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Year 2: 50 Recommended Reads

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recommended books for year 2 ages 6 to 7

Best Books for Y2 (Ages 6-7)

Our team has hand-picked 50 recommended books for Year 2 (children aged six and seven). Find the best books to top up your Y2 reading collections with our selection of storytime picturebooks, chapter books, funny stories, illustrated poetry collections, non-fiction texts and more. Keep an eye out for the odd mad-cap babysitter with rainbow hair, ferocious pirate dinosaurs and biscuit-loving flying ponies along the way…

We understand that finding the perfect book for children can be challenging, so we have carefully curated a list of recommended reads especially suited for Year 2 children. Our selection of books includes themes such as adventure, friendship, animals, mystery, and lots of laugh-out-loud favourites too.

The experts at BooksForTopics have hand-picked each book based on its age-appropriateness, quality content, engaging illustrations and ability to spark children’s imagination and creativity. This booklist includes popular Year 2 stories such as The Storm Whale, Flat Stanley and Traction Man, as well as some lesser-known storytime delights that we recommend for Y2, like Captain Flinn and the Pirate DinosaursEinstein the Penguin and Jory John’s hilarious gadget-obsessed spud, The Couch Potato.

So, if you are looking for top recommended books for your Year 2 children, our specially selected reading list has got you covered with books that have all been carefully matched to the age, developmental stage and interest level of children in Year 2.

As well as the Y2 booklist below to browse, we’ve also got a printable poster and downloadable checklist for you, and schools can purchase full sets of the books via Peters.

Scroll down to find more purchasing options and printable resources.

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Favourite Story Books for Year 2

Nadia Shireen

We love opening Nadia Shireen’s picturebooks, as the illustrations and warm humour never fail to bring a smile to our faces. This adventure features Shireen’s popular character Billy and her trusty feline friend, Fatcat. The pair uncover a mysterious message in a bottle at sea and attempt to outwit a pesky pirate crew. Billy and Fatcat are no strangers to danger and as always they put to action their quick thinking and bravery to wiggle out of even the most perilous situation – whether it’s toffee-eating sharks, tricksy mermaids or pongy pirates.

There’ so much to love about these stories – pirates, adventure, bravery and plenty of giggles. The story balances action and suspense with humour and the characters are richly drawn. The book works as a standalone as well as part of the wider series, which we also recommend. This is a great ‘read it again’ choice for storytime with Year 2.

Jory John
 & Pete Oswald

If you’ve ever made a New Year resolution to improve your fitness or get outside more, you might just relate to the journey of this hilarious spud. With everything he needs within arm’s reach of the sofa, this potato has it all – multiple TV screens, hundreds of video games and even a button that activates a snack-fetching gadget. He can’t see any reason at all to leave the couch… until the electricity cuts out. The potato steps foot outside and embarks upon a new-found appreciation of fresh air, exercise and the sounds and sights of the great outdoors. After some deep introspection, the potato sets himself a resolution to achieve a better balance between screentime and time enjoying the outdoor world.

This is a really funny book and is always a winner with children. As well as guaranteeing giggles, this story can provide an opportunity to reflect on healthy lifestyles, screentime limits and personal resolutions.

Giles Andreae
 & Russell Ayto

This super-popular picturebook that combines pirates, dinosaurs and plenty of action is always in high demand in the classroom.

While searching for some coloured pens to finish his dinosaur drawing at school, Flinn discovers Captain Stubble, a real pirate captain, in the art cupboard. Stubble informs Flinn that his ship, the Acorn, has been stolen, and he needs Flinn’s help to retrieve it. Flinn becomes the captain, and they set sail on an old pirate ship. However, they soon discover that the Acorn has been taken over by pirate dinosaurs! After a fierce battle, Captain Flinn and his crew regain control of the ship. They then return to the harbour undetected, sneaking back into the art cupboard …without the teacher realizing they were ever gone. We just love this brilliantly fun and imaginative picturebook that cries out to be read over and over again.

Benji Davies
Noi lives by the sea with his fisherman father and life there can feel pretty lonely sometimes. When Noi discovers a little whale washed up on the beach, he takes it home to care for it in his bath tub. But there are two problems; the first is that keeping it a secret from his dad will be tougher than he thinks and the second is that whales really belong in the depths of the sea. This engaging and empathetic picture book is a great choice for KS1.
Andrea Beaty
 & David Roberts

This story follows Aaron, a boy who loves stories but struggles with writing due to his difficulty in deciphering letters. But when his turn to write a story for the class comes around, inspiration strikes, and he finds another way to share his tale through the pictures he draws.

This book is part of a larger series that has gained popularity in schools, and for good reason. The other titles, such as “Rosie Revere, Engineer” and “Iggy Peck, Architect” are also engaging and give validity to the talents and strengths of each individual.

We love Aaron Slater, Illustrator as an empowering storytime read that can also lead to discussions about helping individuals find ways to personally thrive as well as touching on themes of dyslexia and the power of art.

Julia Patton

If you want a story for children that teaches us the value of being there for each other, no matter how confident or accomplished you are, this will hit the mark. Its main character is Bea, the fixer of broken things, and she is good at it. When adults around her seek help with fixing their broken things – even with an enormous spaceship – she responds with, “Don’t worry!” and off she goes and fixes it, and they love her for it.

