Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to kidnapping. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about kidnapping.
Our list includes chapter books. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
When it comes to children’s stories about kidnapping, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Power Play to popular sellers like The Golden Compass to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Templeton Twins Have An Idea.
We hope this list of kids books about kidnapping can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.
Suppose there were 12-year-old twins, a boy and girl named John and Abigail Templeton. Let’s say John was pragmatic and played the drums, and Abigail was theoretical and solved cryptic crosswords. Now suppose their father was a brilliant, if sometime confused, inventor. And suppose that another set of twins—adults—named Dean D. Dean and Dan D. Dean, kidnapped the Templeton twins and their ridiculous dog in order to get their father to turn over one of his genius (sort of) inventions. Yes, kidnapped. Wouldn’t it be fun to read about that? Oh please. It would so. Now in paperback, this is just the first in a series perfect for boys and girls who are smart, clever, and funny (just like the twins), and enjoy reading adventurous stories (who doesn’t?!). And now, there’s more!
Named one of “13 Detective Book Series You Obsessed over as a Kid” by Buzzfeed.com and the inspiration for a hit Disney film, the masterful Great Mouse Detective series is now available to a whole new generation of readers!
Basil—the famous sleuth of mousedom—lives in the cellar of Sherlock Holmes’s house. A devoted admirer of the great detective, he has learned his craft by listening at the feet of Holmes himself. But will it be enough to help Basil solve his most baffling mystery yet?
The Mystery of the Missing Twins is one of the strangest cases in Basil’s career. With only a few crumbs of clues with which to find answers, how is he ever going to figure out where Angela and Agatha are being kept—and, of course, who mouse-napped them! Will Basil’s mouse sleuthing skills be up to the task of finding the twins before it’s too late?
Sherlock Holmes gets a fun, sweet twist with two irresistible young heroes and black & white illustrations throughout, in this middle grade debut from internationally bestselling YA author Elizabeth Eulberg.
Shelby Holmes is not your average sixth grader. She’s nine years old, barely four feet tall, and the best detective her Harlem neighborhood has ever seen—always using logic and a bit of pluck (which yes, some might call “bossiness”) to solve the toughest crimes.
When eleven-year-old John Watson moves downstairs, Shelby finds something that’s eluded her up till now: a friend. The easy-going John isn’t sure of what to make of Shelby, but he soon finds himself her most-trusted (read: only) partner in a dog-napping case that’ll take both their talents to crack.
Nadya Skylung paid a high price when she defeated the pirates on the cloudship Remora- She lost her leg. But has she lost her nerve too? When Nadya and the rest of the crew of the cloudship Orion reach the port of Far Agondy, they have a lot to do, including a visit to Machinist Gossner’s workshop to have a prosthetic made for Nadya. But though the pirates are far away across the Cloud Sea, Nadya and her friends are still not safe. A gang leader called Silvermask is kidnapping skylung and cloudling children in Far Agondy. When Nadya’s friend Aaron is abducted, Nayda will stop at nothing to save him and the other missing kids, and put a stop to Silvermask once and for all.
Indiana Jones meets Lemony Snicket in this hilarious new series—fully illustrated by picture book talent Arree Chung—that’s a must-have for all aspiring adventurers. “The ride of a lifetime.” —Matt de la Peña, Newbery Award-winning author Ronald Zupan is a daring master adventurer! But he actually hasn’t experienced any grand adventures . . . YET! When his world-traveling parents are kidnapped on his twelfth birthday, Ronald seizes the chance to prove himself with a dazzling, danger-defying rescue operation. Teaming up with his trusty butler Jeeves, his quick-witted fencing nemesis Julianne Sato, and his pet cobra Carter, Ronald sets course for the jungle of Borneo where his parents were last sighted. If they can crash-land a plane and outrun a hungry snow leopard, surely they can find the secret lair of Zeetan Z, the world’s most ruthless pirate! But as their adventure becomes more and more dangerous, can Ronald and his companions muster enough courage to see this adventure through?
Big Trouble: A Friday Barnes Mystery - The mystery hits close to home when Friday learns her mother has been kidnapped. But she’s distracted by other happenings at school: a new VIP student (a Norwegian princess!) has just arrived and a master thief called the Pimpernel is causing chaos across campus. Can Friday crack the case of her missing mother, reign in a royal brat, and unmask the elusive Pimpernel?
