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Recommended Reads for Year 2: New Additions for 2024

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Recommended Reads: New Additions for Year 2

If you’ve previously purchased our 50 Recommended Reads pack for Year 2, then this list is for you! Update your collection with this special list of books which have been newly added to our 50 Recommended Reads list for Year 2.

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New Additions to our Year 2 List

Nicola Davies
 & Catherine Rayner

‘Emperor of the ice’ is a beautifully written story based on fact. The book informs the reader about the life of penguins through the year and the struggles they face.

The illustrations are stunning and help to make it clear what time of year each event takes place. The information at the back of the book about climate change and how it is affecting emperor penguins was clear and well-explained.

This is a great book for children in Year 2 and beyond to learn about the topic of polar regions. Highly recommended for the classroom.

Steve Smallman
 & Miguel Ordonez

When a big bear called Dave is least expecting it, the ‘eyebrows of doom’ leap onto his face, making him appear a little bit more grumpy than usual. While Dave is usually friendly, caring and gentle, the eyebrows give him the strong urge to do something extremely unkind. This hilarious picture book then uncovers the many nasty tricks and schemes that unfold as a result of these menacing ‘slug-like’ brows. But the eyebrows don’t stop at Dave the bear. They continue to move between many different suspects, causing multiple acts of mischief!

Expect children to be in hysterics over tricks involving frightening campers, smearing ice cream and covering people in poop (yes, you read it right!). This is an original and slightly anarchic concept that also explores the positives of teamwork and community problem-solving. At the end of the tale, the animals work together to get rid of the eyebrows, so they can get back to their peaceful afternoon. But have the eyebrows really gone forever..?

This is a highly entertaining young children’s book, which can be enjoyed by all members of the family. It is a hoot to read aloud to enjoy over and over again.

Esi Merleh
 & Abeeha Tariq
Chapter book

Alanna and Austin are at their Aunt Kessie’s art studio and find a magic face painting set that transports them onto a pirate ship and takes them on a grand adventure. As the two see a small ship approaching with two thieving pirates, they take on the task of protecting the New Leaf pirates.

This magical story is so vibrant and full of imagination. It is exactly the kind of story that children with wild imaginations love. This story transports the reader to a whole new  world with something as simple as a magic face-painting set

.This book would make a fantastic independent reading book for those just starting out with chapter books and is also perfect for anyone with a vivid imagination or who loves adventure stories.

!This is the first in an exciting new series starring the twins and their magic face paints along with their loveable dog Ozzy. In each book, they have an adventure in a different world, with superheroes and monsters following pirates. With friendly illustrations in colour on every spread plus short chapters, this is a recommended choice for newly confident readers looking for gentle adventure.

Zanna Davidson
 & Elissa Elwick
Chapter book
Meet Izzy the Inventor in the first of a laugh-out-loud series that brings together science, magic and a very lovable unicorn. Packed full of illustrations and easy-to-read text, this series is perfect for beginner readers and fans of Isadora Moon and The Naughtiest Unicorn.Izzy the Inventor LOVES science and does NOT believe in magic. That is until the day her Fairy Godmother appears and sends her to Fairytale Land to rescue Prince Charming from the Mountain of Doom, with an enthusiastic unicorn as her guide. To succeed, Izzy must use her science skills to outwit trolls, goblins and a bottomless lake of despair. But her quest will also teach her about the power of friendship and that we all need a little magic in our lives...Every book contains ideas for science experiments and a QR code with links for more to try at home. Coming soon: Izzy the Inventor and the Curse of Doom Izzy the Inventor and the Time Travelling Gnome
Jackie Morris
 & Cathy Fisher

The Panda’s Child offers a familiar traditional story set in a different culture and context. If readers are familiar with the fable ‘The Lion and the Mouse’, they will hear the resonances in this beautiful picture book.

The illustrations are exquisite and truly draw the reader in. The colours are vibrant in some illustrations and muted in others, to reflect strong changes in mood and atmosphere that enrich the storytelling. Sometimes the illustrations accompany the text and at other times they stand alone, inviting the reader to linger, to immerse themselves into the picture and to ponder on the inferences that can be made that foreshadow the climax of the story to come. There is a perfect arc to this story, which has been crafted into three chapters. This makes the story ideal to share with children either as a read-aloud or as part of a unit of literacy learning. This is a beautifully produced book and one that would be a fabulous addition to any class book library through the primary age range.

The Panda’s Child is the sort of book that requires reading and re-reading and plenty of time to dwell on the pictures and to raise questions about some of the motifs that appear throughout the book – the leaves and the red string, for example. Today, the only natural habitat left for the Panda is in China, but this story is set in the past and children may enjoy investigating where pandas used to live, – Myanmar and Vietnam for example  – and to consider the destruction of their natural environment. The relationship between humans and the Panda in this story mirrors the global environmental issues of today.

A wonderful book.

Chitra Soundar
 & Jenny Bloomfield

We All Celebrate is a brightly coloured non-fiction book about communal festivals and celebrations. The book explores all kinds of celebrations from around the globe, including well known special festivals like Eid-al-Fitr, Diwali and Dia de los Muertos and less well-known traditions, such as Nowruz (the Persian New Year) and Inti Raymi, which is the Winter Solstice festival in Peru.