Everything is going well, until Bea comes across a small item that she cannot fix, no matter how hard she tries. All those that she has helped seem far too busy with their working machines, and so she is left on her own to work out what to do, except she cannot find the solution even though it should be so simple. Sadness is encapsulated in Bea’s failure as she withdraws into her workshop and closes it. The value is not in her skill though, and others recognise that. And so she learns how it is the people around her that count.

As well as the range of emotions experienced by the main character, the illustrations on each page will also give the reader a lot to look at and discuss. This is a picturebook to re-read, share and treasure.

Michael Morpurgo
 & Michael Foreman

This longer picturebook is the story of a polar bear who dreams of exchanging his snowy white coat for new fur that is as colourful as the rainbow he sees in the sky one day. The bear’s conspicuous new appearance leads him to be captured and exhibited in a zoo.

This engaging and thought-provoking story by master storyteller Michael Morpurgo is coupled with beautiful illustrations, making it one of our top choices for storytime in Year 2 and the surrounding year groups.

Joe Todd-Stanton
From the award-winning Joe Todd-Stanton, comes an exquisite and heartfelt picture book touching on the bewildering experience of moving house. This beautiful story explores how this can affect a child's sense of belonging, but also how it can open them up to new and wonderful experiences.When Nyla has to leave her home in the countryside to start life again in the city, all she can think about is everything she misses from before. So when a comet comes crashing through the city streets and starts to glow and grow, Nyla can't resist a chance to head somewhere that feels closer to what she had before. But what starts as an escape could be just the thing to make her finally feel at home.

Popular Favourites with Year 2 Children

Ross Montgomery
 & Sarah Warburton

There’s something about penguin-themed stories that always seems to charm both children and adults. This Antarctic story is a delightful and amusing tale about penguins that get stuck in their huddle due to a strong wind and then embark on a journey to find help in separating themselves.

Children will love the funny humour of the penguins’ situation (how much fun would it be to be stuck in a hug?). Along the way, the penguins meet a variety of animals and encounter a number of obstacles and giggle-worthy situations. Only an idea from the very smallest penguin of all seems to work in the end. This entertaining storytime hit with a heartwarming ending is sure to be enjoyed by children and adults alike.

Mini Grey

This is a high quality text full of detailed comic-style illustrations. It follows the adventures of an Action-Man style hero with an outfit for every occasion. His daily superhero challenges include rescuing lost toys, diving in the sieve-wreck and saving distressed damsels. Highly recommended for KS1.

Shinsuke Yoshitake

This is a wonderful picturebook about the nature of individuality, perfect for building a classroom or school culture where the uniqueness of each person is celebrated.

The book invites readers on a whimsical journey that follows a young boy’s desire to create a robot clone of himself. However, before he can bring his cloned self to life, he must embark on a quest to uncover the essence of his individuality. What is it, exactly, that makes him who he is?

Bursting with imaginative illustrations, this thought-provoking book offers an engaging and enjoyable experience that not only sparks discussion but also serves as an ideal catalyst for exploring the concept of each person’s distinct uniqueness. Teachers could use this book as an icebreaker discussion to enable a new class to get to know themselves and others, for thoughtful artwork based on the fun labelled diagrams in the book or for PSHE lessons about expressing and celebrating individuality.

Younger classes will enjoy imagining what a robot close of themselves might look, act and feel like, while older children can get philosophical about the factors that have come together to make them who they are, or even about the potential ethics of cloning oneself (I’m sure overly busy teachers may also be tempted to wish for a clone!).

Either way, this is a really fun focal point for classrooms and one that works best if children are given enlarged or close-up access to the illustrations.

Polly Owen
 & Gwen Milward

It is rare to find a book which gives a completely different and exciting perspective on a historical figure, particularly those aimed at younger readers, so ‘Darwin’s Super-Pooping Worm Spectacular’ is a particularly delightful read.

As the title suggests, the book tells the story of Darwin’s investigations into the humble earthworm. It is clear that the author, Polly Owen, has discovered her passion for this topic as it is written with such an enthusiastic tone; by the end of page one the reader is already convinced that earthworms are completely awesome!

The book recounts the range of experiments that Darwin is believed to have tried in order to uncover the mysteries of earthworm senses; from hearing, sight and taste. It is written in a very accessible style, with lots of humour. There is a worm on each double-page spread which gives a little more context and brings the reader back to the historical facts within the story. These small speech bubbles also direct the reader to some of the scientific vocabulary; useful to gather if using the book as a stimulus for writing projects or science discussions.

There are plenty of illustrations throughout the book to enjoy too. GwenMilward has captured the Victorian style perfectly and has drawn Darwin with a real sense of joy and wonder towards the worms; each page shows Darwin with real expression as he ponders these mysterious creatures.

If you are looking to add a book that is charming, insightful and has more than a few poo-based jokes, then this would be a perfect choice! Key Stage Two children will enjoy the book as much as their Key Stage One peers.

Clotilde Perrin

We just can’t get enough of this oversized interactive picture book that children in Year 2 adore.