Emily Windsnap and the Pirate Prince - Emily Windsnap ends up surrounded by pirates — and on a life-changing adventure — in the eighth installment of the New York Times best-selling series. Traveling home by cruise ship should be a relaxing break after Emily’s latest adventure, but things take a turn when the ship is overtaken by a pirate king and his crew. After the pirates collect everyone’s riches, they steal something even more valuable: Aaron. The pirate king’s eldest son takes Aaron captive, forcing him to help guide the pirates to the mythical Trident’s Treasure. So Emily dives into action and joins the younger son’s crew in hopes of saving Aaron. But while experiencing life on the waves, Emily is surprised to find herself not only enjoying the pirate life, but actually bonding with the crew — especially Sam, the pirate king’s son. Between helping Sam unravel riddles to beat his brother to the treasure and making sure that her friends are safe, Emily realizes that she needs to be true to herself. Will she cast aside her mermaid life to join her new friends, or will she find a way to follow her own path?
A Fairy's Courage - Being a fairy is a lot more dangerous than you think… Ever since Rowan was transformed into a fairy, her life has been filled with perilous adventure. And when her mom is kidnapped by an evil fairy called Vulpes and his army of foxes, Rowan sets off on her most dangerous mission yet. With the help of her fairy friends—plus a tiger released from London Zoo!—she’s sure she can rescue her mom and save the fairy realms. But Vulpes is cunning and sly. And he’s luring Rowan right into a trap.
The Danger Gang and the Isle of Feral Beasts! - Ronald Zupan and the rest of the Danger Gang are back for their second rip-roaring adventure, perfect for fans of Indiana Jones and Lemony Snicket, fully illustrated by Arree Chung. “The ride of a lifetime.” —Matt de la Peña, Newbery Award-winning author on The Danger Gang and the Pirates of Borneo! Ronald Zupan, his quick-witted fencing partner Julianne Sato, and his trusty butler Jeeves are off on another adventure. This time, they’re trying to rescue the movie star Josh Brigand—who was kidnapped from his latest film premiere by the dreaded Liars’ Club. As the Danger Gang races to save their friend, they face off with a poisoning poet, a band of Roman candle-wielding thugs, and thousands of feral foxes. When their skills of deduction are put to the ultimate test, will Ronald and his pals be able to stick together long enough to rescue Josh and defeat the Liar’s Club once and for all? Fully illustrated by picture book talent Arree Chung, this hilarious, high-action series is a must-have for all adventurers.
When Kelsey and her friends find an abandoned pug puppy, it looks like another case for the Curious Cat Spy Club. But shortly thereafter, Kelsey’s mother goes missing—possibly in the line of duty as an Animal Control officer—and it’s up to the CCSC to discover what happened. As they search for Kelsey’s mom, they start to wonder if her disappearance is somehow linked to the puppy they found. The fifth book in the Curious Cat Spy Club series is filled with twists and turns and, of course, tons of animal adventures!
Abby and the rest of her friends go international as they embark on their first “official” Center mission in this second book in the Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls series
Time has passed since the apprentice and his master, Will and Halt, led the Araluens to victory against invaders, and Will is now a full-fledged Ranger with his own fief to look after. The fief seems sleepy–boring, even–until the king is poisoned. Joined by his friend Alyss, Will is thrown headfirst into an extraordinary adventure propelled by fears of sorcery, and must determine who is trustworthy to the king and who is trying to take his throne. Will and Alyss must battle growing hysteria, traitors, and most of all, time. The king is fading, but when Alyss is taken hostage, Will is forced to make a desperate choice between loyalty to his mission and loyalty to his friend.
Kidnapped after the fierce battle with Lord Morgarath, Will and Evanlyn are bound for Skandia as captives aboard a fearsome wolfship. Halt has sworn to rescue Will, and he will do anything to keep his promise–even defy his King. Expelled from the Rangers he has served so loyally, Halt is joined by Will’s friend Horace as he travels toward Skandia. On their way, they are challenged constantly by freelance knights–but Horace knows a thing or two about combat. Soon he begins to attract the attention of knights and warlords for miles around with his uncanny skill. Even so, will they be in time to rescue Will from a horrific life of slavery?
A little girl in a red cape asks for Princess Harriet Hamsterbone’s help with a pack of weasel-wolves who want to eat her grandmother, but after meeting everyone, Harriet is not sure who to trust.
The Sable Quean - Another Redwall adventure you won’t forget! The devious ruler Vilaya the Sable Quean and her hordes of vermin have a plan to conquer Redwall. And when the Dibbuns go missing, the plan is revealed. Will the Redwallers risk their Abbey and all of Mossflower Wood to save their precious young ones? Perhaps Buckler, Blademaster of the Long Patrol, can save the day. He has a score of his own to settle. And fear not, the Dibbuns are not as innocent as they appear. After all, they’re from Redwall!
