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Code Breaker, Spy Hunter: How Elizebeth Friedman Changed the Course of Two World Wars



by
Laurie Wallmark
illustrated by
Brooke Smart

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Abrams
Imprint
Abrams
ISBN
9781419739637
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None
$21.06   $17.55
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Decode the story of Elizebeth Friedman, the cryptologist who took down gangsters and Nazi spies.

In this picture book biography, young readers will learn all about Elizebeth Friedman (1892–1980), a brilliant American code breaker who smashed Nazi spy rings, took down gangsters, and created the CIA's first cryptology unit. Her story came to light when her secret papers were finally declassified in 2015. From thwarting notorious rumrunners with only paper and pencil to “counter-spying into the minds and activities of” Nazis, Elizebeth held a pivotal role in the early days of US cryptology. No code was too challenging for her to crack, and Elizebeth’s work undoubtedly saved thousands of lives. Extensive back matter includes explanations of codes and ciphers, further information on cryptology, a bibliography, a timeline of Elizebeth’s life, plus secret messages for young readers to decode.Codes and ciphers definitions. Codebreaking exercise. “Cryptography Today.” Time line. Selected bibliography. Notes. Full-color watercolor and gouache illustrations, assembled digitally.

 

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

48

Trim Size

10 1/2' x 8 1/2"

Dewey

B

AR

0: points 0

Genre

Nonfic

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Jul 2021

Book Genres

Picture Book, Narrative Nonfiction, Autobiography/Biography

Topics

Elizebeth Smith Friedman (1892–1980). Cryptanalysis. Cryptology. US women cryptologists. Codes. Ciphers. World War I (1914–1918). World War II (1939–1945). Enigma cypher system. Classified US government information. 

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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 2-4–This picture book biography introduces Elizebeth Smith Friedman (1892–1980), a pioneering white American ­code breaker who helped establish and develop the science of cryptology. After beginning with one case that resulted in the conviction of 33 German spies, the main narrative traces her life chronologically. Friedman’s love of poetry and language sparked an early interest in code-making exercises. This eventually led to her pioneering accomplishments in the relatively new science of cryptology. During World War I, Friedman and her husband William “set up the country’s first code-breaking unit.” Brief descriptions of specific cases provide insight into the challenges and importance of her work, which included aiding the Coast Guard to prosecute bootleggers, key cases in both world wars, and the establishment of the first cryptography department for the Office of Strategic Services. Numerous quotes from Friedman add context and a more personal connection. Her life as a mother and author was regularly interrupted by government requests for her unusual skills. Watercolor and gouache drawings depict a rich visual background to Friedman’s life and career, including glimpses of her family and more dramatic scenes of trials and criminals. There’s just enough information about how codes work to inform readers without overwhelming them. Some of the illustrations show basic examples of code-breaking; the text also introduces simple concepts. Back matter describes basic code types and offers a “Crack the Code” challenge. VERDICT An engaging introduction to a unique woman in a fascinating field.–Steven Engelfried, ­Wilsonville P.L., OR

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 2-4–This picture book biography introduces Elizebeth Smith Friedman (1892–1980), a pioneering white American ­code breaker who helped establish and develop the science of cryptology. After beginning with one case that resulted in the conviction of 33 German spies, the main narrative traces her life chronologically. Friedman’s love of poetry and language sparked an early interest in code-making exercises. This eventually led to her pioneering accomplishments in the relatively new science of cryptology. During World War I, Friedman and her husband William “set up the country’s first code-breaking unit.” Brief descriptions of specific cases provide insight into the challenges and importance of her work, which included aiding the Coast Guard to prosecute bootleggers, key cases in both world wars, and the establishment of the first cryptography department for the Office of Strategic Services. Numerous quotes from Friedman add context and a more personal connection. Her life as a mother and author was regularly interrupted by government requests for her unusual skills. Watercolor and gouache drawings depict a rich visual background to Friedman’s life and career, including glimpses of her family and more dramatic scenes of trials and criminals. There’s just enough information about how codes work to inform readers without overwhelming them. Some of the illustrations show basic examples of code-breaking; the text also introduces simple concepts. Back matter describes basic code types and offers a “Crack the Code” challenge. VERDICT An engaging introduction to a unique woman in a fascinating field.–Steven Engelfried, ­Wilsonville P.L., OR

Grades 2-6
Biography Elementary Plus
For Grades 2-6

Fascinating biographies and autobiographies will allow your elementary readers to look into the lives, thoughts, and accomplishments of the individuals who have shaped our world. And with 12 books per year, they'll discover a remarkable person each month.

14 books per Year
$245.70 per Year
Interests
Biographies,Diversity,Nonfiction,Science/STEAM
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Grades 2-6
Biography Elementary Plus
14 books per Year
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