cover image Secret Coders

Secret Coders

Gene Luen Yang, illus. by Mike Holmes. First Second, $9.99 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-62672-075-6

Twelve-year-old Hopper can’t help but notice that there’s something strange about her new school; the spooky architecture, leafless trees, and robotic birds with too many eyes allude to a mystery hiding just beneath the surface at Stately Academy. Hopper isn’t alone in her suspicion, and she and her new friend Eni resolve to get to the bottom of it. After an eye-opening revelation, they realize that they can use simple programming language to unlock Stately Academy’s secrets. Yang (Boxers & Saints) sneaks coding lessons into the story, imparting the basics of binary numbers and scripting in the form of riddles posed to protagonists and readers. With this knowledge, Hopper and Eni make startling discoveries that put their coding skills to the test, including the operation of a silent, chelonian robot that immediately and precisely obeys its user’s every command. Accented with vivid emerald green, Holmes’s bold cartoony illustrations are a natural fit for Yang’s geeky enthusiasm, and their combined effort offers an enticing first taste of coding that may very well yield some converts. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary. (Sept.)