How To Code A Sandcastle (Josh Funk)

Hello, friends! Our book today is How To Code A Sandcastle, written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Sara Palacios, a wonderful introduction to computer language as part of Girls Who Code’s book series.

Pearl is excited: today is the last day of summer, and her last opportunity to build the sandcastle of her dreams. She’s tried before, but various frisbee-, surfboard-, and dog-related incidents have impeded her work. But today, she’s brought her trusty robot Pascal to help her. Pearl expects that Pascal will be a very helpful addition, but she has to give him instructions in “code” – specific programming language that machines understand. Using methods such as detailed instructions for finding a site, using a looped sequence for gathering sand, and an IF-THEN-ELSE for finding decorations, Pearl and Pascal are able to create a lovely sandcastle. But when they are gathering the finishing touches, high tide sneaks up and washes away their work! Pearl is momentarily dispirited, but she quickly has a flash of inspiration: building a moat will protect the castle! So using her recycled code from the first castle and a new command for moat-building, Pearl and Pascal set their sights on not just one castle, but a whole sand kingdom.

LOVED this! What a clever and fun way to introduce the language of computer science to little readers. The way the basic concepts are translated into child-friendly examples is inspired, with an appendix that goes into the commands with more detail. The illustrations are fun, bright, and fit the tone and subject matter perfectly. And I especially loved that, as a book that encourages ALL kids to explore computer science, Pearl is not only a girl but a POC as well. The length is great, JJ loved it, and this one was just wonderful! Baby Bookworm approved!

Grace Hopper: Queen Of Computer Code (Laurie Wallmark)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Grace Hopper: Queen Of Computer Code, written by Laurie Wallmark and illustrated by Katy Wu, a wonderfully geeky and girl-powered biography of the programming pioneer.

Grace always loved to try new things. As a child, she was so curious to understand how clocks worked that she dismantled every clock in their home to find out. When she put together a dollhouse and realized that it had been designed without stairs, she built her own electric elevator for it. A lover of math and science, she worked hard to learn how to read and write code, even inventing a way to convert code written in English to the ones and zeroes of the programming language. She was undeniably vital to the early age of computers: when the Navy forced her to retire at sixty, they soon realized that her expertise was so critical that they offered for her to come back… for another twenty years! Grace was a brilliant programmer who changed the way we communicate with computers – more than worthy of her nickname, “Amazing Grace”!

Wonderful! Grace Hopper was a name I’ve heard every Women’s History Month, but I admit I knew little about her work, and this book was incredibly enlightening! From lessons on perseverance and curiosity to the absolutely delightful story of how the phrase “computer bug” came to be, each page explores a different aspect of Grace’s life. Real quotes from Hopper are worked into the cheerful and inviting illustrations that capture Grace’s positive attitude and playful nature. The length may be stretching it for the littlest readers, however – even JJ was starting to get antsy near the end. But overall, this is a fun, uplifting and inspiring story of a clever and adventurous woman of science, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)