Second Grade Summer Reading List

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based on 39 ratings
May 16, 2011
Updated on Mar 31, 2014

It's tough to get kids practicing their academic skills over the summer months when all they want to do is have fun, but get them into a good book, and they won't even notice they're keeping their literacy skills sharp, they'll just be engrossed in a great adventure! In search of some engrossing summer reads for your second grader? Look no further. We've combed the shelves for this list of brand new titles that will exhilarate, fascinate and, yes... educate.

Our 2012 Summer Reading List

The Unforgotten Coat, by Frank Cottrell Boyce. This is a sweet and intriguing story about a mysterious pair of brothers from Mongolia, Chingis and Nergui, who appear out of nowhere for the sixth grade summer term. Our narrator Julie and the rest of her class are fascinated by the odd boys who always wear heavy fur coats and are in constant fear of a demon who is trying to make them vanish. After finding a stack of polaroids taken that summer, grown-up Julie reminisces about her magical days with the brothers, being their “good guide” and attempting to help them ward off a relentless, invisible demon. (Candlewick, $11.67)

Library Dragon, by Carmen Agra Deedy. Sunrise Elementary has landed a new librarian, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Miss Lotta Scales, a dragon with a “burning love of books,” has taken fiery guard over the collection. After many harrowing encounters, would-be readers begin to avoid the library altogether. Enter Molly, the nearsighted heroine, who charms and disarms the volatile librarian with the simple act of reading aloud. The plot of the book is accessible for younger readers, but the dry humor and fire-related puns make it challenging and appealing for older kids. The illustrations include subtle details and jokes, making this a very clever and engaging read. (Peachtree, $12.37)

Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart, by Mary Ann Hoberman, Illustrated by Michael Emberley. Frost, Milne, Sandburg, Stevenson, Tolkien...Think your child is too young for these poets? Think again. In this wonderful anthology of poems from classic and contemporary authors, former children’s poet laureate Mary Ann Hoberman presents poems that are accessible and downright fun to read aloud. Hoberman encourages children to learn their favorite poems by heart with tricks and tips for memorization, and Emberely’s quirky illustrations fuel the imagination.(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $11.88)

Goofballs #2: The Startling Story of the Stolen Statue, by Tony Abbott, Illustrated by Colleen Madden. Meet Goofballs and best friends: Jeff, Brian, Kelly and Mara. They solve mysteries...goofball mysteries, that is (like the totally incredible pizza disaster). This is a great starter chapter book for kids looking for a little mystery and a lot of puns. Look for book three in fall of 2012! (Egmont, $11.89)

Our 2011 Summer Reading List

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer by Meg McDonald. If you don’t know Judy Moody, you’ll certainly know her by summer, when she’s splashed across movie screens nationwide. So, quick! Before Hollywood shares Judy Moody with your kids, get them the books, and top it off with this final installment. This beginning chapter book series boasts what few others in the aisle can claim: a smart, funny, and enthusiastic heroine that’s just as appealing to parents as she is to kids. Don’t be surprised if your kid is so buried in these chapters that she bangs into furniture as she makes her way across the room. A delicious addiction! (Candlewick, $5.99)

Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg. Some things just can't be made up: like the fact that the first successful tumble over Niagara Falls happened in the autumn of 1901 and was carried out by a retired charm school teacher. But why and how did this 62-year-old teacher risk it? Photograph-like illustrations leading up to this historic event fill the pages of this tasty treat from  Chris Van Allsburg, author and illustrator of such beloved children’s books as The Polar Express and Jumanji. It’s an interesting look at what fame can do, and what the search for it has inspired people to try.  (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, $12.91)

Summer According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney. Summer might be exciting for most, but for Humphrey, the classroom hamster, it’s a scary proposition: all the kids leave. But fate has something in store for this feisty and high-strung hamster... camp! This irresistible narrative, told from a hamster’s point of view, is a slam dunk for summer. Funny, silly, and just the right tone and pace for carefree days, the text is rich enough for fluent readers, but sweet as a summer smoothie. (Penguin, $5.99)

Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream, by Jenny Han with pictures by Julia Kuo. Call her Clara Lee instead of just Clara, like everybody does. “It just sounds better that way. Like peanut butter and jelly, like trick-or-treat... those words just go together.” Clara Lee is a big sister, a granddaughter, she's full of imaginative and bright similes, and she has a dream. She'll tell you about it. Along the way of trying to turn her dream into reality, Clara Lee learns lessons that help her be a better friend and person. With a charming heroine and cheerful pencil illustrations, this book makes the jump from picture books to chapter books short and sweet. (Little, Brown Books, $11.24)

Ragweed by Avi, illustrated by Brian Floca. This prequel to The Poppy Stories is jam-packed with adventure, and a pure delight for advanced second grade readers. Our hero, a country mouse who sets off for life in the city, finds himself leading a mouse-rising against two very scary cats. Full of excitement, as well as a liberal usage of the word “dude”, this book manages to sneak in some pretty advanced vocabulary, while feeding kids plenty of words in their comfort zone. A great start to a crackerjack series that's perfect for summer.  (HarperCollins, $5.99)


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