Check out the 50 best read aloud books for 2nd grade with suggestions for the whole year that 2nd graders love and so will you!
Looking for the best read aloud books for 2nd grade? These fiction and nonfiction / informational text books are ones that your second graders will enjoy and want to talk about. A variety of books for every major holiday and time of year. From back to school to Halloween to the end of the year, you need these read aloud books for 2nd grade.
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THE OLDEST STUDENT BY RITA LORRAINE HUBBARD
In 1848, Mary Walker was born into slavery. At age 15, she was freed, and by age 20, she was married and had her first child. By age 68, she had worked numerous jobs, including cooking, cleaning, babysitting, and selling sandwiches to raise money for her church. At 114, she was the last remaining member of her family. Finally at 116, she learned to read. From Rita Lorraine Hubbard and rising star Oge More comes the inspirational story of Mary Walker, a woman whose long life spanned from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, and who–with perseverance and dedication–proved that you’re never too old to learn. This book checks all of the boxes of a great mentor text also making my list the best children’s books for Black History Month and picture books for Women’s History Month.
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THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OF MR. MORRIS LESSMORE
Morris Lessmore loved words. He loved stories. He loved books. But every story has its ups and downs. Everything in Morris Lessmore’s life, including his own story, is scattered to the winds. But the power of story will save the day. Stunningly brought to life by William Joyce, one of the preeminent creators in children’s literature, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a modern masterpiece, showing that in today’s world of traditional books, eBooks, and apps, it’s story that we truly celebrate—and this story, no matter how you tell it, begs to be read again and again and sometimes even you yourself do the writing for someone else to read.
A CHILD OF BOOKS BY OLIVER JEFFERS
A little girl sails her raft across a sea of words, arriving at the house of a small boy and calling him away on an adventure. Through forests of fairy tales and across mountains of make-believe, the two travel together on a fantastical journey that unlocks the boy’s imagination. Now a lifetime of magic and adventure lies ahead of him . . . but who will be next? For lovers of Oliver Jeffers and reading alike!
HOW TO READ A BOOK BY KWAME ALEXANDER
Find a tree—a, black tupelo or, dawn redwood will do—and, plant yourself.
(It’s okay if you prefer a stoop, like Langston Hughes.)
With these words, an adventure begins. Kwame Alexander’s evocative poetry and Melissa Sweet’s lush collage artwork come together to take readers on a sensory journey between the pages of a book. A truly amazing book about reading that is also one of my favorite children’s books of poetry.
Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion by Jane Barclay
Much has been written about war and remembrance, but very little of it has been for young children. As questions come from a young grandchild, his grandpa talks about how, as a very young man, he was as proud as a peacock in uniform, busy as a beaver on his Atlantic crossing, and brave as a lion charging into battle. Soon, the old man’s room is filled with an imaginary menagerie as the child thinks about different aspects of wartime. But as he pins medals on his grandpa’s blazer and receives his own red poppy in return, the mood becomes more somber.
Outside, the crowd gathered for the veterans’ parade grows as quiet as a mouse, while men and women — old and young — march past in the rain. A trumpet plays and Grandpa lays a wreath in memory of his lost friend. Just then, the child imagines an elephant in the mist. “Elephants never forget,” he whispers to his grandpa. “Then let’s be elephants,” says the old man, as he wipes water from his eyes and takes his grandson’s hand. A touching read aloud book for 2nd grade that is also one of my favorite books for Memorial Day.
I’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton
I’m Trying to Love Spiders will help you see these amazing arachnids in a whole new light, from their awesomely excessive eight eyes, to the seventy-five pounds of bugs a spider can eat in a single year! And you’re sure to feel better knowing you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than being fatally bit by a spider. Comforting, right? No? Either way, there’s heaps more information in here to help you forget your fears . . . or at least laugh a lot!
Ada Twist, Scientists by Andrea Beaty
Ada Twist’s head is full of questions. Like her classmates Iggy and Rosie—stars of their own New York Times bestselling picture books Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer—Ada has always been endlessly curious. Even when her fact-finding missions and elaborate scientific experiments don’t go as planned, Ada learns the value of thinking her way through problems and continuing to stay curious. A really great book for talking about the scientific method and what it is that scientists actually do: ask questions!
Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty
Some kids sculpt sand castles. Other make mud pies. Some construct great block towers. But none are better at building than Iggy Peck, who once erected a life-size replica of the Great Sphinx on his front lawn! It’s too bad that few people appreciate Iggy’s talent—certainly not his second-grade teacher, Miss Lila Greer. It looks as if Iggy will have to trade in his T square for a box of crayons . . . until a fateful field trip proves just how useful a mast builder can be.
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
Rosie Revere dreamed of becoming a great engineer. Where some people see rubbish, Rosie sees inspiration. Alone in her room at night, shy Rosie constructs great inventions from odds and ends. Hot dog dispensers, helium pants, python-repelling cheese hats: Rosie’s gizmos would astound—if she ever let anyone see them.
Afraid of failure, she hides them away under her bed. Until a fateful visit from her great-great-aunt Rose (AKA Rosie the Riveter!), who shows her that the first flop isn’t something to fear—it’s something to celebrate. And you can only truly fail, if you quit.
Sofia Valdez, Future Prez by Andrea Beaty
Every morning, Abuelo walks Sofia to school . . . until one day, when Abuelo hurts his ankle at a local landfill and he can no longer do so. Sofia (aka Sofi) misses her Abuelo and wonders what she can do about the dangerous Mount Trashmore. Then she gets an idea—the town can turn the slimy mess into a park! She brainstorms and plans and finally works up the courage to go to City Hall—only to be told by a clerk that she can’t build a park because she’s just a kid! Sofia is down but not out, and she sets out to prove what one kid can do. In addition to being one of my favorite read aloud books for 2nd grade, this is also an excellent book for Presidents Day for talking about government.
Max Goes to the Space Station by Jeffrey Bennett
The long-awaited prequel to the other books in the Science Adventures with Max the Dog series, this installment follows Max on his trip to the International Space Station where he shares in the adventures of astronaut life and helps save everyone from a potential disaster along the way. The books in this series are some of my favorite read aloud books for 2nd grade because they were also read from the International Space Station and filmed for kids to watch! There are certainly other great books about space and space exploration, but the 2nd graders always love animal protagonists, am I right?
Max Goes to the Moon by Jeffrey Bennett
Max the Dog and a young girl named Tori take the first trip to the Moon since the Apollo era, and their trip proves so inspiring to people back on Earth that all the nations of the world come together to build a great Moon colony. From the colony, the views of Earth make everyone realize how small and precious planet Earth is.
Max Goes to Mars by Jeffrey Bennett
Come with Max as he takes off on his next exciting science adventure, this time joining astronauts on the first human mission to Mars. Equipped with a specially designed spacesuit, Max sniffs for signs of microscopic life. Will he find any? Read the exciting story to find out, and to learn how his trip to Mars helps his young friend Tori reflect on the beauty and fragility of our own planet Earth. Max Goes to Mars is more than just a fun story. Educationally designed “Big Kid Boxes” along the sides of the pages help children and parents learn about Mars as the adventure unfolds. This is great with all of the recent activity on Mars.
Max Goes to Jupiter by Jeffrey Bennett
The final installment of the Max the Dog Science Adventures set far into the future when exploration of Jupiter becomes possible. They visit several of Jupiter’s moons and learn a great deal about how space travel may take place some time in the future.
A Crankenstein Valentine by Samantha Berger
Cheesy cards, allergy-inducing bouquets, and heart-shaped everything? YECHHHH! It’s enough to turn anyone into a monster! An ordinary kid becomes Crankenstein on the most lovey-dovey, yuckiest day of the year: Valentine’s Day. Can Crankenstein find a way to turn his sour day sweet? Can a monster find a little love in his heart?
Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio
Mortimer is looking for love. And he’s looking everywhere! He tried working out at the gym (if only his arm wouldn’t keep falling off). He’s tried ballroom dancing lessons (but the ladies found him to be a bit stiff). He’s even been on stalemate.com. How’s a guy supposed to find a ghoul? When it seems all hope has died, could the girl of Mortimer’s dreams be just one horrifying shriek away? In addition to being one of the funniest read aloud books for 2nd grade, it’s also one of my favorite books for Valentine’s Day!
Manfish by Jennifer Berne
Before Jacques Cousteau became an internationally known oceanographer and champion of the seas, he was a curious little boy. In this lovely biography, poetic text and gorgeous paintings combine to create a portrait of Jacques Cousteau that is as magical as it is inspiring.
