What’s always coming but never arrives? What travels around the world while staying in a corner? What happens once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in a thousand years?
We love riddles and word puzzles, and we love them even more when they’re wrapped up in a story. You can work right alongside the characters as they try to solve a secret code or figure out how the story’s puzzle pieces fit together. If you’re looking for a mystery for kids that will stretch your brain, look no further. Check out some of our top picks for puzzle-filled chapter books.
The Harlem Charade: Jin, Alex, and Elvin come from very different backgrounds, but their stories weave together as they uncover a mystery in their neighborhood. Each new clue draws them deeper into both the history and present of Harlem, and together they have to figure out how the clues connect if they want to save their community.
Fire the Depths: When Max and his cousin Alex find the lost manuscript of Jules Verne in their attic, they realize it hints at a hidden treasure. They race around the globe, using their unique perspectives and their knowledge of books, geography, languages, and more to decode each of Verne’s secret messages. Their fast-paced, dangerous treasure hunt kept us hooked.
Greenglass House: In this spine-tingling mystery, the characters themselves feel like the puzzle. When a strange lineup of guests arrives at Milo’s parents’ inn during a snowstorm, every one of them has a secret. Milo has to uncover them one by one, but along the way, he’s also uncovering secrets of Greenglass House itself.
Secret Coders: This graphic novel takes place in a school that’s brimming with mysteries and puzzles. Twelve-year-old Hopper and her friends use their knowledge of computer coding to work together to solve them. Be sure to check out the later books in the series, too.
(And if you’re still puzzling over the riddles above, here are the answers: tomorrow, a postage stamp, and the letter M.)