A Nancy Drew style Adventure/Mystery where the protagonist has Down Syndrome

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Middle Grade Mystery Books Featuring a Girl Spy with Down Syndrome – Sam’s Top Secret Journal Series

Posted by Lorna – June 26, 2013

Folks at Special Needs Book Review are pleased to introduce you to a great middle grade mystery book, Sam’s Top Secret Journal: Book One – We Spy  by Dr. Sean Adelman. What is unique about this middle reader chapter book is that the main character is a tween with Down syndrome (DS). Dr. Adelman’s spy girl, Sam, is based on his own daughter, now 16 yrs, (2013) who has Down syndrome.

Teachers and parents will be happy to find a mystery/adventure for preteens and teens that meshes bullying, disabilities and a tween girl as main character. This is not a “how to” book, but a fun book for all kids to read and be introduced to a person with Down syndrome.

The author wrote he wanted to create characters that people could relate to and be inspired by.  In all of the reading he did with his kids he did not come across a story with a main character with Down syndrome.  Sam is a wonderful character and all the things she does in the books are based on his daughter’s abilities.

The other reason for writing this book, first of what he hopes will become a series,  Dr. Adelman says is to raise funds for inclusion programs and research.  At least 25% of the profits are donated to inclusion non-profits and/or wounded soldier charities.

We thank Dr. Sean Adelman for writing this great guest post introducing his middle grade mystery book and agreeing to an online interview.

Please note that in March 2015 we have updated this post to include the two other books in  Sam’s Top Secret Journal Series.


Sam’s Top Secret Journal  is a fun and inspiring adventure mystery aimed at middle grade readers. It is a fictional story, but all of the things the protagonist does are things she is capable of doing in real life.  A Nancy Drew style Adventure/Mystery where the protagonist has Down Syndrome.

Trying to express the reason I wrote the book, and continuing series is very hard.  Why would an orthopedic surgeon decided to write a children’s book?  Inspiration comes in many forms.  In my case it came in the realization that my daughter was making me a better person.  Every time we got to the point where people thought she couldn’t do something, she invariably would prove them wrong.  I wanted to share with other children and families that all kids are capable, but I didn’t want to do it in a textbook.  I wanted to create a fun but fictional character who could also be inspirational.  I want this to be a book that classmates, siblings and kids with different abilities could all enjoy.

The target audience is children 8-12 and families with younger children as read aloud chapter book.

Excerpt from Sam’s Top Secret Journal

The next afternoon, Sam and John were in his bedroom, huddled over his desk, creating a detailed drawing of the farmers market for their spy mission that night. Sam couldn’t believe it was Thursday already ? just two more days until the big basketball game and the play performance at the rec center on Saturday, and only one day until Uncle Alex arrived. She hoped they could solve the mystery of the missing money before he got there, and this drawing was a big part of their plan.

Sam’s Top Secret Journal Series

Two More Books to Sam’s Top Secret Journal Series

Sam’s Top Secret Journal: Book Two – Sam’s Secret Island – November 15, 2013 –  144 pages
Sam is an eight-grade girl living a regular life, enjoying her family, school and traveling. She doesn’t feel different but sometimes others treat her differently because she has Down syndrome. Sam’s private journal chronicles what begins as a summer vacation…and turns into a brand new adventure, filled with friendship, mystery and a secret island.

Sam’s Top Secret Journal: Book Three – Memorial Day – October 28, 2014 –  126 pages
Sam is a ninth grade girl trying to enjoy her first year of high school. Sam knows she has Down syndrome but she doesn’t feel different; even though other kids sometimes treat her that way. Sam’s new adventure involves a mini family reunion, exploring the interesting spaces of a retired military base and learning how hard it can be to “do the right thing”.

Sean Adelman author of Children’s Adventure Book About a Girl Spy with Down Syndrome - Sam's Top Secret Journal Author Bio:  Sean Adelman is a practicing orthopedic surgeon in Seattle, Washington.  Sean is an advocate for exceptional kids and enjoys his free time with his lovely wife, Susan, and his three children. When he’s not busy being a dad, surgeon, and author, he can be found running or playing classic rock and roll on his electric guitar.




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