Everyone loves a good mystery! Check out these fun mystery series for kids, reviewed and sorted by age range.
My Favorite Mystery Series for Kids
Mysteries are some of my favorite type of books. They can help grow critical thinking skills and are full of twists and turns. Sometimes you may guess the perpetrator, sometimes you’re wrong. Either way, they leave you wanting to know the answer! Here are my favorite mystery series (and a few standalone books!) for kids.
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Detective Dinosaur by James Skofield
The Detective Dinosaur series is perfect for beginning readers in K-2 who enjoy a simple mystery. In each chapter, Detective Dinosaur solves a mystery.
Nate the Great Series by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
The Nate the Great series is great for reading aloud. The pictures are in black and white, but the stories have been entertaining classics for decades.
Cam Jansen is a young girl with a unique gift – she has a photographic memory! This witty dectective has been a favorite for decades, and she can solve a mystery anywhere.
Theodore Jones, known as “Jigsaw Jones,” may be the first second grade detective ever! With his friend Mila, the pair solves mysteries around their neighborhood.
The A to Z Mysteries is one of my favorites for kids just starting to enter chapter books. In each book from “The Absent Author” to “The Zombie Zone”, Dink, Josh, Ruth, and their dog Pal work to solve the case. There may be cliffhangers at the end of the chapter, but they’re always resolved. You can read the books in alphabetical order or out of order.
The Adventures of Mary Kate and Ashley
Inspired by the Olsen twins Mary Kate and Ashley, these adventures are written with young girls in mind and was one of my favorites in early elementary school. They are simple mysteries with two great female leads and entertaining plots. There are 40+ books in the series.
The Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osbourne
In this series with 50+ books, Jack and Annie find a magic tree house that takes them anywhere. They’ve been to places in history to modern day places around the world. Along the way, they learn interesting facts about mummies, knights, polar bears, and other events in history and the world. This is one series that truly defines how reading can take you anywhere!
The Clue Jr. Mysteries are filled with short mysteries inspired by the popular game Clue. Each mystery lets you try to solve the mystery before revealing the answer.
The Clubhouse Mysteries by Sharon M. Draper
Ziggy and the rest of the clubhouse group love solving crimes around their neighborhood. Like any club, they have secret codes and meetings in this series for future spies.
Orphans Amy and Dan Cahill discover a family secret – their family has helped shaped most events in world history! Throughout each of the books, they meet a new historical figure. They’re fast paced and filled with adventure!
American Girl Mysteries
From Kit to Samantha, you may have heard of the classic American Girls. Each American Girl has a few mysteries. They may be a bit more suspenseful than some of the others on this list, but ultimately there is nothing too scary and the stories resolve themselves in the end.
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny are orphans who find and live in a boxcar, until they are adopted by their grandfather. Now, the four siblings solve mysteries! I love this series (and have ready dozens of these books) because of their strong emphasis on curiosity, resourcefulness, family, teamwork.
The Babysitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin
The Babysitter’s Club series has a series called the Super Mystery. The original series tackled the various events in young girl’s lives (including the girl drama) whereas the mysteries focus on mystey!
The Great Mouse Detective Series by Eve Titus
If you’ve seen the Disney movie, you’ll enjoy these books it was based on! Basil the mouse lives in the cellar of the great Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock inspired Basil to solve some mysteries of his own.
Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff
11 year old Sam finds a box in his grandfather’s attic. On a piece of paper, it says Sam was kidnapped. He enlists the help of a new girl, Caroline, to find out the mystery of who he is. However, she’s moving soon, so the two are on a race to help Sam find out who he is.
This story is a wonderful page turner. I’ve read several of Giff’s novels and they are all filled with realistic, relatable characters and thoughtful plots that are often left out of children’s novels.
The Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
With his powerful observational skills, Sherlock Holmes is a talented detective. This illustrated junior library edition is a great start to the world of this master detective.
Nancy Drew Series by Carolyn Keene
Nancy Drew is a great role model for young girls, and this detective series is a classic that has been around for decades.
The Hardy Boys by Franklin Dixon
Whereas Nancy Drew was written for girls, The Hardy Boys were written for boys. Join Frank and Joe for some action-packed mysteries!
American Girl History Mysteries
These standalone books are set during various times in American history and are great for boys and girls, not just girls. Each book ends with a summary of the time period and the events around it. The stories can be complex and suspenseful at times and are not for the age range of the traditional American Girls.
Still, they’re well written and tackle lesser-known events in history. One story tackles deserters during the Civil War and another shows women arrested for the suffragette movement. My favorite ones (non-scary!) were The Night Flyers, which sheds light on WWI homing pigeons, and Watcher in the Piney Woods, set towards the end of the Civil War.
Quicksolve Whodunit by Jim Sukach
This Whodunit short stories let you try to figure out who did it before the answer is revealed. I love this series because it lets you try to use your sleuth-y skills to solve the case. They’re great for kids who enjoy paying attention to detail. The answer often seems “obvious.” This was my favorite book of the series, since the answer was more definite. In the other books of the series, I felt the answers were often, “It could be XYZ” instead of “It was XYZ.” Some of the cases deal with robbery and murder in a non-violent way.
Encyclopedia Brown by Donald Sobol
From helping his neighbors to helping his chief of police father, kid detective Encyclopedia Brown loves solving a good mystery! He charges just $.25 to solve a mystery and lets the reader solve the mystery.
Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer Series by John Grisham
Theodore Boone is a young lawyer in training. Written by a bestseller of adult fiction, these books are filled with courtroom drama and page turners. It’s written for ages 8-12, and if they’re interested in “real life” cases, this is a solid option.
I am a huge fan of mysteries. Always looking for ideas for kids to find a great book that keeps them turning the pages.