It’s Katherine, writing from Osaka, where the cherry blossoms are already coming into full bloom. If there is a prettier place to spend spring break, it’s not in my database.

Not that I’m on spring break, exactly. But when you have dangerous people after you, sometimes it’s best to find a place swarming with tourists and disappear in the crowds. So, you know, it feels like a kind of vacation. And every vacation, whether it’s legitimate or not, needs a good book.

Earlier this week, Ahna and I talked about the books we were planning on reading this spring (when we’re not busy memorizing dossiers on various foreign nationals).

It’s pretty easy to read through a few books during a long staycation, but if you have places to travel to/infiltrate during spring break, a substantial to-read list could pose an even bigger problem than tangled climbing ropes.

Of course, many (if not most) people bring e-readers with them when they travel, so they have all the books they could want right at their fingertips. But as every good spy knows, the more you rely on technology, the more vulnerable you are.

Still, some spies decide to risk it (though when you have the amazing tech skills that Ahna does, it’s hardly a risk).


For my more guarded readers, however, I’ve decided to create an illustrated guide to packing the books you want to read while still traveling light.

Assuming you’re traveling by plane, you have one carry-on and one personal item. (Spies never ever check bags. Standing at the baggage claim is like painting a target on your back.) Start with packing the essentials in your carry-on: black clothing, grappling hook, night vision goggles, swimsuit, signal jammer, beach towel, and tranquilizer darts.

Depending on how much rappelling gear you pack, you should have enough room for at least a few books. Make use of the outer pockets as much as possible — your books will not only be within easy reach for your trip, but they could also help to throw off suspicion if your bags get searched.


For my personal item, I like to use my Barnes and Noble book bag. Again, make sure you leave enough room for the necessities: fake passport, various world currencies, a light sweater in case the airplane is chilly. But don’t let these necessities distract you from your prime objective here: to cram in as many books as you can.


Finally, for the truly dedicated (or paranoid) reader, I’ll share my own personal ritual. Before I leave for a trip, I always tuck a book into the lining of my jacket. It doesn’t raise a flag with airport security, and it ensures I’ll have some reading material even if my bags get stolen lost.


Whatever your plans are this spring, I hope you get to read some good books, smell some flowers, and uncover a few secrets. Until next time, readers.


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About Coffee Break Confidential:

This monthly column is where EBYR editorial assistant/vlogger/super spy Katherine Gibson divulges extra information from Coffee Break with EBYR that would otherwise be kept off the record. She’s researching topics related to children’s literature, posting her findings — and taking down some powerful militarized governments in the process. Just kidding about that last one. (Or are we?)