Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

Book 1

New York Times Bestseller

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Middle Grade (8-12)
Random House, 2013

ISBN‏: ‎ 9780307931474

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

Now a Nickelodeon TV movie!


Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

Book 1

A New York Times bestseller for 111 weeks!


Children’s Choice Book Awards:

Beehive Book Award (Utah) Nominee ● Black-Eyed Susan Book Award (Maryland) Winner! ● Blue Hen Award (Delaware) Winner! ● Bluestem Award (Illinois) Nominee ● Buckeye Children’s & Teen Book Award (Ohio) Winner! ● California Young Reader Medal Winner! ● Charlotte Award (New York State Reading Association) Nominee ● Children’s Choice Awards of Allegheny County (greater Pittsburgh, PA region) Winner! ● Children’s Literature Assembly of NCTE Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts ● Colorado Children’s Book Award List ● Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s (Vermont) Book Award Winner! ● Flicker Tale Children’s Award (North Dakota) Winner! ● Garden State Children’s Book Award (New Jersey) Winner! ● Georgia Children’s Book Award Nominee ● Golden Archer (Wisconsin) Award Nominee ● Golden Cowbell Award (International School Librarians teaching in Switzerland) Winner! ● Golden Sower (Nebraska) Award Winner! ● Grand Canyon Reader Award (Arizona) Winner! ● Great Lakes Great Books Award (Michigan) Nominee ● Great Stone Face Award (New Hampshire) Winner! ● Indian Paintbrush (Wyoming) Book Award Winner! ● Iowa Children’s Choice Award Nominee ● Louisiana Young Readers Choice Award Nominee ● Magnolia Award (Mississippi) Winner! ● Maine Student Book Award Winner! ● Mark Twain Readers Award (Missouri) Winner! ● Massachusetts Children’s Book Award Nominee ● Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award (Minnesota Young Reader Award) Winner! ● Nēnē Award (Hawaii) Nominee ● North Carolina Children’s Book Award Nominee ● Nutmeg Book Award (Connecticut) Nominee ● Oregon Readers Choice Award Winner! ● Pacific Northwest Library Association’s Young Readers’ Choice Award Winner! ● Panda Book Awards (International Librarians in China) Nominee ● Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Nominee ● Prairie Pasque (South Dakota) Nominee ● Rhode Island Children’s Book Award Winner! ● Sakura Medal List (International Schools in Japan) Winner! ● South Carolina Children’s Book Award Nominee ● Sunshine State Young Reader Award (Florida) Winner! ● Virginia’s Reader’s Choice State Book Award Winner! ● Volunteer State Book Award (Tennessee) Winner! ● William Allen White Kansas State Award Winner! ● Young Hoosier (Indiana) Book Award Winner!

Other Awards and Honors:

ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Books ● Agatha Award Winner: Best Children’s/YA Mystery ● Anthony Award Nominee: Best Children’s or Young Adult Novel ● Association for Library Service to Children’s “TWEEN RECOMMENDED READS” ● Goodreads Choice Nominee 2013 ● 2013 Nerdie Winner (Nerdy Book Club)

Best Books Lists:

The Washington Post ● Southern California Public Radio ● Amazon ● Parents Magazine ● The Columbus Dispatch ● Atlanta Parents Magazine ● Bank Street’s Best Books of the Year for Children and Young Adults


Can twelve 12-year-olds escape from the most ridiculously brilliant library ever created?

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library plunks a dozen sixth-graders into the middle of a futuristic library for a night of nonstop fun and adventure.

In a nod to Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this fast-paced new novel features an eccentric billionaire who welcomes a group of children into a fantasy setting full of weird, wondrous touches.

Kyle is a game fan—board games, word games, and especially video games! Kyle’s hero, the famous gamemaker Luigi Lemoncello, is the genius behind the design of the town’s new public library, which contains not only books, but an IMAX theater, an electronic learning center, instructional holograms, interactive dioramas and electromagnetic hover ladders that float patrons up to the books they want.

Lucky Kyle wins a spot as one of the first twelve kids invited to a gala, overnight library lock-in filled with lots of fun and games. But the next morning, when the lock-in is supposed to be over, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the others must follow book-related clues and unravel all sorts of secret puzzles to find the hidden escape route if they want to win Mr. Lemoncello’s most fabulous prize ever.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is more than a rib-tickling novel full of humor and suspense. It’s a game in itself, in which readers can have fun solving clues and answering riddles while learning how to navigate the Dewey Decimal system. Eagle-eyed kids—not to mention their parents, teachers, and librarians—can also hunt for the names of authors and classic books sprinkled throughout the fast-moving story.

Rumor has it there is even one puzzle that is in the book but not in the story. Can you find and solve it?


“Full of puzzles to think about, puns to groan at and references to children’s book titles, this solid, tightly plotted read is a winner for readers and game-players alike.”
—Kirkus, starred review

“An ode to libraries and literature that is a worthy successor to the original madman puzzle-master himself, Willy Wonka.”
—Booklist, starred review

“A fun-filled, suspenseful intellectual puzzle, designed by a gamer, that will appeal to fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society.”
—Shelf Awareness, starred review

“Lots of action and quirky humor.”
The Washington Post

“Discover the coolest library in the world.”
—James Patterson

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
Now a Nickelodeon TV movie!



Bring the Fun, Excitement (and Learning) of Mr. Lemoncello’s Library into Your Library!

Now you can host a Lemoncello-style Scavenger Hunt in YOUR library. Working with Children’s Services librarians from the Carroll County Public Library in Finksburg, Maryland (librarian Darrell Robertson pictured below), Chris has created Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Library Escape Game for libraries everywhere!

Everything you need is available in one PDF:
• Set Up and Game Play Instructions
• Game Master Guide
• Answer Sheets for players to fill in
• Clue Cards
• Less Challenging WORD Answer Cards
• More Challenging PICTOGRAM Answer Cards

Teachers, Parents, & Librarians:

Can You Solve the Mysterious Final Puzzle in the Book?

There is one puzzle in Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library that’s in the book but not the story—although a clue about how to find and solve it is.

If you think you’ve figured it out, e-mail your answer to Chris to see if you are one of the most ridiculously brilliant readers in the entire known (and, perhaps, the unknown) universe.

The Library That Inspired Mr. Lemoncello’s Library!

Several years ago, Chris made his first of many author visits to one of his favorite schools: P.S. 10 in Brooklyn, New York. The librarian, Ms. Macrina (pictured with Chris) told him how the school’s marvelous library had been donated by a very generous benefactor.

That sent the chipmunks spinning on the treadmills in Chris’ mind. “What if a very generous and eccentric benefactor donated the world’s most amazing library to the small Ohio town where he grew up?” Years later that little idea has become Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library!

Sadly, Mrs. Macrina passed away in October 2015. That’s why the dedication to the second Lemoncello book, Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics, includes this passage:

And in Memory of Rosanne Macrina, the long time librarian at P.S. 10 in Brooklyn who inspired so many children and one author who was very lucky to have met her.