Sophie Washington: Code One

Children - Grade 4th-6th
130 Pages
Reviewed on 03/04/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

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.

Jack Magnus

Sophie Washington: Code One is an educational middle school fiction novel for children, grades 4-6, written by Tonya Duncan Ellis. Sophie and Chloe decided to sit with their classmates, Nathan, Carlton and Toby, for lunch in the cafeteria. They normally did sit with their fellow cheerleaders, but couldn’t seem to find them that day. Nathan and Toby were pretty excited about the new computer coding club that was forming in their school. There was a competition for teams to build the best app, and there was a cash prize for the winning team. Chloe and Sophie liked the idea as well and wanted to join the boys’ team. They were surprised when Nathan began trying to discourage them. When it actually came out that the boys only wanted boys on their team and seemed to think that girls couldn’t learn to code, Chloe and Sophie left in disgust. They decided to set up their own coding team. Who said girls couldn’t code anyway?

Tonya Duncan Ellis’s Sophie Washington: Code One is a marvelous introduction to computers and coding that specifically addresses the importance of having girls get involved in STEM educational programs. Nathan's and Toby’s stereotypical views of science being for boys is all too prevalent, even in young kids, and books such as this will go a long way towards encouraging young girls to go for computing clubs, science fairs and other tech competitions. Mr. Perrier, the teacher running the Computer Club, does a marvelous job of explaining how programs work during their first meeting. He manages to demystify what can seem to be very complex concepts and make them accessible to new students. Following the girls as they use drag and drop programs to design their apps is illuminating and powerful, and may encourage young readers to try their own hands at designing apps. Code One is both educational and entertaining, and it should go a long way toward encouraging young girls to explore STEM subjects. Sophie Washington: Code One is most highly recommended.

Gail Kamer

Are girls as smart as boys? Seems there are some boys at Sophie Washington’s school who don’t think girls are. In Sophie Washington: Code One by Tonya Duncan Ellis, it’s ‘game on’ to prove who is right when a computer coding contest is announced. Sophie recruits members for her team while her friend, Nathan, recruits his team. Nathan’s team is all boys while Sophie’s is all girls. The two teams have some mishaps along the way which could mean they won’t have a program to submit. However, both teams work out their issues. The winner of the prize is a surprise and answers the question about who’s the smarter.

Sophie Washington: Code One by Tonya Duncan Ellis is the next story in the Sophie Washington book series. The main character is a preteen African American child who, along with her multicultural group of friends, goes to school in Houston, Texas. The series focuses on friendship, responsibility, and perseverance and is written for children eight to twelve years old. Ms. Ellis has the gift of connecting to readers this age by including references to books relative for this age and activities they are interested in. Coding is certainly a current project for today’s school children. I found Sophie Washington: Code One to be a great read and checked out Ms. Ellis’ profile on Amazon. In addition to being a fun read, the positive themes are shared in an entertaining format. I highly recommend Sophie Washington: Code One and all of Tonya Duncan Ellis’ works for young children.