Skip to Main Content

Book Scavenger: Home

How to hold a scavenger hunt in a business neighborhood. Information may be used for children entering 4th to 6th grades.



New York Times Bestseller:

For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it's the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself, and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game.

Author of Book Scavenger - Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Jennifer Chambliss Bertman was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She studied writing and dance at the University of California, Irvine, and earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary's College in Moraga, California. When she was eighteen, she interned for a magazine in Manhattan and has worked in publishing ever since.


An Amazon Best Book of the Year
An Indie Next List Pick
A PW Best Book for Summer
A Bank Street College Best Book of the Year
An Best Book of the Month
A Texas Lamplighter Award Nominee
A Pennsylvania Young Readers Choice Award Nominee

Book Scavenger By Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Illustrations by
Sarah Watt

Square Fish  - Christy Ottaviano Books

Henry Holt and Company  - New York


Scavenger Hunt in Patchogue, New York

Hello!  We conducted a scavenger hunt on Main Street, Patchogue, New York.  We used photographs of five locations which the children had to locate and write down the names of the businesses. Upon completion, they returned to the Patchogue Medford Library to decode the motto of the book using the pigpen cipher.

The motto of the book is:  "Life is a game and books are the tokens." 

Additional information on the book may be found on:  It is a great website to register where you would like to hide a book and conduct your very own scavenger hunt.  

Answers to the clues and photographs located in Patchogue, New York as indicated on the Main Street Clues tab above :

Clue #1:  David's Shoe Emporium

Clue #2: Toast Restaurant and Stanley's Furniture Store

Clue #3 The Cheese Patch

Clue #4 Gallo Restaurant of Patchogue

Clue #5 Patchouge Theatre for the Performing Arts


Any questions and/or comments, please contact E. Perez at (631) 654-4700 ext 261.


Book Reviews

“Full of heart and replete with challenging ciphers for readers to decode, Bertman's debut is literary cousin to classic puzzlers like The Westing Game, and a story that values books and reading above other pursuits. Sure to be popular with voracious readers, it's also a valentine to anybody who knows that a 13-digit clue that begins with 978- is not a phone number.” ―Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Sprinkled with ciphers, San Francisco landmarks, and literary allusions, Book Scavenger is a fun, light, implausible adventure. . . This will appeal to fans of Blue Balliett's art-world mysteries.” ―School Library Journal

“Well paced and involving, the story will intrigue kids with an interest in mysteries and codes as well as books. The writing includes references to local landmarks as well as literary allusions to Jack Kerouac, Robert Louis Stevenson, and, especially, Edgar Allan Poe. A lively first novel.” ―Booklist

Sarah Watts

An Interview with Sarah Watts, Illustrator of Book Scavenger (excerpt)

By Donna Jamell Bowman, June 3, 2015

Welcome, welcome Sarah!

What were your initial thoughts after reading Book Scavenger?


I really loved reading Book Scavenger because it reminded me of the intrigue and mystery of moving to a new place when I was a kid. We moved a lot, and with each new place came a new set of challenges, and new stories to uncover. It was so easy to get into this story and imagine having these adventures like the characters. I just loved it. I was wishing the whole time that I had a game like this to play as a kid. But, I can certainly share this book with my future kids one day. Another cool thing is that shortly after illustrating this story I went to San Francisco for the very first time. It was so neat to see some of the places referenced in the story. It felt like a prequel to my trip, and the trip was almost like the story in that I was putting little pieces together that I remembered in the read.