Image from Amazon
Title: Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World
Author(s): Reshma Saujani
Category: Your kids
Amazon wrote:Part how-to, part girl-empowerment, and all fun, from the leader of the movement championed by Sheryl Sandberg, Malala Yousafzai, and John Legend.
Since 2012, the organization Girls Who Code has taught computing skills to and inspired over 40,000 girls across America. Now its founder, Reshma Saujani, wants to inspire you to be a girl who codes! Bursting with dynamic artwork, down-to-earth explanations of coding principles, and real-life stories of girls and women working at places like Pixar and NASA, this graphically animated book shows what a huge role computer science plays in our lives and how much fun it can be. No matter your interest—sports, the arts, baking, student government, social justice—coding can help you do what you love and make your dreams come true. Whether you’re a girl who’s never coded before, a girl who codes, or a parent raising one, this entertaining book, printed in bold two-color and featuring art on every page, will have you itching to create your own apps, games, and robots to make the world a better place.
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“Girls who Code” is intended to be a series. The book I have is the non-fiction entry. There's also going to be some fiction stories that use the same characters and tell stories that involve code.
The book reminds me of head First Java, but for kids. It has cartoons/thought bubbles, is fun and easy to read. It doesn't assume any background knowledge. There are fun examples. Some are more gender specific than others. The LED headband is certainly girly. But microwaving mac and cheese is not. I like this balance. When everything is pink, it feels like catering/fake to me. Not that I don't like pink, but still.
The author defines terms like coding and software. The explanations of variables, loops and conditions using a bead necklace is excellent. The process of brainstorming, designing algorithms and pseudocode is nice and approachable. As are the flowcharts. I think adding an actual flowchart would have helped. Feature creep was even mentioned – never to early to worry about that!
There are great timelines. It's weird seeing Google/Amazon/ebay as history on a timeline! I liked the profiles of famous women such as Ada Lovelace, Margret Hamilton (Apollo) and Grace Hopper.
The book includes how you'd teach a robot how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I still remember this example/game from a trip to the Computer Museum in Boston (since closed) from when I was a kid. It's a great way to think about being detailed, specific and literal. I also like that explaining to a rubber duck is in there as advice. I explain things to a teddy bear, not a rubber duck. But it works.
“Don't be perfect; be brave” - this is great advice towards the end. We all make mistakes when learning. And forever because we never stop learning. This is natural and ok. Jobs where you never make mistakes are boring. Because it means you've mastered what you are doing and that's all you do.
In general, I have mixed feelings about “Girls in CS” stuff. I understand why it is necessary. And I struggle with organizations that merge correlation with causation. So claiming credit for all Girls who Code participants who majored in CS in college rubs me the wrong way. But creating passion and more majors, she totally deserves credit for.
Regardless, this is a fun book. I enjoyed reading it as an adult. And I'm looking forward to handing it to a girl who is starting to code.
I give this book 10 out of 10 horseshoes.
Robert D. Smith wrote:Thanks for the review, Jeanne. Buying this for my granddaughter(s). The 12 year old is always borrowing my laptop for school projects, and this might intrigue her eough to go a bit further in her studies. And she has expressed interest in a time or two.
Cool. My copy is now in the hands of a 7th grader.