Looking for Books That Challenge Your Kids' Minds? Try Mystery Books!

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I’ve always been a big reader.  When I was in elementary school, I would rush through my assignments so that I could grab a book out of the big bin at the front of the classroom, and I drove my parents crazy because they’d constantly find books lying all over the house, tossed onto the couch or end table where I’d finished reading them.  I’m sure I wasn’t a very good conversationalist in the car because I usually had my nose stuck in a book, even on 15-minute trips to the hockey arena.  I still love reading – too often I end up staying up way later than I intended each night because I want to read just one more chapter – and the books that I enjoy now are often similar to the books I devoured growing up.

I always loved the challenge of a good mystery or adventure book, like Nancy Drew or the Choose Your Own Adventure series, which allowed the reader to make choices for the main character and ultimately determine the outcome of the story.  Actually, Fast Company magazine recently did a piece on a guy who graphed out all the possible options for these books – it’s pretty impressive!

Children’s books have come a long way since my early mystery reading days, and they offer a lot more opportunity for reader involvement.  One such series, Meg Mackintosh Solve-It-Yourself Mysteries, asks readers to work through text and illustration clues to come to their own conclusions, challenging not only kids’ reading ability, but also their problem solving and deductive reasoning skills.  They’re a great all-around educational tool, and kids won’t even realize all the ways they’re learning.  I can’t wait to share these books with my children — and hopefully pass on my love of reading.

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