Deborah Hopkinson

Award Winning Author of Fiction & Nonfiction for Children & Teens

How I Became a Spy

A Mystery of WWII London

How I Became a Spy

What is this book about?

Bertie Brad­shaw nev­er set out to become a spy. He nev­er imag­ined traips­ing around war-torn Lon­don, solv­ing ciphers, prac­tic­ing sur­veil­lance, and search­ing for a trai­tor to the Allied forces. He cer­tain­ly nev­er expect­ed that a strong-willed Amer­i­can girl named Eleanor would play Wat­son to his Holmes (or Holmes to his Wat­son, depend­ing on who you ask).

But when a young woman goes miss­ing, leav­ing behind a cod­ed note­book, Bertie is deter­mined to solve the mys­tery. With the help of Eleanor and his friend David, a Jew­ish refugee—and, of course, his trusty pup, Lit­tle Roo—Bertie must deci­pher the note­book in time to stop a dou­ble agent from spilling the biggest secret of all to the Nazis.

This sus­pense­ful WWII adven­ture reminds us that times of war call for brav­ery, brains and team­work from even the most unlike­ly heroes.


“Ms. Hop­kin­son slips lots of age-appro­pri­ate wartime his­to­ry and a num­ber of real indi­vid­u­als (includ­ing Eisenhower)—as well as prac­ti­cal details about codes and ciphers and how to break them—into this info-packed adven­ture for sleuth-lov­ing read­ers.” (The Wall Street Jour­nal)

“This mid­dle grade mys­tery nov­el starts with a bang and sends read­ers on a break­neck jour­ney through World War II Lon­don.” (School Library Jour­nal)

“Hop­kin­son has writ­ten a clev­er­ly plot­ted, page-turn­ing mys­tery that vivid­ly evokes wartime Britain … Fans of puz­zles, mys­ter­ies, and his­tor­i­cal fic­tion will be delight­ed by Hop­kin­son’s lat­est.” (Book­list)

“Red her­rings, a poignant Brad­shaw fam­i­ly back­sto­ry, ciphers to decode, a sub­plot regard­ing a young Jew­ish refugee friend of Bertie’s, cameos by real-life his­tor­i­cal fig­ures (Gen­er­al Eisen­how­er and his dog; cipher expert Leo Marks)—there’s cer­tain­ly no short­age of entry points for young read­ers, and nev­er a dull moment.” (The Horn Book)

How I Became a Spy

author, Deb­o­rah Hop­kin­son
Knopf Books for Young Read­er
ages 8 and up, 2019
ISBN 978–0399557064

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