Team BFF: Race to the Finish!: Girls Who Code, Book 2

Book review by
Rachel Sarah, Common Sense Media
Team BFF: Race to the Finish!: Girls Who Code, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Fun adventure about working as a team and crushing on a boy.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

A positive, fun introduction to robotics, with a lesson about how friends came together when faced with a problem. Can also serve as a springboard for conversations about what to do when your plans don't align with your parents'. 

Positive Messages

Kids from different backgrounds can be friends. When a change of plan threatens to tear friends apart, they can still come through for one another and work together to solve problems. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though a family crisis threatens to wreck Sophia's plan for the hackathon, story shows how the power of friendship can help overcome disaster. The girls are creative, smart, and supportive. And they know how to have fun!

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Team BFF: Race to the Finish! is the second book in a planned series by Stacia Deutsch with Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that teaches computing skills to thousands of girls across the United States. It will bring up questions about feeling overlooked by your parents, dealing with a crush, and doing the right thing for a friend. The main character, Sophia, has a crush on a boy in her class, and it's very sweet and innocent. The story focuses on how to face life challenges and come together as a team, and it includes real-life struggles, such as having a little sister who's on the autism spectrum. It's a fine choice for families looking for STEM-related books and for parents eager to introduce their children to robotics. 

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What's the story?

TEAM BFF: RACE TO THE FINISH! is the second book in the Girls Who Code series, inspired by the U.S. nonprofit organization by the same name, which aims to close the gender gap in technology. We met Sophia, a Latina sixth-grader who loves sports, in the first book, and now she and her friends can't wait to participate in their first robot hackathon -- until a change of plans threatens to ruin everything. Will these friends be there for one another in the end, or will the day turn into a disaster? This story illustrates how coding is all about teamwork and problem-solving, and perhaps true friendship is, too.

Is it any good?

This is a sweet, fast read with a positive message about how to face challenges. Readers can identify with having a tween crush and balancing responsibilities at school with those at home. Sophia, called by her sixth grade friends "the Queen of Organization," is the kind of kid who's passionate about different things in life, such as sports and computers.

The cast of characters here is diverse, but at times it feels forced, almost stereotypical. For example, Sammy, the boy crush, is described as having "the nicest smile, the deepest, brownest eyes that matched his dark skin, and the thickest, longest eyelashes I'd ever seen."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about robotics in Team BFF: Race to the Finish!. What does robotics have to do with coding? How might the world of robotics help solve problems?

  • Have you ever had a crush on someone? How did you know? Did you tell someone you had a crush?

  • Sophia's torn between wanting to be there for her parents and not wanting to let down her friends. Have you ever felt torn about trying to make a big decision and hoping no one feels disappointed?

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For kids who love math, science, and coding

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