On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne
Travel along with Einstein on a journey full of curiosity, laughter, and scientific discovery. Parents and children alike will appreciate this moving story of the powerful difference imagination can make in any life.
Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall
Watch the days and seasons pass as the wind blows, the fog rolls in, and icebergs drift by. Outside, there is water all around. Inside, the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his family unfolds as the keeper boils water for tea, lights the lamp’s wick, and writes every detail in his logbook. Step back in time and through the door of this iconic lighthouse into a cozy dollhouse-like interior with the extraordinary award-winning artist Sophie Blackall.
A Bike Like Sergio’s by Maribeth Boelts
Ruben feels like he is the only kid without a bike. His friend Sergio reminds him that his birthday is coming, but Ruben knows that the kinds of birthday gifts he and Sergio receive are not the same. After all, when Ruben’s mom sends him to Sonny’s corner store for groceries, sometimes she doesn’t have enough money for everything on the list. So when Ruben sees a dollar bill fall out of someone’s purse, he picks it up and puts it in his pocket. But when he gets home, he discovers it’s not one dollar or even five or ten—it’s a hundred-dollar bill, more than enough for a new bike just like Sergio’s! But what about the crossed-off groceries? And what about the woman who lost her money? A really great book for character education.
The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett
When Aloo-ki glances up from fishing and sees her sled dogs floating off on an ice floe, she races after them. She comes upon an igloo with no one home and goes inside. Turns out the polar bear family who lives there is out walking while their breakfast cools off. Aloo-ki eats some soup, tries on their boots, and finally crawls into the smallest bed for a nap. Meanwhile, Papa, Mama, and Baby Bear see her dogs adrift, swim out to rescue them and return home to find Aloo-ki fast asleep in Baby Bear’s bed.
With the focus in second grade on fairy tales, in addition to being one of my favorite read aloud books for 2nd grade, it’s also an excellent fractured fairy tale!
Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin
From Algonquin Indian folklore comes one of the most haunting, powerful versions of the Cinderella tale ever told. In a village by the shores of Lake Ontario lived an invisible being. All the young women wanted to marry him because he was rich, powerful, and supposedly very handsome. But to marry the invisible being the women had to prove to his sister that they had seen him. And none had been able to get past the sister’s stern, all-knowing gaze. Then came the Rough-Face girl, scarred from working by the fire. Could she succeed where her beautiful, cruel sisters had failed?
The Most Perfect Snowman by Chris Britt
Drift was a very plain snowman. Every day he dreamed of wearing a stylish hat, a scarf, and mittens just like the other snowmen—and, most of all, having a pointy orange carrot nose. Then, he knew, he would finally be perfect—and he would finally belong. Until one special, snowy day, Drift’s deepest dreams come true. But when dark clouds roll in and a terrible blizzard begins to blow, can Drift face giving up what he loves most and become the most perfect snowman of all? This is also one of my favorite books about winter!
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown
Marisol McDonald has flaming red hair and nut-brown skin. Polka dots and stripes are her favorite combination. She prefers peanut butter and jelly burritos in her lunch box. And don’t even think of asking her to choose one or the other activity at recess—she’ll just be a soccer playing pirate princess, thank you very much. To Marisol McDonald, these seemingly mismatched things make perfect sense together.
Unfortunately, they don’t always make sense to everyone else. Other people wrinkle their nose in confusion at Marisol—can’t she just be one or the other? Try as she might, in a world where everyone tries to put this biracial, Peruvian-Scottish-American girl into a box, Marisol McDonald doesn’t match. And that’s just fine with her. This is an amazing diverse picture book to share with your students.
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
Knocked from her mother’s safe embrace by an attacking owl, Stellaluna lands headfirst in a bird’s nest. This adorable baby fruit bat’s world is literally turned upside down when she is adopted by the occupants of the nest and adapts to their peculiar bird habits. Two pages of notes at the end of the story provide factual information about bats.
The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
Lynne Cherry journeyed deep into the rain forests of Brazil to write and illustrate this gorgeous picture book about a man who exhausts himself trying to chop down a giant kapok tree. While he sleeps, the forest’s residents, including a child from the Yanomamo tribe, whisper in his ear about the importance of trees and how “all living things depend on one another” . . . and it works. Cherry’s lovingly rendered colored pencil and watercolor drawings of all the “wondrous and rare animals” evoke the lush rain forests. Features stunning world maps bordered by detailed illustrations of fascinating rainforest creatures.
