Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to secrets. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about secrets.
Our list includes picture books and chapter books. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. 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.
We hope this list of kids books about secrets 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.
Summer has finally arrived in the fourth book of Carle’s Porta’s Tales From The Hidden Valley series! Beloved characters return in the final book of this whimsical series for fans of Tove Jansson’s Moomins. Hidden in a remote place surrounded by high mountains, there lies a secret valley. There is an entrance, but you could pass by it a hundred times and still not see it. It’s finally summer, and our friends from the hidden valley are gearing up for a dreamy summer afternoon! When a new, watery friend appears, Ticky, Mister Cold and the rest of the pals explore an exciting new undewater world. But a great monster lurks beneath the surface, and our joyous friends sure are causing quite a fuss! Will they be able to escape its terrible jaws?
Parker Mills has it all. She’s the two-time winner of the Miss Divine Pecan Pageant, head of the eighth grade dance committee, and a secret psychic empath. Since she absorbs any strong emotion around her, Parker has committed herself to finding shortcuts to happiness. Whether acting as a tutor, a coach, or a matchmaker, Parker knows that when others are happy, she’s happy. Granted, all that fixing other people’s drama means her own crush has no idea how she feels, but it’s still a win-win as long as her psychic methods remain a secret. At least, that was how it always worked before Mia came to town. With her mysterious past and dark cloud of depression, Mia’s moods threaten to rain on Parker’s happiness parade. After Parker’s usual shortcuts fail—even after bringing gorgeous Josh on the scene—she is forced to kick things up a notch, or two. But when Parker’s psychic powers go haywire, dangerous secrets begin to unrave …starting with her own.
“‘Will you walk into my parlor,’ said the Spider to the Fly…” is easily one of the most recognized and quoted first lines in all of English verse. But do you have any idea how the age-old tale of the Spider and the Fly ends? Join celebrated artist Tony DiTerlizzi as he — drawing inspiration from one of his loves, the classic Hollywood horror movies of the 1920s and 1930s — shines a cinematic spotlight on Mary Howitt’s warning, written to her own children about those who use sweet words to hide their not-so-sweet intentions.
George and Annie are off on another cosmic adventure inspired by the Mars Expedition in the fifth book of the George’s Secret Key series from Stephen and Lucy Hawking. George and his best friend, Annie, have been selected as junior astronauts for a program that trains young people for a future trip to Mars. This is everything they’ve ever wanted—and now they get to be a part of up-to-the minute space discoveries and meet a bunch of new friends who are as fascinated by the universe as they are. But when they arrive at space camp, George and Annie quickly learn that strange things are happening—on Earth as well as up in the skies. Mysterious space missions are happening in secret, and the astronaut training they’re undertaking gets scarier and scarier…
Timothée de Fombelle and Isabelle Arsenault capture the heart-wrenching cost of war for one small girl in a delicately drawn, expertly told tale. While her father is at war, five-year-old Rosalie is a captain on her own secret mission. She wears the disguise of a little girl and tracks her progress in a secret notebook. Some evenings, Rosalie’s mother reads aloud Father’s letters from the front lines, so that Rosalie knows he is thinking of her and looking forward to the end of the war and to finally coming home. But one day a letter comes that her mother doesn’t read to her, and Rosalie knows her mission must soon come to an end. Author Timothée de Fombelle reveals the true consequence of war through the experiences of small, determined Rosalie, while acclaimed artist Isabelle Arsenault illustrates Rosalie’s story in muted grays marked with soft spots of color — the orange flame of Rosalie’s hair, the pale pink of a scarf, the deep blue ink of her father’s letters. All the more captivating for the simplicity with which it is drawn and told, this quiet tale will stay with the reader long after its last page is turned.
Blue Moon - While helping the Omega team track down down the identity of the original thirteen zombies in New York City, Molly tries to keep her mother’s secret and uncovers a sinister plan of the undead.
The BFF Bucket List - When best friends Skylar and Ella begin to drift apart, they try to fix their friendship by creating the ultimate BFF Summer Bucket List in this funny and heartfelt M!X novel. Skylar and Ella have been BFFs since kindergarten, and in Ella’s mind, nothing can change that bond. But when Skylar starts to act weird and distant, Ella is determined to bring them back together with a fun challenge the summer before high school: The BFF Bucket List. Ella creates a list of challenges—some wacky, some heartfelt—that they have to do together. At first, Skylar is totally game, but as they go through the list, each girl discovers that the unbreakable bond they once had might break more easily than they think. And when each girl develops a big secret that could threaten not only the list, but their entire relationship, will the list—and their friendship—fall apart?
