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Children's Nonfiction General

Secrets Underground

North America's Buried Past

by (author) Elizabeth MacLeod

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Jan 2014
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2014
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2014
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2014
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 10 to 18
  • Grade: 5
  • Reading age: 10 to 18


Uncover the spine-tingling mysteries and eerie surprises that lurk right under your feet!

In Secrets Underground, history buff Elizabeth MacLeod takes readers deep down, down, down below the earth’s surface, and introduces them to a completely different world—sometimes terrifying, often baffling, and always fascinating.

• the Civil War secrets carefully concealed in Organ Cave, West Virginia
• the top-secret equipment that lies deep below Grand Central Terminal in New York City
• the network of tunnels in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, that once hid victims of persecution—and illegal liquor transported by notorious Chicago gangsters
• how the Aztec city TenochtitlÁn, the largest and most powerful city of its time in what is now North America, nearly disappeared without a trace
• the abandoned ships buried beneath San Francisco that reveal the city’s history as a top destination for fortune seekers during the Gold Rush
• the nuclear shelter the U.S. government kept hidden for decades underneath an exclusive resort in West Virginia called The Greenbrier.

Guiding readers through these fascinating places, MacLeod reveals their long-kept secrets and deftly explains how these lost and hidden subterranean passages, spaces, and caves answer decades-old puzzles, help us understand our own past, and lead us to discover what life was really like in eras gone by.

About the author

Liz is one nosy author, which is why she loves writing non-fiction. She’s very curious about why people do what they do, and likes sharing with kids the amazing facts and secrets that she uncovers.As a kid in Thornhill, Ontario, the idea of being a writer never crossed Liz’s mind—she figured most authors were already dead and they definitely weren’t Canadian. Besides, it was science that interested Liz.But writing was already part of Liz’s life. After dinner on school nights, Liz and her two brothers would trudge up to their rooms, close their doors and start to do their homework—or so their parents thought. A few minutes later, a piece of paper would come sliding under Liz’s door. One of her brothers had drawn a picture, usually of some weird creature.Liz really couldn’t draw (still can’t!), so the only way she could respond was to write a short story, often about a mad scientist or space alien. She would slip the story under her brother’s door and—well, not a lot of homework got done.At university, Liz studied sciences—there was hardly any writing involved at all. But after university, she was hired as an editor at OWL magazine, where she could combine writing and her love of science. But it wasn’t long before Liz had a goal: to write a book. Her first one was about lions and since then she’s written more than fifty others.Royal Murder: The Deadly Intrigue of Ten Sovereigns (2008) is one of her favourite books because royalty has always fascinated Liz. She loved going behind the scenes with monarchs from Cleopatra to Dracula to find out just what they would do to hold onto power or protect their families.Bones Never Lie: How Forensics Helps Solve History’s Mysteries (2013) was the winner of numerous awards, including the Crime Writers of Canada 2014 Arthur Ellis Award in the Juvenile/YA category. Liz’s latest book with Annick Press, Galloping Through History: Incredible True Horse Stories (Spring 2015), combines, once again, her outstanding storytelling skills with her passion for history. This time her love of animals also shines through as she recounts the stories of six horses that changed the way humans live, travel, fight, work, and play.Liz lives in Toronto with her husband, Paul, and their cat Cosimo. While she writes, he is usually sprawled across her desk—often right on the book she needs for research!

Elizabeth MacLeod's profile page


  • Joint winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre
  • Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award

Editorial Reviews

“Young readers will be delighted . . . From a destroyed and long-buried Aztec city to a Civil War cave  . . . readers will discover loads of trivia while being introduced to other relevant information that will leave them wanting more.”

Reet Champion Book Reviews, 03/18/14

“The stories in this book are well researched and thought-provoking, providing an illuminating glimpse into the dark history buried under our daylight world.”

National Reading Campaign, Readerly, 01/301/14

“Elizabeth MacLeod has truly brought history to life for children.”

Quebec Library Association Bulletin, 04/15

“Offers stunning photographs and a professional design that will entertain and engage all who turn the pages.”

Canadian Teacher, 01/15

“The subject matter is high interest and the historic events are well chosen and diverse. The writing is clear and engaging.”

Melinda’s Education Blog, 06/27/14

“Engaging sidebars . . . Excellent photographic and other illustrative selections add meaning to the text . . . an easy book for students to navigate.”

Library Media Connection, 06/14

“MacLeod . . . excels at historical mysteries . . . Secrets Underground can easily be added to that collection of intriguing historical secrets.”

Canlit for Little Canadians, 04/13/14

“MacLeod has produced yet another immensely readable, engaging piece of middle-grade nonfiction with wide appeal.”

Resource Links, 04/14

“A well-written and interesting book that will appeal to a wide range of readers.”

The Underground Movement, 04/14

“[MacLeod’s] tone, writing style, and attention to detail ensure that readers of all ages will be gripped by the fascinating untold history of the buried past.”

CM Reviews, 09/19/14

Other titles by Elizabeth MacLeod