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it—Yoon-Hey. A beautiful diverse book about names.
Teach Us Your Name by Huda Essa
Embracing the diversity of our names is one of the first steps we can take to show our appreciation of diversity and inclusion. Everyone has a name and every name has a story. Teach Us Your Name focuses on the many stories and ways we can all connect by helping children take pride in their many identities and to utilize the opportunity to learn from others. This book lends itself to countless invaluable discussions about cultural norms, languages, unconscious bias, and much more. This book literally changed how I approach learning students’ names each year.
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
Barbara Cooney’s story of Alice Rumphius, who longed to travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful, has a timeless quality that resonates with each new generation. The countless lupines that bloom along the coast of Maine are the legacy of the real Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady, who scattered lupine seeds everywhere she went. Miss Rumphius received the American Book Award in the year of publication.
Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell
A girl is lost in a snowstorm. A wolf cub is lost, too. How will they find their way home? A Caldecott Medal winner about not judging a book by its cover with limited enough wording to be classified as a wonderful wordless book in addition to one of the best read aloud books for 2nd grade, especially in winter.
Click Clack Moo by Doreen Cronin
Farmer Brown has a problem. His cows like to type. All day long he hears:
Click, clack, MOO.
Click, clack, MOO.
Clickety, clack, MOO.
But Farmer Brown’s problems REALLY begin when his cows start leaving him notes….A really great book for talking about how to write a letter.
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena
Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.
The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola
In Mexico, the poinsettia is called flor de la Nochebuena, flower of the Holy Night. At Christmastime, the flower blooms and flourishes, the quite exquisite red stars lighting up the countryside.
This Mexican legend tells how the poinsettia came to be, through a little girl’s unselfish gift to the Christ Child. Beloved Newbery honor-winning author and Caldecott honor-winning illustrator Tomie dePaola has embraced the legend using his own special feeling for Christmas. His glorious paintings capture not only the brilliant colors of Mexico and its art, but also the excitement of the children preparing for Christmas and the hope of Lucida, who comes to see what makes a gift truly beautiful. Tomie dePaola’s Christmas books are certainly some of the best read aloud books for 2nd grade and also for just the holiday season in general.
The Legend of Old Befana by Tomie dePaola
In this beloved classic picture book, Tomie dePaola retells and illustrates an Italian Christmas folk tale, breathing warmth and humanity into the character of the lonely Old Befana and her endless search for the Christ Child. Every morning and every afternoon, Old Befana sweeps with her broom. “Cranky old lady,” the children say. “She is always sweeping!” Sweep, sweep, sweep. But when a brilliant star glows in the eastern sky one night, and Old Befana encounters the glorious procession of three kings on their way to Bethlehem, her little world will never be the same.
Dancing Hands by Margarita Engle
As a little girl, Teresa Carreño loved to let her hands dance across the beautiful keys of the piano. If she felt sad, music cheered her up, and when she was happy, the piano helped her share that joy. Soon she was writing her own songs and performing in grand cathedrals. Then a revolution in Venezuela forced her family to flee to the United States. Teresa felt lonely in this unfamiliar place, where few of the people she met spoke Spanish. Worst of all, there was fighting in her new home, too—the Civil War.
Still, Teresa kept playing, and soon she grew famous as the talented Piano Girl who could play anything from a folk song to a sonata. So famous, in fact, that President Abraham Lincoln wanted her to play at the White House! Yet with the country torn apart by war, could Teresa’s music bring comfort to those who needed it most? This is also a great book for Hispanic Heritage Month!
Giant Squid by Candace Fleming
The giant squid is one of the most elusive creatures in the world. As large as whales, they hide beyond reach deep within the sea, forcing scientists to piece together their story from those clues they leave behind. An injured whale’s ring-shaped scars indicate an encounter with a giant squid. A piece of beak broken off in the whale’s belly; a flash of ink dispersed as a blinding defense to allow the squid to escape– these fragments of proof were all we had . . . until a giant squid was finally filmed in its natural habitat only two years ago.
Honeybee by Candace Fleming
A tiny honeybee emerges through the wax cap of her cell. Driven to protect and take care of her hive, she cleans the nursery and feeds the larvae and the queen. But is she strong enough to fly? Not yet! Apis builds wax comb to store honey, and transfers pollen from other bees into the storage. She defends the hive from invaders. And finally, she begins her new life as an adventurer.
