Reading for Pleasure - Year 2
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 six, and seven 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 story times 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 Matt Carr’s puntastic Spyder, the hilariously lazy potato who has everything he needs in reach of the sofa in Couch Potato 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 places, taking readers on a trip to Damascus in The Jasmine Sneeze, to the Arctic in Michael Morpurgo’s beautiful story of freedom and captivity, The Rainbow Bear, and to amazing Africa for a day in the life of Anna Hibiscus’s world. 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 imaginative young Milo as he journeys to visit his mother in prison in Milo Imagines the World, 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 Sometimes: A Book of Feelings or 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 in Neal Layton's visual guide to plastic pollution, A Planet Full of Plastic, or Sandra Dieckmann's poignant picture book Leaf, which explores themes of global warming and displacement.
If you are looking for classic stories for Year 2, the Books for Topics team have 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 inspired by much more recent events, such as Unlocked, which offers illustrated mini snapshots into recent experiences of lockdown around the world.
A number of chapter books suitable for six and seven year olds are included on the list. For story time read-alouds or class novels, try Martin’s Mice, the Marge in Charge series or the giggle-worthy illustrated adventure Oliver and the Seawigs. 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.
They have also 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 Usborne’s mind-blowing The Book of the Brain.
Please take time to read the PDF document, which includes details of 50 recommended reads.
Share with us what your child is reading by communicating it in your child's reading diary - we love to hear the new titles that they are enjoying.