Janet Taylor Lisle Books In Order

Investigators of the Unknown Books In Order

  1. The Gold Dust Letters (1994)
  2. Looking for Juliette (1994)
  3. A Message from the Match Girl (1995)
  4. Angela’s Aliens (1996)


  1. The Dancing Cats of Applesap (1984)
  2. The Great Dimpole Oak (1987)
  3. Afternoon of the Elves (1989)
  4. The Lampfish of Twill (1991)
  5. Forest (1993)
  6. The Lost Flower Children (1999)
  7. The Crying Rocks (2003)
  8. Black Duck (2006)
  9. Highway Cats (2008)
  10. The Art of Keeping Cool (2012)
  11. Sirens and Spies (2013)
  12. Quicksand Pond (2017)

Non fiction

  1. How I Became a Writer and Oggie Learned to Drive (2013)

Investigators of the Unknown Book Covers

Novels Book Covers

Non fiction Book Covers

Janet Taylor Lisle Books Overview

The Gold Dust Letters

Angela and her friends Georgina and Poco are mystified by the strange messages that appear on the mantelpiece in Angels’s house during the night. They’re written on beautiful paper in purple ink and signed The Gray Eyed Faerie. When opened, they send clouds of gold dust floating into the air. The letters speak of magic and wonders beyond belief and the loneliness of a fairy who longs to communicate with humans. No one will ever believe the girls unless they get some proof. And when the Investigators of the Unknown plan a sleepover tofind out more, they discover that there really is magic in this world, and it can touch anyone who believes.

Looking for Juliette

When Angela moves away for a year, her best friends Poco and Georgina and a mysterious classmate are convinced that the elderly Miss Bone, caretaker of Angela’s house, is responsible for the inexplicable disappearance of her cat.

A Message from the Match Girl

Georgina and Poco try to help their friend Walter who is suffering from an identity crisis and receiving strange messages from his dead mother.

Angela’s Aliens

When Angela, a member of the Investigators of the Unknown, returns from Mexico with an unfriendly attitude toward those she has always been closest to, the Investigators wonder if Angela has been abducted and replaced by an alien. PW. K. ‘

The Great Dimpole Oak

The Great Dimpole Oak is a massive tree hundreds of years old. Generations have carved their names in its trunk, and dug for buried treasure at its base. When a town matron decides to celebrate Dimpole Oak Day, events and lives are set in motion including those of two boys, two young lovers, the old farmer whose land the tree is on, and a swami from India!’Lisle…
writes novels that have a kind of depth and keenness of observation found in the best children’s literature…
A memorable work that can be read on a number of levels and will satisfy on each.’ Booklist, starred review A Puffin Novel 144 pages 5 black and white illustrations Ages 8 12

Afternoon of the Elves

Hillary doesn’t believe all the mean things she hears about Sara Kate. Sure, she wears weird clothes and she lives in a dumpy house, but if Sara Kate’s as bad as everyone says, how could she take such good care of the elf village in her backyard? She and Hillary spend hours fixing the tiny stick houses and the miniature Ferris wheel so the elves won’t move away. But as Hillary is drawn further into Sara Kate’s world, she learns there are other mysteries besides the elves. Why doesn’t anyone ever see Sara Kate’s mother? And why isn’t anyone allowed in her house? This updated edition will bring new life to Janet Taylor Lisle’s best selling novel.

The Lampfish of Twill

‘Everyone in Twickham knew the black boil of water that was the whirlpool off Cantrip’s Point.’ Only Eric and the old fishcatcher have survived to tell about its terrors and wonders. No one believes what Eric has to say they’re too busy thinking about the coming Season of Storms and the next lampfish kill. Black and white illustrations.


The town of Forest is really two towns. Lower Forest is home to Amber, her family, and neighbors; in Upper Forest, Woodbine and his fellow squirrels reign. For years, the two sides have tolerated each other until the day Amber climbs a tree and Woodbine sees her. Soon Upper Forest has declared war on Lower, and the only two who know are Amber and Woodbine.

The Lost Flower Children

Motherless Olivia and Nellie go to live with their elderly Great Aunt Minty, who knows little about children, but a lot about her overgrown garden. Then one day, Olivia finds an old teacup in a flowerbed and, later, an old story about eight children transformed into flowers. Only the person who finds their teacups can bring them back. Now the two sisters know what they must do.

The Crying Rocks

About Joelle’s life before she was found brought in from the railway depot, a scrawny five year old child there isn’t a lot known for sure.

‘And don’t ask me! I can’t remember anything,’ she snaps at anyone who pries, including the weird kid named Carlos who sits in the back row in Spanish class. But when Carlos, collector of arrowheads and Native American lore, tells her she looks like a girl in an old painting of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Indians, Joelle can’t help sneaking a look. She’s surprised by a flicker of recognition.

