Texas Bluebonnet Award 2014-2015

Resources for the TBA Nominees

Spy Camp


Spy Camp
by Stuart Gibbs

Scroll down to find Related Activities & Resources, Book Talk Teasers, Read Alikes, and Book Reviews.

Readers Theater Script – Spy Camp (PDF)


Background Information

Links to information about author Stuart Gibbs:

The author’s website:

Print interview with Stuart Gibbs from the publisher’s website:

Print interview with Stuart Gibbs:

Video interview with Gibbs about another of his children’s books, The Last Musketeer (5:21):

Other links to related background information:

CIA official website:

MI6 website:

International Spy Museum in Washington, D. C.:

Espionage, including its history:

Famous spies:

How to be a spy kid:

Skills required for a secret agent:

James Bond/Ian Fleming:

Mapping Locations in Spy Camp:

Related Activities

Copy the censored memos at the front and the back of the book. Have students fill in the blacked-out parts with something that would make sense in those spots.

“Kids’ Zone” section of the official CIA website, including games and lesson plans using the CIA website:

International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. “KidSpy Zone” for games, spy vocabulary and more:

Overview of spying for kids, with information and activities (see sidebar on left):

Pinterest page: “Spies and detectives activities for kids”:

Science and math spy activities:

Spy activities for ages 8-10 geared to various academic skills:

More spy activities, including crafts and codes and ciphers:

Spy kids crafts:

Source for spy crafts, codes, foods, and more:

Printable spy decoder wheels:

Test your Spy-Q:

Many activities for young spies and detectives:

Spy party for kids with all the games detailed:

Spy-themed party games and activities:

Secret agent party games and activities:

Spy party activities:


Read the front inside flap of the book.

Read the first chapter of the book.


Other books by Stuart Gibbs (Author appeal):

Gibbs, Stuart. Spy school (first book in the series). Twelve-year-old Ben Ripley leaves his public middle school to attend the CIA’s highly secretive Espionage Academy, which everyone is told is an elite science school. (WorldCat.org)

Gibbs, Stuart. The last musketeer (#1 in The last musketeer series). In Paris with his parents to sell family heirlooms, fourteen-year-old Greg Rich suddenly finds himself four hundred years in the past, and is aided by boys who will one day be known as “The Three Musketeers.” (WorldCat.org)

Gibbs, Stuart. Traitor’s chase (#2 in The last musketeer series). When the Musketeers pursue the dangerous Michel Dinicoeur to Spain, they’re ambushed at every turn, causing them to suspect that there may be a traitor within their own ranks. (WorldCat.org)

Gibbs, Stuart. Double cross (#3 in The last musketeer series). When Greg and the Musketeers return to Paris and find the city under siege, they leap into action to prevent King Louis from being overthrown and history from being changed forever. (WorldCat.org)

Gibbs, Stuart. Belly up (#1 in the Zoo series). Twelve-year-old Teddy investigates when a popular Texas zoo’s star attraction–Henry the hippopotamus–is murdered. (WorldCat.org)

Gibbs, Stuart. Poached. (#2 in the Zoo series). Twelve-year-old Teddy Fitzroy is the prime suspect when FunJungle’s newly-acquired koala goes missing, thanks to a prank staged by middle school bully Vance Jessup. (WorldCat.org)

Nonfiction books about spies and spying (Subject appeal):

Janeczko, Paul B. Top secret: a handbook of codes, ciphers, and secret writing. A handbook for the budding cryptographer including codes and ciphers, invisibles inks, concealment techniques, spy stories and some history. (WorldCat.org)

Janeczko, Paul B. The dark game: true spy stories from invisible ink to CIA moles. From clothesline codes to surveillance satellites and cyber espionage, Janeczko uncovers two centuries’ worth of true spy stories in U.S. history. (WorldCat.org)

King, Bart. The big book of spy stuff. The secret to success? Know all the secrets! Learn how to escape tricycle-riding assassins. Find out why you can trust women more than men. Discover how squirrels can deliver top-secret messages. Learn the keys to tricking enemy agents. Create a disguise that renders you invisible in a crowd of two. (WorldCat.org)

Platt, Richard. Spy (Eyewitness series). This book presents information about men and women spies throughout history as well as about the tools and equipment they used in espionage and intelligence service. You can also be an eyewitness to some of the world’s most shadowy characters, and get the inside scoop on the ingenious gadgets that real-life spies have used to gather and send information without getting caught. (WorldCat.org)

Wiese, Jim. Spy science: 40 secret-sleuthing, code-cracking, spy-catching activities for kids. Describes the skills, equipment, and techniques that spies use. Includes activities and experiments. (WorldCat.org)

Other fiction books about kid spies (subject appeal):

Buckley, Michael.  NERDS: National Espionage, Rescue and Defense Society (#1 in the NERDS series). While running a spy network from their elementary school, five unpopular misfits combine their talents and use cutting-edge gadgetry to fight evil around the world. (NoveList)

Hunt, Elizabeth Singer. The escape of the deadly dinosaur (#1 in the Secret agent Jack Stalwart series). When an eager young scientist brings a dangerous flesh-eating dinosaur to life, Jack Stalwart, a secret agent with the Global Protection Force, must capture the dinosaur before it destroys New York City. (NoveList)

Larry, H. I. Poison Island (#1 in the Zac Power series). Separated from his parents and older brother, twelve-year-old Zac, a secret agent of the Government Investigation Bureau, must rely on his own skills to obtain the formula for Dr. Drastic’s secret Solution X. (WorldCat.org)

