By Megan Ciskowski, Assistant Publicist
Make your own invisible ink or learn Morse code! Read on to find amazing free resources for the classroom, and your students can become super spies just like Kitty Granger!
The Secret Life of Kitty Granger opens to 1967, where Kitty is about to accidentally become a spy. A working-class girl from London’s East End who today would be recognized as on the autism spectrum, she’s spent sixteen years hiding her “peculiarities” from the world. But after her hyper-awareness helps her survive a chance encounter with a Russian spy ring, two British secret agents offer her a job.
Kitty’s first mission draws her into a fascist conspiracy led by a prominent politician—who’s also an unreformed Nazi sympathizer. With help from her team, Kitty must use her wits, training, and instincts to get out alive. And she might as well save the country while she’s at it.
Crosswords and Puzzles
Kitty always had an affinity for puzzles. Her favorites are crossword puzzles! Crosswords are also a vigorous vocabulary exercise. Have your students join Kitty in her favorite activity and learn words like cryptography, jellied eels, and stimming along the way.
Invisible Ink and Morse Code
Create your own invisible ink to write secret messages using household items. Or learn Morse Code, created by Samuel Morse in the 1830s, using flashlights or finger taps!
Meet the Characters!
The Orchestra is a British spy agency that specializes in domestic counterintelligence. On a daily basis they work to locate and capture enemy spies operating in Britain. Below are the profiles of the primary Orchestra operatives…and the villains! Have students create their own profile and join the Orchestra ranks!
Give your students time to research instruments of all kinds: steel drums, cimbaloms, and wheelharps to name a few! Have them pick their favorite for a code name.
The Orchestra Seal
Have your students create their own secret service and create a seal like the one below.
The Secret Life of Kitty Granger deals with themes of diversity, tolerance, nationalism, and fascism. After reading, engage your students with discussion questions like those below, and encourage critical thinking about the story’s themes.
- Tommy assumes that most girls aren’t interested in cars. Kitty tells him, “Girls can be interested in all sorts of things, only we don’t talk about ’em ’cause people keep tellin’ us we’re not s’posed to like ’em.” Think of an instance in your life when someone (perhaps you) made an assumption similar to Tommy’s. What do you think Kitty would have said about this?
- Mrs. Singh asks Mr. Pryce, “What happens if a government’s elected that wants what Smythe wanted?. . . . Will you just stand at your post and hope for the best?” Mr. Pryce dodges the question. What do you think his answer should have been?
Read an author interview with G.D. Falksen from the blog! Give your students a glimpse into the writer’s mind and discover more about the work it takes to write historical fiction.
Praise for The Secret Life of Kitty Granger
“[T]his rip-roaring tale starring a compelling heroine will satisfy anyone looking for a fun, quirky adventure.”—Booklist
“[A] ripping read that is historically grounded, drawing a direct line from past events to current debates over diversity, immigration, and the eternal peril of fascism. Nail-biting fascism-fighting featuring an atypical heroine.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A fun thriller spotlighting a neurodivergent protagonist . . .”—School Library Journal
“Delightful, poignant, and suspenseful.”—Jennieke Cohen, author of Dangerous Alliance
“You’ll root for Kitty Granger, a heroine for our times, from the first to the last page.”—Sarah Ahiers, author of Assassin’s Heart and Thief’s Cunning