Off the Shelf: Librarians' Recommendations - April/May 2022

Dr. Heather Purcell, Lower School Librarian, and Colleen Boerner, Upper School Librarian

Lower School Librarian

Upper School Librarian


Swashbuckling heroes. Locked-room mysteries. Hidden clues and legendary treasures… Adventure and mystery stories can transport readers to the farthest corners of the globe or to the deepest recesses of the mind. 

Such stories allow readers to face their fears and accomplish impossible things, experience danger and thrill, and explore places they never thought possible. 

These genres are two of the most popular in the literary world for a good reason: They are hugely entertaining. Adventure stories are one of the oldest forms of literature. Since Homer’s written exploration of the Trojan War and Odysseus’ subsequent journey in the 8th century BC, adventure tales have been gracing the pages of books. Mystery novels, on the other hand, are a relatively recent invention usually attributed to Edgar Allan Poe, who created literature’s first fictional detective in 1841. Since then, thousands of mystery books have been penned and voraciously consumed. 

This month, we have selected some mystery and adventure books to satisfy the most daring readers. Enjoy!

Lower School

Pre-primary - Grade 1 

King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats by Dori Hillestad Butler

This is a simple and fun introduction to the mystery genre. It is the first book in a series of whodunnit stories featuring Kayla and her golden retriever, King. In this book, Kayla, King, and their friends have to figure out who’s been stealing dog treats!


Grades 2-3 

Edison: The Mystery of the Missing Mouse Treasure by Torben Kuhlmann

This unique book features gorgeous illustrations and an exciting story about two ingenious mice who work together to build a submarine that will enable them to journey to ocean depths in search of a lost family treasure. This book is worth checking out for the illustrations alone, but the story is also very engaging. (And the treasure they are searching for is more brilliant than anything made of silver or gold!)

Grades 4-5 

The Canyon’s Edge by Dusti Bowling

In this gorgeous book, Nora and her father go on a backpacking trip in the Arizona desert that proves much more challenging than expected. After a flash flood interrupts the hike, Nora suddenly fights for survival as she searches for her father in the desert, facing intense heat, poisonous scorpions, and venomous snakes. But what terrifies Nora the most are the memories of a terrible trauma she endured just a year ago. This book explores paralyzing grief and physical hardship with equal grace and depth. It is a deeply moving story, told in both prose and verse, that is well worth reading. 


Upper School

Grades 6-8

Brotherband: The Outcasts by John Flanagan

The Outcasts is the first book in the compelling Brotherband series. It offers all of the elements of a great quest: a complex, believable world; likable characters; camaraderie; and myriad life-or-death challenges. The book tells the story of the Herons, a group of young Skandian outcasts competing against the Wolves and the Sharks in a series of dangerous maritime competitions. Though they are no match for their competitors in size or strength, they are hopeful that their courage and cunning will be enough to lead them to victory. But their fierce fight for victory soon becomes a treacherous fight for survival and redemption.

Eye of the Crow by Shane Peacock 

In Eye of the Crow, the protagonist is a 13-year-old Sherlock Holmes. He is clever and perceptive but bullied and lonely. When a brutal murder rocks London, Sherlock is convinced that the prime suspect is innocent and that he can find the real killer. But things become more complicated than he expected when he becomes a suspect in the crime. This is the first installment in the Boy Sherlock Holmes series.


Grades 9-12

Hostage Three by Nick Lake 

This fast-paced thriller tells the story of Amy, a struggling teenager who is dismayed by the prospect of spending her summer vacation with her absent father and distant stepmother on a yacht voyage around the world. But the luxurious adventure goes awry when the yacht is attacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, and all three family members are taken hostage. If you enjoyed the Tom Hanks movie Captain Phillips, you will relish reading Hostage Three



Parents, Faculty & Staff, Alumni, Grandparents

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey 

In this mystery set in small-town Australia, Charlie Bucktin, the 13-year-old protagonist, is unexpectedly approached one night by the town’s teenage outcast, Jasper Jones, who asks him for help. Charlie, too intrigued to turn Jasper down, follows him into the bush and learns of a terrible discovery. As Charlie grapples with the knowledge of a grisly crime, the townspeople around him are fraught with fear after the disappearance of a schoolgirl.



We have many mysteries and adventures (for all levels) in the LS Library. For a sampling of what’s available, check out this collection