Books for Year 2 – here’s our top 50 list of books to engage 6-7 year olds and foster an early love of reading. The following suggestions contain picture books, poetry, first readers and chapter books to appeal to a wide variety of children in KS1 year 2 classes in UK primary schools. These recommended books consist of a range of titles to appeal to ability ranges including the less able, the more able, reluctant readers and struggling readers. There are books suitable for individual reading, reading with siblings, class reading, support groups, book clubs, reading corners, for reading aloud and performance, and paired reading. This curated list is revised each term and includes stories by Mac Bennett, Margaret Mahy, Louise Fatio, Michael Rosen, Anete Melece, Anthony Browne, Raymond Briggs and Wendy Orr.
Books for Year 2 – our recommendations
Salty Dogs by Matty Long
The Salty Dogs are a band of pirates constantly on the lookout for riches and treasure. Along the way, they meet outrageous sea monsters and a ship full of monkeys. The illustrations are filled with clever details and speech bubbles which are ideal for helping develop imagination.
Don’t Look in this Book by Samuel Langley-Swain
With an eye-catching cover and provocative title, this book is bound to appeal to reluctant readers in Year 2. The artwork is stunning, taking the reader on an imaginative journey through fantastical places including outer space and a luminous green sewer – all told in rhythmic rhyming couplets which will encourage reading out loud. There’s also an encouraging twist at the end which should inspire creative ideas for the classroom.
Gorilla by Anthony Browne
A classic picture book for younger readers. When Hannah asks for a Gorilla for her birthday, she gets more than she bargained for – a real gorilla appears and takes her on a mesmerising and unexpected journey.
Dr Xargle’s Book of Earthlets by Jeanne Willis
Human life told through the unique perspective of Dr Xargle, an alien David Attenborough writing an observational travel guide. There are some hysterically funny descriptions of eating and babies. Ideal to read to your child in year 2 – this book is guaranteed to cause fits of the giggles.
The Kiosk by Anete Melece
This fascinating and unusual picture book story tells the story of Olga, a kiosk owner who spends so long in her workplace she becomes part of it. When two shoplifters strike, to the surprise of passers-by Olga uproots and makes chase – still attached to her kiosk. An unfortunate encounter with a dog on a bridge leads to a surprisingly happy ending. Quite unlike anything else you will read this year, this highly illustrated story is one of those books where children will spot or realise something new each time they reread it. It’s also an excellent book to help illustrate three-act story structure in KS1&2 literacy lessons.
The Legend of Spud Murphy by Eoin Colfer
Not only does Will struggle to get any attention with four other brothers in the house, his mother decides to send them all to the library – in the holidays! The librarian, Spud Murphy, is Will’s worst nightmare. But unexpectedly, things take a sharp turn for the better. A more challenging addition to your class library of books for year two.
The Problem with Pierre by C.K. Smouha and Suzanna Hubbard
A charming and heart-warming story about Alan and Bertram, who live next door to each other. Both seem to have something missing in their lives and are brought together in a clever ending – despite their different personalities – through Bertram’s cat Pierre. There are lots of discussion points for KS1&2 PSHE – how to compromise, how to respect each other’s differences, and how to find happiness; and the simple and effective character descriptions are ideal to explore in KS1 literacy lessons. Art teachers will see lots of opportunities to inspire pastel work using the illustrations as an impetus.
Mr Majeika by Humphrey Carpenter
Mr Majeika is no ordinary teacher. He arrives each day by magic carpet and turns the class clown into a frog. School is never the same again.
Jinnie Ghost by Berlie Doherty
A captivating poem about Jinnie – a ghost who only exists in the daytime, who makes Charlotte’s toys come to life and creates a giant who leads an expedition to a castle in the clouds. Ideal for class reading in Year 2.
I Was a Rat!: Or, the Scarlet Slippers by Philip Pullman
A little boy turns up on the doorstep of Old Bob and his wife Joan, and when asked where he came from, says: “I was a rat!” An enthralling story with a clever twist. Ideal to read and discuss with your child.
The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
When Duncan opens his box of crayons, instead of colours, he sees letters spelling “We Quit!”. A very funny story which will appeal to all abilities.
Tuesday by David Wiesner
A magical picture book, with few words, where naughty frogs fly on magic lily pads to surprise people in all sorts of unexpected ways. Incredible artwork makes this an ideal year 2 book for imaginative storytelling, especially with emerging readers.
Beaver Towers by Nigel Hinton
Philip flies to a magical island with his enchanted kite and meets a world of Beavers. But all is not well – many of the beavers have been imprisoned by the evil Oyin, and only Philip can save them.
The Happy Lion by Louise Fatio and Roger Duviosin
A fun and engaging story about a lion who just wants to thank the villagers for feeding him – only for chaos to ensue. Beautifully illustrated in pen and ink. A classic picture book, and ideal for independent or paired reading in year 2.
