Sasha Savvy Loves to Code by Sasha Ariel Alston, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Publisher: Gold Fern Press
Age Range: 7 – 10
Grade Level: 2- 5
Are you looking for a book to help teach young girls about coding? Look no further than Sasha Savvy Loves to Code!
Sasha Savvy Loves to Code is an early reader chapter book (ages 7-10). The main character, Sasha Savvy, is a super smart 10-year old African-American girl, who lives in Washington, DC. Sasha must choose which class to take for summer camp. Her mom discovers that the camp is offering a new class for girls on how to code. Sasha thinks this will be boring and doesn’t believe that she is good at computer stuff. Despite this, she decides to give it a chance and convinces her best friends Gabby Reyes and Ashley Webster, to attend the coding camp with her. Sasha’s mom, a Software Developer, gives her a unique formula to help her remember how to code but will it be enough to get her through a challenging first day of camp with bugs everywhere, computing errors, that is.
Author Interview with Sasha Ariel Alston!
Tell me a little about yourself and how you came up with the idea to write the book.
My name is Sasha Ariel Alston and I am from Washington, DC. I’m currently a 19 year-old student attending Pace University in New York City. My major is Information Systems with a minor in Marketing. In Washington, DC I attended a STEM focused high school and my track was Technology. That’s how I initially became interested in STEM in general. I had my first internship when I was in the 11th grade at Microsoft which provided me with a real world experience. At Microsoft, I was a Marketing Manager for my team which consisted of two game developers and a project manager. That’s where I saw there was a correlation between business and technology.
About a year after my internship, my mom (who is also an author) and I came up with the idea for me to write my book. My mother’s name is Tracy Chiles McGhee. This came a result of people constantly asking me what coding and STEM was all about. About a month before I was getting ready to graduate from high school I started writing the book Sasha Savvy Loves to Code. Shortly after the book was finished we launched a Kickstarter page with an initial goal to raise $5,000. We reached (and surpassed) the goal in just 4 days. That showed me just how much this book was needed and how there is a lack of diversity in STEM.
When will you graduate and what kind of career would you like to have?
I will graduate in 2019. Depending on how far my book goes, I really would like to focus on building this brand. I would love for my book to turn into a series and have products to go along with it. I also envision a Sasha Savvy animated show similar to Doc McStuffins. If that doesn’t go as planned then I would like to have a career in Education Technology.
What motivates you? Do you have any particular role models you look up to?
My mom is my ultimate role model. She raised me as a single mother. I am also attracted to very positive role models for African-American girls.
What is your hope for little girls who read your book?
My book is geared towards girls ages 7 – 10. I hope to raise awareness of what coding and STEM is for girls. I want them to be able to see themselves in this profession if that’s what they’re going to be interested in. As I’m sure you know, there is a huge lack of diversity in both gender and race in the Information Technology field. I’m hoping kids and teens who read my book will be able to relate to it and to me since I’m also a teenager. Lastly, I want to dispel the stigma that coding is nerdy and it isn’t cool. My book gives a different perspective of it.
What advice would you give to kids who may be interested in getting involved in coding?
Coding requires a lot of hard work. You have to be very disciplined, focused and determined. My advice would be to learn as much as you can and study hard.
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Your turn: Have you and your little readers read this book yet? Feel free to share your comments.