Secret Coders: Secrets & Sequences

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Feb 2017

Member Reviews

After really enjoying the first volume of Secret Coders, I found that my enjoyment for the second volume wasn’t nearly as high. I kept reading though because the cliffhangers are interesting and add to the story rather than just being a cheap gimmick to entice you back.

There’s a lot of questions answered in this volume which was enjoyable, but it ends up feeling as if we’re not being told a big chunk of the story still. While that wouldn’t usually bother me, here, it feels as if the story is being stretched out. Professor Bee has been kidnapped, and our trio needs to rescue him. Something happens in the scuffle and Hopper catches a glimpse of something she was never supposed to see. Eventually, the real villain of the story is fleshed out, but the story leaves on another cliffhanger/problem for the reader to figure out.

While I praised the learning aspect of Secret Coders in my review of the first volume, it’s become a bit longwinded in later volumes. It’s not terrible, but it breaks the flow of the story. Not that a little kid is going to mind, which is the next issue I have with Secret Coders. It no longer feels as if adults are being included, but that the focus has shifted to just kids. Which is a shame because at times it feels written down to the kids rather than lifting them up.

The artwork is consistent and enjoyable. It’s simple, but the style conveys a lot, be it the tone or the sense of adventure. The art is the perfect fit for the story, and it makes it hard to imagine it working without Mike Homes’ talents.

While I would wholeheartedly recommend this series to young readers, it’s difficult to also extend that same recommendation to adults. Perhaps if you find coding super fascinating, then you’ll likely love the book, but if you only have a moderate interest in it, then the same will be true for Secret Coders.
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With the most complete narrative arc in the series to date, I have noticed a growing Secret Coders fan club in my classroom. Several of my students told me this week they are already looking forward to reading the next book in the series; a few students have even pre-ordered it! [ With the villain now in charge of the school (hide spoiler)], I can't wait to see how Hopper, Eni and Josh respond in book four, Robots and Repeats (10/03/17)!
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Gene Luen Yang knows how to write a cliff hanger. Such a good series.
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I wouldn't claim that this series is a good way to teach programming .I'm not sure that the information is specific enough for that. What it is is a good way to reinforce programming concepts. Yang does a great job of introducing ideas one at a time, reinforcing each stage repeatedly before introducing the next part. We build on the same bit of code, seeing how each change affects the code. While the code here is simple, the concepts extend to far  more complicated coding.
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This is the third book in the Secret Coders series.  Again, this book starts where the last book ended.  There is no overlap AT ALL.  This is a librarian's nightmare, especially if you are a librarian with no budget to replace books.  If one of the series gets lost, the series makes no sense!  That said, the series as a whole is great.  As a computer programmer, the coding portion is easy to understand and the graphic novel format makes it easy to visualize.  The story behind the coding lessons is engaging.  Hopper and Eni are fairly well-rounded characters, although Josh is a bit one-dimensional.  If you have a maker-space or a coding club, you could use excerpts from this series to introduce coding concepts.
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Secret Coders is a brilliantly engaging and mind blowing adventure into coding that kids will devour and parents will give a sigh of relief in finally being able to understand what coding is all about.  One of the most addictive and educational graphic novel series ever!!!!
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The third installment of the Secret Coders series picks up right where Paths and Portals leaves off: our heroes, Hopper, Eni, and Josh have to code their way out of trouble with Principal Dean, who's not only a creep, but a creep who's thrown in with a super-bad guy, Professor One-Zero, who was also one of Professor Bee's best students way back when. There are more codes to program, more turtles to run, and an evil plot to foil.

This has been a fun STEM series; explaining coding through the graphic novel format is a great idea, allowing kids to help reason out how things work and run. Readers are invited to download activities to expand their learning. This series makes for a great computer club activity and a great comic book club discussion group topic. Put this one with your Scratch and Ruby programming books, and if you have the chance to get the kids in your life, library, or classroom coding, do it! You will be happy you did.
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Hello! I unfortunately didn't get a chance to read this work as I've become bogged down by schoolwork, but I look forward to reading a hard copy of it in the future. I have a great deal of respect for Gene Luen Yang and have been a fan of his "American Born Chinese" graphical novel.
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