The Cayuga Island Kids series features a diverse group of big-hearted friends who work together to solve mysteries, have adventures, and organize community projects. They are fact detectives who think, brainstorm, research, and collaborate to uncover answers and puzzle out solutions. Above all, they are kind, helpful, smart, and resourceful kids who have lots of fun together.
These chapter books are perfect for 7- to 10-year-olds in 1st through 4th grade.
“Any book that begins with a map of an island is my kind of story. Enliven that setting with a diverse group of characters who are consistently kind—and bursting with curiosity—and you’ve got all the elements of a series that is alive with adventure, friendship, and mystery.”
~ James Preller, author of the Jigsaw Jones mystery series
Book 1: The Mystery of the Barking Branches and the Sunken Ship
This entertaining mystery-history adventure is based on real events surrounding one of the biggest puzzles of the Great Lakes! The Cayuga Island Kids set off on a hunt for a certain kind of tree and instead unearth a cannonball thought to be from a treasure ship built right on their island that sank in 1679 and was never recovered. As they hunt for clues and follow leads, they discover that the island they live on is home to a whole lot of history. And, it turns out, a whole lot of mystery, too. We all have history in our own backyards, just waiting to be discovered by inquisitive, adventurous, and fun-loving fact detectives!
Book 2: The Adventure of the Big Fish By the Small Creek
Moving from knowing something has to be done to getting it done takes determination, teamwork, and sometimes, looking in a new direction. In this award-winning second book in the series, the Cayuga Island Kids rescue a mallard caught in the plastic rings from six-pack of cans. Moments later, a girl on a bike carelessly tosses a plastic bottle in the creek. That’s when they decide it’s time for action. How the Cayuga Island Kids go from fishing a plastic bottle out of the creek to bringing the community together to build a recycling bin big enough to hold plenty of plastic makes for a lively adventure. Young readers will be entertained as they come to realize the importance of brainstorming ideas, teamwork, the value of community effort, recycling, and the promise of new friendships. Best of all, readers will cheer on the Cayuga Island Kids as they come to realize that, although we are each just one person, together we can make a BIG difference.
Book 3: The Case of the Messy Message and the Missing Facts
It’s fall as Book 3 of the Cayuga Island Kids chapter book series opens. Julian explores food science as he experiments with recipes for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Being a cookie sampler takes Mac’s mind off his troubles with fractions. Yoko practices for the school play tryouts, and Maya helps Ms. Choi with the Make-and-Take-Club. Lacey, of course, is searching for the next mystery to solve. And then two of Ms. Choi’s glitter pens go missing. The clues and evidence point to a suspect, but are the Cayuga Island Kids jumping to conclusions? When a classmate jumps to conclusions and shares false information about Julian’s cookies, the kids join forces to set the facts straight. And while researching explorers for a school project, the kids uncover misinformation that blurs the truth, and makes the reasons for being a fact detective crystal clear. Sorting through clues and evidence—just like research—means making sure you have all the facts, and not just a fraction of the truth. Young readers will cheer for the Cayuga Island Kids as they embark on this adventure involving misinformation, faulty assumptions, flour bugs, glitter pens, and chocolate chip cookies.
Click here to download Educator Guides and Activity Kits!
Vivian Vande Velde –
Likeable kids use their distinctive personalities and particular interests to solve mysteries. Good fun and gentle humor abound. Author Judy Bradbury subtly guides readers in how to research a subject of interest. Gabriella Vagnoli’s lively illustrations show that the children are as diverse as their interests.
James Preller –
Any book that begins with a map of an island is my kind of story. Enliven that setting with a diverse group of characters who are consistently kind—and bursting with curiosity—and you’ve got all the elements of a series that is alive with adventure, friendship, and mystery.
margaret carey –
Judy Bradbury introduces her readers to the Cayuga Island Kids, a diverse group of children ready for the adventures of summer vacation on the island. Their first quest is to find a dogwood tree, a tree that sounds like a barking dog when it’s branches are rubbed together. Along the way, the five children discover a mysterious object buried on their island. Is this object part of the history of Cayuga Island? The Kids enlist the help of their school librarian, a park volunteer, a college professor and an archaeologist to help them research, analyze the facts, and solve The Mystery of the Barking Branches and the Sunken Ship. Illustrations by Gabriella Vagnoli add detail and life to this fun summer adventure. This reader can’t wait to read the next book in the series, when author Judy Bradbury and illustrator Gabriella Vagnoli share The Adventures of the Big Fish by the Small Creek, Book Two in this fun new series.