I recently read an article about a 19-year-old university student who published her own book encouraging young girls to code, and I was intrigued. Sasha Savvy Loves to Code is a short semi-autobiographical chapter book written by Sasha Ariel Alston. With the aim of engaging a young audience, the book centers on a 10-year-old girl named Sasha. She has just commenced her summer holidays and is told by her mom about a new camp called ‘Coding Rocks.’
The author teaches her young readers about the basics of coding through a fun story with Sasha Savvy. Understanding very little about coding, Sasha's mom who is a computer software developer, happily explains the basics. Talk about an impressive role model for a young girl. Her mother finishes her explanation by saying, “Soon you will love coding,” and truer words were never spoken.
Sasha’s best friends Gabby and Ashley go to her house for a sleepover, and she excitedly tells them about the coding camp. Her friends decide to join, and the book unfolds at the all-girls coding camp. This is an inspiring read for any girl to dream big and break through stereotypes to study in the field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). The message is delivered ever so simply when Sasha’s brother scoffs at her idea of the camp and says, “coding is a boy thing.” To this Sasha replies, “That’s not true, I can do whatever I want.”
Published in 2017, tech-savvy Alston wrote Sasha Savvy Loves to Code after her own mother encouraged her to help young girls understand coding. She launched a Kickstarter campaign and within four days had met her USD5,000 target. The positive response continued and, with a total of 529 backers, she raised USD17,602. Since then, she has continued her advocacy for advancing women in STEM, speaking at events and highlighting the issues facing women in tech.
When speaking about the book, Alston tells of the similarities between herself and Sasha Savvy. They both went to coding camp, they both felt frustrated when trying to create their own code and they both have parents who encourage their daughter to dream big.
Sasha Savvy Loves to Code will have any young girl intrigued about STEM and wanting to further develop their skills in this arena. I was excited when Alston told me that a second book is in her plan. My own 9-year-old daughter found this to be an engaging and enjoyable book and it was a pleasure to hear her read it; especially the inflections in her voice as she immersed herself in the characters. Coding is about being creative and allowing your mind to explore the possibilities that are out there. What a powerful message that is for any child.