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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Sophie and her friends are interested in the upcoming coding competition to create the best computer app. Sophie’s friends include both girls and boys. When she offers to join the boys' group to enter the competition, the boys turn down her offer. In fact, Nathan gets himself into big trouble when he suggests, first, that computer coding is not as simple as doing cartwheels, which the girls do on the cheerleading squad, and, second, that someone with a disability like Chloe’s dyslexia would be more of a hindrance than a help. That sets the girls in motion and they form their own team. It doesn’t matter that none of them knows much about computers, let alone coding apps. Their goal is to win the competition and the prize money. So much so that they invite the school’s clumsy genius, Rani, to join them. Little do they know that Rani, who runs into everything and everyone at school, has a hidden talent and elegance that not only invigorates the girls' team, but also proves that there are more important things than winning a coding competition.
Tonya Duncan Ellis’s middle grade novel, Sophie Washington: Code One, leads young readers through daily lives possibly not so different than their own, and manages to discreetly teach these young readers some valuable lessons. Winning isn’t everything; not everyone will be a winner. But everyone is a winner in this life just for trying. As the plot develops and a new friendship blossoms amongst the girls' team members with Rani, the girls learn, before even the boys, the importance and the power of a good friendship. The characters are well developed and very typical, likeable kids in the middle grade age group. A simple story with some powerful and very important lessons to learn.