Sara, Daniel and Jared (Sara’s little brother) have their own secret code. They use it to communicate in class, avoid the teachers and keep secrets from the rest of their classmates, but when one of the messages is tampered with, Sara finds herself in serious trouble. The three must fight to protect the content of their secret messages from outsiders. When they get caught up in a bank robbery though, their private code suddenly takes on an urgent reality!


The Secret Code Menace by Pamela Cosman is an interesting read as it explores an adult world of crime in a way that isn’t overwhelming for children. It is clear, colourful, and has vibrant dialogue that engages young readers with an ease that should make any author jealous. Her use of dialogue and stream-of-consciousness work side by side perfectly, all the while keeping clarity and precision.


On top of this, Pamela’s use of coding is clear, ensuring kids can learn how to decipher the ‘secret code’ used by our three protagonists. It is a lovely addition to the narrative and means young reads can take the text further than the final page, adding to it themselves and using the secret code with your friends! Pamela’s easy-to-follow instructions at the end of the book make this even easer to achieve. This stimulating activity is a great addition to a promising book. Pamela’s background in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California is evident, guaranteeing for, not only an interesting read, but for an accurate, educational one too.


One buyer had high praise for the novel, saying: “It’s a great way to introduce Hamming code to the younger audience. The math is still a bit advanced for him, but my son had a great time sending and correcting secrete messages.” – Wei Yu, University of Toronto (Electrical and Computer Engineering).


Pick up this book and you will “enter a beautiful world of secret codes, information bits, error and erasure correction, and path diversity.” Yes. Yes, you will. And much, much more. It goes from school to bank robbery and code to classroom and everything in between. It is part of the Cold Fusion series, but is free standing, which is great to remove the daunting element reading hold for some children. It is aimed at kinds between 9 and 12, boys and girls, which makes it brilliantly diverse and perfect for school libraries.


The Secret Code Menace is a brilliant read and has every component to make for a fabulous new title from Ransom Publishing.

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About ransompublishing

Independent book publisher specialising in children's and YA fiction for reluctant readers.