17 Best Chapter Books For Second Graders, Recommended By Experts In 2023

Second graders need books with simple stories, and when these stories are further presented in different chapters, learning becomes all the more fun. Hence, we bring you a list of the best chapter books for second graders after thorough evaluation to ensure they are fun to read and immerse them in magical worlds.

In chapter books, each story is divided into small chapters to make reading fun and interesting and help children grasp and understand the story better. These best-selling stories are engaging and make learning fun. And gifting these colorful and interesting books to children is a great way to instill a love of books in them. So, keep scrolling as we list some of the best parent-recommended books that you can consider for your second graders.

In This Article

17 Best Chapter Books For Second Graders

H Shamsi, book reviewer and founder of Book Nerdection, says, “It is important to instill a love of reading in children when they are still young. The more they read, the more their imagination grows and the easier it becomes for them to develop their skills and absorb the information from the world around them.”

He adds, “The books on this list are excellent for second graders. Besides breaking down a story into easy-to-read sections, these chapter books also have colorful illustrations that appeal to young children.”

1. Best Adventure:  Magic Tree House Book Set

Author: Mary Pope Osborne

It is a set of four books from the Magic Tree House series. The books narrate the adventures of seven-year-old Annie, and her older brother Jack. The two embark on various exciting journeys to a mysterious forest, a tree house full of books, and even back in time, to meet the dinosaurs! Second graders will love the simple language and illustrations used in these books. The series also has another 24 Books, so you can come for more if your children like them. As some of the Magic Tree House books involve time travel and exploring different historical periods, these are suitable science fiction chapter books for children to satiate their scientific curiosity. Check out this review to know more about the book set.

2. Best Humorous: My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish Boxed Set

Author: Mo O’Hara

This New York Times Best Seller Series is a boxed set of Three books that tell the tale of a boy called Tom, who brings back his dead pet goldfish Frankie back to life. Tom and Frankie then embark on a quest to destroy the plans of Tom’s older brother, who is an evil scientist, and defeat other villainous characters along the way. The story is humorous and entertaining. You can choose this series books for continuous reading and uninterrupted entertainment. This simple review video showcasing the reviewer’s experience will help you learn more.

Item Weight: 1.5 pounds

My Personal Experience

"It is an absolute joy hearing my son giggle while reading these books, which are a clear hit and kindled his interest in reading. While they might take some time to read, the engaging plots, including a science project that turns a goldfish into a zombie, kept him entertained. Even if some words like 'moron' make an appearance, overall, they're kid-friendly and fun. Based on my son's excitement, we'll finish the series soon!"

protip_icon Quick fact
Chapter books are a good starting point if your child is fussy about reading, as it is less intimidating to finish a chapter or few than to complete a whole book.

3. Best Imaginative: Little Bear

Author: Else Holmelund Minarik

This beginner-friendly book tells the tales of Little Bear, a bear cub curious about the world and the universe. He always has a question for his Mother, who adores her son’s curiosity. The story stokes the imagination of a child through the questions that the little bear asks. The illustrations of Little Bear and his other animal friends are cute and will be loved by the kids.

4. Best Story About Friendship: Charlotte’s Web

Author: E. B White

This chapter book, written by the famous author E.B. White, was first published in 1952. The story revolves around a spider called Charlotte and her friends at the farm. One day Charlotte realizes that she has to save her friend, a pig named Wilbur, from being slaughtered.

Charlotte does everything she can in her capacity to save her friend and eventually succeeds. Loved by reviewers worldwide, this is a book about friendship and relationships that deals with topics of loss and happiness, but presents it in a simple way so that a second grader can understand it.

protip_icon Pro Tip
Make reading time a family activity by reading aloud alternate chapters with your child. Experts advise reading to your child, as it has positive effects on their cognitive development (1).

5. Best Easy-To-Read: Frog And Toad Are Friends

Author: Arnold Lobel

Frog and Toad are best friends who always go on adventures. Sometimes they go swimming, and sometimes they go searching for lost buttons! Whatever they do, they do it together and have fun. The book is written in short, easy-to-read paragraphs. The spacing of sentences is also such that it makes reading less stressful for a child in second grade. Click on the video to learn more about the book from a reviewer’s experience.

