a hilarious novel showing their friendship and adventures through silly drawings. The fly accompanies Buzz wherever he goes, be it his school, garden as well as on his vacations.

There is never a dull moment when they are together and they have a sweet world of their own with its ups and downs.

A very simple and entertaining book that will help your little one experience the simple joy of reading from a young age.

20. Katie Woo And Friends – Fran Manushkin

Katie Woo and Friends is an award-winning series for 2nd graders. Just like other kids, Katie Woo has two best friends JoJo and Pedro.

The trio love going on adventures together, such as camping, losing a tooth, and even saying goodbye to their dog together.

A well-written story with simple characters that emphasizes the importance of true friendship and comradery.

The best part is that each chapter has a story of its own story, which makes it a favorite among young readers with short attention spans.

A pleasant and riveting read filled with lessons on empathy, forgiveness, and sharing that children can easily connect with.

This book would be a great addition to your child’s reading list.

21. Kay’s Marvellous Medicines: A Gross And Gruesome History Of The Human Body – Adam Kay, Jan Ravens Et Al

A hilarious read from bestselling authors, this book is filled with funny and informative facts about the human body with references to ancient history seasoned with loads of humor.

It takes you back to an era when doctors would experiment on the human body. Medicine meets history in this hilarious book.

It mentions funny facts like why ancient Egyptians felt that the brain was a useless load to why hairdressers chopped off their customer’s legs, which will leave your child amazed and laughing.

Though gruesome in some places, it makes the complexity of the human body approachable and will develop a liking for science in your little one and keep him or her engrossed for hours!

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22. You Are An Amazing Girl: A Collection Of Inspiring Stories Of Courage, Friendship, Inner Strength And Self-Confidence – Nadia Ross

An encouraging and uplifting book especially for young girls, designed to help them realize how unique they are and that nobody is perfect.

To believe in their dreams and never give up in the toughest of situations. It tells how one should respect and love their parents and beautifully teaches them life lessons about confidence, self-esteem, and self-love.

Written in the form of ten short stories, it will encourage your little one to read the book by herself.

The protagonist deals with many situations in her daily life and the reader will surely relate to them. Absolutely recommended for all little girls and it is also a great gifting option.

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23. Henry and Mudge – Cynthia Rylant

Henry and Mudge are best friends. Henry is a young boy who was feeling lonely when the other children on the street wouldn’t play with him. But he finds companionship in a lovable big dog named Mudge.

The books in this series are warm-hearted and funny, and written in simple vocabulary and accompanied by delightful illustrations, which make them the perfect first chapter books for children.

Another popular book by Cynthia Rylant is In Aunt Lucy’s Kitchen, the first book in the series, Cobble Street Cousins.

24. Mercy Watson Series – Kate Dicamillo

Another beloved chapter books for 2nd graders series is the Mercy Watson series by Kate Dicamillo.

Mercy Watson is a pig who loves a rollicking good time. Whether she’s foiling a robber or squeezing into a tutu, there’s no telling what adventures she will get into. 

Mercy Watson has been a beloved favorite for second grade children for decades and her adventures will have your child laughing and eager to read the next book.

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25. Cam Jansen Series – David A. Adler

The Cam Jansen Series are some of the most popular chapter books for 2nd grade children of all time.

Cam Jansen loves a mystery, and with her amazing photographic memory, she’s great at solving them. The first novel of this series follows Cam as she helps to catch a diamond thief.

With the help of her best friend Eric, Cam and Eric help the police find the robber after they witness them arrest the wrong person. 

The Cam Jansen books are perfect for first time chapter book readers. Cam is a lovable young heroine who has been a favorite children’s hero for over two decades.

26. Junie B Jones Series – Barbara Park

The Junie B Jones Series follows the world’s most hilarious kindergartener as she starts school for the very first time.

This #1 New York Times bestselling chapter book series has sold over 65 million copies worldwide and has been helping children transition to chapter books for more than 25 years.

Follow Junie’s hilarious classroom antics, go on adventures, and follow the hilarious goings-on in her kindergarten class.

27. Nate the Great – Marjorie W. Sharmat, Mitchell Sharmat, Craig Sharmat

Nate the Great is the world’s greatest detective. In the first novel of the series, he is tasked with solving the mystery of the lost picture!

Targeted at beginner chapter book readers, this series will instill a love of reading as your child learns to problem solve along with Nate. 

Nate also teaches problem-solving by using logical thinking. 

28. Gooney Bird Greene – Lois Lowry

When Gooney Bird Greene turns up at Watertower Elementary School, she’s shocked everyone with her unique style and unusual lunches.

This second grader is quirky but in all the good ways, and that suits Gooney Bird just fine. She also has lots of “true” stories to tell!

From the highly acclaimed author of The Giver, Lois Lowry brings us a heartwarming series that makes for the perfect chapter book for second graders.

Not only because of the language, writing style, and illustrations but because the main character is a second-grade kid, too. 

29. Amelia Bedelia – Peggy Parish

Amelia Bedelia is a hilarious chapter book by Peggy Parish. The stories follow a young girl, Amelia, who does exactly what Mr and Mrs Rogers tell her not to do.

Sometimes she gets things mixed up and does everything wrong, but it always turns out alright in the end.

Amelia Bedelia has been a lovable beginner chapter book series for children in the second grade for decades and is sure to be loved for more decades to come.

30. Diary of an Ice Princess Series – Christina Soontornvat

The Diary of an Ice Princess is a collection of chapter books written for 2nd-grade reading level.

Each book in the series is a fun-filled story following Princess Lina. She has the princess life that all little girls dream of.

She lives in a palace in the clouds, and everyone in her family can control the weather. She can even fly!

Princess Lina enjoys turning lemons into lemon ice, riding the wind, and turning her bedroom into a snow globe.

But Princess Lina wants to go to a regular school for non-magic people with her best friend, Claudia. She promises not to reveal her magic…but can she?

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31. Rainbow Magic – Orchard Books

The Rainbow Magic series is the perfect chapter book series for 2nd grade girls looking for a fairy adventure to get lost in.

The first book follows Kirsty and Rachel who are having a greatl time at the Fairytale Festival. But there’s a problem.

The evil Jack Frost has stolen the magical objects from the Fairytale Fairies’, and now the Fairytale characters are trapped in the human world!

It’s up to Rachel and Kirsty to find them and restore magic to fairytales everywhere.

The Rainbow Magic series are all based on well-known and beloved fairytales, from sleeping beauty to Cinderella to The Little Mermaid.

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Best Chapter Books for Second Graders

Final Word on Best Chapter Books for Second Graders

So there you have it, those are my top chapter books for 2nd graders, suitable for both boys and girls, from ages 6-8.

These beginner novels will be the perfect starter book for your child that will help them fall in love with reading and develop an interest in new stories.

Of course, there are so many 2nd grade chapter books that couldn’t make it on my list. Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments.

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About Louisa Smith

Editor/Founder - Epic Book Society

Louisa is the Founder, Editor, and Head Honcho of Epic Book Society. She was born and raised in the United Kingdom and graduated from the University for the Creative Arts with a degree in Journalism. Louisa began her writing career at the age of 7 when her poetry was published in an anthology of poems to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. Upon graduating university, she spent several years working as a journalist writing about books before transitioning to become a Primary School Teacher. Louisa loves all genres of books, but her favorites are Sci-Fi, Romance, Fantasy, and Young Adult Fiction. Read more Louisa's story here.

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