New York Times: Teaching Kids Coding, by the Book
One sunny summer morning this month, a group of 20 teenage girls gathered in a conference room in the sleek offices of a tech company in Manhattan. It was their fifth week of coding camp, and they were huddled around laptops, brainstorming designs for their final projects. One group was building a computer game that simulates the experience of going through life with depression and anxiety, while others were drafting plans for websites that track diversity at companies and help connect newly arrived immigrants with local community groups.
They were working intently when Reshma Saujani, the founder and chief executive of the nonprofit organization Girls Who Code, dropped in to offer some encouragement.
“How many of you take computer science class at your schools?” she asked. Hands shot up. “Are you the only girls in your class?” she asked. Most of the girls nodded.
Over the past five years, some 40,000 girls have learned to code through the organization’s summer camps and afterschool programs. But Ms. Saujani wanted to expand the group’s reach, and was looking for new ways to recruit girls into the tech industry.
For a tech evangelist, her solution was surprisingly retro and analog: books. Girls Who Code is creating a publishing franchise, and plans to release 13 books over the next two years through a multibook deal with Penguin. The titles range from board books and picture books for babies and elementary school children, to nonfiction coding manuals, activity books and journals, and a series of novels featuring girl coders.