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Curly Bracket - The Hidden Code

Author: Johan Wendt, Tor Mostrom
Lower Age: 8
Upper Age: 13
Price: $20.68 hardcover, $11.01 e-book
Year Added: 2017
Look Inside:

Curly Bracket - The Hidden Code is a graphic novel for readers ages eight through thirteen to learn what it takes to “think like a programmer.” Curly Bracket is a smart orphan from a city controlled by the mysterious company Corporatus, with a dream to prove her ability in a problem-solving exam at the Codoseum. Once she proves herself in the Codoseum she can leave the school and become an official programmer for Corporatus. The story focuses on computer science and computational thinking concepts. Computational thinking is defined along with its steps, including decomposition, pattern recognition, algorithm design, and abstraction. By solving challenges alongside Curly Bracket, readers practice going through this process. Curly’s challenges allow only one attempt, which pushes readers to make observations of the problem setup to generate ideas and plan a good solution. Each problem also has clearly stated criteria and constraints. For example, in the first challenge Curly is told that she must transport a rabbit, a carrot, and a monster across a river safely. The solution and explanation for each challenge is included at the very end, which gives readers an opportunity to troubleshoot their own solutions to Curly’s problems and learn more about the solution. By solving the challenges with Curly, children recognize patterns, apply mathematics, and practice such skills as spatial and evidence-based reasoning and logical thinking. Boys and girls will enjoy the challenge-filled plot of Curly Bracket - The Hidden Code, which showcases methods to use for solving tough problems.



Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about:

Define a problem, make observations, learn about the problem, idea generation, plan a solution, recognize patterns, apply mathematics, promotes diversity


Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift: Criteria, constraints


Additional practices and skills needed by engineers that were addressed by the gift: Spatial reasoning skills, coding, computational thinking, critical thinking, evidence-based reasoning, design, problem solving, perseverance, logical thinking



Overall ratings:

  • Children Reviews
    • Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “I really enjoyed this book. However, the book felt like part 1 of a bigger story.” F, 11
  • Parents Reviews
    • Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “The story was well written and introduced many great computing skills however the price is a bit steep.” parent of 11-year-old
  • Engineering & STEM Experta Reviews
    • Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “This book focuses on one particular part of engineering thinking and design, 'thinking needed to work in all kinds of programming languages.' The book seeks to teach readers to think computationally through theory and practice. For example, it defines computational thinking and introduces its steps as well as has readers apply them by solving challenges together with Curly Bracket. It's also important to note that this book brings up diversity (Curly Bracket is a girl) in a field that is dominated by males. Additionally, it teaches and has readers practice lots of relevant skills, from computational thinking to perseverance.”