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Cover for Can You Crack the Code?

Can You Crack the Code?

A Fascinating History of Ciphers and Cryptography

Ella Schwartz, Lily Williams (Illustrator)


List Price: 21.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (2/3/2026)
Paperback, Chinese (7/1/2021)


2020 AAAS/Subaru Prize for Excellence in Science Books: winner in the category of Hands-On Science Book
2021 NCTE Mathical Book Prize Honor Book for Grades 6-8

Codes can carry big secrets! Throughout history, lots of good guys and lots of bad guys have used codes to keep their messages under wraps. This fun and flippable nonfiction features stories of hidden treasures, war-time maneuverings, and contemporary hacking as well as explaining the mechanics behind the codes in accessible and kid friendly forms. Sidebars call out activities that invite the reader to try their own hand at cracking and crafting their own secret messages. This is the launch of an exciting new series that invites readers into a STEM topic through compelling historical anecdotes, scientific backup, and DIY projects.

Praise For Can You Crack the Code?: A Fascinating History of Ciphers and Cryptography

"Hands-on history for budding spies, hackers, or anyone with a secret message to send . . . Offer[s] a broad and lucid survey of cryptographic strategies." - Kirkus Reviews

"This perennially popular topic leads kids into tales of war and espionage, and to better ways of passing messages in class… Cartoon illustrations keep things cheery, as does Schwartz’s overall optimism concerning cybersecurity and the white hat hacking. For middle-graders interested in the interplay of encryption and their personal security." - BCCB

Bloomsbury Children's Books, 9781681195148, 128pp.

Publication Date: March 26, 2019

About the Author

Ella Schwartz is the author of several books for young readers, including Her Name Was Mary Katharine: The Story of the Only Woman Whose Name Appears on the Declaration of Independence, Can You Crack This Code?, Stolen Science, and Is it Okay to Pee in the Ocean? In addition to writing books, Ella is a cyber security 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.

Lily Williams is the author and illustrator of If Sharks Disappeared, If Polar Bears Disappeared, and If Elephants Disappeared. She grew up in Northern California where she received her B.F.A. from California College of the Arts. Lily seeks to inspire change, engage audiences, and educate people of all ages with her artwork. Her work can be seen in films, books and on her website.