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The New Girl Code by Niki Smit is a book all about getting 9 to 15 year old girls into science and technology. It is created by a non-profit (Inspiring Fifty) aimed at helping underprivileged girls get into STEM. I was given a copy of the book to read and review on my blog and help spread the word about this fantastic book and mission of the publishers.

I read the book during our trip to visit family over the holidays. I was immediately drawn into this book and quickly finished it in a few days. It was an engaging read and one where I didn’t want to stop reading until I turned the last pages. I enjoyed the story and message it sends to girls.

I often thought of myself as a 14 year old while I was reading the book. The main character, Alex, seemed like a girl I would know in high school with insecurities, who makes mistakes, and has to deal with the consequences of those mistakes and correct her actions. I loved the honesty and relatability of the characters in the book. The diary-style format that the book was written in made Alex’s experiences more personal.

I liked how they included small snip-bits of actual code here and there in the book

Alex secretly loves to code and has an idea to make a fashion app. She is not ready to tell anyone about the app, so she mostly works on it alone, getting help in online coding forums. Then she meets someone who helps her, but as he develops a personal relationship with her, he also is stealing information from her. I liked how they included the dangers of talking to strangers online because so much of our and our kids’ worlds are online these days.

Alex also discovers that her friends are just as into technology as she is, and when they work together using their diverse talents, they are able to create a hugely successful app. Alex has to deal with bullies, her lack of self-confidence, and more, all while being a student and creating an app.

I appreciated that they included Alex’s supportive parents in the story. Sometimes in books about high schoolers, parents are left out of the story completely, but parents still play a huge role in their kids lives at that age. I loved the honesty and relatability of the characters in the book. The story has messages about friendship, trust, and parental love.

The New Girl Code is a series of novels about the wonders of working in tech, aimed at girls and young women. The project is an initiative of Inspiring Fifty, a non-profit that aims to increase diversity in tech by making role models more visible. It is a non-profit initiative and the revenue made with it will be used to make the book available for free to underprivileged girls.

Inspiring Fifty

My kids are still well away from the target age range (9-15 years old) of the book, but I have a few nieces in this age range. We saw my 13 year old niece over Christmas, so I gave her my copy of the book to read. I was excited to share it with her and get her feedback on the book. I love to encourage anyone I know to explore STEM in any way and I feel like this book is a great introduction to things you can do when you learn to code.

The book also features lots of cute related sketches and inspirational quotes from famous women, like the one above. Reading and appreciating the quotes was one of my favorite parts of the book.

Below is the description from the back of the book, that provides a great synopsis of the book and what to expect:

Know of a young girl who loves technology and wants to become a programmer who wants to break the barriers to get into technology? Then this book will inspire her to take the necessary risks to follow her dreams.

The New Girl Code – The Launch of a Fashion App is a book written by Niki Smit and Janneke Niessen, edited by Andrea Stanley and illustrated by Josselin Bijl. This book tells the story of 15 year-old Charlie, who discovers her love for coding and most importantly, herself, as she enters Sophomore year of high school. Charlie, who lives in Brooklyn, feels awkward and uncertain about a things – about her future, friendships, lack of relationships, and even more so, about breaking barriers that once for boys only, the area of technology. When she discovers her love of fashion, she notices changes about herself and her friendships. This gives her the confidence to program an app, called The Fashionist.

As Charlie and her friends grow the app to unimaginable heights of success, they learn to adapt to their new CEO roles. Follow Charlie’s journey as she encounters a catfish, betrayals, school gossip, bullying and more. She has what it takes to break the barriers and become an app programmer, does she have what it takes to overcome her personal obstacles.

At the end of the book, they provide resources for girls who are interested in learning to code

The Inspiring Fifty organization published this book. They have a great non-profit mission to help more under-represented girls get into tech. You can read more about their mission below.

The project is an initiative of Inspiring Fifty, a non-profit that aims to increase diversity in tech by making role models more visible. Technology means possibilities, innovation and creativity. However, a lot of young girls have a totally different view of tech. They see tech as one-note — something to be done alone in a basement, not as something creative that can be used across various fields.

That is why we want to create a role model for them, one they can relate to and who can bring the possibilities of tech to life and make it relevant for them. Early in life, girls are making important decisions about their education and by not choosing STEM subjects they will impact their future without realizing it. It limits their individual potential and the choices and opportunities they will have later in life. They deserve all the opportunities and should know there are no limitations to their dreams.

A recent study underlines the need for initiatives such as this one. Girls lose interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) at a very young age, and both female role models and the need to provide girls with the opportunity to express their creativity through hands-on experiences are seen as crucial to change this. We need this change for the girls themselves, but also for an economy that cannot afford to forget these girls. Around 90% of jobs are estimated to need at least some level of digital skills and we are already facing a big shortage of skilled people to fill all jobs in technology. A shortage that will only increase.

The book’s Dutch edition under the name Project Prep was launched with the support of Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, where it is a best-seller. Project Prep has become a movement in its home country and now aims to do the same in other countries to inspire and empower girls to work in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Insipring Fifty’s Mission for the book
My book also came with some cool stickers for your laptop, or notebook, or anywhere you want to stick them 🙂

If you’re interested in getting this book for a tween/preteen/teen girl in your life you can purchase it on Amazon using my link here. I’m also giving away TWO copies of the book on my Instagram account this week! Head on over there by clicking here to enter to win!

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