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The Ultimate List of Spy Books for the Little Super Sleuth in Your Life

With their constant curiosity, ingrained sense of justice, and a deep desire to find out exactly what you’re up to (even when you’re hiding in the bathroom on a Zoom call) it’s no wonder kids are the drawn to the world of spies and secret agents. Even if you’ve got a librarian in your household, finding an age-appropriate reading list that is spy-centric and will keep their attention is no small task. So we put together this collection of our favorite spy-themed books for kids from three to thirteen.

Related: 14 activity books for kids of all ages

Sneaky disguises, emphatic accusations, and a little uncontrollable laughter, sound familiar? Go ahead and declare their blanket fort HQ and grab a few of these amazing spy books for kids to read any time they need a little espionage in their day. 

If you haven’t heard of Elzebeth Friedman, you’re not alone: her remarkable story only came to light more recently, when in 2015 her secret papers were finally declassified. Readers ages six and up will enjoy this illustrated nonfiction book about Elizabeth Friedman’s many genius moves including creating the CIA’s first cryptology unit.

I-spy animals book

Toddlers and preschoolsers looking to hone their observational skills, an essential attribute for any spy, will delight in any and all of these eleven classic I-Spy books with themes like animals, numbers, letters, and other treasures. Ages three to seven. 

spy guy book

Spy Guy makes an awful lot of noise for a spy! A cute little boy tries to learn the tricks of the spy trade, something pretty challenging for a little kid. This is an adorable, funny book you’ll love reading with your little would-be spies. Ages four to seven. 

my super official spy book

Designed to engage kids ages four to ten in sensory observation exercises, this spy-themed activity book is full of fun missions for anyone who wants to be a member of the Super Secret Spy Group. There are multiple levels, so the book gets harder as it progresses. 

the secret spy society book

Veronica Mang’s two-book Secret Spy Society series features three mischief-making, crime-solving girls who mistakenly uncover an all-female, secret spy society. Both illustrated chapter books feature the girls meeting famous historical women who were also spies. In the first book, The Case of the Missing Cheetah, the girls meet Josephine Baker, the famous entertainer who doubled as a spy during WWII! Ages five to nine. 

mac b kids spy book

Written by beloved children’s picture book author Mac Barnett and fully illustrated by Mike Lowery, whose art you may recognize from The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Firetruck and others, this spy series of six books skews slightly younger than a lot of the other spy chapter books on this list. Full of historical facts as Mac B., kid spy, is enlisted for missions across time. Ages seven to ten. 

navajo code talkers book

Not all spy books are about donning a hat and setting traps for your siblings. During World War II coded messages were used to relay top-secret information. The problem was, these codes were often cracked, until the U.S. military asked several Navajo soliders to help create a code based on the Navajo language. The result was an unbreakable code. This illustrated book tells the story of these remarkable coders. Ages eight to 14. 

the spy next door book

Both books in this two-book series are chapter books for reluctant readers feature the reluctant hero Dexter, a kid who is soooo bored…In book one, Mutant Rat Attack, life is boring until a rat in his science class turns radioactive, and Dexter needs to find out who fed it the gamma broccoli. In the second book, The Curse of the Mummy’s Tummy, Dexter puts his new spy skills to the test while on a school field trip to a museum. A sacred sandwich has been stolen! The silly books are giggle-worthy, and though they are recommended for reading ages seven to ten, we think early readers at age six would enjoy them as much as a tween would.

harriet the spy book

No list of kids’ spy books would be complete without the infamous Harriet the Spy, a little girls who obsessively writes down notes, about everyone and everything she knows. Adn then she loses track of it, and the secrets she kept end up with the wrong person. Harriet must try to stop them before they reveal all the awful things she’s said. A good reminder to kids about treating others with fairness and thinking before you gossip, even to yoursel. As New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot put it, “What the novel showed me as a child is that words have the power to hurt, but they can also heal, and that it’s much better in the long run to use this power for good than for evil.” Geared toward ages eight to 11.

spy dog book

When they’ve outgrown Paw Patrol, introduce them to a new generation of crime-solving canines with this twelve-book series featuring super spy pups out there sniffing out solutions and saving humans from crimes like robbery, chicken conspiracies, and recess bans. Ages seven and up.

spy school book

There are ten books in the Spy School series, but you’ll want to start with the very first one, Spy School, which introduces kids to Ben Ripley, an awkward middle-schooler who thinks he’s being sent to a magnet school for the sciences only to discover he’s been recruited as a secret agent. It’s like Harry Potter for spies. Ages nine to 12 but we think these can skew a little younger for strong readers or to read together. 

spy science book

For the serious spy in your household, try out this activity book that is packed with cool spy science like DIY spy sunglasses and how to make invisible ink. Ages eight to 12. 

code girls book

In this young readers edition of her compelling book, author Liza Mundy gives kids a lesser-known and incredibly pheononmal part of history: that during World War II more than 10,000 women served as code-breakers in the United States Army. Well-researched, including interviews with surviving code breakers, this is a wonderful way of looking at spies and espinoge through a historical lens. Ages eight to 12.

how to be an international spy book

Enhance their spy adventures and all the fictional spy stories with this fun book from Lonely Planet that gets kids into secret agent mode by teaching them everything they ever wanted to know about spy-dom. From covert operations, code-cracking, and gadgets, this is the big book of spy stuff for every kid who can’t get enough. Ages nine to 12.

league of unexceptional children book

A covert network of utterly normal, average kids being trained as some of the most intriguing spies, this series (three books so far) offers kids who have that feeling they aren’t “as good as” others see that being an over-achiever isn’t the only way to be. Being average or unforgettable just might mean you have exactly what it takes. There are two books to the series. Ages eight to 12. 

mrs. smiths spy school for girls book

What would you do if you found out the fancy boarding school you’d been sent to was really a covert spy training facility, and your mom is one of the top agents? Add to that, she’s now gone missing! Abigail must use her spy instincts to find her mom. There are actually three books in this action-packed series for readers ages nine to 12. 

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