The author showcases the joyfulness of community celebrations, the comfort of traditions and the excitement of preparing for planned festivities. The last part of the book explains that in many cultures, the way things are celebrated evolves over time, and that there are vast variations in the way people and places acknowledge festivals that to many children may sound familiar (like ‘New Year’).

Jenny Bloomfield’s uplifting illustrations highlight people gathered together and show some of the food, places, musical traditions and clothing associated with each festival.

Michael Rosen
 & Shoo Rayner

A collection of funny poetry, selected and curated by Michael Rosen purely to entertain and delight.

Clustered into groups that appeal to children’s common interests – food, animals, playground rhymes etc. – this collection will entertain children with a mixture of Michael Rosen’s own poems, verses by a range of famous poets, familiar-sounding traditional playground chants and tongue-twisters, and even poems written by primary children.

The thread that brings together the collection is that the poems are humorous in silly and subversive ways, with twists on old classics and brand new playful rhymes to discover.


Katie Cottle
From author-illustrator Katie Cottle comes a breath-taking journey about light pollution and saving the birdsWhen Ellie moves from her quiet village to a bustling city, she finds that the many different birds she loves to watch are missing. She stares out of her window, searches the skies on walks, but they are nowhere to be found. Then one night, she's visited by a giant starling which asks for her help. The birds are lost because of the shimmering glow from the city's bright lights.Night Flight is a hopeful, inspiring story about the power of using your voice.
Lydia Corry
With colourful pages thronging with modern city life, Mooncat and Me tells the story of Pearl as she overcomes the anxiety of moving house and starting a new school, with the help of a giant white cat.We can all empathise with Pearl's fear that 'I won't know anyone, and no one will know me' but as we watch her grow in confidence, we will learn that with a bit of imagination and determination, there's nothing we can't do.The gorgeous, brightly coloured illustrations are full of busy people filling pavements and buses and cars, or seen through the windows of their homes, leading their different lives. Mooncat's own calm and reassuring presence encourages Pearl to explore the vibrant city with her mother, and to face school, where she soon finds there are friends to be made.
Robin Jacobs
 & Nik Neves

The Mellons are a family of five who live in a small flat and have had enough of not having enough space so decide that they need a bigger family home. They look around some different houses but none of them are quite right so they decide to build their own house. Each family member has a request for something that the new home should have: a study, a big kitchen and even a pool. With the help of architect Masha, they set off creating their dream home, but with a bigger picture in mind – their impact on the environment.

This book follows the journey of designing and building a new house and how this can be done in a more ecological way thinking about each step and its impact on the environment – making it stand out from the array of books about more traditional houses and homes. A range of tradespeople are introduced, who are represented by a range of men and women. At each step, the green way is discussed and how this is better for the environment than the traditional building method – for example using solar panels and a green roof. Every aspect of the building process is examined and made more friendly for the planet.

The book was enjoyable to discover and included interesting facts and lots of technical vocabulary – with enough science to capture older children as well as younger primary pupils who will enjoy the visual information and narrative frame. New topic words are either explained in the text or included in the glossary at the back.

Adam Kay
 & Henry Paker

Adam Kay’s ‘Amy Gets Eaten’ is a gruesome yet hilarious book explaining what happens in our bodies when we eat food. Despite getting eaten, Amy (a positive and chirpy piece of sweetcorn), explains in child-friendly language the journey she takes from the mouth, through the stomach and out again into the toilet. Although told in a narrative style, this is really a non-fiction book that teaches children the science behind some of our human anatomy.

Throughout the story, while travelling through the small intestine, a wise old raisin teaches the reader how different food types help to make your body strong, active and healthy. The children get opportunities to interact with the book and recap, through cartoons, where the sweetcorn has travelled. Readers are also invited to make opinions on the strange food combinations the character of Noah has chosen to eat. My children have read this over and over, and every storytime ends in fits of laughter—a highly recommended short picture book for younger primary children.

Matty Long
Chapter book

A fun and easy-to-read book, and a good addition to the Year 2 book corner for enhancement when looking at fantasy creatures or adventure narratives.

Matty Long – known for Super Happy Magic Forest – has an iconic illustrative style that appeals to younger children. The main character Croaky Hopper is funny and the storyline moves quickly. Croaky is different to other frogs and not content to stay home when his dreams of wild adventures are just a leap away – especially when he signs up for Woggle Scouts and ends up on an expedition to find the legendary Sasquatch.

We love the vibrant character of Croaky and his energetic personality will resonate with readers in the age group of the intended audience – his thirst for adventure, his frustration at not being able to bound away and recklessly follow his dreams and his impulsive spirit that causes him to sometimes leap before he thinks. This story sells the benefit of being part of a club or team, and shows how different personalities can achieve their goals in different ways through working together.

The book feels like a chapter book, but the printed format is familiar to those who like picturebooks or early graphic novels. Children enjoy the full-colour illustrations and ease of reading. The text is large and the sentence structure is easy enough for children to understand and read in a short session.

