Our 8-year old son has been an independent reader for a few years, but his love for reading really grew this year.
He’s an energetic, athletic kid. He’s a “full speed ahead” type of boy, so it makes my heart happy to see him settle in for a long reading session.
He read over 100 chapter books in second grade, so asking him to pick his favorites was daunting. After much thought, he narrowed his “Top Picks” to 11 books.
As with any online recommendation, please use your own judgement to determine what’s best for your child. Read parental reviews such as Common Sense Media, read book reviews on Amazon, or pre-read the books to determine appropriateness for your child.
Below is our son’s recommended 2nd Grade Book List:
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Frindle by Andrew Clements
Frindle is an entertaining book about the power of words. Nick, the main character, isn’t necessarily a trouble-maker, but he is a creative thinker. He comes up with an idea that takes over the school, the town, and spreads beyond his control. It’s a delightful story that is also a great read aloud! (For more of our favorite read aloud series, visit this post.)
Our son read 3 more books by Andrew Clements this year and enjoyed them all. His runner-up for his favorite Andrew Clements book is We the Children: Benjamin Bratt and the Keepers of the School, which is a mystery. He’s reading other books in that series this summer.
Our son says, “There are jokes that all ages will understand. Frindle is about a boy who is very smart who invents something new. I liked it because I want to invent things when I grow up.”
The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
The Sign of the Beaver is a survival story set in the 1700s. A boy is left to “hold down the fort” at their new cabin while his father travels to get the rest of the family. Can you imagine? It’s a layered story about living in the wilderness and the power of friendship between two boys with different backgrounds.
Our son says, “I liked The Sign of the Beaver because I liked the boy and his Native American friend. There was a lot of adventure and I couldn’t imagine being that boy. Wow!”
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
Books are always better than the movie, and Mr. Popper’s Penguins is no exception! This classic is so entertaining. Who can resist a story about a house painter who is keeping penguins in his house? It is absurdly perfect. We have also used this book as an audiobook and have rolled with laughter at the penguins’ antics.
Our son says, “Mr. Popper’s Penguins is very funny! When reading it, you could really picture what’s going on and the hilarious things that happen.”
The Littles by John Peterson
There’s something intriguing about the fact that a tiny family may be living in the walls of a home. The Littles‘ ingenuity captivated our son. He’s enjoyed other books in the series but the original is still his favorite.
Our son says, “There were a lot of funny parts in The Littles. They like adventure, and I like adventure. I like this book and also The Littles Have a Party.”
Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary
Ralph S. Mouse is the third book in the series that begins with Mouse and the Motorcycle. In this final book, Ralph S Mouse goes to school with his human friend, Ryan. Our son has now completed the entire series, and this was his favorite.
Our son says, “Ralph S Mouse has a lot of relatives and a human friend named Ryan. It’s a pretty funny book and it’s cool that Ralph has a motorcycle.”
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a fantastic example of why we’re big fans of Kate DiCamillo. Our 8-year old could not put it down! Edward Tulane is a china rabbit who belongs to a sweet girl. One day, Edward Tulane gets lost, and his miraculous journey begins.
This story is about love & belonging. Our son has a special teddy bear that is a dear companion for him, so I think this story has a unique connection for him.
Our son says, “I liked this epic story. Even though it doesn’t have any really funny parts, it’s good because it’s a great adventure. You read all about his travels and all the interesting people he meets.”
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
When a child begins Little House in the Big Woods, they begin a grand adventure. This series by Laura Ingalls Wilder is a classic for good reason! Pioneer life, family relationships, adventure, and work ethic all wrapped into one timeless story.
Our son says, “This book teaches you how hard people had to work on the frontier. You learn how they celebrated holidays, made things, and took care of their home and family.”
The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh
For some reason, our son wasn’t too thrilled when I handed him The Courage of Sarah Noble, but it quickly became one of his favorite books of the year. Sarah Noble is an 8-year old who forges into the wilderness with her dad to build a family home. Throughout the story, Sarah learns that courage doesn’t mean you’re never afraid. It means you don’t let fear stop you.
“Courage doesn’t mean you’re never afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you” is one of our Words to Live By. We’ve developed 36 Life Phrases that we focus on throughout the year with our children, and this is one of them. To learn more about our Words to Live By, including a free list, you can visit this post.
Our son says, “Sarah was a brave girl who made friends with lots of people. She made friends with Native Americans and was courageous.”
The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
Doctor Doolittle discovers he can talk to animals. Doctor Doolittle is charming and kind, and the entire story is just delightful. It’s a classic for all kids but especially animal lovers!
Our son says, “It’s a cool story because he can talk to animals. He travels to bring the animals back where they belong and lots of wild things happen to them on their journey. They got out of every single bad thing and it’s pretty fun and entertaining.”
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
The Boxcar Children is another classic from a long series. We’ve listened to a few of the mysteries on audiobook, but the first book is definitely our favorite. It isn’t a mystery, but rather the story about how the Alden children ended up creating a home in a boxcar. The children are kind and loyal to each other, and their love for their siblings and commitment to stick together is lovely to read.
Our son says, “Boxcar Children is great because they create helpful items with things that other people look at as junk. They make that “junk” a part of their survival.”
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Can you believe the story of Robinson Crusoe is over 300 years old? This adventure story captivates the imagination and sends you on a journey filled with courage, ingenuity, and perseverance.
Our son says, “This is a very awesome story about adventure. Lots of exciting things happen to Robinson Crusoe. He worked hard and was creative to survive. It’s an epic story for sure.”