Secret Coders: Paths & Portals
Today it’s time for something a little bit different! Many of you know that I’m a graduate student (for one more year!) in computer science and biology. Therefore, when I was approached about joining in the Reading Without Walls blog tour, I couldn’t say no. I’ve been interested in Secret Coders for a while, but had never had the chance to read it. I’m really glad that I finally did, along with a couple more STEM comic books :D. If you have a kid in your life, I highly recommend these three great books!
This is the first book of the series (to which Paths & Portals is the sequel) and it introduces us to Hopper, the new girl at Stately Academy. As you can tell from the cover, there are robots hidden around this Academy and what you can’t tell is that this comic book uses an actual computer language! It’s a pretty old and simple computer language, but as a programmer, I was entertained to spot conventions we still use today. They also present problems that the characters need to solve and give the reader a chance to figure them out first, which would be a great activity for a young reader.
Secret Coders does end on a bit of a cliffhanger, so I was happy to have the sequel immediately to hand ;-). In this sequel, we get more awesome programming as Hopper and friends figure out how to get the ‘turtle’ to draw different patterns and unlock secret rooms at the Academy. I also found there to be a nice balance of visualizing what the program did and showing how a programmer thinks while still allowing for a fun story. I will definitely be giving my copies to a certain budding scientist I know!
Finally, I had to grab Coral Reefs. Some of my research is on simulating corals and the micro-organisms that help them live, so I always like learning more about the amazing variety of corals and sea creatures living around them. The art in this one is just beautiful with great drawings of lots of different species and explanations for how they are related and how you can tell. Definitely recommended for any child excited about animals and the ocean.
As a scientist, getting the science I love into the hands of children is so important to me and it pains me when I hear that kids aren’t interested in what I love. I’m really happy to see accessible comic books like these three coming out to hook young readers and even adults. I learned a few new things about coral reefs and I think I’m going to need to get a copy of Dinosaurs next!
Check out the rest of the blog tour!
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