Pie in the Sky - A poignant, laugh-out-loud illustrated middle-grade novel about an eleven-year-old boy’s immigration experience, his annoying little brother, and their cake-baking hijinks! Sometimes life isn’t a piece of cake . . . When Jingwen moves to a new country, he feels like he’s landed on Mars. School is torture, making friends is impossible since he doesn’t speak English, and he’s often stuck looking after his (extremely irritating) little brother, Yanghao. To distract himself from the loneliness, Jingwen daydreams about making all the cakes on the menu of Pie in the Sky, the bakery his father had planned to open before he unexpectedly passed away. The only problem is his mother has laid down one major rule: the brothers are not to use the oven while she’s at work. As Jingwen and Yanghao bake elaborate cakes, they’ll have to cook up elaborate excuses to keep the cake making a secret from Mama. In her hilarious, emotional middle-grade debut, Remy Lai delivers a scrumptious combination of vibrant graphic art and pitch-perfect writing that will appeal to fans of Real Friends.
Greetings from Witness Protection! - A funny and poignant debut middle-grade novel about a foster-care girl who is placed with a family in the witness protection program, and finds that hiding in plain sight is complicated and dangerous.
Troublemaking George has never heard of Pilfer Academy, a top-secret school for training young crooks, until he’s kidnapped as its newest student. Between disguise classes, cracking safes, and DIY gadgets, George becomes an expert bandit and finds true friendship with Tabitha, his new partner-in-crime. But everything is ruined when George realizes he’s just too good-hearted to be a thief! Unfortunately, not thieving is not an option at Pilfer Academy. In order to gain their freedom, George and Tabitha must pull the biggest heist the school has ever seen and reveal their true colors not as thieves, but as kind (and, okay, mischievous) kids.
In the third book of the Alien Next Door series, Harris knows Zeke is an alien, and they go away for a weekend trip as Beaver Scouts. Will Harris be able to help Zeke keep his secret when another scout starts suspecting something? Zeke has revealed to Harris that he’s an alien and Harris is thrilled to have an alien best friend! This weekend, Harris has a Beaver Scout outing in the wilderness, so he invites Zeke to join in on the fun. Zeke doesn’t quite understand all the activities, like sleeping outside and telling ghost stories, and he is a little careless with using his powers, which leads one scout to become a little suspicious. Will Harris be able to help Zeke hide his identity from everyone?
Charles meets a lot of monsters in his line of work. While assisting Margo Maloo on her assignments, he’s had close encounters with trolls, ghosts, imps, and ogres. And lately, they’re all saying the same thing: living in Echo City is getting harder. As the human population of the city is grows, monsters are being forced to abandon their homes. Teenagers are creeping into their territory, smartphones in hand, eager to photograph paranormal activity. Some monsters are tired of hiding and ready to fight. How can Margo and Charles keep Echo City’s monster community a secret, when it’s teetering in the brink of war? In this second volume of The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo, graphic novelist Drew Weing delivers a fresh and funny take on the age-old battle between kids and closet-dwelling monsters.
Thirteen-year-old Chloë left her whole life back in Montreal, including her mom and her best friend. Now she’s stuck in Victoria with her dad and her estranged grandfather, Uli, who recently had a stroke. When Chloë agrees to help Uli look after his garden, she’s determined to find out why he and her dad didn’t speak to each other for years. For decades Uli has collected seeds from people in the community, distinct varieties that have been handed down through generations. The result is a garden full of unusual and endangered produce, from pink broccoli to blue kale to purple potatoes. But Chloë learns that the garden will soon be destroyed to make way for a new apartment complex. And the seed collection is missing! Chloë must somehow find a way to save her grandfather’s legacy
In Book 2 of this breathtakingly action-packed series, warriors clash in an ultimate face-off between enemy empires, but both sides share an equal enemy—Giacomo. Giacomo, his fellow artists, and their wise old teacher are on the run after a showdown with Nerezza, the emperor of Zizzola, who has vowed to hunt them down and destroy them and their precious Geniuses. In a desperate attempt to escape, they transport themselves to Rachana, a South Asian-inspired world where it’s the most powerful warriors, not artists, who possess Geniuses. The power-hungry Rachanan leader is more than happy to have Giacomo and his team—he’s eager to find the next Sacred Tool, the Straightedge, and believes it’s hidden somewhere in his empire. Meanwhile, Nerezza has devised a plan to control Giacomo and bend him to her will. But first she’ll have to start an all-out war to get to him.
