Back of Book:
In this picture book biography, young readers will learn all about Elizabeth 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, Elizabeth held a pivotal role in the early days of US cryptology. No code was too challenging for her to crack, and Elizabeth’s work undoubtedly saved thousands of lives.
I received a copy of this picture book from Abrams Publishing and Blue Slip Media in exchange for an honest review. “Code Breaker, Spy Hunter How Elizabeth Friedman Changed The Course of Two World Wars” by Laurie Wallmark, tells the courageous story of how Elizabeth Smith Friedman, agreed to work with the FBI on a top-secret project breaking codes. Elizabeth grew up fascinated with languages and words. She majored in English literature in college while also studying Latin, Greek, and German. After the United States entered World War I, the government needed people to decode spy messages. Elizabeth and her husband William set up the country’s first code-breaking unit. Elizabeth quickly became a well-known code breaker. She helped the Coast Guard decipher messages about liquor smuggling and, was often asked to testify in criminal cases. Elizabeth soon realized that the Coast Guard needed more code breakers to help with the growing need to decipher messages. So, Elizabeth created the Coast Guards’ first code-breaking unit and staffed it with people that she personally trained. Throughout her career, Elizabeth would use her skills to catch many war spies and notorious criminals. Her dedication led her to become a true heroine of both the World Wars. Laurie did a truly fantastic job of bringing the work of Elizabeth to life. The text is filled with actual quotes from Elizabeth and adds a depth of authenticity to the story. The illustrations by Brooke Smart bring the history of this story to life. I love that she used both color illustrations as well as black and white illustrations to bring the time period to life. The back of the book has more information about codes and ciphers as well as more information about cryptography today. There is also fun fun section where readers can learn to crack the code. This is a perfect book to read during National Women’s Month.
Ages 7 and up
Back of Book: