There is a wealth of brilliant books to share with children in Year 2. Now old enough to sit and listen to longer stories, many 6 and 7 year olds start to enjoy chapter books at this age. Picture books remain important at this age too, both for independent reading and for shared storytimes with adults, where the words and pictures can be discussed and enjoyed together. Children at this age are often able to handle an increasing complexity of themes, including learning to empathise where characters experience a range of emotions and new experiences. Funny books are hugely popular with this age group, as are visually appealing and highly illustrated non-fiction texts covering topics of interest.
With this in mind, our team has carefully selected a balance of different types of books to engage Year 2 children in reading for pleasure – either for reading independently or together with an adult. Some of the stories in the collection are chosen especially for making children laugh – we love Simon Philip’s joyfully playful You Must Bring a Hat, the hilariously bold and slapstick fun of How to be Cooler than Cool and the rainbow-haired babysitter who gets the children into all kinds of scrapes in the madcap Marge in Charge series. Other stories in this reading list help readers to see what life is like in faraway habitats, taking readers on a trip to the tropics in The Rainforest Book, to the Arctic in Michael Morpurgo’s beautiful story of freedom and captivity, The Rainbow Bear, and to the underwater world of The Whale Who Wanted More. Poetry and rhyme feature too, and we recommend Elli Woodard’s alphabet menagerie in Perfectly Peculiar Pets and, particularly brilliant for poetry performances, Joseph Coelho’s Poems Aloud.
Many of the stories help to explore real-life experiences for particular characters – join with creative young Isabel navigating living with family poverty in The Invisible, with Asiya as she eagerly watches her sister’s first day wearing hijab in The Proudest Blue, or Lubna’s beautiful story of looking for friendship far from home in the refugee-themed picture book Lubna and Pebble. Other books in the collection help to develop an understanding of feelings, like the illustrated A-Z poetry collection An Emotional Menagerie. Environmental concerns and themes of protecting the planet are also well represented on the list, like the gentle picturebook introduction to plastic pollution in Somebody Swallowed Stanley, or Isabel Otter and Clara Anganuzzi’s beautifully poignant love letter to our planet in Dear Earth.
If you are looking for classic stories for Year 2, we’ve included some favourites that have been entertaining children for generations, like the imaginative adventures in The Enchanted Wood or Jeff Brown’s much-loved Flat Stanley. Other books on the list are brand new for 2022, such as the entertaining and informative A Bear’s Guide to Beekeeping or the action-packed early chapter book Marv the Mega Robot.
A number of chapter books suitable for 6 and 7 year olds are included on the list. For storytime read-alouds or class novels, try Martin’s Mice, the Marge in Charge series or the giggle-worthy illustrated adventure The Legend of Kevin. For newly independent readers looking for their first chapter books, we recommend Alex T Smith’s colour-illustrated Claude books, The Naughtiest Unicorn or the comic-book style Investigators series. For more chapter book ideas, be sure to check out our separate booklists listing recommended KS1 Storytime Chapter Books or First Chapter Books for Independent Reading.
We’ve included a stellar selection of visually appealing non-fiction for Year 2 on this list, from Yuval Zommer’s beautifully illustrated The Big Book of the Blue, to the inspirational biography of Katherine Johnson in Counting on Katherine, to the nature-packed The Most Important Animal of All, which was voted KS1 winner in our Books of the Year Award. If you are looking for books themed around a particular topic, head over to our KS1 topic booklists.
You can find out more about the process of collating our Recommended Reads booklists here.
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