Saturday, November 11, 2017

Girls Who Code by Stacie Deutsch and Girls Who Code by Reshma Saujani

I normally blog about books that will interest boys, but recently I was asked if I would blog about girls and coding.  Since both are extremely important in schools I jumped at the fact.

I just realized that I read the second book in the series first, oops!  The good thing is that reader doesn’t have to go in order.    The Girls Who Code by Stacia Deutsch is a new series about a group of middle school girls that are in a coding club.  Book 1 starts with the girls getting to know each other.  Book 2 involves the coders participating in hackathon.  It sounds sinister (I know whom and what I wanted them to hack) but it is coding competition with robots.  It sounds like a fantastic day. 

Thank you Random House
for the copy.
Sophia is the focus of book 2 titled Team BFF: Race to the Finish!  The girls are participating in the hackathon, but first Sophia has chores to do and a babysitter to find for her younger sisters.  When her team is a bout to compete her abuelita show up to cheer her on.  Sophia ends the day with such confidence that she asks a boy to the dance!

The books are cute, but I do know it will be a VERY tough sell to boys.  That is ok! Truth be told it is a REALLY tough to get girls to think about coding.  As a teacher I will take any help I can get to get them into coding. The series will get them thinking about coding, but our responsibility is to get them involved in coding.

I do the Genius Hour in my class.  For an hour a week kids can learn about anything they want to.  A girl in my class selected how to code as her topic.  She told me that she wants to be a coder when she grows up.  This student comes from a home where Spanish is the primary language.  Our Title 1 school and the neighborhood is in the shadow of downtown Denver.  We are just blocks from the arts center, the Capitol building, Denver Art Museum, etc. Here is a young lady that wants a challenge.  She is using another book Random House sent me.

Random House also sent me Girls Who Code by Reshma Saujani.  She founded Girls Who Code.  Her TED Talk is on raising brave girls.  I am attaching a link.  When I think about L wanting to code I get excited and wish I knew more to help her, but I know she is smart enough to teach me.

So why do I care about this.  Well it is simple.  I have to do everything I can to make sure my kids are ready for the world. (Don’t tell admin because they think it is to get them ready for PARCC!)  Ms. Saujani is providing an opportunity for this generation of young ladies to be the next tech masterminds.  I have seen over the years that a book can inspire kids in ways I never imagined. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya

Thank you Penguin Random House
 for the copy of the book.
At first Arturo Zamora is your average teenager. He hangs out with his friends, plays basketball, discovering girls, is a dishwasher at his family restaurant, reads Cuban poetry, and loves his family. However, it doesn’t take long transform into an above average teenager. Arturo’s grandparents started the restaurant, and now his mom runs it.

 A new developer has come to town and wants to build a larger swanky apartment building in the space of the restaurant. Arturo bands together with his family and community to stop the development. Along the way Arturo discovers the power of family.

 I just wrote a short summary because I don’t want to give too much away. Anyway, I am always trying to find books that make a great third grade read aloud. I hate to say this but this isn’t one of them. However, if I could just do a read aloud in fifth or sixth grade I would jump at the chance just to be able to read this book to a group of students. In my opinion third graders would have a hard time connecting with the characters and truly understanding what Arturo is up against, and how he grows as a young man.

Pablo Cartaya has created characters that are interesting and fun. I laughed many times as I read how Arturo reacted every time Carmen appears. He is not good at hiding his emotions as Abulea and his mom like to point out. Even though Mr. Cartaya includes many characters I never felt like I needed more information about them or that they weren’t important.

Wow, what to say about this special lady. The love she shows to everyone is something many people should try to emulate. The special bond that she has with Arturo is one that will make him an excellent father. (When an author creates a character that I imagine what he or she will be like as adults is a testament to how great the characters are.)

I enjoyed the intermingling of Spanish and English. As someone that grew up in the southwest it is very common hear this. It makes the story more realistic.

Overall, I loved this book and am giving it to my nephew this afternoon. My ending thought is that Arturo needs to tell Mop to NOT WEAR a man bun.