This exquisitely produced book is a celebration of three of the most infamous fairytale villains. Filled with dark humour and detail on every page, the book has flaps and fold-outs for readers to open up and reveal the innermost secrets of an ogre, a big bad wolf and a wicked witch. Peek under the flaps to reveal what lies beneath their disguises and to uncover the identity of their last meal, now nestled comfortably in their bellies as well as their hobbies, personal belongings and secret plans.

Inside the Villains is a multi-layered book with the potential to entertain readers for hours. This is a great choice for children who love interactive elements and are ready to dive deeper beneath the surface of their favourite fairytales.

Recommended Funny Books for Year 2

Sean Taylor
 & Jean Jullien

Like many of the funniest books, the simple honour and bold illustrations make this a laugh-out-loud hit in KS1 classrooms. How to Be Cooler Than Cool hilarious and engaging picturebook that will keep you laughing and eagerly turning the pages.

In the story, a cat finds a pair of sunglasses and thinks they’ll make her look cool. However, her attempt at being cool by gliding backwards down a slide ends in a clumsy fall. Much hilarity ensues when her friends Pig or Cockatoo try to have better luck. But in the end, we all know that it’s not clothing, fashion accessories or sharp moves that make friends cool.

Simon Philip & Kate Hindley

We adore this charming story about a young boy who is tasked with finding a hat in order to be allowed into a party. When the boy struggles to find one, a helpful animal friend steps in to save the day. However, when he arrives, a tough doorman and an even tougher series of entry requirements lead to a snowballing of humorous actions and a hilarious climax.

The story is filled with wonderfully illustrated, silly characters and a ridiculous storyline that will have children and adults alike laughing out loud.  This is a picturebook to recommend to anyone looking for a fun and engaging story to share with children. With vibrant illustrations and humorous characters, We Must Bring a Hat is a sure-fire hit in the classroom and a book that children will ask for over and over again. We think this is a perfect choice for entertaining storytimes with Year 2.

Pip Cornell
 & Alex Griffiths
Are you a bear considering keeping your very own bees? Can't get enough of delicious honey? Then this is the book for you! With invaluable tips such as how to make a tiny crown for your queen bee, you can become a master beekeeper in no time! Learn how to care for your new buzzy friends in easy-to-follow steps - but don't forget to absolutely never hug the bees. A spoof beekeeping manual for bears from debut author Pip Cornell and rising star Alex G Griffiths.
Rachel Bright
 & Jim Field
A flamboyantly fun tropical tale of love, fame, friendship from the creators of the international bestseller The Lion Inside.Goldy wants one thing, and one thing only - to be a STAR. On the sunny island this gecko calls home, it's always THE GOLDY SHOW, morning 'til night.But when you're dazzled by the limelight, it's easy to lose sight of the world around you. And when Goldy's performance starts to go wrong, the little gecko discovers that friendship means so much more than fame. Because when you treat the world with love, then love will come echoing back.This funny and touching rhyming story is perfect for sharing, reminding us all that treating others with kindness makes the whole world a better and happier place.
Eoin McLaughlin
 & Marc Boutavant
A brilliantly funny story of facing your fears from the picture book team behind The Case of the Missing Cake.Terry is not an octopus. He's just a regular guy with a few extra arms. Yes, he loves tuna and yes, he'd love to visit Super Octopus Fantasea Adventure World. But octopuses live in the sea. And Terry is afraid of water. Maybe he should learn to swim?A very silly story about being brave, facing your fears and accepting who you really are.

Thought-provoking Picturebooks for Year 2

Ibtihaj Muhammad & S.K Ali
 & Hatem Aly
Asiya's hijab is like the ocean and the sky, no line between them, saying hello with a loud wave. It's Faizah's first day of school, and her older sister Asiya's first day of hijab - made of a beautiful blue fabric. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful. In the face of hurtful, confusing words, will Faizah find new ways to be strong? This is an uplifting, universal story of new experiences, the unbreakable bond shared by siblings and of being proud of who you are, from Olympic medallist Ibtihaj Muhammad.
Catherine Ward
 & Karin Littlewood

‘The Emerald Forest’ is a gorgeous and moving picture book bringing to life the plight of orangutans on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. The story, written by Catherine Ward, is written in prose but its language is poetic and has a lovely rhythm to it, making it perfect for reading aloud. Karin Littlewood’s illustrations are stunning, and the size of the pages and the scope of the pictures, bursting with the greenery and light of the Indonesian forest, create an immersive experience. In one illustration, it feels as if orangutan is looking right at you. Because of this, the experience of the orangutans as their habitat comes under attack is felt on an emotional level too. The plight of the orangutans is unsettling, but the message overall is one of hope, as the orangutans are rescued and rehomed in the story. The book encourages the reader to look towards a future where the forests of Sumatra might recover if people play a part in protecting them. This stunning picturebook would be invaluable for use in a class topic on the use of palm oil, or more generally in talking about the impact of human activity – for better and for worse – on the environment.

