Book: Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang
Secret Coders is a fun graphic novel fresh off the press this year. Geared towards middle school kids, Gene Luen Yang designed this graphic novel as a way to get kids interested in computer programming which is typically seen a nerdy, boring thing to do.
The story begins with seventh-grade transfer student, Hopper, who finds herself at Stately Academy, an old school with a creepy vibe. She struggles to make friends and in fact, starts off the day with an altercation with a couple of punk-ish boys. However, she stands her ground (and spits on one to top it off). She continues with her miserable first by upsetting her Mandarin teacher, then having to sit alone at lunch with nothing but a weird four-eyed bird for company.
Soon, though, she draws the attention of the boy she had spit on named Eni. Eni is a schoolyard cool kid, a basketball star, and a kid who is super good at programming. He teaches Hopper how binary works and soon the two of them realize that the four-eyed birds all around the school are actually robots that respond to binary commands. This leads them down an exciting road to unlock all the secrets of the school, through the power of programming.
It’s a quick read, easily finished in half an hour. I thought it was very cute and a lot of fun. If Yang’s goal was to get kids interested in programming, I think he certainly achieves that. If I was a middle schooler reading this, I would totally start looking into it more.
Beverage: Beernary Coding
Today I decided to go outside of my usual cocktail and try out some beers. I’m generally not a major beer person. (I know, ironic because I live in microbrew city.) However, I found that Smithwicks is quite delicious. It’s an Irish red ale with a smooth feel. Unlike a lot of beers I’ve had, it doesn’t leave a weird after taste in your mouth. It’s not very hoppy.