The children’s mystery genre has always seemed to be the unofficial antidote for any student’s allergy to reading. Suspense, thrills, action, and adventure! Mystery books can draw in even the most reluctant readers, making them wonderful additions to elementary or middle school classrooms. Below is a shortlist of popular mystery novels and series that would work well for individual readers, small groups, or the entire classroom.
Read on to find 11 MENTOR TEXTS FOR TEACHING MYSTERIES.
Harold the dog, Chester the Cat, and the fanged bunny, Bunnicula, embark on seven exciting adventures all in this one thrilling box set! These furry friends are a curious bunch whose hunches get them into precarious situations! Perfect for mystery and animal lovers, this box set is sure to be a hit in the classroom.
The Goosebumps series combines excitement and horror in a way that helps get even the stubbornest students reading! With monsters and ghosts haunting the pages, these books are ideal for thrill-seeker children, and for students who don’t have any interest in anything else you’ve tried to give them. Goosebumps make for exciting reads that will get your heart racing!
The A to Z Mysteries series follows Dink Duncan, Josh Pinto, and Ruth Rose Hathaway on their amateur sleuthing missions. While these books don’t have the fear factor of R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps, they excel in building suspense and tension, which are two classic motifs within the Mystery genre! A to Z is intended for Grades 3-5.
Cam Jansen is a fifth-grader who uses her photographic memory to solve mysteries with her best friend, Eric. Cam Jansen can solve any mystery, no matter if she’s looking for U.F.O.’s, dinosaur bones, stolen diamonds, or circus clowns! This series is recommended for ages 7-11 and just like all the other series in this list, can be purchased individually or in sets.
Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden explore the world as they solve mysteries! Gertrude Chandler Warner began writing the first editions in the 1940s, showing that The Boxcar Children series has survived the test of time! Without any prominent adult characters, these children display independence and confidence in their abilities, which can help teach your students about the value of cultivating strength from within!
In this set, sisters Sabrina and Daphne get sent to live with their grandmother where they discover that they’re the descendants of Brothers Grimm and their new home is chock full of mysteries just itching to be solved! Students enjoy the collaboration of a modern setting and the retellings of classic Grimm Fairy Tales. Whereas the first three books are suitable for 8–9-year-olds, the series is best suited for children ages 10 and up because of frightening content.
With a huge variety of books in the Jigsaw Jones series, students can begin reading these books in kindergarten and through the third grade! The series is centered around amateur detective, Theodore “Jigsaw” Jones and his partner and best friend, Mila Yeh. Jigsaw and Mila investigate a plethora of mysteries, including missing bikes, smelly sneakers, ghosts, and mummies!
Leroy Brown, AKA Encyclopedia Brown, is Idaville’s star detective! A ten-year-old with a knack for solving mysteries for the neighborhood kids, Brown also helps his chief of police father get to the bottom of real crimes! These books are intended for ages 7-11 and are sure to intrigue even the most reluctant readers.
Samantha Josephine “Sammy” Keyes is a seventh-grade sleuth with a hunger for mystery! Told in first-person narration, Sammy is a spunky, sarcastic, and curious character who illegally lives with her grandmother in a “seniors-only” living complex. Staying under the radar, Sammy passes the time with her hobby of spying on her neighbors! Readers will thoroughly enjoy Sammy’s adventures as well as the supporting characters that are introduced along the way to contribute to a growing storyline.
Written by best-seller author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Rick Riordan’s mystery series, The 39 Clues, is a fan-favorite of children ranging from 8 to 12 years old. Siblings Amy and Dan Cahill discover that their family has been and was the most influential family in all of history! Throughout this collection, Dan and Amy embark on a quest to find the 39 clues. The clues are the ingredients to a serum that has the potential to create the most powerful person on Earth… but at what cost? This 11-book collection contains the entire original series, and there are other collections available on the Rockin’ Resources Mystery Amazon list!
This novel follows siblings Claudia and Jamie Kincaid on their adventure as they run away from home in Connecticut to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Within the story’s prologue is a letter from Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, addressed “To my lawyer, Saxonberg”, and is accompanied by a sketch of her writing at her desk. The two runaways make it their mission to find Mrs. Basil by using clues throughout the city and within the letter. This set provides 8 copies of this adventure-packed book and there’s even a 2000’s TV-movie of the story available on Amazon!
There’s such a wide variety of mystery books out there; ranging from vampire bunnies to crime detectives, fantastical to realistic. Whether you wish to add some spookiness around Halloween, inspire a group of lackluster readers, or simply teach a mystery literature unit, a good mystery book can do wonders! You can view our full list of Rockin’ Mystery Books HERE! Here, you can purchase these series in box sets, or individually!