A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
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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?
- Author: Stacia Deutsch
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction
- Topics: STEM, Adventures, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Middle School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
- Publication date: August 22, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 144
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, App
- Last updated: March 29, 2019
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