Review: In the Key of Code

Book Title: In the Key of Code (available here)

Author: Aimee Lucido

Publisher: Walker

Publication Date: October 2019

Most Suitable For: Years 6-7

Reviewed By: Emma Hughes, School Librarian

Set in the USA, Emmy and her family have just relocated to California all the way from Wisconsin. In a leap of faith, to promote her father’s career as a pianist, Emmy’s family have left behind everything they know and love. Including her Mom’s career in opera.

It is clear from the outset that Emmy is going to struggle to fit into her new school (culturally, a world away from her old one), so she decides to keep her head down and concentrate on her classwork. One of the electives that she has chosen is Computer Science. It is in this class that she meets a new friend: a girl who loves coding, yet hides her talents because it is not in keeping with her choir-girl image. Conscious that if her friends find out about her secret passion, she could be ostracised from the friendship group, Abigail’s internal struggles are real.

As the school term moves on, Emmy’s two worlds of coding and music begin to interweave making this ‘novel in verse’ a masterpiece, showing how notes and beats and rhythms overlap with code and language and algorithms. Among this runs a rich storyline of friendship. Can Emmy’s new friend accept her outside of the classroom? Will they be able to break through the prejudice of being girls who enjoy coding? And will they be able to support their teacher as she faces her health problems?

This is a joyous and accomplished piece of writing. The use of verse in the novel is powerful and captures the emotions exquisitely. A perfect book for children (and adults) who enjoy coding and/or music.

Also features on:

Computing & Coding Booklist


You can order In the key of Code online or from your local bookshop or library.

Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Emma for reviewing it.

Where next? > Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub

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