Not in Room 204 - Mrs. Salvador is one tough teacher. But Regina Lillian Hadwig, a very quiet student, doesn’t mind. She likes the order and discipline Mrs. Salvador expects. At a report card conference, Mrs. Salvador tells Regina’s mom that Regina is doing a great job, but that she is very quiet. “Are you quiet at home, like you are in school?” Mrs. Salvador asks Regina. And Regina thinks of the secret she keeps so quiet—the one even her mom doesn’t know, about the secret things her father does. “Yes, I’m quiet at home, too,” says Regina. “Maybe we can work on that,” says Mrs. Salvador. When Mrs. Salvador reads a book about Stranger Danger, she emphasizes one thing—that the person doing the inappropriate touching might not be a stranger at all. It might be someone a child knows very well. Will Regina find the courage to tell Mrs. Salvador her terrible secret?
Secret Pizza Party - While Raccoon is eating pizza at his secret pizza party, he sees a masquerade party going on in the house next door and joins the fun. By the New York Times best-selling creators of Dragons Love Tacos!
The Creature of the Pines - Elliot Eisner isn’t exactly thrilled with the first day at his new school. His class is going on a field trip to a creepy forest called the Pine Barrens. The trip is being led by Professor Fauna, the weirdest teacher Elliot has ever met. And the only kid who will talk to Elliot, Uchenna Devereaux, isn’t afraid of danger. She likes danger. Elliot and Uchenna are about to become part of a secret group of adventurers, The Unicorn Rescue Society, whose goal is to protect and defend the world’s mythical creatures. Together with Professor Fauna, Elliot and Uchenna must help rescue a Jersey Devil from a duo of conniving, greedy billionaires, the Schmoke Brothers.
Icebreaker - Twelve-year-old Petrel is an outcast, living on an ancient icebreaker that has been following the same ocean course for three hundred years. The ship’s crew has forgotten its original purpose and has broken into three warring tribes. Everyone has a tribe except Petrel, whose parents were thrown overboard for alleged crimes. She has survived by living in the dark corners of the ship, and speaking to no one except two large rats, Mister Smoke and Mrs. Slink. When a boy is discovered on a frozen iceberg, the crew is immediately on alert. Petrel hides him on board, hoping he’ll be her friend. What she doesn’t know is that the ship guards a secret, held down deep in its belly, and the boy has been sent to seek and destroy it. Icebreaker by Lian Tanner is a lush fantasy and thrilling adventure story, with an unforgettable friendship at its heart.
Told entirely in text messages, the third book in this addictive series from the acclaimed author of 11 Before 12 is perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Rachel Renee Russell. Cece, Gabby, and Prianka can’t wait for Spirit Week, aka the last week of school before summer break! And they’re already making plans for the best summer ever—including a friends-only camping trip, plenty of pool time, and a top-secret shared notebook. But between Pajama Day and pizza parties, Gabby accidentally leaks Cece’s most embarrassing secret to the whole school in a meme that goes viral. Half the squad thinks it’s no big deal, but Cece needs a time-out from all the drama—even if that means taking a break from her best friends.
Twelve-year-old AJ is dreading spending the summer with her uber-strict grandmother—that is, until she’s recruited to join Grandma Jo’s heist club—in this hilarious and quirky twist on a summer vacation story. AJ does not, under any circumstances, want to spend an entire month living with her strict Grandma Jo. Not only does her grandmother tell her how to walk, what to eat, and which rooms she can enter, she fills all of AJ’s free time with boring sewing lessons! Grandma Jo wants nothing more than to transform her adventurous, fun-loving granddaughter into a prim and proper lady…and AJ hates it. But AJ’s dull summer takes an exciting turn when she discovers that her grandmother’s “bridge group” is actually a club of crooks! And when Grandma Jo offers to teach AJ lock picking instead of embroidery in exchange for help with a few capers, AJ is thrilled to join her grandmother’s madcap band of thieves who claim to steal only for ethical reasons. But even the most respectable ladies can hide some truly surprising secrets, and AJ must decide for herself what it truly means to be one of the good guys.
Sophie Seacove is a storyteller. She tells stories of what the world would be like if madness hadn’t taken over. If her parents hadn’t sold her off as a servant to pay for their passage out of London. If she wasn’t now trapped in a decaying mansion filled with creepy people and surrounded by ravenous sea monsters. The mansion has plenty of stories, too: About fantastical machines, and the tragic inventor who created them. About his highly suspicious death. And about the Monster Box, a mysterious object hidden in the house that just might hold the key to escaping this horrible place—and to reuniting Sophie with her family. But not everyone wants Sophie to have the Monster Box, and as she gets closer to finding it, she finds herself unspooling years-old secrets—and dodging dangerous attacks. Sophie needs to use her brains, her brawn, and her unbreakable nature if she wants to make it off this wretched island…and live to tell this story.
