Mystery Books for 6- to 8-Year-Olds
by Dena McMurdie
Every time I read a mystery with my kids, I’m surprised at how much they pick up. Often, my kids will stop me halfway through a book to tell me their hypothesis (yes, they use that word) and make predictions about the rest of the story. Mysteries get kids to think differently and pay attention to details they might not otherwise notice.
You can help your little detectives hone their sleuthing skills with these mysterious reads.
The Sleepover Mystery
Send your young reader to the museum for a sleepover with an adorable group of kittens. One kitten gets into an argument with her friends and then disappears, leaving the rest of the furballs to wonder what happened. Follow the clues and find out where this little feline is hiding!
The Underdogs Catch a Cat Burglar
Kids who enjoy their mysteries with a hefty helping of humor will go wild for The Underdogs series. With crime rates skyrocketing, and a notorious feline bandit on the loose, the floundering Underdog Detective Agency has its paws full. Readers will be in stitches over the misadventures of these animal sleuths.
Nate the Great Series
Nate the Great, the protagonist of this highly entertaining series, takes solving mysteries very seriously. Growing readers will love following along as the boy detective — accompanied by his trusty dog, Sludge — collects clues and applies his problem-solving skills to solve cases of disappearing books, pets, notes, and more.
The Case of the Missing Cheetah
A secret spy society, a missing pet cheetah, and three best friends come together in this highly illustrated chapter book series for young readers. With codes to break and clues to follow, the friends have their work cut out for them. Kids will love this adventurous mystery series!
King & Kayla and the Case of the Lost Library Book
If your kid loves mystery stories with animal sidekicks, they’ll love this series about a young girl and her dog solving mysteries in her neighborhood. In this book, Kayla can’t find one of her library books. She retraces her steps and pieces together the clues to find the missing book. With eight titles in the series, kids will have plenty of reading material to work through.
The Haunted Library Series
When a gust of wind separates a ghost boy named Kaz from his family, he takes up residence in a library and meets Claire, a girl who can see him (and other ghosts too). Despite their differences, they become friends and join forces to find Kaz’s family in this not-too-scary series.
A Fishy Mystery
Math and mystery combine into an educational and entertaining story for kids. When a fishbowl disappears from her classroom, amateur detective Thea wants to crack the case. Using her math and sleuthing skills, she follows the clues to reveal what happened. Back matter includes math vocabulary, activities, and comprehension questions.
The Case of the Nibbled Pizza #1
Growing readers will love this humorous story about aspiring sibling detectives tracking down a mysterious pizza-chomping culprit. Full-color illustrations, simple text, and short chapters make it an excellent choice for newly independent readers. The sleuthing fun continues in the second book, The Case of the Missing Socks.
Young Cam Jansen and the Baseball Mystery
For kids who are moving up in their reading, this level three reader has full color artwork and easy to understand sentences. It shows kids that the key to solving a mystery often lies in seemingly unrelated details.
Johnny Boo Finds a Clue (Johnny Boo Book 11)
Readers who can’t get enough of Johnny Boo will obsess over this hilarious mystery adventure starring the goofy ghost and his friends. When his ice cream vanishes without a trace, Johnny knows who took it — the mountain! He enlists his friends’ help to tackle the mountain and get his ice cream back. Series fans and new readers alike will love this rib-tickling story.
Hattie Harmony: Worry Detective
This sweet picture book is about anxiety, first-day jitters, and friendship. On the first day of school, Hattie Harmony uses her detective tool belt and social-emotional smarts to get to the bottom of what’s worrying her best friend, Pearl. Likewise, when Hattie’s anxiety acts up, she relies on Pearl’s advice to conquer her fears.
Ballpark Mysteries Series
Cousins Kate and Mike must work together to solve mysteries at ballparks across the United States from Los Angeles to New York City. This early chapter book series from Kelly and Meyers is loads of fun — a true home run for baseball fans and mystery readers alike.
Judy Moody, Girl Detective
Judy Moody is a staple for early chapter book readers, and this mystery story is an excellent choice. When a canine detective-in-training vanishes, Judy jumps at the chance to solve a real-life crime. She and her friends follow the trail of missing chocolate chip cookies, collect clues, and get scared senseless in this sweet and funny mystery novel.
A to Z Mysteries Super Edition 1: Detective Camp
Young mystery solvers who want a super-long book series to dive into will want to read the A to Z Mysteries series. Whether going to detective camp or scoping out zombies, best friends Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose tackle each case with courage. With one book for each letter of the alphabet, kids have plenty of reading material to keep them occupied.
Super Detectives! (Simon and Chester Book #1)
Fans of Bad Guys will love this hilarious early graphic novel series starring two best friends — one boy and one ghost. The duo put on their detective caps in their first book and set out to solve a mystery. They follow the clues, dodge chores, and snack their way to a satisfying resolution.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2022.