Pinter, Jason. Zeke Bartholomew: superspy. When average kid Zeke Bartholomew is kidnapped and mistaken for a spy, he finds himself in the middle of a dangerous mission to stop the evil mastermind Le Carre from turning the children of the world into mindless zombies. (NoveList)

Other fiction books that are action-packed, fast-paced, suspenseful, plot-driven:

Carman, Patrick. Trackers (#1 in series). When the mysterious Glyphmaster tricks Adam into solving a puzzle and then hacks his computers, Adam, Finn, Lewis, and Emily are pulled into a mystery that is more trouble than they ever imagined. (NoveList)

Cooper, Mark A.  Fledgling (#1 in the Jason Steed series). Jason Steed, an eleven-year-old martial arts expert, is spending his summer training on a British Navy frigate when rebel forces attack, and he must find the courage to rescue a special ops team and save the world from a nuclear war. (NoveList)

Grisham, John. Theodore Boone, kid lawyer (#1 in series). Thirteen-year-old Theodore Boone has always dreamed of being a great trial lawyer someday, but a sensational murder trial forces him into the arena sooner than expected, and he is determined to see that justice prevails. (NoveList)

Gutman, Dan.  Mission unstoppable (#1 in The Genius File series). On a cross-country vacation with their parents, twins Coke and Pepsi, soon to be thirteen, fend off strange assassins as they try to come to terms with their being part of a top-secret government organization known as The Genius Files. (NoveList)

Korman, Gordon. The abduction (#1 in the Kidnapped series). Aiden works with the FBI in order to rescue his sister Meg, who was kidnapped. (NoveList)

Riordan, Rick.  The maze of bones (#1 in the 39 clues series, written by various authors). When their beloved aunt–matriarch of the world’s most powerful family–dies, orphaned siblings Amy and Dan Cahill compete with less honorable Cahill descendants in a race around the world to find cryptic clues to a mysterious fortune. Includes game cards which the reader may use to play an online version of the treasure hunt. (NoveList)

Stewart, Trenton Lee. The mysterious Benedict Society (#1 in the series). After passing a series of mind-bending tests, four children are selected for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. (NoveList)

Walters, Eric.  Camp X (#1 in the series). In 1943, George and his brother Jack stumble upon Camp X, Canada’s secret spy camp, and find themselves caught up in a summer of intrigue as they help to battle the Axis powers (NoveList)


Spy Camp. By Stuart Gibbs. 2013. 336p. Simon & Schuster, $15.99 (9781442457539). Gr. 6–9. (Booklist Online, April 23, 2013).

Ben Ripley, a 12-year-old CIA spy-in-training who was first introduced in Spy School (2012), returns in another lighthearted action adventure. This one finds him—to his disgust—required to attend summer spy camp. Dreary, yes? But then something astonishing happens; he is approached by an agent of the supersecret evil organization Spyder, which is trying to recruit him to join the dark side. It seems Spyder hopes to capitalize on a unique talent that Ben doesn’t even know he possesses. What’s going on here? Whatever it is, it will involve superspy Alexander Hale and his equally talented daughter Erica, on whom Ben has a serious crush. Spies, counterspies, moles, and a Civil War reenactment (don’t ask) speed the brisk action. There are too many plot conveniences, but the characters are both comic and convincing (no mean feat), and the story boasts some nifty surprises. Fans of the genre will be pleased and will look forward to the next volume in this series.— Michael Cart

Horn Book:
Gibbs, Stuart Spy Camp
322 pp. Simon (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing) 2013. ISBN 978-1-4424-5753-9
(3) 4-6 series. After escaping assassination by the top-secret organization SPYDER, Ben Ripley (Spy School) is looking forward to chilling out this summer. But SPYDER is turning up the heat, insisting that Ben come to work for them. Gorgeous fellow-spy-in-training Erica is ready to help, and her legendary grandfather also appears on the scene. Clever descriptions and plot twists make this a top-notch summer read. (Fall 2013 Guide) Reprinted from The Horn Book Guide by permission of The Horn Book, Inc., www.hbook.com

School Library Journal:
Gibbs, Stuart. Spy Camp

Gr 5–7—This companion to Spy School (S & S, 2012) follows 12-year-old Ben as he finishes up his first year of training after being recruited by the CIA, and he now has spy camp to look forward to. Important details from the first book are seamlessly woven into the story. Before Ben even leaves for his wilderness training camp, he discovers an elaborate plot against him. He joins up with Erika, the smartest kid at school, and her bumbling father, the acclaimed agent Alexander Hale, and the three try to figure out how to save what turns out to be not just their lives, but much more. Erika is a strong female character, and the vocabulary throughout is quite sophisticated. However, for a middle-grade book that presents itself as a goofy spy adventure, it borders on having too much realistic violence with kids wielding guns, assassination attempts, hostage situations, and sniper attacks. While there is plenty of violence in children’s literature, it’s a concern here because the story is set in the real world. That being said, fans of Anthony Horowitz’s “Alex Rider” books (Philomel) and kids looking for a thriller will most certainly be drawn to the story.—Kerry Roeder, Professional Children’s School, New York City


2 thoughts on “Spy Camp

  1. Pingback: Welcome! | Texas Bluebonnet Award 2014-2015

  2. Pingback: Spy School | Book Discussion Guides

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