28 of the Best Mystery Books for Kids

Mystery Books for Kids

If you are looking for mystery books for kids, you’ve come to the right place!

Fall is here and for me, that means mysteries.  When I was younger, I remember my mother reading mysteries all the time, and at the time, I didn’t understand why.  That is, I didn’t understand why until I picked up my first mystery and was hooked. 

We made a list of our favorite mysteries for kids – both elementary and middle school-aged. 

We have mystery childrens books from sleuthing and heists to secrets and deception. If your little one loves mysteries, you might want to check out this post on our favorite logic games too!   

Do you have suggestions for books that we should add to our stack?

*the kids mystery books post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

Early Reader Children’s Mystery Books

baby monkey

Baby Monkey Private Eye by Brian Selznick

This book is the perfect mystery book for a VERY beginning reader who is looking for a chapter book that looks like it’s made for older kids. Baby Monkey is a detective who is ready to solve mysteries.

Why I Love This Book: With Selznick’s signature illustrations, easy language, and repetitive sentences, this book is hysterical and a great way to learn to read. Baby monkey putting his pants on gets me every time!
Appropriate for Ages: 3-7
Find This Book In: Books for a 6-Year-Old / Mystery Books for Kids / Animal Books for Kids

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Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, illus. by Marc Simont

This beginning reader kids mystery book series is wonderful for emerging readers. It’s all about kid detective, Nate, who solves mysteries for his friends and neighbors!

simon and chester

Super Detectives! (Simon and Chester Book #1) by Cale Atkins

In this graphic novel series of childrens mystery books, a kid and a ghost team up to solve cases. The Simon and Chester series is geared toward beginning readers and is a perfect introduction to the mystery genre.

judy moody girl detective

Judy Moody, Girl Detective by Peter H. Reynolds

This delightful book follows Judy Moody on her quest to become a detective. With her quirky personality and curiosity, Judy dives headfirst into solving mysteries around her neighborhood, bringing her signature enthusiasm to each case.

Readers will be charmed by Judy’s humorous adventures and her determination to uncover the truth in this fun-filled story.

Early reader

40+ Early Reader Books for Emergent Readers to Enjoy Now

For more mystery books for kids, you can check out this early reader post.

Animal Detective Books

investigators

InvestiGators by John Patrick Green

If your child is more confident reading graphic novels, this kid’s mystery book series is a perfect pick. It features two alligator detectives solving crimes and thwarting supervillains.

Fabio the worlds greatest

Fabio The World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective: Mystery on the Ostrich Express by Laura James

My kids adored this beginning reader chapter book based on Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. The bright colors in the drawings and the clever storytelling will have your child thoroughly entertained.

The first in a series, these kids mystery books are perfect for an 8-year-old detective!

Mr. Penguin

Mr. Penguin and the Lost Treasure by Alex T. Smith

If you are looking for a delightful children’s mystery book series for young readers, we love Mr. Penguin and his jungle adventures. He and his spider sidekick are so fun to read.

This book is illustrated but also in hardcover, so it helps make the kids feel like they are reading something more advanced.

Classic Kids Mystery Books Series

the a to z mysteries

A to Z Mysteries: The Absent Author by Ron Roy and Illus. by John Steven Gurney

The first in a kids mystery book series, each book in the A to Z mysteries series solves a mystery starting with a different letter. This first one is the absent author, which has three kid detectives looking for their favorite author who never turned up to his event.

nancy Drew

Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew: Sleepover Sleuths by Carolyn Keene

Nancy Drew is getting a modern update for the younger set in this series of beginning reader mystery books for kids. She’s back in these children’s mystery books with George and Bess to solve kid-appropriate cases – think missing dolls and an escaping pony. These are perfect for kids aged 7-9.

the boxcar children

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The beloved kids mystery book series gets an illustrated update in the rereleased version. Geared toward 6-9-year-olds, the Alden Children are so beloved that the series is over 100 books long.

In each book, the 4 orphans find adventures to have and mysteries to solve – starting with finding a home for themselves in the first book.

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Cam Jansen: The Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds by David Adler

Cam Jansen is one of the first series my children ever read aloud and it happens to be a great set of children’s mystery books!

Each chapter is short and perfect for developing readers and the mysteries within keep the kids interested. Since each book is a stand-alone, you can read them in whatever order you choose.