Thirteen-year-old Jack Buckles is great at finding things. Not just a missing glove or the other sock, but things normal people have long given up on ever seeing again. If only he could find his father, who has disappeared in London without a trace.
But Jack’s father was not who he claimed to be. It turns out that he was a member of a secret society of detectives that has served the crown for centuries—and membership into the Lost Property Office is Jack’s inheritance.
Now the only way Jack will ever see his father again is if he finds what the nefarious Clockmaker is after: the Ember, which holds a secret that has been kept since the Great Fire of London. Will Jack be able to find the Ember and save his father, or will his talent for finding things fall short?
Disaster awaits when the most annoying girl in school discovers the existence of our favorite tiny dinosaurs in the fifth installment of Dustin Hansen’s illustrated chapter book series. Vicky Van Varbles, AKA Lin’s nemesis, AKA the most annoying person on the planet, has discovered the microterium! Lin is convinced that this is the Worst. Thing. EVER! Vicky has never kept a secret in her life. The only solution is to trap her in a bug jar for the rest of eternity. But Danny has a different plan . . . if they can induct Vicky into the (newly created) International Microsaur Protection Agency, he’s sure she can be convinced to keep their secret. But first Vicky has to pass Lin’s increasingly difficult and dangerous tests . . . If Danny can’t get Lin and Vicky to work together, then the microsaurs really might be doomed!
The Doll's Eye - A beautiful and haunting tale for independent readers from the author of The Inn Between All Hadley wants is for everything to go back to the way it used to be—back when she didn’t have to share her mother with her stepfather and stepbrother. Back when she wasn’t forced to live in a musty, decomposing house. Back when she had a life in the city with her friends. As Hadley whiles away what’s left of her summer, exploring the nearby woods and splitting her time between her strange, bug-obsessed neighbor Gabe and the nice old lady that lives above the garage, she begins to notice the house isn’t just old and creaky. It’s full of secrets, just like appearance of a mysterious dollhouse and the family of perfect dolls she finds. Oh, how she wishes her family were more like those lovely dolls! Then one day, Hadley discovers a lone glass eye rolling around the floor of the attic. Holding it close one night, she makes a wish that just might change her world forever. The Doll’s Eye bears Marina Cohen’s trademark eerie style and beautiful writing.
The Adventures of Lettie Peppercorn - An alchemist peddles a new magical invention—and the key that could unlock Lettie Peppercorn’s family secrets—in this quirky “tale of self-discovery, family, and friendship” (The Independent). Lettie Peppercorn cannot go outside. Ma told her so right before Ma disappeared forever. So Lettie’s house is on stilts, and she is stuck with only the wind and a pigeon for a friend. Nothing exciting has ever happened to her—until the night a strange merchant appears. He claims to be an alchemist—the greatest that ever lived—and he is here to sell Lettie his newest invention. It’s an invention that could change Lettie’s life—and the world forever. An invention called “snow.” But snow is not the only secret he holds. The alchemist knows where Lettie’s Ma is. And Lettie will do anything to get Ma back—even if it means risking her own life. Join the brilliant and resourceful Lettie Peppercorn as she sails across the world to reunite her family and discover the truth about herself.