Tom Percival

Tom Percival’s Big Bright Feelings series is a hit in classrooms up and down the country. Children love the personification of big feelings like worry, fear or anger and enjoy seeing how recognising and dealing with big feelings is better than ignoring them or bottling things up. This story is about dealing with jealousy, which aptly appears as a green-eyed monster. The monster keeps popping up with Milo when his best friend is playing with a new neighbour.
Children love the appeal of the big bright monster that gives a visual way of showing an all too familiar emotion. Young readers also love that the story shows a very relatable scenario and will help them to navigate the daily ups and downs of friendships.
A super story belonging to a highly recommendable series.

Isabel Otter
 & Clara Anganuzzi

Inspired by her Grandpa’s tales of global exploration, a little girl chooses to pen a love letter to the Earth, gently exploring both the diverse beauty and the fragility of our planet.

As Tessa walks with her Grandpa, she listens to his tales of adventures from his days as an explorer. As Grandpa describes different places he has visited, he paints in Tessa’s mind vivid images of the Earth’s diverse natural wonders. Inspired by what she has heard, Tessa decides to write a letter to the planet, letting her imagination flow as she dreams of global explorations of her own. Through Tessa’s imaginative lines, coupled with Clara Anganuzzi’s gently flowing illustrations, the book addresses the aspects of nature that capture a child’s heart and imagination: Tessa imagines sliding down desert dunes, floating in lagoons, gliding like a turtle, flitting with butterflies, sliding and soaring with birds. Tessa wants to revel in the Earth’s natural beauty – to play gleefully in it, to partake, to sense it, to fully experience it, but not for a second spoil it. At the end of her letter, Tessa’s mind falls to thoughts of the Earth’s need for love, care and healing from the damage caused by humans.

Finishing her letter with ‘Love from Tessa’, she holds Grandpa’s hand and together they wander along the beach and discuss what might cause more people to be better at treasuring the Earth instead of harming it. The pair agree that sharing a message of the planet’s wondrous beauty might be the best way to help people to realise how special the Earth is and to begin to take more care of it.

This is a beautifully illustrated picture book that is perfectly gentle and encouraging in its message of appreciation and environmental care. There’s nothing to scare young children here – instead, it simply moves readers towards reflecting on the diversity of the planet’s natural wonders, as the additional facts and tips at the end of the book gently move readers onto positive and achievable steps to help to care for the planet.

Phil Earle
 & Jess Ross

Popular author Phil Earle offers a new picturebook with an authentic representation of a child experiencing parental separation and divorce.

Meet Florrie. Florrie has two of everything…. including two different homes. Her mum’s and her dad’s. When her parents separated, Florrie and her brothers were expected to divide their time between the two homes, and at the beginning of the book, this makes her feel a little uneasy.

This book shows how each parent works separately with her to make her feel comfortable about the situation, giving her coping mechanisms when she misses her other home. The lovely twist at the end is how Florrie is then able to help her father, when she realises that he misses her when she is not with him too.

This uplifting picture book will help children to embrace change, and could be a brilliant starting point for discussion about feelings about separation and divorce as well as about navigating negative thoughts and feelings towards changes outside of own’s own control. Beautifully illustrated by Jess Rose, the details in the pictures really bring the story alive, and provide great talking points when reading this story with your child, whether they have personally experienced separation or not.

Anthony Browne
Anthony Browne is at his most brilliant in a new edition of this profound picture book about sibling relations and one that has become a classic Y2 book to study and pore over in the classroom.Once upon a time there lived a brother and sister who were complete opposites and constantly fought and argued. One day they discovered the tunnel. The boy goes through it at once, dismissing his sister's fears. When he doesn't return his sister has to pluck up the courage to go through the tunnel too. She finds her brother in a mysterious forest where he has been turned to stone...
Christina Dendy & Katie Rewse

A wonderful picturebook about the desire for control and tidiness, and the wonders that can occur when we accept a little mess and freedom into our lives.

Ana builds a beautiful garden on the edge of her town but is determined to keep the disorderly wild out, so she builds a boundary wall to separate the two. She wants her garden to be perfect, full of only the sweetest-smelling flowers, leafiest trees and tastiest fruit and vegetables. Any seeds that are not absolutely perfect get thrown away into the wild. The plants begins to wilt and both people and animals stop bothering to visit. Until eventually, Ana sees some sunlight beaming from over her wall and decides to climb and see what is on the other side. As soon as she sees the beauty and unrestrained nature of the Wild, helped along by all her imperfect seeds, she decides that maybe it is time to start removing some bricks from her wall.


Storytime Chapter Books for Year 2

Pip Bird
 & David O'Connell
Chapter book
Join the naughtiest unicorn for friendship, magic and mayhem in this hilarious series. Mira CAN'T WAIT to start Unicorn School. (Her big sister goes and won't stop going on about it). But when Mira arrives on her first day all the unicorns are gone ... except Dave!Dave isn't quite the sparkly magical unicorn Mira was expecting to find at the end of the rainbow - he's more grumpy than glittery, more interested in lunch than magical quests and he always runs off when Mira tries to ride him - but Mira's not going to let that get her down. Along with her new friends and their (much more glittery) unicorns, she is determined to be the best at Quests and protect the special unicorn world.
Chrissie Sains
 & Jenny Taylor
Chapter book
The first book in a hilarious, jam-packed new adventure series starring Scooter the inventor and his top secret alien sidekick. Scooter McLay's cerebral palsy affects how quickly he can move his body, but his hyper-creative brain is a constant fizz of brilliant ideas. He spends every day inventing top secret recipes and machines for his family's jam factory. There's just one thing missing ... a pet, to share it all with. Or better still, a friend. When a tiny alien named Fizzbee crashes through the factory window, she might just be the answer. Now it's all hands on deck, as they team up to save the factory from dastardly neighbour Daffy Dodgy.
Kes Gray
Chapter book
This laugh-out-loud Daisy adventure for readers of Year 2 and beyond is from bestselling author of the Oi Frog series, Kes Gray.Here comes trouble!Daisy is off to actual, actual London for the day.Nanny and Grampy are taking her to see the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and lots more.The trouble is, all Daisy really wants to see is Cooey the pigeon . . .
Iona Rangeley & David Tazzyman
Chapter book