The confining walls of the hive fall away as Apis takes to the air, finally free, in a brilliant double-gatefold illustration where the clear blue sky is full of promise– and the wings of dozens of honeybees, heading out in search of nectar to bring back to the hive. With the focus on the plight of honeybees, this is also an excellent book for Earth Day!
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein
In 1974, French aerialist Philippe Petit threw a tightrope between the two towers of the World Trade Center and spent an hour walking, dancing, and performing high-wire tricks a quarter mile in the sky. This picture book captures the poetry and magic of the event with a poetry of its own: lyrical words and lovely paintings that present the detail, daring, and–in two dramatic foldout spreads– the vertiginous drama of Petit’s feat. An interesting read aloud book for 2nd grade that is great to read for September 11th.
Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho
A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers’. They have big, round eyes and long lashes. She realizes that her eyes are like her mother’s, her grandmother’s, and her little sister’s. They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future.
Drawing from the strength of these powerful women in her life, she recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self-love and empowerment. This powerful, poetic picture book will resonate with readers of all ages. An amazing book to read about loving who you are or for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May!
The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers
The animals’ homes are disappearing. Tree by tree, the forest is being cut down. Clues! There must be clues. For instance, look–there is a mysterious bear carrying an ax! But what would a bear want with so many trees? Perhaps the discarded paper airplanes littering the forest floor have a story to tell? A really great book for studying the mystery genre!
This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers
Wilfred is a boy with rules. He lives a very orderly life. It’s fortunate, then, that he has a pet who abides by rules, such as not making noise while Wilfred educates him on his record collection. There is, however, one rule that Wilfred’s pet has difficulty following: Going whichever way Wilfred wants to go. Perhaps this is because Wilfred’s pet doesn’t quite realize that he belongs to anyone.
A moose can be obstinate in such ways. Fortunately, the two manage to work out a compromise. A hilarioius book about friendship when friendship comes hard.
The Bad Seed by Jory John
This is a book about a bad seed. A baaaaaaaaaad seed. How bad? Do you really want to know? He has a bad temper, bad manners, and a bad attitude. He’s been bad since he can remember! This seed cuts in line every time, stares at everybody and never listens. But what happens when one mischievous little seed changes his mind about himself, and decides that he wants to be—happy?
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
Morris Lessmore loved words. He loved stories. He loved books. But every story has its upsets. Everything in Morris Lessmore’s life, including his own story, is scattered to the winds. But the power of story will save the day. This is a story that I really love to read at the end of the school year to celebrate reading and readers to encourage kids to read over the summer.
Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller
Mr. Rabbit’s new neighbors are Otters. OTTERS! But he doesn’t know anything about otters. Will they get along? Will they be friends? Just treat otters the same way you’d like them to treat you, advises Mr. Owl. In her smart, playful style Laurie Keller highlights how to be a good friend and neighbor―simply follow the Golden Rule! This title has Common Core connections that make it great for back to school time!
Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen
Miss Merriweather, the head librarian, is very particular about rules in the library. No running allowed. And you must be quiet. But when a lion comes to the library one day, no one is sure what to do. There aren’t any rules about lions in the library. And, as it turns out, this lion seems very well suited to library visiting. His big feet are quiet on the library floor. He makes a comfy backrest for the children at story hour. And he never roars in the library, at least not anymore. But when something terrible happens, the lion quickly comes to the rescue in the only way he knows how.
The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad
With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It’s the start of a brand new year and, best of all, it’s her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab–a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful, and in the face of hurtful, confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong. This is agreat story for Women’s History Month!
Mary Wears What She Wants by Keith Negley
Once upon a time (but not that long ago), girls only wore dresses. And only boys wore pants. Until one day, a young girl named Mary had an idea: She would wear whatever she wanted. And she wanted to wear pants! Your students will not be able to believe that this is a true story! My students talked about this book endlessly, making it an easy add to my list of the best read aloud books for 2nd grade.
The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
Her teacher smiled. “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.” Art class is over, but Vashti is sitting glued to her chair in front of a blank piece of paper. The words of her teacher are a gentle invitation to express herself. But Vashti can’t draw – she’s no artist. To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark. “There!” she says.
