Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes

Published by First Second 

Summary:  It’s the first day of a new school for Hopper (think Grace Hopper), and she’s trying to figure out why what’s supposed to be the best school in town looks like a haunted house.  She has an unfortunate run-in with three boys before she’s even gotten in the front door, but much to her surprise, one of the boys, Eni, seems like he wants to be her friend.  She eventually learns that he’s trying to figure out the mystery of their weird school.  Together they unlock the secrets of binary and coding to learn how to operate a mysterious turtle robot they find in the creepy janitor’s closet.  Another boy, Josh, joins them for their final descent into an underground room.  There they’re met by the janitor, who gives them a challenge which will either unlock the secrets of their school or banish them from the campus forever.  Grades 3-7.

Pros:  A quick read for reluctant readers and computer geeks alike, this graphic novel has endearing characters and a lot of action.  The introduction to binary, coding, and robotics could generate interest in those topics.  The cliff-hanger ending all but guarantees a sequel.

Cons:  I didn’t care for the green and black color combination of the illustrations.

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