Encyclopedia Brown

Encyclopedia Brown by Donald Sobol

Encyclopedia Brown is a beloved series about Leroy “Encyclopedia” Brown, a brilliant young detective in his small town. With his cunning observational skills, he takes on a variety of cases brought to him by friends and neighbors.

These kids mystery books provide an interactive and engaging reading experience, encouraging young readers to think critically and hone their detective skills as they try to solve the mystery before Encyclopedia Brown does.

Great First Chapter Mystery Books for Kids

clubhouse mysteries

The Buried Bones Mystery (Clubhouse Mysteries #1) by Sharon M. Draper

This modern classic mystery children’s book series is a collection of engaging children’s books that follow a group of friends who form a secret club and embark on exciting adventures. Together, they solve mysteries, uncover secrets, and use their teamwork and problem-solving skills to crack cases.

These books offer a delightful blend of friendship, suspense, and fun, making them perfect for young readers.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret and more of the best books for a 9-year-old

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Don’t let the length of this mystery book for kids deter you. Even though it is on our list of long books, there are gorgeous illustrations on every other page and the writing is only a paragraph at a time.

This middle grade mystery is an amazing story of Hugo Cabret who is an orphan in the Paris train station where he winds the clocks so that nobody will discover his secrets. Soon he discovers a drawing and a notebook that will lead him to the biggest adventure of his life. This is one of the must-read books for 12-year-olds.

shelby holmes

The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg

If you are a Sherlock Holmes fan, you can get your kid started on their journey with this modern Sherlock Holmes retelling. In this one, 6th grader Shelby is a detective in her Harlem neighborhood.

She doesn’t have many friends until John Watson moves in downstairs. Soon the duo are working together to solve a dog napping case. It’s one of our favorite children’s mystery book series.

Classic Kids Mystery Books

The Westing Game and more family audiobooks for road trips

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

The tween book that got me into mysteries as a child is great as an audiobook as well! When Mr. Westing dies, he leaves the residents of Sunset Towers named in his will.

But they need to solve the mystery of his death in order to win control of his company and his vast fortune. Your family will love trying to work out what happened!

Why We Love It: This classic 70s book is still a must-read today! It has withstood the test of time.
Find this Book in Best Middle Grade Mystery Books / Books for 11-year-olds / Books About Puzzles

The Egypt Game and more family audiobooks for road trips

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Neatly Snyder

This middle grade fiction enchanted me as a young girl. The 6 “Egyptians” play in the back lot of an antique store, dressing up, performing rituals, and speaking with Oracles.

Then, a murder happens in the area and trouble comes to the lot. Don’t worry, there is a happy ending to this tween mystery book and also a sequel about gypsies!

Harriet the spy and other mystery books for tweens

Harriet The Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Harriet the Spy has been a classic children’ book for over 50 years. The 11-year-old is never without her notebook to write her observations in. When the notebook falls into the hands of her friends, they all get very angry with Harriet.

Will she be able to right her wrongs? There is a reason this realistic fiction book for a 10-year-old has been adapted repeatedly for the screen. It’s got life lessons for every child.

Copy of headers

11 Amazing Spy Books for Kids

For more mystery books for kids, check out these spy books too!

Middle Grade Mystery Books

Howliday inn and other halloween books for kids

Howliday Inn by James Howe

Technically the sequel to Bunnicula, this read-aloud book can really be read as a stand-alone. Chester and Harold are being boarded while their family is on vacation, but they are convinced they are staying in a haunted hotel!

I remember laughing out loud as I read this middle grade mystery book as a child. This Halloween chapter book stands the test of time.

Mr. Lemoncello

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Mr. Lemoncello’s library is one of a kind. It’s full of holograms, logic puzzles, and hidden games. To officially open the new library, a few lucky kids get to spend the night inside as they try to win Mr. Lemoncello’s game and be the first team to escape.

Why We Love This Book: If you are looking for great bedtime stories for kids, this series will hit the mark. It will get your kids engaged with one-of-a-kid puzzles and delightful twists and turns.
Appropriate for ages 9-11
Find this book in
Audiobooks for Kids / Netflix Book Adaptations / Middle Grade Mysteries / Books for 11-year-olds / Read Aloud Books / Best Puzzle Books

the name of this book

The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonym Bosh

This kids mystery book series is a captivating and mysterious journey that follows two young friends, Cass and Max-Ernest, as they stumble upon a hidden and enigmatic adventure. As they uncover cryptic messages and unravel secrets, readers are drawn into a suspenseful world of puzzles, codes, and intrigue.

