Friday, August 25, 2017

ARC Review: Girls Who Code

Title: Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World
Author: Reshma Saujani
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 22, 2017
Source: Viking Books for Young Readers

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.

My Review

When Girls Who Code by Reshma Saujani first arrived on my doorstep, I was excited. While I'm not great at coding, I know a few things from my Myspace days, and of course just from blogging these past few years. While it's aimed at middle level readers, I thought that even I could learn from it, so I gave it the good old college try. And while I enjoyed the writing style, I found myself frustrated. Why? Well because I don't know how to code! (Are you starting to see the problem Reshma's writing about?)

Throughout reading this, I've learned a lot more about the world of coding than I ever thought I could. Do I think I could put it to use? Not right now, but maybe. Coding is still something that I would love to learn because I think it's important. I also agree with Ms. Saujani - girls should be learning to code and create websites and apps at a young age. It's important because the amount of jobs in computer sciences is expected to skyrocket, and we, as adults, need to do all we can to encourage more girls to defy gender norms.

Girls Who Code is full of illustrations that help readers understand what Ms. Saujani is trying to teach. Instead of just an informative text, images of the characters from the series - Lucy, Sophia, Maya, Erin, and Leila - show the girls asking important questions about how coding works, making real-world comparisons, and what they can do to learn more.

Each chapter also has a purpose from the history of computers and women in the field to coding things like websites, video games and apps. What's also cool about this book is Ms. Saujani understands that all her readers might not all be at the same pace. Instead of moving them through from the introduction to coding, she offers readers the chance to skip ahead a few chapters if they know they aren't ready to learn how to code. (This is what I did just because I have a lot on my plate right now.)

Other interesting features of Girls Who Code are the glossary and the conclusion section. If a reader is stuck or maybe just wants to refresh their memory after reading, she or he can flip to the back and improve their vocabulary. The conclusion section doesn't signify the end of the book. Instead, it encourages readers to continue the journey with additional resources for learning to code.

Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World by Reshma Saujani is the nonfiction book that middle grade girls need right now. Why? Well because it empowers them to learn more about computers, a job field that will certainly have openings when they are ready to join the workforce. And while it's called Girls Who Code, I would hope that parents would also encourage their sons to read this book as well so we can really level the playing field and treat all kids as they should be - equals.

Reshma Saujani is the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology. Through its Summer Immersion Program and Clubs, Girls Who Code is leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue twenty-first century opportunities. 
Started in 2012, the organization has grown to reach tens of thousands of girls in every state through its Summer Immersion Program. The results speak for themselves: 90 percent of alumnae have declared or intend to declare a major or minor in computing. 
Reshma began her career as an attorney and activist. In 2010, she surged onto the political scene as the first Indian American woman to fun for U.S. Congress. During the race, Reshma visited local schools and saw the gender gap in computing classes firsthand, which led her to start Girls Who Code. Reshma as also served as a Deputy Public Advocate for New York City and ran a spirited campaign for Public Advocate in 2013. 
Reshma's TED Talk "Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection" has more than two million views and has sparked a national conversation about how we're raising our girls. She is also the author of the groundbreaking book Women Who Don't Wait in Line. Reshma is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and Yale Law School. 
She's been named one of Fortune's World's Greatest Leaders, Fortune's 40 Under 40, a WSJ Magazine Innovator of the Year, one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in New York by the New York Daily News, CNBC's Next List, Forbes's Most Powerful Women Changing the World, Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People, Crain's New York 40 Under 40, Ad Age's Creativity 50, Business Insider's 50 Women Who Are Changing the World, City & State's Rising Stars, and an AOL/PBS Next MAKER.

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