BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
This week marks the publication of the first in Sophie Deen’s new middle grade a series, Agent Asha (available here). Agent Asha is intended to be a non-intimidating and offline way of learning the critical thinking and language behind coding whilst also being a super fun spy-adventure, and features a young girl from a British Indian family as the tech-confident protagonist. Agent Asha has some awesome spy gadgets! Read on for Review Panel member Hilary’s review of the book…
Book Title: Agent Asha: Mission Shark Bytes (available here)
Author: Sophie Deen
Publication Date: July 2020
Most Suitable For: Y3-5
Reviewed By: Hilary Nicholl
Agent Asha is a clever and engaging story that weaves computing knowledge – such as how the internet works and if/then logic – into the story. Asha is from an Indian family in Brent and her family are delighted when she visits the library – supposedly to study. Little do they know that she is actually getting involved in a secret spy mission! She triumphs in this secret mission with wit, intelligence and a little dash of disobedience. Asha is a great role model; it is especially welcome to have both BAME and female representation in computing and STEM based roles. The point is not laboured, but nor does it need to be, sometimes for children it is enough just to see themselves reflected in stories. The family tree of Asha’s family at the back covering India, Africa and the UK is useful background as well and adds an extra dimension of interest to readers appreciating Asha’s cultural identity. I really enjoyed this story and would have no hesitation recommending it to my Year Four class (both boys and girls). It would work best as an independent read rather than a class read-aloud, simply because a number of features such as diagrams and computer code details are best appreciated close up. I think it would be most suitable for Year Threes to Year Fives. The story is exciting and well set up for sequels – one to watch in the future!
Follow along with the blog tour this week to read more about Agent Asha.
Many thanks to the publishers at Walker for sending us a review copy and to Review Panel member Hilary for reviewing the book.
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