Based on a true story, Spy on History invites the reader to discover a secret story taking place during the American Civil War, while keeping them alert for solving a mystery using a special code suggested in the book.
The story was inspired by Mary Browser, an African American working as a maid in the mansion of the Confederate president Jefferson Davis, while spying on behalf of the Union forces. Her main asset was her photographic memory which helped her to record visually top secret documents. The mission assigned to the little spies is to find Mary's secret diary, a valuable resource of her reports.
The book is provided with an envelope enclosing various tools to be used for finding secret messages, including a replica of the cipher wheel used during the Civil War.
I initially read the story in e-book format, but nothing compares to the physical experience of the book, as it offers a completely visual experience, not only from the point of view of the illustrations - which are very suggestive - but also for a better guidance in searching the keys for cracking the code. Although our children nowadays are so much attached to their electronic devices, this book can easy catch their attention and offer a welcomed distraction from the daily routine.
In this way, without noticing or being forced, the children can learn easily about an unique historical moment, which otherwise would have sound completely unattractive if the classical history lessons way would have been followed.
Both for writers of children books and for educators, this book offers a good example for further inspiration and valuable material to create attractive lessons.
Rating: 5 stars
Disclaimer: Book offered by the publisher in exchange for an honest review