In the Key of Code

By Aimee Lucido

An original, inventive and heart-warming novel about a lonely new girl and an unlikely friendship formed in a school coding club, that will appeal to fans of Sarah Crossan.

When twelve-year-old Emmy’s musical family moves to California so her dad can take a job with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Emmy has never felt more out of tune. But when she ends up in a computer science club, she finds that she can understand code through a language she is familiar with: music. Slowly, Emmy makes friends with Abigail and the two girls start to discover their voices through the programming language of Java. Extraordinarily crafted, the novel begins to incorporate Java’s syntax and concepts as Emmy, and ultimately the reader, learns to think in code. By the end, Emmy doesn't feel like a wrong note, but like a musician in the world's most beautiful symphony.

Categories: Fiction

For readers aged: 9+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781406389333
  • Published: 03 Oct 2019
  • Price: £6.99
  • Size: 198 x 129 mm
  • Pages: 416

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Customer reviews


'In the US, more open-ended, hip-hop-inspired “novels” in verse have been in circulation for some time. In the Key of Code (Walker) is a highlight in that relatively recent tradition. Aimee Lucido’s debut is told in the form of poems, liberally littered with computer code and musical terminology. It is a daring exercise in form that carries its story very well. New girl Emmy, 12, is the unmusical child of musicians, and starting school in San Francisco. As she navigates the mean-girl social codes and a tense home life, coding club becomes an unlikely sanctuary. But her new friendship with Abigail is fraught with tension, and their amazing computer science teacher Ms Delaney is more often absent than not. You might not have thought that the words “PUB-lic STAT-ic voidmain string BRACK-et BRACK-et ARGS” could bring a computer layperson to tears, but they did, as this uncommon book reached its crescendo.' the guardian

'In the Key of Code is thoroughly original in both concept and execution, and it manages to sneak in an empowering history of women’s involvement in computers too.' Irish Times

'An original story about friendship, belonging and being true to yourself.'

'This inspirational story, unusually written in blank verse, flows so well it is hard to put it down and can aid readers who are struggling.' The Week Junior, Christmas Bookstore

'The lessons you learn about coding alongside Emmy are interesting and the ending is both touching and hopeful.' The School Librarian

'An involving and beautifully written novel in verse.' The Irish Independent, Children’s Books of the Year

'A beautifully written, poetic debut.' The Scotsman

'This verse novel brilliantly combines poetry, music and coding with a coming-of-age story and a celebration of girls in STEM. Whether you’re a coder or not, a musician or not, this book will surely make your heart sing.' BookTrust

'Extraordinarily crafted, this book in unlike anything I have read for a long time… I think one of the most important messages for this story is the breaking down of stereotypes - the concepts that GIRLS can code too! Girls can use computers. Girls can!' ReadingZone

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