Monday, July 16, 2018

MMGM- Fashion!

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Always in the Middle and #IMWAYR day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.

Whittemore, Jo. Lights, Music, Code! (Girls Who Code #3)
March 13th 2018 by Penguin Workshop
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Maya and the coding club are going to be working on a new and innovative idea for incorporating technology into the school dance, and are having trouble coming up with ideas and with implementing them. (Programmable bracelets would be great, but who has the money?). Not only that, but when they do settle on an idea, it requires a lot of work, and Maya has spread herself very thin. It doesn't help that Maddie, the friend who got her in trouble for shoplifting, is moving to town and wants to hang out with her. Maya's parents do NOT approve, but it's hard to shake Maddie, even after she says and does some things that should warn Maya that she hasn't really changed. Soon, the club has a plan, and Maya is working hard on her part of it, but when she finds out that Sophia doesn't have a nice dress to wear, she's bound and determined to help her friend out with a spectacular outfit to help her catch a certain boy's eye. Will she be able to finish it in time?

Stories that involves children actively involved in projects and organizations are always my favorites, and since there is such a huge need for people to go into technology fields, I love the Girls Who Code series. The technology is made more appealing by being used for fun things like robots and flashing lights. When I was learning HTML and JavaScript, I tried to teach my daughters, who were this age at the time, and it was too boring for them. My brother, however, just bought some kind of programmable lights for his girls to investigate!

The ensemble cast if nicely diverse, and it's fairly easy to keep the characters straight. Maya's sister is a great addition, and it's nice for younger students to see older girls they can admire and ask for assistance.

The fun illustrations scattered throughout the book also make it easier to identify the characters, and add a fun facet that might help attract readers to the books... and help make them coders!

There are very few books of any kind that include coding as a key plot element-- Gene Luen Yang's Secret Coders is the only one that comes to mind. There are a lot of books that include groups of girls doing projects, so Girls Who Code will be popular with readers who like Simon's The Cupcake Club, Kimmel's Forever Four, or Singleton's The Curious Cat Spy Club.

34411495Rubin, Susan Goldman. Coco Chanel
March 13th 2018 by Harry N. Abrams
Personal Copy

Ordinary people who did extraordinary things and impacted the world in ways we can't even begin to fathom-- that's why I love biographies. Given that anyone can wear pretty much anything out in public these days (Can you imagine grown women going out in public back in the day wearing the classic black leotards people used to wear to dance classes? I just can't, yet that's basically what leggings are. *waves cane*), it's hard for young readers to understand that comfort for women's clothing was not really a concern. That Chanel changin the materials and silhouettes of clothing allowed women the freedom of movement to pursue pastimes that one could not in a corset and 20 pounds of underpinnings. Fashion is a big concern of many middle school students, so this could be very interesting to many readers.

The book is short, well-written, and addresses Chanel's deficiencies without defending or lingering on them, which I appreciated. Yes, we need to know that historical people weren't saints, but 12-year-olds don't need to know every sordid detail.

It's also a nicely formatted tome, with pretty pages, lots of pictures, and a manageable amount of text and information. I'm excited to have this in my library next year.

I'm going to blame my inability to dress myself with the slightest sense of currency to my childhood. Everything on this page looks... totally reasonable. Oh! Look at the nice bright colors! Vests! Turtlenecks! Jeans with rainbow trim!

Really, it's a wonder that anyone my age gets out of the house at all.

I want that skirt and vest combo in the inset in the worst way!


  1. I love there are more books on coding, especially ones for girls. I'll be looking for this one. As for Coco Chanel, I don't think so. Thanks for all of your reviews this past week!

  2. Oh fashion...I used to tease my parents on their '70s fashion choices when I was kid flipping through old albums - "just you wait", they'd always say,"one day your style will seem ridiculous, too!" Oh, how right they were.... ;-)

  3. But the other side of that is that, if you live long enough, those ridiculous fashions become respectable because they're "retro" or, even better, they're embraced as "vintage."

  4. I REALLY need to start the Girls Who Code series. I wasn't sure if these could be stand-alone books or if I need to start with book #1. But perhaps I should be safe and just start at the beginning. As always, I'm thankful for your great reviews. Have a wonderful reading week!

  5. I haven't read any MG books that include coding. School dance's have certainly changed. I'd enjoy Coco Chanel! Great reviews.

  6. I borrowed a book from a high school library when I had a girl do a project on Coco Channel. Sure wish this was around.
    I'm looking forward to introducing my granddaughter (who is named after Ada Lovelace) to this Girls Who Code series. Since she's only one, it might be a few years.

  7. I love the Coco Chanel title! Would be good to pair with the PBB "Different Like Coco." :)

  8. The Coco Chanel books sounds fascinating. Thanks for letting me know about it.