When Mrs Stewart invites a small penguin to visit on a spontaneous visit to London Zoo, no one could have imagined that later that day they would find him on their doorstep, rucksack on his back and an adventure about to begin…

Einstein the Penguin is the debut children’s novel for Iona Rangeley, aptly brought to life with the help of the award-winning illustrator, David Tazzyman. A lovely mix of whodunnit with a slightly preposterous story of a penguin who comes to live with our two heroes, Imogen (age 9) and Arthur (age 6), causing them to put aside their sibling squabbles and come to his rescue. Rangeley manages to pull at your heartstrings as you come to understand each of the characters’ insecurities, bringing together the fear of losing a friend with the loneliness associated with never having had one. The grown-ups are scatty at best and young readers will love it as our heroes come to put one over on them.

Lovely as a class readaloud, children will enjoy the parody of incompetent teachers/zoo-keepers/detectives/parents while also prompting several discussion points about right and wrong. This could be a fun next step for readers who have enjoyed Paddington or Erica’s Elephant.

Isla Fisher
 & Eglantine Ceulemans
Chapter book
Meet Marge, the mischievous babysitter with rainbow hair who loves to make a mess and bend the rules . . . At dinnertime Chef Marge cooks up chocolate soup, and at school Marge the Muscian conducts a chaotic concert in the playground! Jake and Jemima have brilliant fun with their new babysitter, but will they manage to tick off all the jobs on Mummy's list?

Classic Stories for Year 2

Enid Blyton
Chapter book
The first magical story in the Faraway Tree series by one of the world's most popular children's authors, Enid Blyton.Joe, Beth and Frannie find the Enchanted Wood on the doorstep of their new home, and when they discover the Faraway Tree they fall into all sorts of adventures!Join them and their friends Moonface, Saucepan Man and Silky the fairy as they discover which new land is at the top of the Faraway Tree. Will it be the Land of Spells, the Land of Treats, or the Land of Do-As-You-Please? Discover the magic!First published in 1939, this edition contains the original text. Inside illustrations are by Jan McCafferty, and the cover by Mark Beech (2014).
Roald Dahl
 & Quentin Blake
Chapter book

A classroom favourite from the popular children’s author Roald Dahl. This is the laugh-out-loud tale of George Kranky, who plots revenge on his mean and miserable Grandma by concocting a magic medicine for her. Little does he realise that the medicine will have weird and wonderful effects on the old lady’s body…

Dick King Smith
Chapter book
Unlike most kittens, Martin doesn't like eating mice - let alone catching them. When he catches one by mistake he decides to keep it as a pet and soon Drusilla the mouse is established in an old bath tub in the attic. Martin is kept busy getting food, water, bedding - and then Drusilla's babies start to arrive. How can Martin cope with all his mice? From the number one author of animal magic comes this wonderful new edition of Martin's Mice .
Jeff Brown
 & Rob Biddulph
Chapter book
The magical and brilliantly funny adventures of everyone's favourite flat boy - Flat Stanley. With wonderful new illustrations by the award-winning illustrator Rob Biddulph .Stanley Lambchop was just an ordinary boy - until a noticeboard fell on him. Now he's flat as a pancake!Being flat is fantastic - he can be rolled up, sent in the post and even fly like a kite. But it's not all fun and games ... there are thieves in town.Can the flattest boy in the world be its biggest hero?Jeff Brown's world-famous character Flat Stanley continues to charm half a century after he first found his way into print.

Poems and Rhymes for Year 2

James Carter
 & Neal Layton

As the title of this poetry collection says, these are ‘zippy poems to read out loud’! Each poem will excite and engage young listeners and these are the sort of poems that children will quickly join in with and learn by heart.

All of the poems are written by James Carter, who has a unique talent for poetry for the young. Each poem is illustrated by Neal Layton and this will provide additional interest when read aloud or when children are browsing the book independently. The poems have clear and wonderful rhyming patterns and this helps to create their ‘read aloud -ability’. Some poems feature repeated patterns such as the title poem, ‘A Ticket to Kalamazoo’ which has a delightful chorus to join in with and ‘Elephant beat’ has an unforgettable repeated question, ‘Fancy a ride on an elephant?’.

The subjects of the poem range from animals to adventures to new versions of traditional stories: ‘Fuss! Fuss! Fuss! or The Goldilocks Rap’ is a favourite! Minibeasts have a high profile in a few of the poems and despite their critical place in our eco-system are rarely celebrated in poetry and these poems make a useful contribution. This is a joyous collection of poetry that would be perfect to read aloud in those spare moments across the school day or in a poetry feast at the end of the day!

