30 Chapter Books for Second Graders, Recommended by Teachers

Picking chapter books for second graders may seem like a daunting task. After all, second grade is an important time in reading development, when the emphasis shifts from basic decoding to reading for meaning. Good chapter books support students’ fluency and comprehension skills, all while setting them up to become lifelong readers. That’s a high bar for a book! But these books deliver. We’ve created this list of chapter books for second graders with diverse characters, heartwarming stories, and a mix of magic and adventure to engage early readers and keep them coming back for more.


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 comes up with creative solutions to the problems in her life. Filled with engaging stories about the joys and frustrations of being a kid, this one is a gem for second graders.

Buy it: Yasmin series at Amazon

Toys Go Out series by Emily Jenkins

2. Toys Go Out series by Emily Jenkins

Doesn’t every kid wonder what it would be like if our toys and stuffed animals came to life? This funny, endearing story of three special toys explores that magical idea and is a delight for second graders who are ready 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

Book cover of Little Bear series by Elsa Holmelund Minarik

3. Little Bear series by Else Holmelund Minarik

Little Bear is a beloved character who is sure to charm new readers. The curious and sweet bear cub goes on adventures with his animal friends but sometimes needs help and guidance from Mother Bear. Imaginative stories and delightful illustrations enhance this classic story, and the simple word choice makes it a great selection for second graders new to chapter books.

Buy it: Little Bear series at Amazon

Allergic To Girls book cover

4. Alvin Ho series by Lenore Look

Alvin Ho is an Asian American second grader with a long list of debilitating fears, the biggest one being speaking at school. With strong characters and emotional honesty, this series tackles anxiety with humor and grace. Alvin’s trials with his siblings and friends at school will appeal to reluctant readers.

Buy it: Alvin Ho series at Amazon


5. Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo

Mercy is an endearing pet pig who loves hot buttered toast more than anything. Her taste for toast and other delectable treats gets her and her owners into trouble. Extraordinary author Kate DiCamillo creates a cast of intriguing characters who go on outlandish adventures, with Mercy at the center. Humorous and lighthearted, these chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

Buy it: Mercy Watson series at Amazon

The Princess in Black series by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale 

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

The brave Princess in Black is a superhero in secret—she has to hide her identity from the nosy duchess. Full of imagination and intrigue, this series is so much fun. These stories are also the perfect length for readers just getting comfortable 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 Nuurali

Sadiq is a Somali American third grader who navigates real-life challenges of friendship, family, and school. In this appealing series, Sadiq participates in many new activities with his friends, while dealing with being left out and feeling like he’s not good enough. This series showcases a diverse community while portraying the everyday experiences of being a kid.

Buy it: Sadiq series at Amazon


8. Gooney Bird Greene series by Lois Lowry

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

Buy it: 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 cannot stand being the shortest kid and does everything he can to get taller. Filled with humor and heart, these chapter books for second graders will entertain and give them something to relate to.

Buy it: Stink series at Amazon

Book cover of Ralph Mouse series by Beverly Cleary, as an example of chapter books for second graders
Beverly Cleary Books: Runaway Ralph

10. Ralph Mouse series by Beverly Cleary

Some authors just don’t 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 motorcycle he can’t wait to ride. The fantastical tale of the friendship between a boy and a mouse is a perfect introduction to Cleary’s imaginative writing and compelling prose and is sure to hook many second grade readers.

Buy it: Ralph Mouse series at Amazon


11. Absolutely Alfie series by Sally Warner

Alfie is a strong and charismatic 7-year-old, sister to the main character of the popular Ellray Jakes series. In each story, she navigates how to solve realistic conflicts with her friends and family. Relatable, funny, and honest, this series is a great choice for more advanced readers looking for longer chapter books.

Buy it: Absolutely Alfie series at Amazon


12. Rainbow Magic series by Daisy Meadows

Fairies, rainbows, and unicorns—what’s not to love? The fantastical series is perfect for independent readers who want to get lost in the magical world of books, maybe for the first time. With over 200 books in the series to choose from, readers can immerse themselves in the mystical world of fairies again and again.

Buy it: Rainbow Magic series at Amazon


13. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. 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 one precocious spider save the life of a pig? Heart-wrenching and profoundly beautiful, this story will evoke compassion and wonder in its readers.

Buy it: Charlotte’s Web at Amazon


14. Juana & Lucas series by Juana Medina

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

Buy it: Juana & Lucas series at Amazon


15. Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant

Henry is lonely without a sibling or friends on his block, so he asks his parents for a dog. From the moment Henry meets his new dog Mudge, the two of them are inseparable. This sweet series is perfect for readers who are just ready to explore chapter books. The sentences are simple but the characters are full of heart. Kids will enjoy the friendship between a boy and his dog and the many adventures they take together.

Buy it: Henry and Mudge series at Amazon

Book cover for The Bad Guys Book 1

16. The Bad Guys series by Aaron Blabey

Hilarious and eye-catching, these graphic novels are the perfect choice for independent readers who aren’t quite ready for longer books. The quick, fun series hits the mark with silly jokes and entertaining adventures that will engage even the most reluctant readers.

