• Pinterest - Black Circle
  • Black YouTube Icon

©2018 by STEM Spark. Proudly created with Wix.com

  • Suzie Olsen

STEM Product Review: How to Code a Sandcastle

Updated: Jan 17, 2019

As a female engineer, supporting diversity in my profession is close to my heart and supporting diversity in children's book is an extension of that.  It's why I'm excited to be participating in Multicultural Children's Book Day (MCBD), which is on January 25 this year, and especially thrilled to receive a copy of the picture book How to Code a Sandcastle from the author, Josh Funk, to review for STEM Spark!


Here's a little about MCBD. Multicultural Children’s Book Day in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 


Alright, let's <br> it down (wink, wink, wink, groan). Here's the review of How to Code a Sandcastle.


Will your kid(s) like it, or will you (the adult) hate it (that it don't matter if they like it)?

Yes, absolutely! At least Jack and I both really like the story and illustrations of the book, and Jack asks for the robot book almost every night. The story is about a girl who is spending her summer <br> (sorry did it again) at the beach, trying to build a sandcastle, but her attempts at building it are always thwarted (including a pug name Ada Puglace peeing on the sandcastle). So the girl named Pearl creates a robot named Pascal (love the nod to coding with that name) to help her build the sandcastle. And she has to code the robot, giving it instructions. The illustrations are delightful, and excellently accompany the text and coding lessons (well done Sara Palacios). Jack loves tracing through the code loops and talking about how we build sandcastles; this book is really delightful for introducing code to children.


How long will it keep them entertained?

Well Jack asks for it every night, so this book is one I think kids will read over and over again. And if you want an accompanying activity, kids could build their own sandcastles out of the always popular kinetic sand.


Was it a good value?

So I received a copy of the book for this review, but for about $12, I would totally buy this book as gift for a child in my life. I think for the lessons in it combined with fun story and the fact that the book supports Girls Who Code, it's for sure a good value!


And what are the ninja-secret STEM skills added through play?

The STEM skills are pretty obvious in this book: through creative story telling, children learn the basics of coding in a really fun way. I was so impressed how Josh wove coding lessons into the sandcastle plot, not an easy feat, that it's no surprise that Josh really knows he's coding-- he's a software engineer. That's pretty cool, but what really makes this book super cool is, as I mentioned above, is it's a collaboration with Girls Who Code. There's an intro at the beginning of the founder of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani, so this book is promoting diversity in tech and coding at all kinds of levels. And of course at the end of the day, my kid enjoys reading it-- not sure why you're still sitting here? Go get it at your local library or bookstore right this minute! I insist!


Print ("go get it! really, go now! /n")


My final rating of this book (using the Amazon rating scale) is 5 out 5 stars! Probably not a surprise. It's a fun book, teaching coding and supporting diversity in tech, so really should be a surprise that I gave it a full 5. Plus, Jack keeps asking for it; that's pretty important. That everyone living in the STEM Spark house enjoys it! We <3 it! Get a copy here.


I mentioned this book review is part of MCBD, and I'd like to thank Josh, Valarie, Mia, and Becky for hooking me up with How to Code a Sandcastle to review for MCBD. But there's tons of people involved in MCBD, and below is a full list. Thanks to everyone participating. I also want to mention that there's a Twitter party on January 25, where prizes will be given out, so make sure you follow using the Hashtag: #ReadYourWorld.


Oh, and know how I think building sandcastles out of kinetic sand would be a fun accompanying activity? Well, I'm giving away a 23 piece set of sand mold toys! Just follow the Rafflecopter below (link for Rafflecopter is here)! Happy coding and sandcastle building to you all!



MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!

*View our 2019 Medallion Sponsors here: https://wp.me/P5tVud- *View our 2019 MCBD Author Sponsors here: https://wp.me/P5tVud-2eN


Medallion Level Sponsors

Honorary: Children’s Book Council, The Junior Library Guild, TheConsciousKid.org.

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat Babies, Candlewick Press, Chickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcito, KidLitTV, Lerner Publishing Group, Plum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone Publishing, Carole P. Roman, Author Charlotte Riggle, Huda Essa, The Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge Publishing, Judy Dodge Cummings, Author Gwen Jackson, Kitaab World, Language Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ Languages, Lee & Low Books, Miranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, Redfin, Author Gayle H. Swift, T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s Daughter, TimTimTom Books, Lin Thomas, Sleeping Bear Press/Dow Phumiruk, Vivian Kirkfield,


MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie Flett, Mehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet Balletta, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Josh Funk, Chitra Soundar,One Globe Kids – Friendship Stories, Sociosights Press and Almost a Minyan, Karen Leggett,Author Eugenia Chu, CultureGroove Books, Phelicia Lang and Me On The Page, L.L. Walters, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Hayley Barrett, Sonia Panigrah, Author Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing Dreidels, Author Susan Bernardo, Milind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu Kid, Tara Williams, Veronica Appleton, Author Crystal Bowe, Dr. Claudia May, Author/Illustrator Aram Kim, Author Sandra L. Richards, Erin Dealey, Author Sanya Whittaker Gragg, Author Elsa Takaoka,Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Anita Badhwar, Author Sylvia Liu, Feyi Fay Adventures, Author Ann Morris, Author Jacqueline Jules, CeCe & Roxy Books, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace, LEUYEN PHAM, Padma Venkatraman, Patricia Newman and Lightswitch Learning, Shoumi Sen, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci Sorell,Shereen Rahming, Blythe Stanfel, Christina Matula, Julie Rubini, Paula Chase, Erin Twamley, Afsaneh Moradian, Lori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls Revolution, Soulful Sydney, Queen Girls Publications, LLC


We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.


Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty Arab, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Biracial Bookworms,Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon Reads, Educators Spin on it, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin Lee, Jump Into a Book, Imagination Soup, Jenny Ward’s Class, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Raising Race Conscious Children, Shoumi Sen, Spanish Playground


TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media

MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details.


FREE RESOURCES From MCBD

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/


Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.


145 views2 comments