The School of Life
Emotions are like animals: No two are quite the same. Some are quiet; some are fierce; And all are hard to tame. An Emotional Menagerie is an emotional glossary for children. A book of 26 rhyming poems, arranged alphabetically, that bring our feelings to life - Anger, Boredom, Curiosity, Dreaminess, Embarrassment, Fear, Guilt, and more. The poems transform each emotion into a different animal to provide a clear and engaging illustration of its character: how it arises; how it makes us behave and how we can learn to manage its effects. Boasting a rich vocabulary, the poems also give children a wide variety of options for describing their feelings to others. Children experience all sorts of emotions: sometimes going through several very different ones before breakfast. Yet they can struggle to put these feelings into words. An inability to understand and communicate their moods can lead to bad behaviour, deep frustration and a whole host of difficulties further down the line. Like adults, they need help to recognise and verbalise their inner state. The greater their emotional vocabulary, the more likely they are to grow into happy, healthy and fulfilled adults. Filled with wise, therapeutic advice, brought to life through musical language and beautiful illustrations, An Emotional Menagerie is an imaginative and universally appealing way of increasing emotional literacy.
Elli Woollard
 & Anja Boretzki
We love this whacky A-Z of weird and wonderful pets. With a different pet poem for each letter of the alphabet (from armadillos to zebras via kookaburras to umbrella birds!), the poems are quirky and energetic, making them perfect to read aloud. Children will enjoy finding the poem that matches their name's initial or just dipping in and out of the rhythmical menagerie of verses.

Short Independent Chapter Books for Year 2

Alex T. Smith
Chapter book
This is part of an award-winning and hugely popular series about a loveable dog called Claude and his hapless companion Sir Bobblysock. In this story, Claude stumbles across a circus and cannot help but inadvertently become the star of the show. This entertaining series is full of slapstick humour and amusing illustrations that hold a high appeal to new readers aged 6-8 looking for a fun, accessible read. Highly recommended!
Alex Falase-Koya
 & Paula Bowles
Chapter book
Marvin is an ordinary boy who loves spending time with Grandpa, reading comics, and making science experiments with his best friend Joe. But everything changes when he discovers a mysterious superhero suit hidden in the attic . . . to his amazement, Marvin learns that he is next in a long line of superheroes. Now the time has come to meet his destiny! When the Science Fair is thrown into chaos by super-villain Mastermind and her giant robot, Marvin is the only one who can stop them. Will Marvin be brave enough to step into his power-and into his superhero suit-to become the great and marvellous superhero Marv? The first book in a powerful series of one boy's journey to unlock the superhero within.
Hannah Shaw
Chapter book

One for fans of Harriet Muncaster’s Isadora Moon and Sarah MacIntyre’s Grumpycorn, this is the first story in a series of illustrated short chapter books about Princess Pea and her rather un-royal palace pet – Unipiggle! A madcap and muddy adventure with high-energy design in full colour and tips to draw your own Unipiggle too.

Philip Reeve
 & Ms Sarah McIntyre
Chapter book

This illustrated chapter book about a flying pony is just so endearing and very entertaining. As you’d expect from this author-illustrator dream team that brought us Cakes in Space and Oliver and the Seawigs, this story is amusingly original at every turn and is overflowing with the feel-good factor. Kevin is a flying pony who lives on the Outermost West hills and loves biscuits (especially custard creams). One day, a wild storm brings Kevin roly-polying through the air and crashing into Max’s flat in the town of Bumbleford. Max has always wanted a pet and is delighted by Kevin’s arrival…

Jeremy Strong
 & Jamie Smith
Chapter book

There is something about Jeremy Strong books, they have a particular appeal, being both entertaining and slightly wacky. This book is in that same mould and in addition, the format is super child friendly, being both small in size but very inviting and looking like a ‘proper chapter book’!

Nellie Choc-Ice is a well-travelled penguin, who also happens to be slightly accident-prone and just wants to find her way home. Nellie is a very endearing and entertaining character and the illustrations should get a special mention here. They capture the essence of the story brilliantly and bring the whole book to life.

For its target age of 5-8 year-olds, it works perfectly as an early chapter book; not taking too long to plough through, but instead giving the text in manageable bites with colour illustrations and an easy-to-read font. This is part of a Barrington Stoke set of Little Gems books, designed specifically for young readers starting out reading independently.

Short Independent Graphic Novels for Year 2

Mark Bradley
Graphic Novel
Best friends Bumble and Snug are Bugbops - little monsters filled with BIG feelings! In this full-colour graphic novel, join them on a funny, imaginative adventure with some VERY angry pirates, learning about the world outside and inside along the way.Bumble and Snug are going on a big adventure to ... have a picnic! But when they accidentally get lost, they're both cross - is their adventure ruined?Working together to find their way home, Bumble and Snug come across a pirate treasure horde. But taking treasure that isn't yours is a good way to get into trouble, and sure enough some VERY angry pirates aren't far behind.Bumble and Snug are certain they can replace the treasure, and fix things to make everybody happy. But there's another monstrous obstacle in store - and this one has TENTACLES.Bumble and Snug and the Angry Pirates is a story about being cross and how to listen, friendship and sandcastles, and one GIANT octopus!
John Patrick Green
Graphic Novel

Here at BooksForTopics HQ, we are big fans of the InvestiGators graphic novel series. This pun-filled action series is a hit with younger fans of the graphic novel format and has hooked in lovers of Dog Man and The Bad Guys through its full-colour animal antics, funny cases to solve, and clever wordplay.

