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DNA Detective

By Tanya Lloyd Kyi
Illustrated by Lil Crump
Interest Age: 11–14
Grade: 5–9
Reading Level: Common Core Correlations
CCSS.ELA-Literacy Strand-Reading literature: RST.6-8.1,2,4,5,6,7,

Reading Level: Lexile 950L
Hardcover : 9781554517749, 120 pages, August 2015 , 9.30" x 6.73"
Paperback : 9781554517732, 120 pages, August 2015 , 9.05" x 6.50"
Paperback : 9781554517732, 120 pages, August 2015 , 9.0" x 6.5"
Rights sold: Turkish, Spanish, Korean


It’ll take a genetics genius to solve this crime ...

In the center of almost every cell in our bodies, there’s a piece of DNA designed to give the body instructions like: “Create two legs, two arms, two eyes, and one nose.” But how can so much information be squeezed into such a tiny space?

In DNA Detective, Lloyd Kyi unravels the mystery of our genetic blueprint. She explains the basics of genetics in simple, clear language, and reveals the fascinating, and frequently entertaining stories of the researchers who discovered pieces of the DNA puzzle.

As they learn the science of genes, readers will apply what they learn at the end of each chapter in an engaging challenge: helping a young detective eliminate suspects to solve a major crime, based on a real-world case.

Meet the genetics rock stars like Frederick Sanger, whose groundbreaking research won him two Nobel Prizes in Chemistry; or Rosalind Franklin, who created the first clear image of DNA. Discover why humans are more like flies or mice than we’d like to admit, how to clone a sheep, and what palindromes have to do with DNA.

From genetically-engineered pets to a dating app that helps Icelanders avoid marrying their cousins, the world of DNA will surprise and delight you. Full-color photographs complement the text, while Lil Crump’s lively illustrations keep readers entertained.


  • Short-listed, Science in Society Book Award finalist, Canadian Science Writers’ Association 2017
  • Nominated, Red Maple Award nomination, Ontario Library Association 2016
  • Short-listed, Red Cedar Award finalist, B.C.’s Young Readers’ Choice Awards 2017
  • Short-listed, Information Book Award finalist, Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada 2016
  • Joint winner, Best Bets List, Top Ten, Ontario Library Association 2016
  • Joint winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre 2016


“Highly recommended as an excellent introduction to criminal forensics.”

- Resource Links, 12/15

“A great introduction to DNA for middle grade readers.”

- River Reader, 12/13/15

“Should be on the shelves of middle school libraries.”

- CM Reviews, 11/06/15

“This enticing and informative book doesn’t shy away from ethics and controversy.”

- The Booklist Reader, 05/18/16

“An appealing, and accessible introductory approach to a complex topic.”

- Green Teacher, Summer/16

“A great resource for a school science class . . . even high-schoolers would enjoy it.” 

- Biblioquacious, 04/13/17

“An appealing, and accessible introductory approach to a complex topic.”

- Green Teacher, Summer/16