The Children’s Book Review | April 29, 2019
Can You Crack the Code?: A Fascinating History of Ciphers and Cryptography
Written by Ella Schwartz
Illustrated by Lily Williams
Age Range: 7-10
Publisher: Bloomsbury (2019)
What to Expect: History, STEM, Interactive
Did you know that Elgar, the composer of “Pomp and Circumstance”, also penned a cryptic cypher that has yet to be decoded? Or that recruiters searching for female cryptographers before the attack on Pearl Harbor advertised in female colleges, asking for women who liked crossword puzzles and were not engaged to be married? These fascinating facts and many like them are explored in Can You Crack the Code?, a new volume on the history and science of cryptography published by Bloomsbury and written by a professional government cryptographer.
Secret codes and private languages are irresistibly tempting for most kids, but they have also been an important tool for governments, organizations, and other communities throughout history and in an age when information equals power, the ability to code and decode data remains an important and valuable skill. Can You Crack the Code? not only provides fascinating insight into the myriad ways that codes have been used and abused throughout history, but also provides a wealth of in-depth detail on how codes work, how they are cracked, and how they are used in the modern world. The volume is filled with activities which encourage readers to practice making and breaking their own codes, and ends with the revelation that the volume itself contains a code – and a challenge to the reader to crack it. Filled with fun as well as STEM-building interactivity, this book is sure to keep readers fascinated and stimulated.
About the Author
Ella writes fiction and nonfiction books for young readers. She is always asking questions and trying to learn new things. The books she writes are for kids who are just as curious as she is.
In addition to writing books, Ella is a cybersecurity warrior interfacing with the U.S. federal government on strategic technology initiatives. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in engineering from Columbia University.
When she’s not working, writing, or training to run a marathon, she volunteers on outreach initiatives to promote women in science and improve science literacy.
Ella lives on Long Island, New York with her husband and three sons. Her favorite color is pink, but there is rarely anything pink in her house.
Visit Ella on her website, ellasbooks.com. Follow her on Twitter @ellaschwartz and Facebook facebook.com/EllaSchwartzAuthor/
About the Illustrator
Lily Williams grew up in Northern California, where she graduated with high distinction from California College of the Arts with a BFA in animation. Her books for children include If Sharks Disappeared and If Polar Bears Disappeared.
Williams seeks to inspire change in the world, engage audiences, and educate all ages in her practice of visual development, illustration, and animation. Her work can be seen in film, print, and classrooms around the world, and has been used to get legislation passed in the United States Senate.
Can You Crack the Code?, written by Ella Schwartz and illustrated by Lily Williams, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like Can You Crack the Code? by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Code, History, Non-Fiction, and STEM.