Rebel Genius - A new fantasy-adventure series from the co-creator of the hit animated shows Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra! In twelve-year-old Giacomo’s Renaissance-inspired world, art is powerful, dangerous, and outlawed. A few artists possess Geniuses, birdlike creatures that are the living embodiment of an artist’s creative spirit. Those caught with one face a punishment akin to death, so when Giacomo discovers he has a Genius, he knows he’s in serious trouble. Luckily, he finds safety in a secret studio where young artists and their Geniuses train in sacred geometry to channel their creative energies as weapons. But when a murderous artist goes after the three Sacred Tools—objects that would allow him to destroy the world and everyone in his path—Giacomo and his friends must risk their lives to stop him. “DiMartino masterfully weaves a thrilling action-adventure epic into an imaginative and terrifying world.” —Bryan Konietzko, co-creator of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra “Rebel Genius is a natural extension of Michael Dante DiMartino’s work on Avatar: The Last Airbender: charming young heroes, magical creatures, an innovative magic system, and mysteries galore. There is so much to love about this book!” —Gene Yang, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and author of American Born Chinese “DiMartino delivers a magical take on the power of art. With a cast that will charm you and an innovative new world to get lost in, Rebel Genius is a gift for fantasy lovers and a treasure for anyone who has ever tried to pick up a brush or a pen and make something new. A lively, thrilling spin on the struggle to create.”—Leigh Bardugo, author of the Grisha trilogy and the Six of Crows series “Rebel Genius contains all of Mike DiMartino’s hallmarks: an exquisite world dripping with magic and color, a cast of incredible, diverse characters, and artwork that will take your breath away. Get ready to fall in love.” —Marie Lu, author of the Legend trilogy and the Young Elites trilogy
League of Archers - Ellie Dray and her League of Archers are keeping Robin Hood’s legacy alive, but when Ellie is accused of Robin’s murder, she must learn what it really means to be a hero in this exciting adventure story. Twelve-year-old novice nun Elinor Dray has always idolized Robin Hood. She and her friends try to be like him by sneaking out to hunt on the lands belonging to the village Baron, stealing from him to feed their poor neighbors. They call themselves the League of Archers. While returning from a hunting trip late one night, Ellie meets a man in the forest—a hunter like herself. But suddenly the man is shot with a poisoned arrow. She manages to help him back to the abbey, but it’s too late and he dies. Only in his final moments, does Ellie realize that the hunter is Robin Hood, and that the abbess of the nunnery is Maid Marian. With her secret revealed, the Baron immediately arrests Marian. But he needs a scapegoat for the murder of Robin Hood, and who better than a young novice nun? He calls Ellie a hero, but the villagers don’t agree. A mob forms, vowing to hunt Ellie down and exact their own vengeance. Will Ellie and her League of Archers be able to find the real killer, free Maid Marian, and keep Robin Hood’s legacy intact? Kirkus Reviews described League of Archers as a book that “doesn’t shy away from deep moral dilemmas often unexplored in middle grade novels and important to acknowledge in a story with life-or-death stakes.” And Booklist said that it was a “highly enjoyable adventure story that should appeal to a wide range of readers.”
Meet Monty! He’s a little frog with a BIG secret that he’s ready to share. Monty learns how to face his fears with some help from his new friend—YOU!
One evening Marie Elaine and her neighbor Norman go with Malcolm the cat to a secret place, where they dance and party with the Queen of the Cats.
Excited by the idea that authors actually get paid real money for writing books, Molly Mac is determined to get the author visiting her class to reveal the secret to his success, even going so far as to build a special mind-controlling hat to steal the secret if necessary—but she is discouraged by what he tells the class.
Fear permeates the Rhode Island coastal town where Robert, his mother, and sister are living out the war with his paternal grandparents: Fear of Nazi submarines offshore. Fear of Abel Hoffman, a German artist living reclusively outside of town. And for Robert, a more personal fear, of his hot-tempered, controlling grandfather. As Robert watches the townspeople’s hostility toward Hoffman build, he worries about his sensitive cousin Elliot’s friendship with the artist. And he wonders more and more about the family secret everyone seems to be keeping from him—a secret involving Robert’s father, a bomber pilot in Europe. Will Elliot’s ability to detach himself from the turmoil around him be enough to sustain him when prejudice and suspicions erupt into violence? And can Robert find his own way to deal with the shocking truth about his family’s past?
In the tradition of Counting by 7s and Three Times Lucky, critically acclaimed author Jessica Lawson returns with her fourth whimsical, lyrical, and heartfelt middle grade novel about a girl who’s desperately trying to keep her life together, when everything seems to be falling apart. In the weeks leading up to Gilbreth, New York’s annual AutumnFest, twelve-year-old woodcraft legacy Minna Treat is struggling with looming deadlines, an uncle trying to hide Very Bad News, and a secret personal quest. When she discovers mysterious bottle messages under one of the village’s 300-year-old bridges, she can’t help but wonder who’s leaving them, what they mean, and, most importantly…could the messages be for her? Along with best friend Crash and a mystery-loving newcomer full of suspicious theories, Minna is determined to discover whether the bottles are miraculously leading her toward the long-lost answers she’s been looking for, or drawing her into a disaster of historic proportions.
Secret Life of a Tiger - Tiger is a cat with simple pleasures. He likes to spend his days wandering about, chatting with friends and having a little snack. But at night his secret life is revealed – and its very surprising! Find out about Tiger’s unexpected night hobby in this delightfully funny, warm-hearted picture book that reminds us that sometimes animals (and people) behave in unexpected ways.