Buy it: The Bad Guys series at Amazon


17. Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne

This wildly popular series had to make our list. Siblings Jack and Annie discover a tree house full of books that sends them back in time. Full of adventure, suspense, and magic, these chapter books for second graders are an excellent choice for your classroom. We’ve seen so many new readers get hooked on them, and with 38 books in the series, your students can time-travel and explore history all they want.

Buy it: Magic Tree House series at 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 get involved in all sorts of other creative endeavors. Readers will enjoy the appealing characters and lighthearted stories in these second grade chapter books that are reminiscent of an older, simpler time.

Buy it: The Cobble Street Cousins series at Amazon


19. Press Start! series by Thomas Flintham

A great read for beginning readers who also love video games. Telling the story of characters embarking on video game adventures, this graphic novel series makes the reader feel like they are transported into the game. Eye-catching illustrations and simple yet compelling text will keep kids coming back for more.

Buy it: Press Start! series at Amazon

Book cover of Diary of an Ice Princess series by Christina Soontornvat 

20. Diary of an Ice Princess series by Christina Soontornvat

Princess and Windtamer Lina has special powers but still wants to go to school with “groundlings” and her best friend, Claudia. Fans of Frozen will love these tales full of magic and adventure, which also grapple with the desire to fit in and be just like everyone else. Attractive pink and black illustrations and honest diary entries will appeal to kids who are looking for quick, enjoyable reads.

Buy it: Diary of an Ice Princess series at Amazon

Book cover of King and Kayla series by Dori Hillestad Butler

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-have for readers who are becoming more independent. These transitional chapter books are great for supporting fluency while engaging readers.

Buy it: King & Kayla series at Amazon

Book cover of Zoey and Sassafras series by Asia Citro, as an example of chapter books for second graders

22. Zoey and Sassafras series by Asia Citro

Filled with investigative science and a touch of magic, Zoey and Sassafras is an informative and engaging chapter book series. Equipped with a scientific journal and her “thinking goggles,” Zoey comes up with hypotheses to solve problems with the help of her trusty sidekick cat, Sassafras. The unique combination of scientific inquiry and storytelling makes this a perfect choice for any reader who wants to read to learn and have fun too.

Buy it: Zoey and Sassafras series at Amazon

Book cover of Duck and Moose by Kirk Reedstrom

23. Duck and Moose series by Kirk Reedstrom

New neighbors Duck and Moose happen to be polar opposites, but can they reconcile their differences and become best pals? This two-book series of chapter books for second graders is a hilarious must-read.

Buy it: Duck and Moose series at Amazon

Book cover of Heidi Heckelbeck by Wanda Coven

24. Heidi Heckelbeck series by Wanda Coven

After being homeschooled, Heidi is nervous about going to school for the first time. It turns out that second grade is not for the faint of heart. Can she find friends while dealing with bullies and new routines? Heidi discovers a secret that will help her do just that. This prolific series has larger print and short chapters, making it a great fit for new readers.

Buy it: Heidi Heckelbeck series at Amazon

Peter and Ernesto series by Graham Annable, as an example of chapter books for second graders

25. Peter & Ernesto series by Graham Annable

Peter is a homebody and Ernesto is an adventurer, but they are also best friends. Cute as can be with simple yet engaging stories and pictures, these chapter books for second graders are a great introduction to graphic novels for beginning, eager readers.

Buy it: Peter & Ernesto series at Amazon

Miles Lewis series by Kelly Starling Lyons

26. Miles Lewis series by Kelly Starling Lyons

Miles loves science and is very competitive, but his anxiety spikes when he has to go ice skating for the first time with his 4th grade class. With a strong focus on friend and family relationships, this series is both relatable and entertaining. Bonus: It’s by the same author as Jada Jones, which we also recommend!

Buy it: Miles Lewis series at Amazon

Book cover of Jose and El Perro by Susan Rose and Sylvia Lopez

27. José and El Perro series by Susan Rose and Silvia López

José finally gets the dog he’s always wanted, but it turns out the dog doesn’t understand commands in Spanish. To get to know each other, they have to learn each other’s languages. These books are perfect for readers building confidence and stamina while also introducing some Spanish vocabulary.

Buy it: José and El Perro series at Amazon

Book cover of Mia Mayhem series by Kara West

28. Mia Mayhem series by Kara West

Mia’s life gets turned upside down when she discovers she’s a superhero. She’s pretty sure she’s up for the task, as long as she can figure out how to balance her new identity with being a regular kid. Relatable, fun, and readable, this 13-book series is just right for second graders.

Buy it: Mia Mayhem series at Amazon

Book cover of Pedro series by Fran Manushkin, as an example of chapter books for second graders

29. Pedro series by Fran Manushkin

In this spin-off of the Katie Woo series, Katie’s friend Pedro loves playing sports and going on adventures, while also putting up with his younger brother.

Buy it: Pedro series at Amazon

Book cover of Orris and Timble: The Beginning by Kate DiCamillo

30. Orris and Timble: The Beginning by Kate DiCamillo

We can’t wait for Kate DiCamillo’s upcoming release. Orris, the rat, and Timble, the owl, strike up an unusual and inspiring friendship. This is part one of a trilogy that is sure to captivate all of our hearts.

Buy it: Orris and Timble at Amazon

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