Wait…Pigeons were Spies? Enter the Secret World of Spying

by Brianna Kaiser, Associate Editor/Associate Photo Editor

You’re moving through a dense crowd as counterintelligence agents follow you. If you cannot escape, you will be arrested. So what do you do?

In Lerner’s new nonfiction series Spy Secrets, readers will get a glimpse into the world of spying, uncovering true fascinating stories of spies, the people they worked for, and the methods they used to complete their missions.

From women working undercover during the US Civil War, to using everyday items like fountain pens to spread messages during WWI and WWII, and to using drones, cell phones, and computers to spy in present day, these four books are packed with facts that will take readers on a journey through the history of spying and its technological advancements. Along the way, they will develop knowledge about important spy terms, such as legend, tradecraft, dead drop, and steganography.

While working as an editor and a photo editor for some of these books, I loved learning about unexpected spies. I was especially impressed by a group of librarians who left the US for Europe during WWII to discover military secrets. After all, spies are not always like the ones depicted in movies.

Accompanying the informational text are engaging sidebars: Meet a Spy! and That’s a Fact! Readers will be introduced to real-life spies, including Josephine Baker, Clarence Yamagata, Harriet Tubman, and James Armistead Lafayette. After having small cameras strapped to them, even pigeons have been spies. See for yourself how author Charles Fraser-Smith inspired a character in the James Bond franchise.

Counterintelligence agents still follow you, but after reading Spy Secrets, you now know what to do. Using the crowd to your advantage to blend in, you take off your suit coat and toss it in a nearby trash can. You put on sunglasses and a baseball hat, and put in headphones to pretend to listen to music. In just a few seconds, you have completed your quick change to become someone else. You have escaped the agents!

Learn more about Spy Secrets and other Searchlight Books on the Lerner website.

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