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Young Adult Nonfiction Biology

DNA Detective

by (author) Tanya Lloyd Kyi

illustrated by Lil Crump

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2015
Biology, Discoveries, Anatomy & Physiology, Chemistry
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2015
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2015
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 11 to 14
  • Grade: 5 to 9
  • Reading age: 11 to 14


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.

About the authors

Tanya Lloyd Kyi claims to be a peaceful and non-threatening person, despite having written three books about fire and one about poison. She has never set a building aflame, handled dynamite, or intentionally poisoned anyone … although a suspicious number of friends did have stomachaches after eating her Christmas party meatballs one year.Tanya writes both fiction and non-fiction, often choosing topics related to science, pop culture, or social history—or a combination of the three. She enjoys combining factual research with intriguing narratives, or the life stories of interesting folks.Tanya began her writing “career” as a poet in high school, producing pages and pages of really bad poems that her mother adored. Her love of writing led to the University of Victoria, where she took creative writing and English. Tanya’s early writing jobs were as a newspaper reporter and brochure writer for the government. She also worked as a dishwasher, busgi

Tanya Lloyd Kyi's profile page

Artist Lil Crump brings the pages to life with her lively cartoons, while photographs illustrate key concepts. The dynamic layout invites even math-phobic readers to dive in. She lives in Canada.

Lil Crump's profile page


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

Editorial Reviews

“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

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

CM Reviews, 11/06/15

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

River Reader, 12/13/15

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

The Booklist Reader, 05/18/16

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

Resource Links, 12/15

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