When I was growing up I was all about reading realistic fiction and classics. I loved anything by Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Lois Lowry and Cynthia Voigt. I adored Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Mr. Popper's Penguins, and A Little Princess. I read an occasional mystery (I must shamefully admit I only read one Nancy Drew) and I couldn't get enough of the Little House on the Prairie books.
My daughter has recently started reading chapter books and we read them aloud at night. I couldn't wait to introduce her to Ramona the Pest and more contemporary series like Ivy and Bean. Many of the books I have brought home have been dismissed by my daughter in a very matter of fact way. She knows what she likes and what she doesn't like when it comes to books. I have come to accept that she may not enjoy many of the books I treasured as a child, but it has also pushed me as a parent to help her discover what she truly enjoys as a reader. This is also an important part of my job as a youth services librarian, so this challenge has helped me both professionally and personally.
I decided to start trying different genres with my daughter. She has become an ardent fan of Roald Dahl and we have read almost every book he has written. But her newest interest has been mystery books. Mystery is a great genre for kids and teens. Like most books, mysteries open windows to new experiences and perspectives, but they also require close reading to look for clues and the use of analytical skills when trying to solve the mystery. Many mysteries incorporate different elements like history, geography, and fantasy. The series that my daughter has enjoyed the most has been the Capital Mysteries series by Ron Roy. He has also written other mystery series that include A to Z Mysteries and Calendar Mysteries. Hands down, the Capital Mysteries have been my daughter's favorite. These series are geared to kids in Grades 1-3.
My daughter's enjoyment of mysteries has piqued my interest in this genre as well. I am looking forward to reading more juvenile and teen mysteries while exploring adult mysteries as well. As a librarian, I am excited to share the knowledge I am gaining when I help patrons look for their next book to read. You can come to the library and we will help you find the perfect next book. We also have a great online service for readers of all ages called Bookmatch. Novelist is another resource we offer to help you find books that match your reading tastes. You can access this database inside and outside the library.
If you are interested in introducing your kids and teens to mysteries here are a few suggestions, some classics as well as newer titles:
- Hermelin the Detective Mouse by Mini Gray (Grades K-2)
- Nate the Great (series) by Marjorie Sharmat (Grades K-2)
- The Mystery of Meerkat Hill by Alexander McCall Smith (Grades 3-6)
- The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (Grades 4-8)
- Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein (Grades 4-7)
- The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer (Grades 4-8)
- Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet (Grades 5-8)
- Skink--No Surrender by Carl Hiiasen (Grades 7-10)
- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Grades 9-12)
- Shelter by Harlan Coben (Grades 9 Up)