Bound To Stay Bound

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 Secret coders (Secret coders)
 Author: Yang, Gene Luen

 Publisher:  First Second (2015)

 Dewey: 741.5
 Classification: Nonfiction
 Physical Description: 91 p., col. ill., 22 cm.

 BTSB No: 971373 ISBN: 9781626722767
 Ages: 9-14 Grades: 4-9

 Mystery fiction
 School stories
 Coding theory
 Graphic novels

Price: $17.68

Volume 1--Welcome to Stately Academy, a school which is just crawling with mysteries to be solved! The founder of the school left many clues and puzzles to challenge his enterprising students. Some of them are programmed into the building's stones. Using their wits and their growing prowess with coding, Hopper and her friend Eni are going to solve the mystery of Stately Academy no matter what it takes! In graphic novel format.

 Illustrator: Holmes, Mike
Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: MG
   Reading Level: 2.90
   Points: 1.0   Quiz: 175360

   Kirkus Reviews (06/01/15)
   Booklist (08/01/15)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/11/15)
 The Hornbook (00/11/15)

Full Text Reviews:

Booklist - 08/01/2015 Hopper is not excited to start a new school, which looks more like a haunted house. Her classes are boring, she runs afoul of her teachers, and, worst of all, no one wants to sit with her at lunch. Her only company is a weird bird who opens a third eyeball. What could be going on? Hopper’s classmate Eni thinks he knows: the birds are robots, and they’re responding to numbers in binary. From there, Eni and Hopper discover all kinds of coding-based tricks around school. They figure out a lock combination, discover a robot, pull a prank on their classmates, and, thrillingly, find a hidden passageway. Now they’re not only playing around with programming but investigating a mystery! Holmes’ blocky cartoon illustrations, in black, white, and green, clearly depict basic programming concepts with tidy visual cues, such as grids of floor tiles. Yang and Holmes do such a great job explaining the concepts that even programming newbies will be likely to catch on. A cliff-hanger ending hints at deepening mysteries to come. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 09/01/2015 Gr 4–8—A mysterious school, transition to mastery, and an exciting new language run through this excellent new graphic novel. But it's not magic wands that dictate the new characters' skills —it's coding. Hopper, an enthusiastic 12-year-old girl (named after programmer Grace Hopper), has just started school at the creepy Stately Academy. After getting in a fight that involves "lung pudding" (a loogie!) with Eni (based on NBA star Chris Bosh), Hopper and Eni become friends while unraveling the secrets of the school. Robotic birds, family troubles, and sinister, child-hating school administrators lead to a story both emotionally rich and rife with learning opportunities. Readers will feel themselves thinking in a new way as they watch Hopper and Eni transform into coders on a mission, but the story never feels pedantic. The graphic novel format is effective and will appeal to everyone from computer lovers to reluctant readers to mystery fans. The black and green art is effective and straightforward, and the pacing of the panels is excellent. The book is important in light of issues of diversity in the computer programming world; Hopper is biracial, and Eni is African American, and both have multiple dimensions to their characters (they are more than just computer nerds). This first volume ends on a cliff-hanger with real life magic: the magic of coding made accessible. VERDICT An excellent first purchase that introduces readers to the power of computer programming through an engaging graphic mystery.—Lisa Nowlain, Darien Library, CT - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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