Playing That Mystery Game

An insanely simple but fun game we played with the kids this summer is actually a stealth book recommendation ploy. We offered it as one of the weekly activities kids could do in the SLP along with reading, writing and playing literacy games. We called it the "Mystery Game" and this is what we did.

We went through the collection and chose fun books that kids might not find on their own. You know the ones - picture books, easy readers, non-fiction and chapter books that you know are great and handsell when you can.  Once picked we slipped them into lunch bags (or donated plastic grocery bags) and wrote a grade on the front.  The grade level was a guesstimate and used as an aid for kids to narrow down their choices. 

We piled them on a table by grade level, put a sign up and watched the fun begin.  Kids were asked not to look inside - just pick a bag. At check-out they could take it out (and return the bag to us for refill) and take it home to test it for us.

Holy smokes!  Was that popular or what?  We probably had 20 books out for every grade level and we constantly re-filled or put out new bags. Kids came back again and again to pick a mystery book to try and told us how they felt about them.  We are pretty pleased that we could give some exposure to books that need a little love and attention. And the game aspect really tickled the kids.

Baghead by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Paw Prints 2008.


  1. Oh! I want to try this! Too late for this year's SRP but maybe something over winter break? We have lots of SRP prizes left over... hmmmm...

  2. we do this in february,love your library month, for all ages - we wrap books in $ store wrapping paper and teens & adults go on a 'date' with a book - kids get mystery books. adults have a chocolate heart taped to theirs & kids return a really short book review and are rewarded with candy, pencils, small toys - very popular for a couple years now

    nj librarian