Secret Coders #1 by Gene Luen Yang; illustrated by Mike Holmes
(First Second, 2015, 96 pages)
Under normal circumstances Secret Coders would never have made it onto my radar. The demographic it caters to and the content don’t really shout “Julia.” However, I read an article in Wired that talked about the many reasons this was a book people should be picking up. Written by the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature (and the author of the graphic classic, American Born Chinese), Yang did an amazing job making the concept of computer coding fun and accessible.
The story revolves around a young woman named Hopper who has recently been enrolled in a new school, Stately Academy. She notices there are weird aspects to her school, but she doesn’t start exploring them until she befriends another student named Eni. Together the two uncover mysterious elements hidden around their campus and in the process teach coding basics to the reader.
This book demonstrates how easy it is to make learning new things fun and accessible when you play around with the format in which they are taught. Teaching coding through a graphic novel makes the whole process more engaging. Even though I’m not the target audience for this book I did learn something and would certainly recommend this as a book for parents who are eager to expose their kids to coding and the opportunities it opens up.