The Subtle Knife - The spellbinding sequel to The Golden Compass, the modern fantasy classic that Entertainment Weekly named an “All-Time Greatest Novel” and Newsweek hailed as a “Top 100 Book of All Time,” continues the epic adventure, catapulting readers between worlds, and toward a devastating discovery. Lost in a new world, Lyra finds Will—a boy on the run, a murderer—a worthy and welcome ally. For this is a world where soul-eating Specters stalk the streets and witches share the skies with troops of angels. Each is searching—Lyra for the meaning of Dark Matter, Will for his missing father—but what they find instead is a deadly secret, a knife of untold power. And neither Lyra nor Will suspects how tightly their lives, their loves, their destinies are bound together…until they are split apart. A #1 New York Times Bestseller Published in 40 Countries “Just as quick-moving and unputdownable as The Golden Compass. . . . The mysteries deepen and the wonders grow even more extravagant.” —The Washington Post “Pullman’s imagination soars . . . A literary rollercoaster ride you won’t want to miss.”—The Boston Globe “The story gallops with ferocious momentum . . . Devilishly inventive.” —The New York Times Book Review
Race to the Bottom of the Sea - Can a clever young inventor uncover a ruthless pirate’s heart of gold? Thrilling sea adventure takes on a hint of steampunk in the second book by the author of the acclaimed Hour of the Bees. When her parents, the great marine scientists Dr. and Dr. Quail, are killed in a tragic accident, eleven-year-old Fidelia Quail is racked by grief — and guilt. It was a submarine of Fidelia’s invention that her parents were in when they died, and it was she who pressed them to stay out longer when the raging Undertow was looming. But Fidelia is forced out of her mourning when she’s kidnapped by Merrick the Monstrous, a pirate whose list of treasons stretches longer than a ribbon eel. Her task? Use her marine know-how to retrieve his treasure, lost on the ocean floor. But as Fidelia and the pirates close in on the prize, with the navy hot on their heels, she realizes that Merrick doesn’t expect to live long enough to enjoy his loot. Could something other than black-hearted greed be driving him? Will Fidelia be able to master the perils of the ocean without her parents — and piece together the mystery of Merrick the Monstrous before it’s too late?
The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones - Mabel Jones finds herself aboard the Feroshus Maggot—a ship crewed by the strangest bunch of pirates you’d (never) want to meet. She then has to find pieces of an X-shaped puzzle that in her hands could be her ticket home, but in the hands of Captain Split, they’d give him the power to assemble a pirate militia to take over London!
Mission Impossible and James Bond have nothing on this wily bunch of rabbits who are pledged to protect the Queen of England—and the President of the United States—from a dastardly plot in this charming second novel of the Royal Rabbits of London series.
Life is an adventure. Anything in the world is possible—by will and by luck, with a moist carrot, a wet nose and a slice of mad courage!
Little Shylo Tawny-Tail is proud to call himself one of the Royal Rabbits of London, a secret order who live under Buckingham Palace and fight evil across the world. But high up in London’s famous skyscraper, the Shard, the horrible ratzis are plotting to cause chaos during a visit from the President of the United States. And when the Grand Burrow is attacked and Shylo is kidnapped, it looks as though they might just manage it! Can Shylo escape in time to save the day?
The modern fantasy classic that Entertainment Weekly named an “All-Time Greatest Novel” and Newsweek hailed as a “Top 100 Book of All Time.” Philip Pullman takes readers to a world where humans have animal familiars and where parallel universes are within reach.
Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal—including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.
Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want.
But what Lyra doesn’t know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other…
A masterwork of storytelling and suspense, Philip Pullman’s award-winning The Golden Compass is the first in the His Dark Materials series, which continues with The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.
A #1 New York Times Bestseller Winner of the Guardian Prize for Children’s Fiction Published in 40 Countries
“Arguably the best juvenile fantasy novel of the past twenty years.” —The Washington Post
“Very grand indeed.” —The New York Times
“Pullman is quite possibly a genius.” —Newsweek
Artemis Fowl is at boarding school in Iceland when he receives an urgent video email from Russia. It’s a plea from his father, who has been kidnapped by the Russian mafia. As Artemis rushes to his rescue, he is stopped by Captain Holly Short. This time, instead of battling the fairies, he’s going to have to join forces with them if he wants to save one of the few people he loves.
