Do you sometimes wonder if the mystery books you enjoyed as a child would be considered as much fun to read by children today as when you discovered them in your youth?
There is no question that there are a lot more books from which to choose today when you are selecting reading material for a child for birthdays, Christmas, vacation time, or just for fun. The question is, do the old stand-by mystery books still interest children?
Have Plot Lines and Themes Changed a Lot?
Who are the popular mystery authors now? Are children today too sophisticated to enjoy the old classics? Are they too jaded by television shows with smart-mouthed kids wearing the latest fashions and exchanging clever insults to enjoy the stories that their parents loved?
You’ll be happy to hear that the answer is a resounding “no.” Although there are many new, much loved writers who are selling books to children all over the world, the authors you once loved are still best sellers on Amazon, Chapters, Indigo, Barnes and Noble, and all the other big book stores, too.
Children still have the same needs and concerns that their parents had as children: the need to have friends, be accepted, be respected, be liked, be loved, and to master the tasks set before them. They face the same fears and worries, too: the fear of separation, of failure, of pain, of humiliation, and of death. This all means, of course, that the themes and plot lines appealing to children 20 years ago, 40 years ago, and 60 years ago are still popular:
- Facing fears
- Solving problems
- Coping with misunderstandings
- Gaining acceptance and winning respect
There are Lots of Books on Which You Can Rely
When you are uncertain about which mystery book to choose for a young reader (8-12 or 9-12), you will be happy to see all the old, familiar series books you know and trust:
- Trixie Belden
- The Box Car Children
- Cherry Ames, Student Nurse
- Nancy Drew
- Encyclopedia Brown
- The Hardy Boys
- The Happy Hollisters
- The Dana Girls
While the new authors may not be as familiar to you, teachers, librarians, and salespeople in bookstore are happy to give advice. Here are some of the new, popular mystery books for children (8-2 or 9-12):
- The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
- The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
- The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
- The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
- Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Children are captivated by mysteries and if the book you choose also deals with problems they face or to which they can relate, you’ll have bought a winner. A sports setting helps, too!
Something’s Missing has a hockey setting in which three children overcome their personal problems and work together to solve a mystery. The next book, Someone’s Trapped (at press), has a summer soccer setting and the three children meet again to solve a mystery while dealing with their own personal struggles.
Something’s Missing is for sale in paperback at this link to Amazon.com, or by clicking on this Amazon.ca link, and at Barnes and Noble, and independent bookstores. If your child enjoys reading e-books, you can order the Kindle version available at Amazon.com by clicking here, or at Amazon.ca by clicking on this link.
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Maureen Grenier and a clickable link back to this page.