Creaky castles, hidden treasures, anonymous letters—a great mystery book can keep a young reader on the edge of their seat! Mystery stories are a fantastic way for sixth graders to develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills, all while enjoying the twists, turns, and whodunits that keep readers coming back for more. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry—Literati has already done the sleuthing for you.
We’ve selected the most captivating mystery books for sixth graders. From magical tales of lost treasure to the humorous reports of a clumsy spy, your 11-year-old won’t stop reading until they crack the case!
#1 August Isle
by Ali Standish
Tucked in Florida waters, August Isle is a seemingly-perfect beach town. But the more Miranda explores its sandy shores, the more she uncovers its dark secrets—including ones about her own family.
A Junior Library Guild selection, August Isle is a deeply reflective tale with lessons and self-discovery that are bound to resonate with sixth grade. Its unique characters and captivating twists make it one of the best chapter books for young readers.
#2 Case Closed #1: Mystery in the Mansion
by Lauren Magaziner
To save his sick mother and her detective agency, young Carlos teams up with best friend Eliza and her little brother, Frank. Little do they know, they’ll encounter spooky letters, buried treasures, riddles, and wacky foes along the way. Case Closed empowers your middle-grader to make their own decisions and chase down the clues of their choosing. This format helps develop abstract and critical thinking skills as they attempt to think a few steps ahead in order to crack the case!
#3 The Lost Property Office
By James R. Hannibal
Jack’s got a knack for discovering all things lost and found. From scarves to books, Jack Buckles has a special gift for locating all of London’s abandoned treasures. But there’s one thing he can’t find—his long-lost father and sister. That is, until a few family secrets emerge.
James R. Hannibal’s clever thriller is a top pick for readers who enjoy a bit of magic in their mystery. The whimsical London setting helps make this a fully immersive read, while challenging readers to link past and present.
#4 Spy School
by Stuart Gibbs
Meet Ben Ripley, our resident spy-to-be, who’s determined to join the CIA (despite being a bit accident-prone). Readers are in for one of many plot twists when Ben finds out his new school isn’t exactly what it claims to be.
This spy tale is one of the best books for sixth graders because it’s laugh-out-loud funny—a feature you don’t always find in mystery. Detective thrillers meet gut-busting humor in Spy School, where there’s no shortage of sharp jokes that are just-right for the sixth grade sensibility.
#5 The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
By Leslie Connor
With his learning disability and sweaty appearance, Mason Buttle is not exactly a popular kid. Even worse, his reputation is haunted by the mysterious death of his best friend, Benny. To escape his bullies, Mason and his new friend Calvin escape to play in an underground grotto—until Calvin disappears, too.
With over a dozen children’s book awards, The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle is a mature and deeply captivating story. Leslie Connor’s intelligent writing and complex characters show the evil of stigmas, as well as the power of friendship.
Break Out the Magnifying Glass to Read These Mystery Books
From belly-laughs to scary spooks, there’s a mystery book for every reader out there. And with Literati’s help, you don’t have to play detective to find the best ones for your child. Our personalized book clubs for kids can help your preteen find books they’re bound to love, with individualized curation that adapts as they grow. Take the quiz to find your child’s starting level—and uncover all the brain-boosting secrets of one-of-a-kind personalization!