My kids love to read adventure stories, and I love how enthused they get about reading when they find a good one. There are also great lessons to be learned from adventure stories – lessons about being brave in the face of danger, of trusting God when the path is unknown, and of embracing new things, among others. There are the character-building lessons and literature ideas you learn from these books, too. So for the past month I’ve read lots and lots of kids’ books to find the perfect ones for our book club meetings and school plans. these yet, they should be added to your TBR pile immediately. 1. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein This story features middle-school characters but is I’ve tested out many more books than I’ve chosen, too, because I’m a picky reader, and I have high expectations for what my kids read. The following list includes my most favorite adventure stories for upper elementary readers, though, and if you haven’t read clean and fun. The characters are involved in a Survivor-like contest in a high-tech new library and must figure out an escape from a series of well-formulated clues to win an enormous price. 2. Capture the Flag by Kate Messner This is the first book in a trilogy about a secret society of people descended from the world’s greatest artists and whose mission it is to protect their ancestors’ work from those who seek to steal or destroy it. The main characters are three unlikely kids, all with different skills and talents, who work together to bring down some serious art thieves. 3. The Secret Island by Enid Blyton This is another first-in-a-series, this time about kids who are living in poor foster situations and decide to run away together to live on an island in the middle of a nearby lake. They build shelters, cook for themselves, store food for the winter, and otherwise survive on their own for months. It’s a great story of survival skills and working together. 4. The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein This Grabenstein book also features older characters and touts great literature. How real are the things we imagine? Can our imaginations fuel real change to our world? These themes are explored when the main character writes himself into many classic stories and barely escapes with his life over and over again. 5. The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone This first book, and the three that follow it, follow two kids through adventures through time, righting wrongs and learning about history. Their time travels are centered around the Sixty-Eight Rooms, a real exhibit in a Chicago museum. Find out how to turn this story into a real learning adventure here. 6. George Washington’s Socks by Elvira Woodruff I’ve always had a thing for time travel, as evidenced by several of these choices, but that’s because it’s a great vehicle for bringing the excitement of history alive. Woodruff does that in this story by sending a group of friends back in time to the night that Washington crossed the Delaware. In the melee, they are helped by Native Americans, run into Redcoats, are captured by Hessians, and rescued by Patriots. How much more excitement could you handle in one night?? 7. Honus and Me by Dan Gutman While time travel is my thing, sports are not – and yet I love this series. The main character, a tween boy, has the ability to travel through time with old baseball cards, and in each book of the series he travels to a different time and place, meeting the old greats and trying to correct wrongs – all while learning about the history of baseball. Of course, things never go as planned, and he’s captured by mobsters, lost without money, chased by angry managers, and much more. Find out how to turn this story into a real-life learning adventure here. 8. Edison’s Gold by Geoff Watson This is one of my son’s favorite books. When Thomas Edison’s a-bunch-of-greats-grandson learns of his ancestor’s secret discovery, he and his friends race to find and save it – before the competition destroys his family. With explosions, chase scenes, and neat science tricks, it’s a super fun story – and you’ll learn something, too. Find out how to turn this story into a real-life adventure here.
9. Missing on Superstition Mountain by Elise Broach This story, and the rest of the trilogy, explore the mysterious past of a real mountain range in Arizona. With legends abounding, as well as a race to find a lost gold mine, you won’t be able to put this series down.
10. Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett This story will make you think, as the author combines history, art, and philosophy – but she does so amidst the biggest art heist in history, and when some kids discover the trail to the thief, adventures fly. Find out more about how to turn this book into a learning adventure here.
Do your kids like adventure stories? Which are their favorites?