July 1780. Four grueling years into the war, George Washington’s scrappy rebels had become an army to be reckoned with. Now came a real break: France was joining their fight. A French fleet was sailing into Newport, Rhode Island. It carried sorely needed soldiers, weapons, and supplies.
But George Washington worried. Did the British know? Would they attack the French? Without this foreign aid, the American cause could well be lost. Washington needed answers, fast. He turned to his most trusted source: the Culper Spy Ring. For two years the Culper had provided Washington with accurate information. The problem was how long they took! Could they deliver quickly this time? Washington prayed they would.
Join the Culpers as they attempt their most important – and dangerous – mission. Follow them through British-occupied territory, risking everything in the name of liberty. Can they ferret out the information? Will it be in time? Can they remain undetected and unsuspected? Upon secrecy, their success depends.
Honors and Awards
- A Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year, 2010.
Selene Castrovilla’s book takes kids inside the Revolutionary War, as members of George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring eavesdrop on the British, write secret messages, and fend off highway robbers to deliver them. The gripping narrative keeps the tension alive, while period details and historically accurate illustrations give young readers an up-close experience of the war.
Paging students and teachers studying the American Revolution: Here’s a lively, obscure story that will make you sit up. Castrovilla’s slim book about the Culper spy ring may look like a picture book, but the text would be a great supplement for high school history classes. How these double agents deceived the British and aided the revolutionaries is as fascinating for its imaginative technology, including an invisible ink called “sympathetic stain.” The research behind both text and illustrations is impeccable.