Mystery books are great for engaging kids while keeping them challenged. Young readers love finding clues and piecing them together like a puzzle. They must use observations, inferences, and deductive reasoning to determine the solution before the last page. Here are some great mystery books for kids to share in the classroom or at home.
You can click on any of the covers below to learn more about each of these mysteries or find all of these books on my Amazon page.
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Favorite Mystery Books for Kids
Here are some of my favorite mystery books for kids. This list includes a mix of new stories and old favorites. I hope you’ll find a new favorite, too!
King and Kayla
King is a lovable dog who helps his human, Kayla, solve mysteries. These books use shorter chapters and illustrations to help readers dive into the mystery genre. Here are a few to check out:
Nate the Great
Nate is a detective who solves crimes with his dog, Sludge. These books are a bit shorter and have illustrations shared throughout. Here are a few of my favorites:
You can find all of my Nate the Great companions here.
Cam is a detective with a photographic memory. She’s constantly finding new mysteries to solve with the help of her friend, Eric. You’ll find a few illustrations mixed into these chapter books. Here are a few of my favorites:
You can find all of my Cam Jansen companions here.
A to Z Mysteries
This series features three third grade kids who solve crimes and mysteries. There are 26 books, one for each letter of the alphabet. However, feel free to read the books in any order you want. Here are a few to check out:
Theodore “Jigsaw” Jones is a second grade detective. He works with his best friend, Mila, to solve mysteries. Here are a few to check out:
This graphic novel series features a group of pups who join forces to solve crimes happening all around them at Pawston Elementary. Take a closer look here:
The Boxcar Children
This series tells the story of four orphaned children who create a home for themselves in an abandoned boxcar in the forest. They eventually meet their grandfather, who is a wealthy and kind man. Each subsequent book in the series has the children facing a new mystery. Here are a few you might enjoy:
You can find my companion for The Boxcar Children here.
This series of books features the adventures of Leroy “Encyclopedia” Brown. Readers gather information and clues to help solve the mystery alongside this boy detective, best known for his intelligence and range of knowledge. Here are a few to check out:
Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew
This series features an 8-year-old Nancy and her two best friends George and Bess as they help solve mysteries around their hometown. Here are a few to check out:
The Westing Game
In my opinion, this book is best for upper elementary students. A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger—and a possible murderer—to inherit his vast fortune, on things for sure: Sam Westing may be dead…but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!
Harold the dog and Chester the cat must find out the truth about the newest pet in the Monroe household—a suspicious-looking bunny with unusual habits…and fangs! Could this innocent-seeming rabbit actually be a vampire?
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
When Kyle Keeley learns that the world’s most famous game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, has designed the town’s new library and is having an invitation-only lock-in on opening night, Kyle is determined to be there! But the tricky part isn’t getting into the library—it’s getting out. Because when morning comes, the doors stay locked. Kyle and the other kids must catch every clue and solve every puzzle to find the hidden escape route!
The Book Scavenger
For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it’s the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles).
Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself, and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game.
Racing against time, Emily and James rush from clue to clue, desperate to figure out the secret at the heart of Griswold’s new game―before those who attacked Griswold come after them too.
Where’s the Big Bad Wolf?
Whenever there’s trouble on Detective Doggedly’s beat, that low-down, no-good, chicken-chasing, pig-poaching Big Bad Wolf is always the prime suspect. But when the three little pigs’ house is huffed and puffed into a pile of straw and only a sheep named Esmeralda is found at the scene of the crime, Doggedly has a new mystery to solve: Where’s the Big Bad Wolf? With the help of some wise elderly cows who live in a home across the road, Doggedly sniffs out the clues. But can he catch the culprit before the three little pigs get gobbled up?
This clever and engaging picture book is a delightful and witty first look at the “noir” detective genre for young readers. A pigeon private investigator emerges from retirement to track down a birdnapper with the help of his feathered friends. A cute chick reports the crime and makes herself useful enough to become a partner in the detective agency, which by the end of the book is back in business.
Betty’s Burgled Bakery
When the Gumshoe Zoo’s alarm alerts them, they learn Betty’s Bakery has been burgled! But how? Something isn’t quite right—and it’s up to these determined detectives to figure out what! Alliteration abounds in this comic book caper featuring the Gumshoe Zoo, a detective agency facing the craziest crime ever committed: pilfered pastries.
Detective Larue: Letters from the Investigation
Ike LaRue is a suspect in some feline foul play—the police are holding him as a suspect in the disappearance of neighbor Mrs. Hibbins’ two cats. Told by Ike in the text of the letters he sends his vacationing owner, Mrs. LaRue, he sets out to find the bad cats—whom he has linked to a string of canary and bird thefts all over town—and to clear his own name.
The Mystery of the Missing Cake
When Harold is invited to a fancy dress birthday party, he and his friends must come up with some fantastic outfits. The party is going really well but when the birthday boy’s cake is stolen during a game in the dark, everyone is a prime suspect in the mystery of the missing cake. Can Harold piece the clues together to solve the mystery and save the party?
7 Ate 9
6 has a problem. Everyone knows that 7 is always after him. Word on the street is that 7 ate 9. If that’s true, 6’s days are numbered. Lucky for him, Private I is on the case. But the facts just don’t add up. It’s odd. Will Private I put two and two together and solve the problem . . . or is 6 next in line to be subtracted?
The Upper Case: Trouble in Capital City
Just when Private I thinks all is calm–now that he’s cracked the case of 7 Ate 9–Question Mark storms into the office. Mark is worried. All the uppercase letters are M-I-S-S-I-N-G! But that’s absurd. This is CAPITAL City! Private I is the last letter standing. Will he solve his BIGGEST mystery yet, the UPPER CASE, before it’s too late?!
What are your favorite mystery books to read? Let me know so I can check them out!
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