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Spy on History: Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring
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Spy on History: Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring

by Enigma Albertie
 

Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring introduces an exciting interactive series for middle grade readers—Spy on History, where the reader gets to experience history in a whole new way.

Meet Mary Bowser, an African American spy who was able to infiltrate the Confederate leadership at the highest level. Enigma Alberti dramatizes Mary

Overview

Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring introduces an exciting interactive series for middle grade readers—Spy on History, where the reader gets to experience history in a whole new way.

Meet Mary Bowser, an African American spy who was able to infiltrate the Confederate leadership at the highest level. Enigma Alberti dramatizes Mary Bowser’s suspenseful story—how she pretended to be illiterate, how she masterfully evaded detection, how she used her photographic memory to “copy” critical documents.

Using spycraft materials included in a sealed envelope inside the book, a canny reader will be able to discover and unravel clues embedded in the text and illustrations, and solve the book’s ultimate mystery: Where did Mary hide her secret diary?

 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/14/2016
Launching the Spy on History series, this pseudonymously written interactive story is built around Mary Bowser, an African-American woman who served as a spy during the Civil War, under the guise of working as a maid for Jefferson Davis. Alberti dramatizes Bowser’s efforts to obtain information by eavesdropping and memorizing information on crucial documents. Readers can use “spycraft tools,” such as a cipher wheel, to crack a code and solve the story’s mystery. Fictionalized diary passages, engrossing illustrations from Cliff (the Delilah Dirk series), and typography manipulated to dramatic effect help create a gripping story that offers a window into a pivotal time in U.S. history and puts a face to a little-known figure. Ages 10–14. Illustrator’s agent: Bernadette Baker-Baughman, Victoria Sanders & Associates. (Jan.)
From the Publisher

"A gripping story that offers a window into a pivotal time in U.S. history and puts a face to a little-known figure." — Publishers Weekly

"A thrilling read for lovers of history and mystery." — Shelf Awareness

"Alongside it being a great story, this will rise to the challenge to any curious-minded wannabe spies." — Black Girl Nerds

"Sometimes, a very special book comes along that allows your mind, and the kids' minds, to actively exercise and expand while tromping through a story and learning some history. Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring...is one such book." — Geek Dad
Kirkus Reviews
2016-11-16
Using a provided packet of helpful tools, readers can search for clues along with a historical spy in the house of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy.Fans of ciphers and hidden clues will find both in abundance, beginning on the copyright page and continuing to a final, sealed-off section of explanations and solutions. Fictionalized but spun around actual figures and events, the tale centers on Bowser, a free African-American who worked undercover as a maid in Davis' house and passed information to a ring of white Richmond spies. Here she looks for the key phrase that will unlock a Vigenère cipher—an alphabetic substitution code—while struggling to hide her intelligence and ability to read. As an extra challenge, she leaves the diary in which she records some of her experiences concealed for readers to discover, using allusive and sometimes-misleading clues that are hidden in Cliff's monochrome illustrations and in cryptic marginal notations. A Caesar cipher wheel, a sheet of red acetate, and several other items in a front pocket supply an espionage starter kit that readers can use along the way; it is supplemented by quick introductions in the narrative to ciphers and codes, including Morse dashes and dots and the language of flowers. Plenty of work for sharp eyes and active intellects in this history-based series opener. (answers, historical notes, biographies, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 10-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780761187394
Publisher:
Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date:
12/13/2016
Series:
Spy on History Series
Pages:
96
Sales rank:
531,326
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author


Enigma Alberti is the nom de plume of a secret cadre of authors who are each writing a book in the Spy on History series.

Tony Cliff is the author and artist behind the New York Times bestselling Delilah Dirk graphic novel series.

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