Despite valuable profiles of individuals, more an exercise in frustration than coding.

GIRL CODE REVOLUTION

PROFILES AND PROJECTS TO INSPIRE CODERS

A combination collective biography of women in computer science and JavaScript workbook.

After opening on an upbeat note, highlighting women’s historical roles in software development, the book then falls back on the dated trope of hammering in that these women were bucking sexism (“They loved what they did, and they did it well, disproving stereotypes that women were not suited for careers in STEM”), a defensive stance that won’t resonate with modern girls, who find a world of STEM toys catered just for them. Alternating double-page spreads offer profiles of female computer science pioneers, from such standards as Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper to influential scientists of color, like Annie Easley, Tracy Chou, and Lyndsey Scott—though some readers might not be impressed that her billing of “Top Model and App Developer” places beauty before brains. These are interleaved with JavaScript projects on manipulating images and videos, using a tie-in website hosted by Vidcode, a women-founded coding curriculum. The text’s instructions are often vague, with poorly defined terms—readers must use it while on the website. Unfortunately, the website also offers instructions that frequently don’t align with the book and miscalculates a beginner’s background knowledge. The result is needlessly fussy and likely to push kids to rely heavily on copy-and-paste or transcribing the book’s example code—if they don’t just give up.

Despite valuable profiles of individuals, more an exercise in frustration than coding. (source notes, glossary, about Vidcode, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72841-377-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lerner

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history.

MOTOR GIRLS

HOW WOMEN TOOK THE WHEEL AND DROVE BOLDLY INTO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Well-documented proof that, when it came to early automobiles, it wasn’t just men who took the wheel.

Despite relentlessly flashy page design that is more distracting than otherwise and a faint typeface sure to induce eyestrain, this companion to Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (2011) chronicles decided shifts in gender attitudes and expectations as it puts women (American women, mostly) behind the wheel in the first decades of the 20th century. Sidebar profiles and features, photos, advertisements, and clippings from contemporary magazines and newspapers festoon a revved-up narrative that is often set in angular blocks for added drama. Along with paying particular attention to women who went on the road to campaign for the vote and drove ambulances and other motor vehicles during World War I, Macy recounts notable speed and endurance races, and she introduces skilled drivers/mechanics such as Alice Ramsey and Joan Newton Cuneo. She also diversifies the predominantly white cast with nods to Madam C.J. Walker, her daughter, A’Lelia (both avid motorists), and the wartime Colored Women’s Motor Corps. An intro by Danica Patrick, checklists of “motoring milestones,” and an extended account of an 1895 race run and won by men do more for the page count than the overall story—but it’s nonetheless a story worth the telling.

Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history. (index, statistics, source notes, annotated reading list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2697-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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A stimulating plunge for casual browsers and serious students alike.

ULTIMATE OCEANPEDIA

THE MOST COMPLETE OCEAN REFERENCE EVER

A compendium of all things oceanic, from surface to depths, covering biology, geology, coasts, climatic phenomena, and human use and abuse.

Considering the size of the general topic, the coverage isn’t as shallow as it might be. Hundreds of crisply professional nature photos and big, easy-to-follow charts and diagrams anchor waves of densely packed but often breezy commentary (“Many parrotfish species also make their own sleeping bags at night—out of mucus!”) that Wilsdon pours in beneath such headers as “It’s a Shore Thing” and “Belize It or Not!” Overviews of each ocean, of plate tectonics, the action and effects of ocean currents, worldwide climate change, and physical features from islands to abyssal plains sail by in succession, but marine biology takes pride of place with page after page of photogenic sea life from tiny krill on up to whales and polar bears. The author profiles a marine ecologist and interviews an oceanographer to cap chapters on modern research, exploration, and industries, then closes with generous lists of sites to visit physically or virtually.

A stimulating plunge for casual browsers and serious students alike. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2550-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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