The Codes used in Kensy and Max – helpful for the September-October Newsletter Competition!

August 31, 2021

The Codes used in Kensy and Max – helpful for the September-October Newsletter Competition!

In order to complete the Kensy and Max Spy Games Challenge which is one of the competitions in the September-October Newsletter, you need to know the codes that have been used in all of the Kensy and Max books to date. So here’s a recap of what they are and how to use them. You might like to have some fun creating your own codes too.

The Caesar Cipher from Kensy and Max: Breaking News Book 1

Named after Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, the Caesar cipher is a basic method for encrypting and decoding text. It involves moving the letters of the alphabet up or down by a fixed number of positions. The word ‘cipher’ refers to a secret or disguised way of writing – a code of sorts. For example, Julius Caesar shifted each letter of the text down by three positions and used this code in private correspondence. In this case, the letter A would become X, B becomes Y, C becomes Z and so on. The diagram below of the Caesar cipher will help you decode the chapter headings as well as the inscription in the book that Max discovered in the library.

The Pigpen Cipher from Kensy and Max: Disappearing Act Book 2

The pigpen cipher – also known as the masonic cipher, Napoleon cipher and tic-tac-toe cipher – is a geometric simple substitution code. It exchanges letters for symbols that form fragments of a grid. Usually, the pigpen cipher alphabet is derived from the following four grids:

It is the most popular secret writing alphabet in history and has been used to encrypt all manner of things, from gravestone inscriptions to treasure maps.

The Atbash Cipher from Kensy and Max: Undercover Book 3

Originally a monoalphabetic cipher used for the Hebrew alphabet, the Atbash cipher is one of the earliest and simplest substitution ciphers to have been devised. The cipher simply reverses the plaintext alphabet to create a ciphertext alphabet. For example, the first letter of the alphabet, A, is encrypted to the last letter of the alphabet, Z. B becomes Y, C becomes X and so forth.

Morse Code from Kensy and Max: Undercover Book 4

Developed by Samuel F. B. Morse, an inventor of the telegraph, Morse code is a system of communication that uses a series of dots and dashes to relay messages. It was designed with efficiency in mind, as the length of each symbol is approximately inverse to the rate of occurrence in text of the English character it represents. For example, ‘E’, the most commonly used letter of the English
alphabet, has the shortest code – a single dot. In an emergency, Morse code can be generated by improvised methods, such as turning a light on and off, tapping an object, or sounding a horn
or whistle, making it one of the simplest and most versatile methods of telecommunication. In fact, the most common internationally recognised distress signal is SOS – three dots followed by three dashes and then three dots.

A1Z26 Code

The A1Z26 code is a very simple code. As you know there are 26 letters in the English alphabet so if A equals 1, Z would equal 26 because it is the 26th letter in the alphabet. This is an easy code to crack, but could be made more difficult if you altered the corresponding order of letters and numbers. In that case you would need to create your own key to decode the messages that you write.

Qwerty Code from Kensy and Max: Full Speed Book 6

The QWERTY code is a very simple code using the alphabetical layout of a computer keyboard to substitute the regular chronology of the English alphabet. Use the table on the facing page to help
you decipher each chapter heading.

The Phone Cipher from Kensy and Max: Take Down Book 7

The phone cipher is a numerical cipher that replaces each letter of the alphabet with the corresponding key code on a phone keypad.

The key code is determined by how many letters are attributed to each number, and the order they appear in. ‘A’, as the first letter on the ‘2’ key, becomes ‘2’; ‘B’, as the second letter on the ‘2’ key, becomes ‘22’ and so on. Each coded letter is separated by a full stop, and each word by a space.





That’s a lot of codes

September 1, 2021 at 11:58 am



OMG Yes I love these. I’m so entering

September 1, 2021 at 12:51 pm



Me too! I love decoding the chapter headings!

September 2, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    Jacqueline Harvey


    Hi Miri,

    I’m thrilled to hear that you enjoy decoding the chapter headings in the Kensy and Max books!

    Happy code-breaking,

    Jacqueline 🙂

    September 4, 2021 at 5:34 pm



      I love your books and been reading them, it always calms me down, especially now after the earthquake happened in Melbourne, ( I live in Melbourne) I have been really scared as I have never experienced that. So I have read all of your books. I love decoding the chapter headings.
      I love YOUR BOOKS!

      September 22, 2021 at 1:15 pm



I love decoding the chapter titles after I’ve finished reading K&M books. It was actually book 4 that inspired my love of morse code, I’ve memorised all of the letters and I’m kind of a little bit obsessed =D!
I love the idea of having chapter headings in code and I look forward to finding out what type of code is in each book.

– Kay

September 5, 2021 at 10:06 am



I LOVE these!!

From Riveesha

September 7, 2021 at 2:04 pm



I love all your books

September 7, 2021 at 2:07 pm



Hi Jacqueline Harvey.
I love decoding the codes!
It is my favourite thing about Kensy and Max.
When I get up to every chapter I decode the code.

September 8, 2021 at 1:35 pm

    Jacqueline Harvey


    Hi again Riveesha,

    The codes are a lot of fun, I really enjoy cracking them as well! I’m glad you love them too.