That one little dot marks the beginning of Vashti’s journey of surprise and self-discovery. That special moment is the core of Peter H. Reynolds’s delicate fable about the creative spirit in all of us. A truly inspiring children’s book about growth mindset.
You Matter by Christian Robinson
In this full, bright, and beautiful picture book, many different perspectives around the world are deftly and empathetically explored—from a pair of bird-watchers to the pigeons they’re feeding. Young readers will be drawn into the luminous illustrations inviting them to engage with the world in a new way and see how everyone is connected, and that everyone matters.
After the Fall by Dan Santat
Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat’s poignant tale follows Humpty Dumpty, an avid bird watcher whose favorite place to be is high up on the city wall―that is, until after his famous fall. Now terrified of heights, Humpty can longer do many of the things he loves most. Will he summon the courage to face his fear?
Just Ask! by Sonia Sotomayor
Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful.
In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges–and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we’re not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask. This is a great children’s book about disabilities.
Brave Irene by William Steig
Brave Irene is Irene Bobbin, the dressmaker’s daughter. Her mother, Mrs. Bobbin, isn’t feeling so well and can’t possibly deliver the beautiful ball gown she’s made for the duchess to wear that very evening. So plucky Irene volunteers to get the gown to the palace on time, in spite of the fierce snowstorm that’s brewing– quite an errand for a little girl.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way, as Irene proves in the danger-fraught adventure that follows. She must defy the wiles of the wicked wind, her most formidable opponent, and overcome many obstacles before she completes her mission.
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by Jonathan Steptoe
This is the story of Mufaro, who is proud of his two beautiful daughters. Nyasha is kind and considerate, but everyone—except Mufaro—knows that Manyara is selfish and bad-tempered. When the Great King decides to take a wife and invites the most worthy and beautiful daughters in the land to appear before him, Mufaro brings both of his daughters—but only one can be queen. Who will the king choose? A great retelling of the Cinderella fairytale.
Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet
Everyone’s a New Yorker on Thanksgiving Day, when young and old rise early to see what giant new balloons will fill the skies for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Who first invented these “upside-down puppets”? Meet Tony Sarg, puppeteer extraordinaire! In brilliant collage illustrations, the award-winning artist Melissa Sweet tells the story of the puppeteer Tony Sarg, capturing his genius, his dedication, his zest for play, and his long-lasting gift to America—the inspired helium balloons that would become the trademark of Macy’s Parade. One of the best Thanksgiving children’s books for the primary grades.
The Water Princess by Susan Verde
With its wide sky and warm earth, Princess Gie Gie’s kingdom is a beautiful land. But clean drinking water is scarce in her small African village. And try as she might, Gie Gie cannot bring the water closer; she cannot make it run clearer. Every morning, she rises before the sun to make the long journey to the well. Instead of a crown, she wears a heavy pot on her head to collect the water. After the voyage home, after boiling the water to drink and clean with, Gie Gie thinks of the trip that tomorrow will bring. And she dreams. She dreams of a day when her village will have cool, crystal-clear water of its own.
Biblioburro by Jeanette Winter
Luis loves to read, but soon his house in Colombia is so full of books there’s barely room for the family. What to do? Then he comes up with the perfect solution—a traveling library! He buys two donkeys—Alfa and Beto (as in alphabet)—and travels with them throughout the land, bringing books and reading to the children in faraway villages.
Complete with an author’s note about the real man on whom this story is based. A lovely biography for Hispanic Heritage Month!
Lon Po Po by Ed Young
This Caldecott Medal-winning, classic retelling of Little Red Riding Hood is one of the most celebrated picture books of our time, let alone one of the best read aloud books for 2nd grade. With characteristic flair and energy, award-winning artist Ed Young illustrates the ancient Chinese version of the favorite fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. Young’s vibrant, yet delicate, pastels and watercolors add drama to the deftly translated story.
Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots by Michael Rex
Do you know the difference between a fact and an opinion? It can be a hard thing to understand. Some things are facts–like the number of robots in this book. Other things are opinions–like which robot would make the best friend, or which robot dances best. And sometimes to tell the difference between a fact and an opinion, you need to wait to get more information–that’s because facts can be proven true or false, and opinions are things you feel and believe–but that you can’t prove.
Best Read Aloud Books For 2nd Grade
What are some of your favorite read aloud books for 2nd grade? Are there any must-read read aloud books for 2nd grade that I left out? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it!