Mystery Books for Kids: What, Where, How

mystery books for kidsThe writing of mystery books for kids is quite a bit more difficult than writing for adults. Good children’s mysteries tend to be more puzzle-oriented. Finding and figuring out the clues.

What makes a good kid’s mystery book? Let’s find out. Mystery stories for both younger kids and older kids are dissected here.

Mystery Books for Kids: The Younger Set

Of course, mystery books for kids never actually have the violence of adult books. So, we aren’t talking about murders here. It’s usually a stolen item or a confusing situation. The child hero figures out what really happened.

For younger readers, mystery books are part entertainment, part education, and part learning the enjoyment of reading. The entertainment part tends to be the story itself – the combination of plot, characters and setting. The education part comes in with the solving of the mystery. We want our children to learn the tools for seeing the clues, making decisions, understanding consequences and achieving results. And, naturally, we encourage our children to read more.

Mystery Books for Kids: The Older Set

Mysteries for older kids can have some violence and evil involved. Teens especially have the ability to understand the world better. They understand there are bad people and murderers in our world. What’s important is that the bad people get caught in the end. Good will triumph over evil.

For older kids, the process of following the clues to find the solution is an educational side by itself. But, these stories must also have good plots, believable characters and rich settings. Older children are easily able to use their imagination to see the place and the action. So rich details are valuable for them.

Finding Good Mysteries for Kids

Mystery stories for kids abound in our current world, but good mysteries aren’t quite as available. It’s up to us, as parents, guardians and teachers, to help our children find the books that will be enjoyable and educational.

Series are one way to find good mystery books for kids. Additional books in the series are written and published because they tend to be good. Publishers will also assignmystery books for kids an age level for the mysteries. If your child reads lots, they may be above their grade in reading level. But that doesn’t mean that mysteries for older levels are appropriate for them. Remember more violence, even murder, can show up in older level mystery books.

Just a word of warning – the self-publishing world of ebooks is not so well organized. We recommend that you read other parent’s reviews, even read the book yourself first. You want to make sure what you are giving to your children to read is a good mystery and appropriate for their age.

The Lacey Pinkerton series is one that we have reviewed here. Reading reviews, like this one will help you understand which mystery books for kids are worthwhile for your own child.

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About the Author

About the Author: Avid reader of all in the mystery genre for more than 30 years. Over the past several years, I have been part of the review team for pre-release mystery fiction. My experience includes review and evaluation of mystery genre manuscripts for new authors. Clearly, mysteries are my passion when it comes to novel reading. .


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  1. You are absolutely correct that some very inappropriate books are being published for older children and what they call young adults. I got a lot of them as samples when I was still actively buying books from major publishers. Most I would never recommend anyone read — let alone children. One in particular glorified out of control drinking and drug use, with accompanying inappropriate sexual activities, at parties. I’m not familiar with with the series you mentioned, but I have found a few stand alone mystery books I do recommend for children.

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