    Best wishes,

    Jacqueline 🙂

    October 4, 2021 at 1:41 pm



I low these book I have take to a love of spying I am working on my coding skills these holidays

September 16, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    Jacqueline Harvey


    Hi Keziah,

    Thank you and good luck with the coding skills, I hope you became an expert over the holidays. 🙂

    Happy code breaking,


    October 4, 2021 at 1:45 pm



Am I to late to apply and how do I ???

September 16, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    Jacqueline Harvey


    Hi again Keziah!

    No, you’re not too late. The competitions are all run through my newsletter (you can subscribe by clicking the sun in the top right hand corner on my website).

    Best wishes,

    Jacqueline 🙂

    October 4, 2021 at 2:11 pm



I love Kensy & Max book I have been reading them since I was 8 I can’t wait for Kensy & Max book 8 to come out ( it says it will come out on September 28 yay) I love u so much Jacqueline Harvey you are by far my most favourite author and I can’t believe u might read this you are like my idle I love Kensy & Max books so much and my sister likes Alice Miranda books to thank you for writing these book they make me happy and smile I will sit dow and read the entire book In 1 day they bring me so much joy I hop u keep writing kensy and max book – Kezi

September 16, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    Jacqueline Harvey


    Hi again Kezi!

    Thank you so much for your kind words! It makes me so happy when I hear how much my readers enjoy my books, it is a very rewarding feeling. 🙂

    Happy reading,


    October 4, 2021 at 2:16 pm



Dear Ms Harvey

Firstly, I want to congratulate everyone that entered the writing competition. I bet you were all amazing!!!
Secondly, the new Kensy and Max book looks amazing! Thirdly, now I’m going to get to the point…
This blog is amazing, but every time we comment on a post I assume you get a notification or email, so to stop annoying you and so all your fans can talk, without disturbing you, is there a possibility of creating an instant chat system? Of course I’m not expecting you to take this into action because you are very busy, but even a google document could work and you could send it to all the emails signed up to the newsletter, so they stay private. I believe it would be a very efficient way to chat with other fans so we do not annoy you, especially because some of us are from international place and the time differences make things harder. Of course, I’m not putting pressure on you and I don’t want to make you feel bad, because you are already AMAZING! Thanks!


September 17, 2021 at 9:17 pm



I love your K&M books you are my favourite author of all time you inspired me to start code breaking I have been improving every day I have come upon the task of studying it all holidays I love u Jacqueline Harvey and I hope you keep doing more K&M books =)

– Kezi

September 18, 2021 at 12:03 pm



Ella, I think it’s an amazing idea!
Mrs. Harvey, I too think that you should think about it!

Also, I want to congratulate everyone who entered the competition, because I don’t think I would be able to do that!


September 18, 2021 at 6:04 pm



Hi Jacqueline Harvey,
I live in Melbourne Victoria Australia. There was an earthquake today. I love your books so much. I read all of them. I love decoding the chapter titles.

From Riveesha

September 22, 2021 at 11:56 am

Keira Hoang


I’m having Book-Week at my school and I’m dressing up as Alice Miranda In China!

– Keira

November 14, 2021 at 2:47 pm

Keira Hoang


Your books are amazing Jacqueline Harvey! I love the Alice Miranda series! But sadly theres only two movies 🙁

November 14, 2021 at 2:53 pm

    Jacqueline Harvey


    Hi Keira,

    Thank you for your kind words, I hope you enjoyed the movies and had fun dressing up as Alice-Miranda in China. 🙂

    Best wishes,


    November 24, 2021 at 2:41 pm



I have a huge pile of your books next to my beanbag.
Sometimes I feel like starting an Alice Miranda, sometimes I just feel like relaxing with a Clementine Rose(that I can finish in a day)

January 28, 2022 at 5:27 pm



Hi, wow that’s so cool, I like codes and I think that making codes at the beginning of chapters is a really good idea!

Evangeline 😀

March 13, 2022 at 6:57 pm



Hello Jacqueline Harvey
I have a lot of things to say so…
1. I am a BIG fan and I enjoy reading your Kensy and Max books SO MUCH
2. I have heard about your new book, Chasing Danger. It seems so cool, and I am very excited because I live in NZ! Question – Will Kensy and Max go to Wellington?
3. Please maybe in the future can you write a book set in Japan? I am also from there and it will be so amazing for Kensy and Max to go somewhere I have been.
4. Also perhaps could you send me a digital copy of Spy Games please, it’s not at the library
Thanks, your No.1 fan

March 31, 2022 at 1:42 pm

    Jacqueline Harvey


    Hi Lily,

    Thank you so much! Kensy and Max don’t go to Wellington but you never know in the future. I have set an Alice-Miranda book in Japan. It’s a place I love! We’ve been there quite a few times. Again – maybe Kensy and Max can go there one day. I can’t send out digital copies of my books as the publishers don’t allow it but I am planning to set up a shop online so you can order books from there,

    Best wishes,

    October 20, 2022 at 4:05 pm

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