This book is a thrilling journey that keeps you guessing until the very end. It’s the first in a 6 book series that will keep your young reader eagerly turning pages.

More Childrens Mystery Books

Enola Holmes case of the missing marquess

Enola Holmes: The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer

Now a hit Netflix movie, Enola Holmes has taken the world by storm. She is the youngest Holmes child and she’s trying to come into her own as a detective in Victorian England.

In this debut mystery book for kids, Enlola steps out of her brother’s shadow and solves some mysteries of her own.

maze of bones

The Maze of Bones (39 Clues #1) by Rick Riordan and other authors

Grace Cahill dies and leaves orphan siblings Amy and Dan an option – 1 million dollars or a clue. Amy and Dan decided to take the clue and figure out what happened to their parents. Along the way, they run into other families on the hunt for clues.

This is like The Da Vinci code for kids. It’s a kids mystery book series filled with secret societies, hidden secrets, and an epic quest for treasure.

the misfits

The Misfits by Lisa Yee

Olive is usually a misfit at every school she attends, but at her latest school, RASCH, her differences are why she’s chosen for an elite crime-fighting squad.

As she and the other Misfits go undercover to nab a prolific jewel thief, they must learn to work together and lean on one another.

Why We Love This Book: The diverse cast of characters comes alive in this story – each bringing their own quirks, skills, and differences to create a cohesive team. #Gifted by Penguin Kids
Appropriate for ages 8-12
Find this book in
Best Audiobooks for Kids / Books for 12-year-olds / Mystery Books for Kids / Best Mystery Books 2024

Advanced Mystery Books for Kids

The Mysterious Benedict Society and more books like Keeper of the lost cities

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

This is a mystery book for tweens that all adults should read but you can also find it on our list of books for 13-year-olds. It’s about a group of extremely gifted children who are sent to spy on an evil organization.

As members of a secret society, these genius kids must follow the clues on their secret mission.

Why We Love This: This is the first middle-grade book in a series that is geared toward older kids. It was funny and interesting and extremely clever.
Find this book in Middle Grade Mystery Books / Books for 13-year-olds/ Books About Puzzles

The sweetness at the bottom of the pie

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

This is the first book in the Flavia De Luce series. This 11-year-old aspiring chemist is a wonderful heroine. I love her- she is smart and precocious. This is one of the best historical mystery books for YA readers and does not have violence. 

It is 1950 and Flavia has a love of poisons. When she finds a man taking his last breath in a cucumber patch, she is not scared at all, rather, she delights in solving the mystery. The rest of this detective series is on my list of books to read. We also included this British mystery book on our list of Books for 13-year-olds and in our favorite books by Canadian Authors.

Greenglass House and more family audiobooks for road trips

Greenglass House by Kate Milford

This middle grade mystery reminded me of Harry Potter in some ways. A child is trying to uncover the secrets of Greenglass House, a hotel for smugglers and spies before the adults do.

We read this as a family read-aloud and it was wonderful. It’s one of the books for an 11-year-old that younger readers might struggle with.

Find this book in Best Ghost Books / Best Winter Books / Terrific Hotel Novels / Best Mystery Books for Tweens / Best Family Audiobooks / Books With Colors in the Title

a study in charlotte

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

I enjoyed the first book in the Charlotte Holmes Trilogy. I’ve mentioned before that I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan. This Sherlock Holmes retelling differs from the others because it occurs in modern times.

The central characters are the teenage descendants of Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson. I love detective books that take a different look at a favorite character.

The adolescent angle leaves room for error in Holmes’ deductive reasoning skills. Watson is also a more fleshed-out character who has deductive reasoning skills of his own. This classic retelling wraps up nicely and the characters solve the mystery leaving enough open ends to allow for a sequel.

This is one of my favorite mystery books set in High school.

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The Best Mystery Books for Tweens: 23 Middle Grade Mysteries to Devour

For more older kids mystery books, we recommend dozens on this list.

Are any of your favorite mystery books for kids on this list?

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One Comment

  1. Thank you so much for putting together this list! It was super helpful and I can’t wait to try out some of these books with my kids.