Teaching Kids Coding, by a Book

This week, a classification is releasing a initial dual books — an illustrated nonfiction coding primer by Ms. Saujani, and a novel, “The Friendship Code,” that facilities a organisation of girls who turn friends in an after-school coding club.


“I wanted to emanate a array of books that girls could see themselves in, where we could hide in a algorithms and we hide in a coding,” Ms. Saujani said.

Lately, a niche has gotten extremely some-more crowded. A flourishing array of children’s books authors are regulating novella to learn a fundamentals of coding, a trend that has coincided with a pull by Silicon Valley to account and enhance record training in schools. The classification Code.org provides giveaway online coding lessons, and has crafted coding curriculums for elementary, center and high propagandize students. Last year, Apple expelled a giveaway app to learn a programming denunciation Swift. Scratch Jr, a coding module designed for 4- to 7-year-olds, now has some 5 million users.

The Girls Who Code books are also nearing during a impulse of heightened recognition and snub over a nonesuch and treatment of women in a tech industry. The emanate has come into pointy concentration in new weeks, following a debate over a Google engineer’s memo, in that he argued that women are underrepresented in mechanism scholarship since of physiological differences. The memo, that led to a engineer’s firing, was widely seen as serve explanation of pervasive sexism in a industry.

Ms. Saujani’s bid to opposite a industry’s gender imbalance, with coding clubs and now books, seems to have won over some vital tech attention figures. Her new coding book facilities intense endorsements from a humanitarian Melinda Gates; Jack Dorsey, a co-founder and arch executive of Twitter; and Facebook’s arch handling officer Sheryl Sandberg.

The daughter of dual engineers who came to a United States as domestic refugees from Uganda, Ms. Saujani is in some ways an doubtful disciple for mechanism literacy. Her educational and veteran credentials is in law, story and politics, not technology. Before initial her coding organization, she worked as a counsel for a sidestep account and ran for Congress in 2010. She lost, spectacularly, and motionless to start a nonprofit to learn mechanism education to girls.

Since a initial in 2012, a organization’s coding clubs have fast widespread opposite a nation and now accommodate in 50 states. But direct has outstripped growth: 7,000 girls practical for 1,600 seats during a group’s 80 summer camps.

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So in early 2015, to extend a group’s reach, Ms. Saujani, who published a book for adults about women and care in 2013, went to her literary representative and due a array of children’s books about coding. At a time, it seemed like an untapped market. Ms. Saujani met with several publishers, and was vehement by Penguin’s plan of flooding each dilemma of a children’s market, with house books like “Baby Code!” for 3- to 7-year-olds and novels for preteenage girls.


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Some tech experts contend books could infer an effective approach to partisan destiny coders, quite girls, if a stories make programming seem artistic and appealing. But others counsel that books aren’t a surrogate for hand-on instruction. Josh Funk, a module operative and a author of a design book “How to Code a Sandcastle,” that will be published subsequent year as partial of a Girls Who Code line, sees books as a approach to get kids meddlesome in a subject, not as a substitute for coding classes. “You can’t learn how to formula by reading a design book,” he concedes.

Some of a coding books for kids substantially work improved as wisecrack gifts than as a training primer for mini Mark Zuckerbergs. John Vanden-Heuvel has combined a remunerative subgenre in design books with his array of coding books for babies, with titles like “HTML for Babies,” “JavaScript for Babies,” and “CSS for Babies.” Mr. Vanden-Heuvel, who combined and self-published a books after his son was innate sole some 100,000 copies on his own, afterwards got a edition understanding with Sterling Children’s. He after changed on to essay coding books for comparison kids, like “C++ for Kids,” that is directed during 3- to 5-year-olds.

Other authors are weaving coding concepts into a narratives of novels. In September, Disney Hyperion will tell Tamara Ireland Stone’s center class novel, “Click’d,” about a lady named Alice who builds an app that goes viral during her CodeGirls summer camp, afterwards realizes a glitch could display users’ private data. (At a finish of a book, Ms. Ireland includes exercises that explain how binary formula and algorithms work.)

Gene Luen Yang’s best-selling striking novel array “Secret Coders” follows a organisation of kids who learn that their school’s janitor has a tip subterraneous coding school, like Hogwarts, though for programming instead of magic. The series, that is illustrated by Mike Holmes, has turn a warn best-seller: The initial 3 books have some-more than 200,000 in print. As a characters learn to module robots, readers are unprotected to simple coding skills such as how to review binary numbers and method code.


“I wanted to play with a similarities between sorcery and coding,” pronounced Mr. Yang, who taught mechanism programming during a high propagandize in Oakland, Calif., for 17 years.

Stacia Deutsch, who wrote “The Friendship Code” series, had no credentials in coding when Penguin hired her to co-write a books in conference with Ms. Saujani. So she went to afterschool coding workshops during schools around Orange County, Calif., where she lives, and complicated a organization’s training manual. Using their curriculum, she focused on a handful of programming concepts and integrated them into a plot.

The novel centers on Lucy, who joins an after-school coding bar and starts removing puzzling records on her locker. To know a messages, she has to master coding concepts like input/output, loops and variables.

Ms. Deutsch struggled during times to get those ideas across. In moments of panic, she called a crony who is a coder for guidance. But in other ways, her standing as a beginner was an asset. Her characters didn’t know most about coding during a commencement of a novel, and neither, she presumes, will many of her readers.

“I wanted someone who didn’t know anything about coding to get vehement about a possibilities,” she said.

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