A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Secret Coders encourages readers to learn how to code, providing simple exercises in programming.
Complex subjects can be broken down into understandable pieces. Learning a new skill is a good way to make friends.
Positive Role Models
As the new kid at Stately Academy, Hopper is on the defensive: quick to anger, needlessly boastful, overly sensitive. But as she and Eni attempt to solve the puzzle of the mysterious birds, she learns to relax, persevere, and accomplish her goals.
Violence & Scariness
Someone throws pudding at Hopper, and she almost gets into a fight with Eni. Hopper and Eni are attacked by four-eyed robot birds.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Secret Coders by Gene Yang (Boxers & Saints, American Born Chinese) is a fantasy graphic novel that teaches coding skills to elementary and middle schoolers. The main character, 12-year-old Hopper, feels out of place on her first day at a new school, but in trying to solve various puzzles, she gains confidence and makes new friends. The only violence is an attack by robot birds. This is a fine choice for families looking for books with diverse characters, as Hopper is Asian-American and her new best friend, Eni, appears to be African-American.
Is It Any Good?
Learning about computer coding doesn't have to be hard, serious work, as the first book in this lighthearted, educational graphic novel series proves. Writer Gene Yang and artist Mike Holmes play to each other's strengths in SECRET CODERS, devising scenes with clever dialogue and dynamic action. Unfortunately, there's a lot of setup before it's clear exactly what the stakes are for Hopper and crew. The installment ends just as the situation is getting truly interesting.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.