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The Cayuga Island Kids Series

(3 customer reviews)

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!

Hardcover Softcover

Meet the Author

" Judy Bradbury is an author, award-winning literacy advocate and educator, and host of the popular Children’s Book Corner blog. She is also a Cayuga Island kid. Judy grew up on the island, which is located a few miles upstream from the mighty Niagara Falls. In the summers, she rode the bicycle her father built for her across the island searching for mysteries to solve. "

Meet the Illustrator

" I was born in Pisa, Italy, from a Brazilian mom and an Italian dad. With my heart already divided between two countries, I decided to add a third by falling in love with an American man and moving to the United States to be with him. I am now raising two beautiful multicultural boys that think, like me, that the world is after all a very small place. "


These chapter books are perfect for 7- to 10-year-olds in 1st through 4th grade.

Book 1: The Mystery of the Barking Branches and the Sunken Ship

ISBN: 978-1-952536-14-4 (softcover)

ISBN: 978-1-952536-16-8 (hardcover)


Book 2: The Adventure of the Big Fish By the Small Creek     

ISBN: 978-1-952536-17-5 (softcover)

ISBN: 978-1-952536-18-2 (hardcover)


Book 3: The Case of the Messy Message and the Missing Facts

ISBN: 978-1-952536-31-1 (softcover)

ISBN: 978-1-952536-32-8 (hardcover)






Hardcover, Softcover

3 reviews for The Cayuga Island Kids Series

  1. AnnieB

    The Cayuga Island Kids Series is a 3-in-1 volume set of mystery books for kids by Judy Bradbury. Released in this volume 1st Sept 2023, it’s 300 pages for all three books and is available in paperback and ebook formats. It’s worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links throughout.

    This is a well written set of illustrated books aimed at early readers (~7-9 years). They have an emphasis on problem solving, critical thinking, reasoning, and cooperation. The protagonists are 5 youngsters who all have distinct personalities and strengths. The adventures are all age appropriate and well written.

    This would be a superlative choice for public or school library acquisition. There’s a companion guide for educators available from the author and the publisher to facilitate discussion and deeper understanding of the stories.

    They are well illustrated throughout by Gabriella Vagnoli. Her simple and whimsical style complements the narrative very well and the pictures are full of small details which invite a closer look.

    It’s a positive feature of the books that the 5 friends who are the main characters have different strengths which complement one another as well as that they’re from different ethnic and family backgrounds. Representation is so very important and it’s nice that readers will find more than one main character to identify with.

    Four and a half stars. Well written, appealingly illustrated, age appropriate, and with good stories.

  2. Jenna Stensland

    A sweet book series for elementary kids. This is also perfect for gentle readers who might like a mystery to solve but aren’t ready for any suspense or scary. The mysteries are more about the process. Each one dealt with a different process in an investigation: understanding sources, finding facts, misinformation, etc. It really taught a lot but did so without taking away from the story.

    I also really liked the individual characters created by the author. They each had distinct personalities and I think any child reading these books could find a character to relate to. They each played a role in the book as well and used their unique gifts to help solve the mysteries. These were just well done for children and we would read more of them if the author continues the series.

  3. Ivy

    A cute book series for elementary aged readers. This series follows a group of five friends who are very different, but all bring different skills to the table as they solve mysteries (some bigger and more important than others). The Cayuga Island Kids books teach young readers about how to be fact finders, how to avoid misinformation and disinformation, and the importance of learning. I’m sure each kid is able to find a character in this series to whom they can relate.

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