We love the good, clean fun of this series, and parents and teachers know that young graphic novel fans are in good hands with these books. Author John Patrick Green said of the series, “Of all the comics I’ve created in my professional career, making InvestiGators has come closest to recapturing that feeling of being 11 years old, drawing comics in my bedroom, with the sole intention of making my friends and classmates laugh.”

John’s commitment to child-centred visual humour and puns has clearly paid off and is reflected in the popularity of this series, which teachers and librarians tell us is flying off primary bookshelves at lightning speed. For children, the books are funny from the get-go, and pun-loving grown-ups like us can’t help but smile at the non-stop wordplay woven through the action scenes, too.

Recommended Non-Fiction Books for Year 2

Dr Emily Grossman
 & Maggie Li
Non-fiction Picturebook

Meet the Microbes is a captivating insight into the tiny creatures that live under our noses and have a massive impact on our lives despite only being visible through a powerful microscope. Through the colourful and lively pages, children will meet a succession of cartoon microbes and learn all about them. They will learn about where they can be found and how they multiply; how they survive in the most extreme of conditions; the jobs that they do and how they might be beneficial to our future.

By the end of the book, they will have reached an understanding that microbes can be both good and bad for our bodies and how we can avoid spreading the less desirable ones. They will be fascinated to find out that mould is formed from microbes and that some of their favourite foods such as yoghurt, fluffy bread and cheese would not exist without them. The language is accessible to younger readers and concepts are explained clearly.

This book would be an excellent accompaniment to science topics or just a great addition to the non-fiction, reading for pleasure offer in the school library.

Yuval Zommer
This large-sized informative compendium is the kind of non-fiction that children like to come back to again and again to pore over its pages. Each double-page spread dives into a different sea-themed question, such as 'Are jellyfish made of jelly?' or 'Why do crabs run sideways?'. There is never too much text on each page, but what you find is accessible chunks of information cleverly interspersed into each ocean scene. The illustrations are stunning and come together to make wonderful spreads that serve as a treasure trove of visual delights for young eyes, as text and pictures work together to build an understanding of underwater habitats and the life they hold.
Helaine Becker
 & Dow Phumiruk
Meet Katherine Johnson, the mathematical genius who helped make the historic Apollo 11 moon landings possible and made sure that Apollo 13 returned home safely when the mission was in critical danger. Counting on Katherine is a beautiful biography, sure to inspire young readers. Winner of the information book category of the UKLA Book Awards 2020. As a child, Katherine loved to count. She counted the steps on the road, the number of dishes and spoons she washed in the kitchen sink, everything! Boundless, curious, and excited by calculations, young Katherine longed to know as much as she could about maths, about the universe . . . Helaine Becker interviewed Katherine and her family for this authorized biography. From Katherine's early beginnings as a gifted student to her heroic accomplishments as a prominent mathematician at NASA, this is the true story of a groundbreaking African-American woman who went above and beyond what was expected of her in the 1960s, saving lives and making enormous contributions to history. Featuring Dow Phumiruk's gorgeous full-colour illustrations throughout.
Eryl Nash
 & Ana Albero
Taking you to the heart of the heroes who help us, experience a day in the life of Cecilia the nurse, David-Lawrence the paramedic, Leonie the firefighter and Tamika the veterinarian.This uplifting picture book showcases the amazing work our frontline staff do, the incredible skills they have and the important equipment they need to save a life, in a unique graphic novel-inspired non-fiction format.
Charlotte Milner
Step inside the fascinating world of tropical rainforests where you'll encounter an enormous variety of flora and fauna! This gorgeously illustrated picture book is a wonderful way to introduce children to the world of nature and conservation. In this colour non-fiction text, you'll discover amazing rainforest animals, learn about the diverse range of life-giving plants, and find out why the Amazon rainforest is known as the "lungs" of our Earth.

Catherine Veitch
 & Shiori Saito
Meet the National Animals is a playful and humorous look at the animals all around the world who represent their country. Why do they represent the particular country and what is so special or symbolic about them? Featuring over 35 amazing animals, from the mystical Scottish Unicorn to China's much-loved Giant Panda and the wonderful, but extinct, Dodo from Mauritius. The witty text brings each animal to life and celebrates their quirks and characteristics. Includes a playful, charming narrative along the bottom of each spread, which sees Brown Bear gradually bringing all the animals together as they travel the world, celebrating each country as they go. Filled with fascinating facts about each animal and country, the text also touches gently on conservation issues related to each animal and their habitat. The illustrations inject warmth and humour into the narrative, making the animals the stars of their respective countries!

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Guidance: About the Year 2 Booklist

What books do Year 2 children read?

