How to Code a Sandcastle by J. Funk

  • Dannielle Sehgal


Funk, Josh. How to Code a Sandcastle. Illustrated by Sara Palacios, Viking, 2018.

How to Code a Sandcastle, written by Josh Funk, is endorsed as a “Girls Who Code” book. Founded in 2013, the mission of Girls Who Code is to close the gender gap in technology. One of the tools they use to help them reach their young female target audience is children’s literature. The story begins with the protagonist, Pearl, comically explaining a variety of challenges she encountered when building a sandcastle at the beach. Now, on the last day of her summer vacation, Pearl has decided to recruit the help of her robot, Pascal, to build her sandcastle. Pearl gives instructions to Pascal, using code, and explains the coding concepts of sequence, loop, and if-then-else to the reader as they relate to the task of building her sandcastle. These concepts are introduced and explained to the young readers in a fun and engaging manner.

The text features of this book are eye catching and educational. Josh Funk strategically changes the text color to highlight coding vocabulary and he draws the reader’s attention to coding commands by changing the text font when Pearl is giving instructions to Pascal. Speech bubbles are used throughout the book in an appealing, non-linear manner. The illustrations are interesting, colourful, and visually captivating to all readers, young and old. The images are crafted with purpose as they enhance the reader’s ability to make meaning of the coding concepts by providing them with visual information to complement and reinforce the descriptions given in the text. The last two pages of the book, Pearl and Pascal’s Guide to Coding, give a more in-depth explanation of the coding concepts, providing extra support for children and adults who may be new to coding. This book is an entertaining and educational must read!

Highly Recommended: 4 stars out of 4
Reviewer: Dannielle Sehgal

Dannielle Sehgal is a kindergarten teacher and graduate student at the University of Alberta. Dannielle is passionate about her career and loves discovering new picture books that she can bring to her classroom and read to her students.  

How to Cite
SehgalD. (2019). How to Code a Sandcastle by J. Funk. The Deakin Review of Children’s Literature, 8(4).
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