The Friendship Code: Girls Who Code, Book 1

Book review by
Rachel Sarah, Common Sense Media
The Friendship Code: Girls Who Code, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Girls learn coding, solve problems in fun, easy mystery.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

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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 coding, with concepts explained in a clear, logical way.

Positive Messages

Anyone can code if they're curious and patient and have the desire to learn.  Even if you've had a falling out with a friend, you can find your way back. It's important to help others. It can be tough trying to fit in, especially in new situations. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lots of girls and women in science and computer programing, including the Coding Club members and Lucy's mother. All are enthusiastic, supportive, and fun. At the beginning of the book, Lucy and her ex-best friend are no longer speaking, but they work it out. 

Violence & Scariness

At the beginning of the story, Sophia calls Lucy a "geek."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Stacia Deutsch's The Friendship Code is the first book in the new Girls Who Code series, inspired by the national nonprofit organization of the same name that's dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology. It's a fast read about a sixth-grade girl who can't wait to get started at her new coding club at school and who works with her friends to solve a mystery. The story has a diverse group of characters and includes real-life struggles, such as an uncle battling cancer and a mother getting divorced. Parents who want to introduce their kids to coding and computer science might enjoy reading this, too. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMomsical May 1, 2020

My Daughter Loved This Book

My daughter is six and loved this book. She has been reticent to listen to or read chapter books lately, and she had me read this to her twice in one day. I l... Continue reading

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What's the story?

In THE FRIENDSHIP CODE, Lucy is glad that now that she's in sixth grade, she can finally join Coding Club, which she's been waiting to get into, especially because her mom and brother are coders. But Lucy is disappointed during the first club meeting, because instead of booting up their computers, they're making sandwiches! When Lucy finds a mysterious message on her locker, written in code, she turns to her friends for help. Who wrote the note? Can they figure out what it means? New messages appear, and the girls find the patience to work together and follow the clues. The four friends -- who are black, white, Latina, and Asian -- not only learn how to communicate to find out the answers, but also how to code along the way. 

Is it any good?

This is a sweet, diverse mystery about a sixth-grader in her school's new coding club. Although the characters are one-dimensional and simple, the story's themes about navigating friendships and solving problems are positive ones. 

As Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani says in the foreword, there's "a need for books that describe what it's like to actually be a girl who codes." And that's exactly what this first story does. It's also refreshing that Lucy's mother is a computer programmer and her father is an artist. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about coding in The Friendship Code. What is it? What's important about coding? What do people use coding for? How does coding help solve problems?

  • When there's a rift between you and a friend -- like the one between Lucy and Sophia -- what might you do to come back together? How can you repair any misunderstandings?

  • Is there something new you'd like to learn? Is there a certain club you've had your eye on at school? How do you feel about checking it out?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love math and science and mysteries

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