Cover image for Can I see your I.D.? : true stories of false identities
Can I see your I.D.? : true stories of false identities
Publication Information:
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, c2011.
Physical Description:
121 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Keron Thomas -- Pvt. Wakeman -- Ferdinand Waldo Demara, Jr. -- Solomon Perel -- Forrest Carter -- Princess Caraboo -- Ellen Craft -- John Howard Griffin -- Riley Weston -- Frank W. Abagnale, Jr.
Reading Level:
980 L Lexile
Added Author:
Stories of ten impostors--many of them teenagers--push questions of identity, deception, and gullibility to the extreme.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 920 BAR 1 1
Book 920 BAR 1 1

On Order



From the impoverished young woman who enchanted 19th century British society as a faux Asian princess, to the 16-year-old boy who 'stole' a subway train in 1993, to the lonely but clever Frank Abagnale of Catch Me if You Can fame, these 10 vignettes offer riveting insights into mind-blowing masquerades. Graphic panels draw readers into the exploits of these pretenders and meticulously researched details keep them on the edge of their seats.

Author Notes

Paul Hoppe and Henry Johnson are the real life Travis and Freddy, all grown up.

They have made and lost a million dollars on Wall Street. They have played in the Little League World Series, extreme-skied the Rockies and the Alps, played a ham sandwich on HBO, and visited three of the seven Wonders of the World.

Paul lives in Massachusetts and Henry lives in California.

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-9-Barton invites readers to travel with some of the world's greatest hoaxers, con artists, counterfeiters, and other great imposters, taking them into their deceptive minds. Ten short chapters feature clever pretenders, such as the legendary Catch Me If You Can's Frank Abagnale, Jr., and his forays into identity theft. The chapters offer in-the-hot-seat details about these clever-minded imposters, including detailed dates and a "What Happened Next?" page. Told in a second person, the text places readers inside the fakers' minds. However, the constant use of the words "you" and "your" gets rather annoying. Readers, especially younger audiences, might have trouble distinguishing if the stories are indeed real or not. Each chapter opens with a graphic-novel-style illustration. The fascinating stories will provide hours of amusement for those who are interested in the subject. The bibliography features many newspaper and magazine articles on each imposter for readers who are interested in pursuing the topic.-Krista Welz, North Bergen Public Library, NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 10 impeccably crafted profiles, Barton (The Day-Glo Brothers) shares the stories of individuals-many just teenagers-who adopted false identities for amusement, profit, or survival. From Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, who disguised herself as a man to fight in the Civil War, to 16-year-old Keron Thomas, who in 1993 impersonated a transit worker to fulfill his dream of piloting a New York City subway train, Barton reveals the motivations behind and the consequences of each deception. The use of second-person narration is very effective, allowing readers to assume the identities of each individual. Barton's prose captures the daring, ingenuity, and quick thinking required of each imposter ("You can bluster and grumble with the best of them.... You use up your share of tobacco too," he writes of Wakeman). In the most powerful stories, assuming a false identity was a life or death decision, as with Soloman Perel, a Jewish teenager who joined the Hitler Youth to escape being killed, and Ellen Craft, a slave who disguised herself as a white Southern gentleman to escape to the North. Hoppe contributes dynamic comic book-style panel art, not all seen by PW. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Barton profiles ten people throughout history who have used false identities to their advantage. For some it's a life or death situation (e.g., Solomon Perel escaping Nazis); for others it's a tool to pull cons or fulfill a dream (e.g., Keron Thomas driving the subway). Short "What Happened Next?" epilogues follow each story. The second-person narration gives the text a sometimes confusing Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-ish feel. Bib. (c) Copyright 2011. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

In 10 vignettes, Barton profiles successful imposters, both men and women. Some assumed false identities for criminal purposes, others for self-preservation. Possibly the most famous of the 10 is Frank Abagnale, a master con-artist whose exploits were immortalized in the Steven Spielberg film Catch Me if You Can. Asa Earl Carter, a longtime Ku Klux Klan member, adopted the new first name of Forrest and passed himself off as a Cherokee to publish a fake memoir, The Education of Little Tree, a bestseller that became a favorite of middle- and high-school teachers. On the other side of the spectrum is Solomon Perel, a Polish Jew whose Aryan features enabled him to pass as an ethnic German, enroll in the Hitler Youth and survive the Holocaust. Ellen Craft's light-skinned features enabled her to pass as white. With her husband, William, posing as her slave, they audaciously boarded a train in Charleston, S.C., and journeyed to freedom in Philadelphia. Barton's use of the second-person point of view gives these stories dramatic tension and a sense of immediacy. Hoppe's graphic panels enhance this effect. The brevity of these profiles will appeal to reluctant readers and work well for reading aloud, but a little more back story for some characters might have clarified the motives for their masquerades. Teens in the thick of creating identities themselves will find this riveting. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 12 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Barton, who won a Sibert Honor for The Day-Glo Brothers (2009), has assembled a rogues' gallery of con artists, imposters, and pretenders from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The 10 sketches include Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, a young woman who served as a Union soldier in the Civil War; John Howard Griffin, a journalist who impersonated a black man in Montgomery, Alabama, during the height of segregation; the master imposter Frank W. Abagnale Jr., of Catch Me If You Can fame; and 16-year-old Keron Thomas, who drove a New York City subway car for one exciting ride in 1993. The standout imposter, though, is Solomon Perel, a Jewish teen in Nazi Germany who successfully passed as a German, even being recruited into the Hitler Youth. Barton uses a second-person voice to draw readers into every sketch, ending each one with a wrap-up. What Happened Next. Hoppe's black-and-white line drawings lend a gritty comics quality to each story, and a bibliography lists articles, books, and movies about each subject. Thoroughly researched and grippingly presented.--Fletcher, Conni. Copyright 2010 Booklist