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 also offers the opportunity to learn and decode some secret messages on your own throughout. As this book is intended for children, I can see many having a lot of fun with those sections though it is somewhat difficult and they might need a bit of help to do so.
I always knew that this field was rather in-depth and as I did not have any sort of background knowledge on this particular subject, I was able to learn a great deal while reading this book. The information provided was presented in a fun way and offered a great opportunity to develop one’s understanding of how cryptography works and the history behind it from why messages were encoded in the first place to the ways in which people genuinely did crack the code. What was even more interesting is the fact that some coded messages still have yet to be decoded today.
The illustrator, Lily Williams, filled the pages of this book with upbeat and fun drawings of characters and more that really do a fantastic job of catching your eye and keeping your attention. I genuinely appreciated these drawings as they made the experience of reading this book a lot more fun than it might have been if it was simply a text-based deluge of information to shove unceremoniously into your brain.
I’d definitely suggest buying this book for your kiddos, especially if they have an interest in secret messages. Make it fun for them and learn alongside as they do. Write secret messages to each other using the ciphers you learn about in the book, help them create their own cipher. Have fun with it. I know I will when I eventually have kids of my own.
I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.