Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes is a graphic novel introducing children to binary numbers and, therefore, coding. The book is somewhat simplistic and if you would like your child to get a simple view of binary math this would be a good start. The graphic novel is about a girl, Hopper, who is new in school. She is having a bit of a hard time making friends until she meets Eni. Eni and she begin working together to solve a mystery at the school. Eni has been wondering why the number nine is all over the school and why the birds at the school seem weird. Eni believes it has something to do with binary numbers. He explains binary numbers to Hopper and in doing such they begin to solve the mystery at the school.
I can’t say there is a big plot in this graphic novel of 88 pages, but there is a little twist at the end that surprised both my daughter and me. I do think this was a good, simple and understandable introduction to binary numbers. I did have to help my daughter understand one section of the book where binary numbers were explained, but I think that was because it was her first time ever seeing them; the explanation was fairly simple and understandable. A simple explanation by me and she was on it. She thought it was pretty cool once she understood it. I originally selected this graphic novel to change up the type of books we were reading at coop but, honestly, once I read the book I couldn’t really figure out how I would use the book in a coop. I happened to have studied binary numbers in college, however, that was longer ago than I’d like to mention, and I didn’t feel as if I could really explain binary numbers to the kids on a level I felt was worthwhile, plus not all the kids in our group are into coding. There is actually a website linked to the book where you can watch videos about binary numbers, coding and download games. http://www.secret-coders.com/watch-videos/. If I had a group of coding kids this novel would be a one class study and I would have them play around on the site. My daughter is going to play around on the site as I think this is a great introduction and fun way to explore binary numbers and coding.