The Adderhead—his immortality bound in a book by Meggie’s father, Mo—has ordered his henchmen to plunder the villages. The peasants’ only defense is a band of outlaws led by the Bluejay—Mo’s fictitious double, whose identity he has reluctantly adopted. But the Book of Immortality is unraveling, and the Adderhead again fears the White Women of Death. To bring the renegade Bluejay back to repair the book, the Adderhead kidnaps all the children in the kingdom, dooming them to slavery in his silver mines unless Mo surrenders. First Dustfinger, now Mo: Can anyone save this cursed story?
A sheep farmer receives a mysterious telephone call shortly after he buys a series of pictures painted on parchment. “Decipher the message in the parchment and right a great wrong,” the voice says. Puzzled, the owner asks Nancy to help.
With Junie, his daughter, Nancy tracks down a kidnapper and a group of extortionists. Is there a connection between the message in the parchment and a boy artist on another farm? And who is responsible for the atmosphere of fear in the neighborhood? After several harrowing experiences, Nancy begins to tighten the net around a ruthless villain and calls on the assistance of her friends Ned, Burt, Dave, Bess and George to bring his nefarious scheme to a dead end.
Artemis Fowl - Twelve-year-old criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl has discovered a world below ground of armed and dangerous—and extremely high-tech—fairies. He kidnaps one of them, Holly Short, and holds her for ransom in an effort to restore his family’s fortune. But he may have underestimated the fairies’ powers. Is he about to trigger a cross-species war?
William Wenton and the Impossible Puzzle - Also published in English as: William Wenton and the luridium thief.
Quit Buggin' Me! - Princess Pulverizer may not be a knight yet, but she won’t let that stop her from saving the day! Princess Pulverizer and her friends, Lucas and Dribble the dragon, are on the hunt for another good deed to complete on her Quest of Kindness. So when they hear about a mysterious evil beast who’s been capturing townspeople, the trio sets out to find it and rescue the prisoners. But when Lucas and Dribble get caught themselves, it’s up to Princess Pulverizer to free her friends!
Roxie and the Hooligans at Buzzard's Roost - Roxie and the Hooligans are back and this time, Smoky Jo is swiped by a kidnapper who is as blunder-prone as Roxie, Uncle Dangerfoot, and Lord Thistlebottom are clever.
A band of tiny squash-bucklers go on adventures of epic proportions in this start to a brand-new chapter book series about pocket-sized pirates!
In the junk shop at the end of the street is a dusty old ship in a bottle. And when the world isn’t watching, a tiny pirate crew comes out of the ship to explore. They aren’t much bigger than a matchstick, but they have a HUGE appetite for adventure!
When a band of mice kidnaps Jones, the ship’s cat, and ransoms him for cheese, the Pocket Pirates spring into action. But to get the cheese, they must venture to the freezing cold place where it’s always winter…the place called Fridge. Can the Pocket Pirates survive their perilous journey and get their ship’s cat back?
“When space-farmer Rae is kidnapped by the native inhabitants of her moon, she is trained to become a warrior. But can she attack her own people?”—
Free-spirited Marabel must defy expectations to rescue her brother—and their kingdom—in this charming, action-packed, and magical story perfect for fans of Ella Enchanted and Dealing with Dragons. In Magikos, life is dictated by the Book of Fate’s ancient predictions, including the birth of a royal Chosen One who will save the realm. Princess Marabel has grown up in the shadow of her twin brother, Marco, who everyone assumes is the true Chosen One. While Marco is adored and given every opportunity, Marabel is overlooked and has to practice her sword fighting in secret. But on the night of their thirteenth birthday, Marco is kidnapped by an evil queen, and Marabel runs to his rescue. Outside the castle walls for the first time, accompanied by her best friend and a very smug unicorn, Marabel embarks on a daring mission that brings her face-to-face with fairies, trolls, giants—and the possibility that all is not as it seems in Magikos.
Princess Pulverizer may not be a knight yet, but she won’t let that stop her from saving the day! The village of Ire-Mire-Briar-Shire has a problem: every single cow, goat, and sheep has vanished! That means no milk, no butter, no cheese. As an aspiring chef and grilled cheese lover, Dribble the dragon is outraged. Princess Pulverizer is less concerned, but she knows an opportunity when she sees it—they’ll simply find the missing herds, save the day, and get even closer to completing her Quest of Kindness! But when an angry pink-haired troll captures Princess Pulverizer and her timid friend Lucas, doing her good deed might not be quite so easy!
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