The Library of Michigan recently donated 12 new books on coding for all ages to the Wickson Library to encourage kids, but specifically girls, to try out the computer science field. The Library of Michigan recognizes the importance of giving girls resources and confidence in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The donation was given in hopes that more girls would discover and take interest in these high-demand fields.
The collection includes everything from children's picture books about coding sandcastles and rollercoasters, to Gutsy Girls STEM projects to try. There is also a fiction tween book series by Stacia Deutsch, Jo Whittemore, and Michelle Schusterman that connects with the Girls Who Code movement. The collection empowers girls to code, introduces the basic concepts of coding, and provides an abundance of projects to try.
The Girls Who Code series has received incredible praise and rave reviews. Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Square and Twitter, writes, “Every industry needs diversity of thought. Girls Who Code is empowering young women with access to the skills they need to become the next generation of leaders in technology.” Reshman Saujani is the founder of Girls Who Code and the creator of the national movement to close the gender gap in tech. In the foreword to the picture book How to Code a Sandcastle, Saujani explains that coding is “basically how humans tell a computer—or a robot—what to do, but it’s also about using creativity and imagination to define, explore, and solve problems of all kinds.” Just as kids learn about subjects like animals, dance, or astronomy before they enter kindergarten, the Girls Who Code series aims to introduce kids to the core concepts of coding at a young age so that it becomes a familiar part of their world, their vocabulary, and their play.
In the books How to Code a Sandcastle and How to Code a Rollercoaster by Josh Funk we learn coding terms and techniques like sequence, variable, loop, and if-then-else. The books follow the adventures of a girl named Pearl and her trusty rust-proof robot, Pascal, as they set out to build a sandcastle on the very last day of summer vacation and snag a seat on the biggest and best rollercoaster in the park, the Python Coaster.
Another book, 60 Ready-To-Use Coding Projects, features specific projects for different age groups including ages 3-7, 8-12, 13-18, and even adults!
The book Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women by Catherine Thimmesh recounts dozens of stories of how innovations came to life, covering everything from the invention of chocolate chip cookies, to windshield wipers, to 10-year-olds using 3D printers to create prosthetic limbs that shoot blasts of shiny sparkles, to teenagers combating drought with orange peels. During one of her nation’s worst droughts, 16-year-old Kiara Nirghin from South Africa invented a low-cost, biodegradable SAP (superabsorbent polymer) made from orange peels and avocado skins. Her invention won the grand prize at the 2016 Google Science Fair and is revolutionizing how severe drought is battled. I don’t know much about coding myself, but I’m inspired to learn more (and even try a few projects!) after browsing this collection. I highly recommend you check it out. And if you know a young person, specifically a young girl, do them a favor and introduce them to this life-changing field. Introduce them to these books. Believe in them. Remind them, like Kiara Nirghin’s parents reminded her, “You have the ability. If you do the research and you have the passion, you can do anything.”