It’s that time of year again where ‘best of 2011’ lists in every conceivable category seem to pop up everywhere. I figured I may as well compile my list of best books for 2nd grade.
In the past few years, there have been many children’s books that would have made my list, except for the fact that they weren’t really suitable for all 2nd graders. Books on those lists would have included Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me (2010 and 2009 Newbery Award Winners). I keep hoping for another book like Kate DiCamillo’s 2004 Newbery winner The Tale of Despereaux, a book that has deep complex characters and themes, that although sometimes dark, are balanced with just the right amount of light for young children. It’s no accident that one of Despereaux’s foes is named Chiaroscuro.
There were many engaging chapter books that 2nd graders gravitated towards this year, but most were books that were part of a series like, Diary of a Wimpy Kid. My list of top 2nd grade books for 2011, therefore, does not include a chapter book. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
You can say so much with so few words and marvelous images. A great book about memory, aging, gardening, history, family, and much more.
Not surprisingly, Beth Krommes has already won a Caldecott Award. The illustrations are mesmerizing.
Press Here by Herve Tullett
For all the people who are averse to reading on a tablet, this book has a great sense of humor in the way one is supposed to interact with a physical book.
Originally published in 1984, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, was a book of fantastic illustrations, each with only a single caption. These illustrations and captions have been great story starters that have inspired children to write. Now, well known authors like Sherman Alexie, Kate DiCamillo, Stephen King, Jon Scieszka, and Lemony Snicket have all contributed their story to one of the illustrations. I haven’t all the stories yet, but the ones I have are great!
An amazingly illustrated memoir of the author’s childhood in Shanghai during WWII.
Another book that says so much with so little. It’s also wickedly funny.
Books that are published posthumously often seem to be a random compilation of odds and ends. That’s not the case with this collection of poems, each as silly, witty, and fun as any in his other collections.
Currently, it’s the most sought after book in my classroom library.
There are several books that were published this year that I have yet to read, something I hope to do this winter break. Among them are Wonderstruck, Inside Out and Back Again, The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman, and Secrets at Sea. I’m hoping one of these will make a good read-aloud.
Have a wonderful holiday!