6. Best Explorer-Theme For Second Graders: Meet Yasmin!

Author: Saadia Faruqi

The primary character is Yasmin, a second-grader who is always in search of a quest. In one chapter, Yasmin becomes an explorer, in another a painter, and so on. The young girl has her imagination in full throttle, and her vivacious spirit truly makes her a charming character. It especially makes an excellent chapter book for second-grade girls, testing their appetite to be creative and dreamy.

Item Weight: 4.8 ounces
Our Tester's Experience

"I found the Yasmin series enchanting - filled with mini-adventures; it is perfect for my early reader. Its focus on diverse cultural exposure is commendable without being overpowering. It also introduces some words from the Urdu language, while Yasmin's relatability makes it a hit with children. It beautifully highlights that despite having different skin colors, we share similar lives. The simplistic text and illustrations made it enjoyable for my little one."

7. Best With Idioms: Amelia Bedelia Chapter Book Box Set

Author: Herman Parish

This book is a collection of stories about a young girl named Amelia Bedelia and her day-to-day adventures. In one story, Amelia wants a bicycle and decides to buy one by earning money through her own business. In another story, Amelia wants a puppy, but is not sure which one since all puppies are cute!

Each chapter is written in an easy-to-understand language. A guide at the end of each chapter explains the idioms and phrases used in the story.

8. Best Detective-Theme: Nate The Great

Author: Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

Nate is a young detective and has to find a lost picture that belongs to his friend Annie. Nate pieces together all the clues and the facts to solve the mystery. The book has a delightful style of printing with text written in bold, large font with the right amount of spacing between the sentences for the young reader. If your child is fond of detective and mystery chapter books, this would be an excellent choice.

Item Weight: 2.46 ounces
Our Tester's Experience

"I enjoyed revisiting "Nate the Great" with my son, a captivated, first-time reader. The engaging, easy-to-decipher plot and the humor stoked my son's interest. The letter size was perfect for young eyes and helped to bridge the gap between a simple children's book and a chapter book. It fostered his love for reading, and I'm thrilled we found it."

protip_icon Quick tip
Dedicate an hour daily to reading, and your child can map their progress by the number of chapters they read each day.

9. Best Story With Pictures: Flat Stanley: His Original Adventure!

Author: Jeff Brown

The book was first published in 1964 and has since been popular as one of the best funny and humorous chapter books. It tells a funny story of a boy named Stanley who wakes up one morning to find that the bulletin board next to his bed has fallen on him. When his family takes the board off him, they see that Stanley has become flat; like a pancake! Then begin the adventures of Stanley, who is so flat that he can even fly like a kite. The book is both funny and interesting.

10. In Aunt Lucy’s Kitchen

Author: Cynthia Rylant

In this chapter book, we meet three cousins named Lily, Tess, and Rosie, who share the attic bedroom in their Aunt’s Lucy’s place. The trio decides to start their own business during the summer vacation, and a cookie company is on the top of their list. We then learn about their experiences with the cookie company and the people they meet through the course of their work. This realistic fiction for second graders is full of lovely illustrations and brims with interesting characters.

11. Hi! Fly Guy

Author: Tedd Arnold

A boy searching for a pet animal ends up capturing a fly. The fly and the boy become good friends. One day the unnamed boy decides to enter a pet show with his pet fly, but no one takes the little boy and his adorable fly seriously. Both the boy and his pet fly prove others wrong eventually. The book contains funny, cartoon-like illustrations that go along well with the humorous tone of the tale.

12. The Mouse And The Motorcycle

Author: Beverly Cleary

One day, Ralph the mouse discovers a toy motorcycle owned by a boy called Keith. The little mouse is excited to see a bike and takes it for a ride when Keith is not around. Ralph and Keith eventually become friends and go on several adventures together. The easy-to-understand narrative of the book makes an excellent read for a second grader. This animal-themed chapter book will keep your children entertained and encourage imagination.

13. Mr. Putter & Tabby Pour The Tea

Author: Cynthia Rylant

The chapter book tells a cute, heart touching tale of an elderly gentleman named Mr. Putter and his pet cat Tabby. Mr. Putter lives all by himself in his big white house. He feels lonely until one day he meets Tabby the cat who fills the void in his life. The best part of the book is that it lays equal emphasis on illustrations with large colorful drawings on almost every page of the book.