A Royal Lullabyhullaballoo by Mick Inkpen
A Little Princess, cannot get to sleep because of a roaring dragon, a clanking knight, and a stomping giant outside her window, until she hears a special lullaby. An easy read.
Triangle by Mac Barnett
Ideal for reluctant readers to read aloud and discuss. Triangle is looking to get one up on his friend Square. But Square has other ideas. Clever and engaging with memorable illustrations.
Fungus the Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs
Full of snot, slime, smells, and much revoltingness, this book is bound to appeal to reluctant readers.
Mrs Wobble the Waitress by Allan Ahlberg
Mrs Wobble has her dream job – as a waitress – with one small problem. Her wobble. Faced with a jelly, she wibbles and wobbles and mayhem ensues.
The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
Two boys hypnotise their headteacher and create an alter ego – Captain Underpants – with wedgie power – fighting for good against evil. This book is sure to be a hit with reluctant readers.
The Dunderheads by Paul Fleischman
Possibly most evil teacher in the world gets her comeuppance in style thanks to Junkyard, Pencil and Spider who come up with a cunning plan.
The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate by Margaret Mahy
Sam has quite a boring life, that is until he finds out his mother used to be a pirate. One day, after breakfast, he sets off on an unforgettable adventure. A favourite book for Year 2 children, this story is laugh out loud funny.
Pirate School: Just a Bit of Wind by Jeremy Strong
Pirate school is a little different to ordinary school. Lessons include learning how to walk the plank and hand to hand fighting. A funny story which will appeal to reluctant readers.
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl
A crazy story about Billy, who wants to own a sweet shop, and the Ladderless Window Cleaning Company run by a giraffe, a pelly and a monkey.
Mog Time Treasury: Six Stories About Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr
A collections of Judish Kerr’s Mog stories, including Mog the Forgetful Cat, Mog and Bunny, Mog and Baby, Mog on Fox Night, Mog’s Bad Thing and Mog’s Christmas.
Uncle Gobb and the Dread Shed by Michael Rosen
Malcolm is a normal boy, but all those around him a slightly strange. There’s a school that tries hard to make everything boring, a genie who appears if you rub your nose, and a city called Ponky. An ideal book for Year 2 children to read out loud.
Mr Wolf’s Pancakes by Jan Fearnley
Traditional fairy tales, such as Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs are reworked in these extremely funny stories about a wolf who has some trouble making pancakes.
Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat by Ursula Williams
Gobbolino is a witch’s cat who longs to be someone’s pet. His search for a new home doesn’t start well as mysterious and strange things seem to happen all around him.
The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton
Could you choose between the Land of Birthdays and the Land of Toys? This is a classic and captivating story set in a magical land.
Clarice Bean, That’s Me by Lauren Child
At home, Clarice has to put up with her really annoying younger brother, a really moody older brother and a grandfather who pours soup on his corn flakes. A very funny story about Clarice, who just wants peace and quiet.
The Story of Babar by Jean De Brunhoff
Babar, an elephant, escapes from hunters by traveling to the city, where he learns a lot. On his return to the forest he is crown King of the Elephants. A great easy reader book for Year 2 pupils.
Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr
A stunning adventure story about Nym, who lives on a beautiful desert island with her friends Jack, Fred, Selkie and Chica. However, disaster strikes when Jack vanishes, and suddenly Nym needs all the help she can get.
Fluff the Farting Fish by Michael Rosen
Elvie desperately wants a puppy and isn’t that impressed when Mum returns from the pet shop with a fish. The fish won’t do tricks or bark or sit up; but it does have one special talent…
The Tear Thief by Carol Ann Duffy
Each night, the mysterious Tear Thief takes away all the tears from every child who is unhappy. What where does the Tear Thief go, and what happens to all the tears? A useful addition to your books for infants pupils to discuss – especially during circle time.
How To Live Forever by Colin Thompson
A unique and imaginative book about Peter, who lives in a magical library and is on the search for a very special book entitled: “How To Live Forever”.
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
The four Penderwicks sisters are all very different. When their father takes them on holiday to a huge country house, they embark on adventures none of them will ever forget. A great series of books for KS1 libraries, and ideal to read to a Year 2 class.
The Dragonsitter by Josh Lacey
Young Edward has been asked to look after his uncle’s pet while he goes on holiday. But it’s no ordinary pet, it’s a dragon – who eats Jemima! Presented as a series of emails, this story is easy to read and very funny.
Click for more children’s reading book recommendations – Picture books to read before you are 5 years old | Reception books | Year 1 books | Year 2 books (this page) | Year 3 books | Year 4 books | Year 5 books | Year 6 books | Topic books | KS3 books
For even more books for 6 year olds, see this list.
For more difficult titles, try our Books for Year 3 reading list.
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