Friday, October 9, 2015

Coding for Kids

STEM labs and coding classes have become quite the thing in education.  Parents continue to look for ways to help their children become successful in this new era of technology.

So it is not a surprise that books that teach coding are becoming more common.  What is less common is when these book are works of fiction, and even more unusual is when they are written by one of the most celebrated graphic novelists in recent years.  Astonished?  I certainly was, but pleased too.  When creativity and imagination come together to teach coding, pretty cool things can happen.

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Title: Secret Coders

Author: Gene Luen Yang & Mike Holmes

Target: Grades 3-6

Series: This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about:  
Hopper is new to Stately Academy.  She and her mom moved after her father left them.  She is having a hard time fitting in until Eni befriends her.  They have both noticed that the birds around school are acting odd around certain numbers, and they can control the birds’ behavior by showing them certain digits.  This leads them to the mysterious robot turtle that they can get to create shapes as they figure out how to introduce new commands.  But something bigger is afoot, and they are only beginning to understand what is going on.  

Why I love this book: 
The book works because at it’s heart it is about finding friends and fitting in, but weaved seamlessly throughout is the introduction to coding.

My daughter who is not at all interested in coding, whipped through this story in one night. Gene Luen Yang is a wonderful story teller and he has avoided the trap all too common in “instructional” stories of letting the lessons get in the way of a good narrative.  This is one of the best examples of the coding expertly integrated into the story line.

Kids will learn computer fundamentals such a binary code, as well as get some early instruction to Logo language.  There is a website set up where kids can actually program their turtle to make shapes.  A nice introduction to the process.  You can find the website here:

Who this book is for: 
Great for any kids who need an introduction to coding.  The story will reel them in and they will learn something in spite of themselves!

Final thoughts: 
I am very interested to see where the next book goes.  Will it introduce different programing languages or terminology?  We shall see.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Secret Coders  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

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