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

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  83 ratings  ·  32 reviews
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 activi ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Bloomsbury Children's Books
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Alex  Baugh
I love ciphers, codes and puzzles and have ever since I was a young girl. What I didn't know was the history of coding, and it is a fascinating one. Ella Schwartz has put it all together in this book along with some fun and challenging examples that kids can solve and use in their lives. Coded messages are known to have been used over two thousand years ago when the Roman emperor Julius Caesar used the Caesar cipher, which simply substituted one letter for another. Of course, with any code or ci ...more
Elizabeth Tyree
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Kid Lit Reviews and Bloomsbury Press for sending this book for review. All views expressed here are my own.

If anyone you know is interested in ciphers and cryptography, their use, their creation, or their semi-illustrious history, Ms. Schwartz's book is definitely for you! The histories placed within are not only fascinating (as the title promises), they are also incredibly interesting and informative. The reader learns the why, where, and how of creations, as well as those of brea
Dena (Batch of Books)
My daughter took a DukeTIP class on ciphers and cryptology and adored it. Then we got this book in the mail and she was over the moon about it.

This book discusses different kinds of codes that have been used throughout history and how to crack them. My daughter took the book to her friend's house and they spent several afternoons pouring over the book and working on codes.

This is a fantastic book for kids in the 9-12 age range that enjoy history, codes, ciphers, and cryptography. It's also a gr
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Can You Crack the Code?" is a children's nonfiction book about how codes have been created and cracked throughout history. The author talked about early ways people used to keep a message hidden and then delved into codes. She talked about ciphers, encryption, and decryption at a level that was easy to understand. She talked about the development of different encryption strategies intended to make it more difficult to break ciphers. There was also trivia about specific ciphers used in the past, ...more
Chari Regina
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a fun book for children. This book is exactly what it says it is and will capture the minds of any curious child. I loved this book more that I thought I would. I think any child could enjoy it and would like to find this in their classroom or library!

The publisher provided an ARC through Netgalley. I have voluntarily decided to read and review, giving my personal opinions and thoughts
Lindsay Boorman
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book with my 10 year old daughter and so did she! It's a fascinating and fun read and I highly recommend it to parents and kids alike! ...more
Chris Tuccillo
“It’s awesome and taught me a lot of very good things” Matthew Tuccillo, age 8
Michelle Leonard
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What do you do if you need to pass a super-secret note to a friend but want to make sure that no one else can read it? You make up your own code, of course- something only the two of you can decipher. CAN YOU CRACK THE CODE? will help you up your game in the encryption world while you uncover the fascinating history and current state of ciphers and cryptography. Filled with examples and encrypted messages, this book will be of HIGH interest for ages 8+.

Not only is the book filled with codes to f
Kate Waggoner
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-read
@kidlitexchange #partner

Thank you to the publisher @bloomsburypublishing and the author Ella Schwartz for sharing an advance copy of Can You Crack the Code? with the #kidlitexchange network. All opinions are my own.

This book is perfect for readers who love codes, puzzles, ciphers, and secrets. The book details different ways people have tried to hide their messages throughout history. It includes stories of hidden treasures, different plans and machines created to encode messages, and informati
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Let me just say that the subtitle is not kidding. This books covers codes from the ancient Greeks, through Caesar, Samuel Morse, Alan Turing, and up to the current day. Each chapter discusses the methods used to keep messages secure over the ages - from writing them on paper to be swallowed, sharing special code words, supercomputers using prime numbers to create encryption, and even biometric security. There are activities throughout the book that challenge readers to try their own skills at th ...more
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Can You Crack the Code?,” written by Ella Schwartz and illustrated by Lily Williams, is an absolutely awesome book. Full of fascinating information and the history of ciphers and cryptography, this book entertained my entire family. We will be talking about and sharing the awesome historical tales in this book for years to come. I even learned a lot that helped me understand my software engineer husband’s job. It is written in a fun and easy to read format with sidebars and illustrations that p ...more
Desiree Sotomayor
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This handles the subject incredibly and if you can believe it or not kept me up at night wanting to finish it! I love how it's broken up, the scope of the history starting with Ceasar and going all the way to modern information security/privacy, plus the activities throughout the book and the secret code in the back...I've been doing this NF thing for 2 years now and this is easily one of the best, and certainly one I didn't expect to be so sucked in by.