It’s Carlos who leads her through the forest to the ancient Crying Rocks, where howls on windy days are thought to be the spirit voices of children long ago, flung from the boulders to early death. The terrible story draws Joelle into the downdraft of her own memory, to a window, a shadowy mother, a freight train escape from Chicago. It also leads her toward the history of a lost American people, and the discovery of a rare kind of courage that runs deep in her family.

Black Duck

When Ruben and Jeddy find a dead body in an evening suit washed up on the shore, they are certain it has to do with smuggling liquor. It is spring 1929, Prohibition is in full swing, and many in their community are involved. Soon the boys, along with Jeddy’s strong willed sister, Marina, are drawn in, suspected by rival bootlegging gangs of taking something crucial off the dead man. Then Ruben meets the daring captain of the Black Duck, the most elusive smuggling craft of them all, and it isn t long before he s keeping dangerous company. Inspired by very real accounts of the Black Duck, a legendary rum running boat that worked the New England shores during the era, Newbery Honor winner Janet Taylor Lisle has produced a colorful, original work of historical fiction.

Highway Cats

When three kittens are carelessly thrown off the back of a truck, none of the Highway Cats know what to make of them. They seem to have some sort of appeal an energy, even that Khalia Koo, Jolly Roger and the rest of the mangy, feral cats don t understand. But there are bigger issues to figure out when the bulldozers start coming, threatening to demolish the cats homes as well as other historical landmarks. Can three little kittens be the answer to save the town? Illustrated with striking silhouettes, here is a spirited and original environmental story from Newbery Honor winner Janet Taylor Lisle about finding help and hope in the smallest, most unlikely of places.

The Art of Keeping Cool

Only Robert ever sees the plane. But the pilot is shadowy maybe his missing father, maybe not. Robert doesn’t mention this vision to Elliot, his cousin, whom he meets when he moves from Ohio with his mother and sister to live out the war with his grandparents in Rhode Island. Elliot can draw better than anyone Robert has ever seen, but he keeps his talent hidden in Grandpa’s house. He won’t say why. No one will talk either about Robert’s father, who left the house as a teenager, never to return. After one dinner, Elliot draws a picture of Grandpa wielding a carving knife like a murder weapon. The time is February 1942, and Na*zi submarines are torpedoing U.S. ships off the coast. In March, two tremendous guns are trundled to nearby Fort Brooks. They are mighty sixteen inch bore Naval guns, one hundred forty three tons apiece, capable of firing all the way to Nantucket Island. Elliot is frightened by the sight, but half an hour later he’s got them down on paper, their huge gray barrels, the nervous crowd of townspeople. ‘Everything was just like that,’ Robert exclaims when he sees the finished drawing. ‘Only this is even better.’ ‘That’s what happens,’ Elliot says with a nod. ‘If I do it right, that’s exactly what happens. The real thing gets caught…
. It can’t get you.’ Also watching the guns’ arrival is another artist a well known one from Germany Abel Hoffman. A recluse, he becomes Elliot’s teacher and friend. But his prowls along the beach raise local suspicions, and his arrest, when it occurs, unleashes havoc in a scene neither cousin can forget. This is a story of dangers lurking inside and outside a house, of deceptive enemies and secrets held too long, and how two friends must find their own very different ways of fighting back.

Sirens and Spies

The Past Has its Secrets Mary and her sister Elsie’s violin teacher, the flamboyant Miss Fitch, lies in the hospital, recovering from a brutal attack. Elsie, Miss Fitch’s favored, talented student, refuses to visit her, declaring her a fraud, and worse. What has turned Elsie against her formerly beloved teacher? Mary can’t believe the shocking secret from Miss Fitch’s past that her sister has unearthed. She insists that they confront the teacher to get to the truth. But the sisters discover that truth about the grim days in occupied France during World War II, about the mysterious incident that put Miss Fitch in the hospital, and even about themselves is not that simple.

How I Became a Writer and Oggie Learned to Drive

Anyone anywhere near Garden Street knows enough to stay away from the Night Riders. They’re trouble, they’re up to no good, they’re just downright dangerous. But when they steal Archie’s brother Oggie’s prized possession, Archie has to get it back. After all, Archie is the man of the house since his parents separated. Luckily, Archie is a writer. Not only can he go after Oggie’s favorite red wallet, but he can distract Oggie with his Mole People stories while he’s doing it. Even so, it will still take all of Archie’s determination and courage and unquestionably, his writer’s wisdom to come out on top. Janet Taylor Lisle once again creates a world for young readers that is right on the mark. How I Became a Writer and Oggie Learned to Drive is fast paced, fun, adventure filled and gives witty insight into the process of writing.

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