Recent Favorites from a Second Grader

Well, it’s happened… Now that our older daughter is reading chapter books rather ravenously, I can’t keep up… When she was reading picture books, I always knew what they were about and how I felt about them, but now that she’s onto chapter books, I just can’t. But, I know many of you have readers who are also moving into reading more and more chapter books independently. So, every month or so, I’ll have our older daughter (a seven-year-old second grader) tell you about 4 or 5 of her favorite books lately (and, I’ll add thoughts too if I’ve read them and have anything that you need to know as a parent). Up today, we’ve got six of her favorite read (chosen from read alouds, audiobooks, and independent reads) from late August and September!

*** Affiliate links used. All thoughts from my daughter are transcribed as closely to word-for-word as possible.

Keena Ford and the Second-Grade Mix-Up by Melissa Thomson, illustrated by Frank Morrison — “I liked it ’cause it was really silly and it’s about friendship. She turns friends to Linny Berry, and the pictures were really funny. And she makes mistakes but no one gets really mad at her for them. I think you’d like this book if you like to read Piggie and Gerald, because Piggie and Gerald is also funny.”

*** My thoughts: This was such a fun book to read with her the week she started second grade! Keena Ford is absolutely delightful, and much like Ramona, another favorite around here, tries hard to do the right thing but makes very understandable missteps. We read this together, taking turns reading pages and chapters, and were often both cracking up at things Keena said or did. In fact, we liked it so much that I begged our school librarian to order the next two books in the series, so hopefully we’ll be able to tell you about them soon, too!

The One and Only Ivan and The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Patricia Castelao — “I liked these because they have great friendship. Ivan and Bob are really kind, and Bob is really funny too. We read Ivan first, and even though Bob was a little scarier, it was also funnier, too. If you read Bob you need to make sure to do a good Bob voice.”

*** My thoughts: I was so glad that I got to read these beauties to the girls before they read them themselves (or saw the movies!). Ivan definitely has some darker moments around animal cruelty, but the depth of that really went over my girls heads. I think slightly older audiences may need some conversations processing those scenes. Both are wonderful stories of friendship and family, whether the family you are born into or the family you choose, and both lend themselves really well to being read aloud! Both included some word choices that I either skipped or substituted, so I was also glad that I was reading them out loud and was able to edit to meet our family’s language expectations given the ages of our girls (who were just over 7 and just under 5 when we read these).

Meet Kit and Kit Learns a Lesson by Valerie Tripp, illustrated by Walter Rane (from the American Girl series) — “She’s really kind during the Great Depression. She’s kind to people who live in forests, because they don’t get any food, only soup. She sees lots of people at the soup kitchen and realizes that she’s really lucky to still have her home and pay for food.”

Karen’s Witch (A Babysitters Little Sister Graphic Novel) by Katy Farina — “Karen is really funny because she thinks a witch lives next door. But, it turns out that it’s not actually a witch. She thought there was a witch meeting, but it was just a meeting that her grandmother was in also! It was fun to read a graphic novel.”

*** My thoughts: I devoured both the American Girl books and the Baby-Sitters Club books as a young reader, so I was thrilled when our older daughter was finally interested in reading these! She flew through the Kit series (and actually finished all 6 books between when I asked her about them and when this post went live), and she really enjoyed both of the graphic novels in the Baby-Sitters Little Sister series. These were her first graphic novels, so we took some time to look at how you know when a character is thinking or the narrator is narrating versus when a character is talking, but she picked up on it quickly!

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