My only criticisms are it's a bit text he
Sandy Brehl
Our minds crave patterns, and none more so than young minds. This is a young-reader-friendly dive into aspects global history, intents, and secrets of transmitting information via codes (long preceding "coding", as in digital codes). In a compact trim size, with readable text, clarifying images and plenty of examples and challenges from present and past.
Along the way the various code strategies converge onto more complex patterns until the final pages present a challenge to the reader to decode
Danni Green
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: r4k, gff
This is a great book for learning about ciphers and cryptography. It's more than just a history, it really goes in-depth into how they work, giving readers an opportunity to try encoding and decoding messages in different ways. It was a little "good guys / bad guys" focused for my preference, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it on that basis. I would love to have learned about some examples of nonviolent/nonmilitary usages. ...more
Apr 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Schwartz introduces a number of different ways that people could hide messages using numbers, switching letters, or even creating machines. Each chapter focuses on one way to create a code and then provides examples for the reader to try. Weaving a bit of fun with history, this is a book I would have devoured as a middle schooler.
Fleur Bradley
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a great addition to my collection of books on codes and ciphers. I'll be taking this one along on my school visits. The history text is the perfect length, with accessible text and narrative.

The illustrations are just perfect. And I loved the DIY projects—I could see these being a great project for the classroom.

Highly recommended for your middle-grade mystery and spy buff.
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Can You Crack the Code? takes readers back to the earliest codes throughout history and invites them to join in not only learning about them, but also how to use them and crack them. Kids interested in code-creaking will love it!
Maddy B.
Mar 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I'm a big fan of codes and ciphers and whatnot, so this was a perfect book for me. The incredible history combined with the author's humor makes for a perfect read for anyone curious and clever (and perhaps a bit mischievous?). ...more
Stephanie Bange
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Reviewed from an ARC.

Additional purchase for grades 5-8.
Heather Penner
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-educational
Educational and entertaining!
Such a cool book!!! I love spy books and this non-fiction book is now a favorite!! All the stars!
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good for those who like ciphers and codes.
Brad Pierce
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic for kids (and adults) who want to know more about codes, cypher, and the history of cryptography.
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great resource and a very fun read for brainiacs! There's something for everyone in this layered, unique read, and my boys REALLY loved solving the ciphers. ...more
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you want to answer the question, it would be a little bit easier to have a physical copy of this book.
Such a great overview of codes, some great history, love the context of real stories that engage the specific topics.
Fabulous and highly recommended by this teacher who wants more kids to explore the creative side of engineering and problem solving.

This book carries with it good credibility as the author is a modern day code maker. It reads like an authentic resource for middle readers who want to learn more about code making and breaking.

Schwartz keeps it intriguing and involves appealing language without dumbing it down. The text is part history book and part introduction to the logical thinking necessary
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars I LOVED THIS BOOK!

I loved it... the history of code and I loved the code at the back! This was just fun! I want to find someone to send code
to!! <3 <3
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
@kidlitexchange #partner-- I received a copy of this book as part of the #kidlitexchange network in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
This book releases Next Tuesday, March 26.
What a fun book! "Can You Crack the Code?" by Ella Schwartz is a fascinating look inside the codes that have stumped many people for all of history. With stories from all over the world, readers are shown the system for decoding ancient codes, and the work that some people are still doing to deco
Steff Fox
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
| Reader Fox Blog |

Can You Crack the Code? by Ella Schwartz is an amazingly fun and informative book about all the ways in which people have encrypted secret messages and codes over the course of the world's history. When I first picked this book up, I wasn't expecting it to be as lengthy or as in-depth as it was but I definitely appreciated all the new and really interesting pieces I learned about ciphers and cryptography. Not only does the book seek to tell you about the history, but it a
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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.

Ella is the author of CAN YOU CRACK THE CODE? (Bloomsbury, 2019), STOLEN SCIENCE (Bloomsbury, 2020), IS IT OKAY TO PEE IN THE OCEAN? (Bloomsbury, 2020) and MAKE THIS! (National Geographic Kids, 2019).

In additi

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