Boundingly great fun for 5-8 year olds and with the promise of more in the series on the way, this is a winner of an early chapter book for newly independent readers.

Gavin Puckett
 & Allen Fatimaharan
Chapter book
Seascapes and landscapes, snowy-capped hills. Colourful tulips and gold daffodils. His art was incredible, vibrant and loud. Enough to make Pablo Picasso feel proud!When Blanksy the cat discovers a talent for painting murals he uses it to draw bigger and bigger crowds to help his friend Pete the busker become rich. But will money really make Pete happy?An entertaining story with fabulous illustrations by award-winning illustrator Allen Fatimaharan.
Poonam Mistry

Deep in the forest lives a little black panther.  Surrounded by wonder, his life should be idyllic … except that he’s different from the other cats.  They all seem so confident: Tiger has bold, fearless stripes, Lion’s mane shines like the sun and Leopard’s spots are dazzling.  When their taunts overwhelm him, Panther sets off on a quest to improve himself.  At first, he is intent on imitation, until, at last, the moon helps him to discover his own special beauty.

The reader has been able to see this beauty all along, through the intricately detailed illustrations which are influenced by traditional Indian art and textiles.  There’s no need for lengthy descriptions because these fascinating pictures illuminate the scene but the vivid word choices sparkle nevertheless.  This would make a great read-aloud book.  The ending, with its message of courage and self-acceptance, is uplifting and reassuring.

While the rhythm of the fable may be familiar from folklore, the manner of the telling is original and richly pleasurable.  I can see the book inspiring some wonderful art projects exploring lines, patterns and colour (each spread uses a particular palette), either using different methods of printing or computer programmes.  In maths, there would be possibilities for investigating symmetry and reflection.

With lyrically expressive language, gorgeous illustrations and a simple but empowering message, this is a magical book.

Charlotte Guillain
 & Jo Empson
Non-fiction Picturebook

The River that Flows Beside Me follows the course of a river from its source, high in the mountains, to its mouth where it meets the sea. It travels across a dam, past meadows and farms and, finally, through a town and a port. As we follow the river we see some of the wildlife which use it as a food source as well as a home. We see how different natural features are formed over time, such as an oxbow lake and a gorge. We also see how humans use the river, from farming to leisure activities such as canoeing as well as for transporting both people and goods.

The book contains a wealth of subject-specific vocabulary, especially if you are studying rivers, and is beautifully illustrated. The illustrations are labelled with points of interest (such as animal names) and the text is broken up into small, manageable chunks.

One of the best features of this book is that the pages fold out, allowing you to follow the whole course of the river as it flows across the pages. The pages themselves are made of a sturdy card which will stand up to many foldings and refoldings.

A gem of a book!

Jeanne Willis
 & Tony Ross

Troll Stinks makes for an excellent choice of book for today’s children and one with the potential to both entertain and spark meaningful discussions with primary children.

Billy the Goat and his friend Cyril are playing with a phone when they decide to send mean messages to the troll living under the bridge. Soon, the two friends discover that their online actions have had a significant impact on the troll’s feelings and that their messages were not such a fun idea after all.

The book is part of a series that spins traditional tales into the modern age and examines the impact of technology on children’s safety.

With more primary-aged children than ever having access to online messaging, the book is bound to open impactful classroom discussions. Even for children who do yet use their devices in this way, the broader themes of bullying, empathy, recognising the impact of words and stopping mean behaviour in its tracks will resonate with even the youngest children.

This important and entertaining story is a modern must-read.

David Almond
 & Gill Smith

This fantastic picture book is an uplifting tale of sky-high courage, imagination and the bond between father and son which will warm your heart.

Joe is starstruck, determined to find his way up to the magical lights in the night sky. But when Joe and his dad put their heads and hearts together, there’s no stopping them. Together they climb ladders, construct towers, and launch rockets in a spirited quest to reach something unreachable.

This story is full of magic and will inspire children to work hard to achieve their dreams. The narrative highlights the importance of imagination, perseverance and connection and is beautifully written by internationally acclaimed author David Almond and enhanced with stunning illustrations by Gill Smith.

Tom Schamp

This incredibly visual book is partly a history of the development of all things wheels around the world, and partly a guide to all types of vehicles from bikes to emergency vehicles.

It starts with the Stone Age and ends with predictions for future travel and in between, each and every way a human has moved with the aid of a wheel is described. Each double spread focuses on one aspect of travel, for example, ‘taxis’, and is full of drawings, surrounded by short facts, many puns, comments, questions and even instructions. Any reader young or old will revisit pages and discover something new each time such as when the first motorcycle was built or what spoilers do.

This book is certainly fun: there are drawings of animals as users of the vehicles with many different expressions and quotes and jokes, and the author has fun with the visuals – a chicken being chased by a snake which means the chicken tows a cart more quickly, for example! Although this book could be enjoyed independently by any age, it lends itself beautifully as a book to share and dip into and it is likely that plenty of discussion will arise.

There is so much to look at that this transport-themed book will most likely remain on a favourite browsing choice for some time.

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