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Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World

Review

Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World

GIRLS WHO CODE is a book created by the founder of the Girls Who Code program, Reshma Saujani. Saujani’s goal is to not only teach young women the basics of computer programming, but also to encourage their love and enthusiasm for the field despite strong messages from society that activities like coding or app development are strictly for men.

In addition to the five cartoon characters who “interact” with the author throughout the book, answering and asking questions or offering suggestions, there are examples given of projects created by real young women in the program. The interviews with these girls provide encouragement to readers of the book by showing that others just like them, new to the world of coding, are capable of incredible feats with a little bit of determination and hard work.

"The best part about this book, for me, was the energy that it inspires....It made me feel as though anyone...could learn how to code if it was something they wanted to do. Saujani...[gives] inspired readers a solid starting point."

While readers will not necessarily be able to produce an app or website of their own by the time they finish this book, they will have the tools necessary to begin. Important foundational concepts are presented and terminology is defined in a way that is easy for people who do not consider themselves extremely tech-savvy to understand. Everything is broken down not only in words, but also in tables, illustrations and flow charts; using these varied means of explanation caters to all styles of learning. In addition to covering the basics of coding, the different types of projects that can be done using this knowledge are introduced: video games, robots, mobile web apps, smart phone apps and more!

Although this book is recommended for 8- to 12-year-olds, and kids in this age range can certainly understand the language used, the amount of text in some chapters can be overwhelming for some in the younger end of this spectrum. If this is the case, having a parent, guardian, older sibling, etc. go through the book with the child can make the text less daunting and the process of learning more fun and interactive. Whoever is going through the book with the child will be sure to learn something new as well, whether it is the definition of a technical term or the stories of the many female figures presented here, both from the past and the present day, who are given credit for important developments such as the creation of the first computer program. 

The best part about this book, for me, was the energy that it inspires. I had to use CSS coding for an internship and dreaded the work --- because it was confusing at first, because I didn’t consider myself a computer science person and because it was not something I had ever been taught and to learn on my own was intimidating. I wish that I had this book at the time because it is truly a book of empowerment. It made me feel as though anyone --- male, female, young, old, etc. --- could learn how to code if it was something they wanted to do. Saujani details the creative process behind coding projects and what types of projects each programming language is best for, giving inspired readers a solid starting point. 

Reviewed by Kat Baumgartner on August 22, 2017

Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World
(Girls Who Code #1)
by Reshma Saujani