14. Mercy Watson To The Rescue

Author: Kate DiCamillo

A middle-aged couple adopts a pig and names him Mercy. Mercy becomes more than a pet and does everything he can to help Mr. and Mrs. Watson. The book talks about the daily experiences of the couple with their almost child-like pig Mercy. If you are looking for early chapter books with simple language, Mercy Watson To The Rescue will make an appropriate choice for second-grade children. It is simple to read and has many sketches.

15. Little Bear’s Friend

Author: Else Holmelund Minarik

Little Bear’s Friend is part of the ‘Little Bear’ series, the third book on this list. In this book, the bear cub finds himself enjoying the summer when he befriends a girl called Emily, who is visiting the forest for her summer holidays. But as the holidays come to an end, she has to return to her home. Now Little Bear has to find a way to stay close to her friend. The rest of the story is about how the bear achieves that.

Just like any other Little Bear book, this engaging and captivating chapter book is also full of sketches and simple language.

16. A Bear Called Paddington

*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

Author: Michael Bond

An elderly couple discovers an abandoned bear from Peru, on a railway station named Paddington. The couple adopts the bear, which eventually changes their life. With Paddington around, life became more interesting with each day filled with surprises. Engaging and exciting, the best-selling book narrates the adventures of the adorable bear in a big city and how he keeps his foster parents on their toes. Fictional adventure stories such as this one are best to keep children engaged for hours.

17. The Complete Tales Of Winnie-The-Pooh

Author: A. A. Milne

It is a classic chapter book for children where we learn about the life of a bear called Winnie, who lives in the forest with his friends Piglet, Tigger, Owl, Kanga, and Roo. Each chapter presents a different adventure that these friends embark on in the woods, along with their human friend Christopher Robin. A hit among reviewers, the book first came out in the year 1926 but is still enjoyed by second graders today.

How To Choose The Right Chapter Books For Second Graders?

Here are some important points to consider while purchasing chapter books for second graders.

  1. Fonts: Choose books printed in large, easy-to-read fonts for your child’s comfort and convenience.
  2. Simple storylines: Consider books with simple storylines to keep them engaged and motivated to continue reading and help improve their literary proficiency. Children won’t feel interested if the storyline is too complex and slow.
  3. Illustrations: Look for books with bright and colorful pictures. Illustrated books with visuals capture the child’s attention and assist young readers in understanding and imagining the story more creatively.
  4. Age: Choose books suitable for their age group to help them understand. The second graders should be able to comprehend the content easily without much help.
  5. Chapter length: Consider books with short and precise chapters that children can complete in one sitting without feeling bored.

Why Trust MomJunction?

Wedetso Chirhah is a writer and editor who reviews books and children’s products. Using his literary expertise and research skills, he has curated a list of the best chapter books ideal for second graders after a critical evaluation of the options available. These parent-recommended books have captivating illustrations that would encourage your child to reach out for the books with vigor. Wedetso has also highlighted the significant features of these books which make them a worthy read.

Infographic: Interesting Ways To Store Children’s Books

One effective way to encourage children to read books during leisure time is to store them in interesting ways that grab their attention and display them in easily accessible places. Explore the following infographic to discover numerous attractive and functional ways to store children’s books.

Creative Ways To Store Your Children’s Books (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

The Bottom Line

The best chapter books for second graders include a variety of exciting stories that provide an enjoyable reading experience. They are colorful and appealing to the eye. Hence, children enjoy reading them. To capture their attention and keep them hooked, consider books with more pictures. And ensure the stories in these books are simple and easy to read. Among some great options, you can explore “Little Bear,” a tale of a curious bear cub. Another good choice is “Mr. Putter & Tabby Pour the Tea,” a heartwarming story about an elderly gentleman and his cat. For a summer-themed adventure, consider “Little Bear’s Friend,” which tells the story of Little Bear’s friendship with Emily. Happy reading!

Disclaimer: MomJunction may earn a commission when products are purchased through affiliate links given in the article. However, this partnership does not influence the editorial content featuring in our list.


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