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 short chapter books at this age, like The Legend of Kevin or the colour-illustrated Unipiggle. Some children are ready to read chapter books independently during the course of this year, but it’s perfectly fine if they do not quite have the reading stamina yet. Enjoy reading short chapter books together at storytime, so that children get used to a longer story without the pressure of having to read it themselves. Martin’s Mice and Marge in Charge are both excellent storytime choices for children in Year 2.

Picturebooks 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. Many Year 2 children love You Must Bring a Hat or I Am Not an Octopus, which are both popular hits with this age group because of their use of tongue-in-cheek humour to engage readers.

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. Year 2 teachers often look to introduce stories that explore emotions, like Milo’s Monster, or books that open discussions into wider social themes like The Emerald Forest or The Proudest Blue.

Visually appealing and highly illustrated non-fiction texts covering topics of interest will also be read in Year 2, like Meet the Microbes and Yuval Zommer’s wonderfully illustrated The Big Book of the Blue. These books not only pique children’s curiosity but also develop comprehension skills, build vocabulary and enhance wider curriculum knowledge.

Which stories are best for Year 2?

For this Y2 reading list, 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 the imagination to soar and invite 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 a trip around the globe in Meet the National Animals.

Many of the best Y2 stories help to explore real-life experiences for particular characters – join with creative young Florrie navigating parental separation in Two Places to Call Home, with Asiya as she eagerly watches her sister’s first day of wearing hijab in The Proudest Blue, or Nyla’s beautiful story of trying to feel at home after moving to a new place in The Comet. Environmental concerns and themes of protecting the planet are also well represented on the list, like the gentle picturebook introduction to rainforest habitat destruction in The Emerald Forest, 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 this year, such as The Fixer of Broken Things or the funny and informative picturebook Darwin’s Super-Pooping Worm Spectacular.

How do I move Year 2 children on to chapter books?

Children should be given plenty of opportunities to listen to stories in chapter instalments before reading them for themselves. Classroom storytimes, bedroom stories and audiobooks all provide experiences of chapter-by-chapter stories and it’s often a pleasant surprise for adults to realise just how much children are looking forward to the next chapter. For storytime read-alouds or class novels, try An Alien in the Jam Factory, the Marge in Charge series or the giggle-worthy illustrated adventure The Legend of Kevin.

A number of chapter books suitable for 6 and 7 year olds are included on this list.  For newly independent readers looking for their first chapter books to read to themselves, we recommend starting with something short and highly illustrated, like Marv and the Mega Robot or Nellie Choc-Ice. Once children are used to the very shortest chapter books, move on to illustrated stories with a slight increase in narrative complexity, like 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.

What are the best non-fiction books for Year 2?

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 action-packed Life Savers, which explains what working life is like for real life emergency heroes.

We have a separate booklist with more top-notch non-fiction for primary schools. If you are looking for books themed around a particular topic, head over to our KS1 topic booklists.

Where can I purchase the books on the BooksForTopics Year 2 booklist?


What other booklists for children in Y2 are available?

We have lots of resources and booklists for children in Key stage 1, which covers the 5-7 age range.

Be sure to check out the BooksForTopics KS1 topic booklists if you are looking for children’s books themed around a popular Year 2 classroom topic – whether it’s stories for a curriculum theme like Oceans and Seas or Growing Plants or a book to match a popular interest like books about animals or science books for children.

At this age, a lot of children tend to become attached to a particular series or favourite character. To provide parents and teachers with some inspiration to discover new story characters that children might adore, our Branching Out booklists could come in handy. These booklists include Books for Fans of Rainbow Magic, Books for Fans of David Walliams, and Books for Fans of Isadora Moon.

If you’re seeking children’s books that showcase a broader range of characters, cultures, and experiences, you might want to check out our collection of Diverse and Inclusive Books for KS1. This compilation has been carefully selected for parents and educators looking for books that reflect diversity and inclusion.

Teachers and parents are well aware of the learning curve involved in managing emotions for children in this age group. To aid primary children in understanding their emotions, we have created a list of picture books to promote emotional literacy. For those who are about to transition to Year 3, we have a Class Transitions booklist that can provide support.

A great place to start for reading for pleasure choices at home is our list of Best Books for 7-Year-Olds. Advanced Year 2 readers can look ahead with our list of recommended Reads for Year 3.


Can I download a printable version of the Year 2 Booklist?

All of our Year Group Recommended Read lists come with a printable poster and checklist. Schools are very welcome to display the posters or to share the printable resources with their community.

Printable Poster – Best Year 2 Books PDF

y2 recommended reading list poster


Printable Checklist – Best Year 2 Books PDF

y2 recommended reading list checklist

Where can I find recommended reading lists for other primary school year groups?

BooksForTopics is the tried and tested place to find Year Group reading recommendations. Just like the Y2 booklist, we have created lists for other year groups as well. Our team of professionals at BooksForTopics has carefully and thoughtfully curated lists of the best books suitable for each primary year group, with help and feedback from our school-based Review Panel. Each booklist comprises 50 suggested reads and features a printable poster and checklist. Schools have the option to buy complete packs of each Year Group list through our partners at Peters.

Here are the quick links to our other primary school booklists:

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Year 2: 50 Recommended Reads

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