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How to Code a Sandcastle

(How to Code with Pearl & Pascal)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  759 ratings  ·  167 reviews
From the computer science nonprofit Girls Who Code comes this lively and funny story introducing kids to computer coding concepts.

Pearl and her trusty rust-proof robot, Pascal, need to build a sandcastle before summer vacation is over, and they’re going to do it using code. Pearl breaks the big we-need-a-sandcastle problem into smaller steps, then uses conditionals, loops,
Hardcover, 44 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by Viking / Penguin
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Shaye Miller
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pearl is on her last day of summer vacation and she’s yet to actually build a sand castle. So she brought along her robot, Pascal, in hopes of getting help. She starts by telling Pascal to build a sandcastle, but he just sits there — it’s a no-go! Why? Because her directions are too broad.

“…a coder takes one big problem and breaks it into several smaller ones. If I give Pascal enough instructions that he does know, we’ll build this castle in no time!”

Pearl begins breaking down each step, adding
Children are learning about technology concepts such as computer coding at younger and younger ages. So this fun summertime picture book that tells the story of young Pearl and her quest to build the best sandcastle ever is a terrific way to introduce this topic to both young readers and the grown-ups who care for them (many of whom are also unfamiliar with coding). According to the foreword written by Reshma Saujani (founder and CEO of Girls Who Code): "Girls Who Code is an organization that wa ...more
Ro Menendez
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I originally purchased this book because I have so far liked all books by Josh Funk. As a librarian who teaches coding to her students K-6 I have used the curriculum, and although for the most part it is fantastic, I was never very excited about the "unplugged" activities that were available for younger coders. How to Code a Sandcastle will be my go to book anchor from now on! It takes a familiar activity, be it because the reader has engaged in this activity or has been exposed to it b ...more
James Bailey
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book arrived at the perfect time! We have participated in the Hour of Code for a couple of years but just launched a K-5th coding curriculum at my elementary school. Josh’s book provides a fantastic introduction to coding.

Pearl has been spending the summer trying to build the perfect sandcastle. She finally decides to program her robot, Pascal, to build it. Pearl walks the reader through some basic coding commands. Pascal and Pearl have some hilarious encounters along the way. This book is
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A little Brown girl just wants to build a sandcastle at the beach. She realizes she can use code to teach her robot Pascal how to build an epic sandcastle! Funk's sense of humor is great, as usual, and I love how he makes coding simple and easy to understand for children. Palacios' illustrations are lovely and will make you yearn for a warm sunny day at the beach. Great first collab between GIRLS WHO CODE & Penguin. #GirlsinStem #SummerRead #PictureBooks #DiverseBooks ...more
Nancy Kotkin
Pearl wants to build a sandcastle, so she programs her robot Pascal to help her. She uses conditional statements and looping, which introduces coding logic to children. Even more importantly, Pearl demonstrates the trial-and-error and perseverance necessary to create something of value, whether it be computer software, a sandcastle kingdom, or something else entirely.
Michele Knott
This is a book that will teach a wide audience. Between the curriculum ties (STEM, coding, how to book) and it being a picture book in the “girls who code” series (check out the chapter books), there are going to be a lot of readers for this book!
Giselle Monique
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Penny review : “This book is about a code and how to build a sandcastle. My favorite part is when they made a big giant loop around the sandcastle. I wish I had a robot to water all my moms plants. Maybe my dad will help me build a robot.”
Niki (Daydream Reader)
My second-fourth grade students loved this book. A great introduction to coding. We read this book and then did some fun coding apps on the iPad.
Baby Bookworm
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: our-reviews

This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily!

Hello, friends! Our book today is How To Code A Sandcastle, written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Sara Palacios, a wonderful introduction to computer language as part of Girls Who Code’s book series.

Pearl is excited: today is the last day of summer, and her last opportunity to build the sandcastle of her dreams. She’s tried before, but various frisbee-, surfboard-, and dog-related incidents h
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Coding is almost this century's writing. Without knowing to code you are illiterate. This is why nowadays books like "How to code a sandcastle" are the most popular and parents' choice. This book teaches basic coding terms, illustrates pretty, and makes a fun story from them for kids.
In the first page of the book, there is Reshma Saujani's, founder of Girls Who Code (Girls Who Code is a nonprofit organization which aims to support and increases the number of women in computer science.), forew
Kellee Moye
Through books like the Secret Coders series, Two Naomis, and now How to Code a Sandcastle, I’ve slowly begun to learn more and more about coding, and I find it fascinating! If I was a kid now, I would be so excited to have books like these to introduce me to coding. How to Code a Sandcastle is special because it takes coding, which is a tool that is primarily not taught until middle school or later, and makes it accessible to younger kids helping them build their coding vocabulary and knowledge ...more
Babies to Bookworms
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! I am a big fan of books that make STEM subjects interesting and relatable for kids. This book explains simple coding terms in reference to an activity that kids can recognize and relate to. The main character is a young girl named Pearl who breaks down her problem (how to build a sandcastle) into smaller problems. She then uses simple coding techniques and language to get her robot Pascal to build the sandcastle. I really like how she gives definitions for the coding vocabulary ...more
This is an interesting foray into the very basic concepts of coding for the pre-K and early elementary ages. The core concepts addressed and defined include code, sequence, loop, and if-then-else (conditional statement). The narrative is structured around the task of a young girl building a sandcastle at the beach. I like the idea here, and I'll be interested to see how this is received by kids. The story itself did not do much for me. The text became a bit confusing as I navigated between betwe ...more
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I just heard this book! It was read to me by the amazing Josh Funk in a Skype call he did with my students. It is packed with so much great information about coding, but in the form of a story. Younger students will appreciate the artwork and the humour, and older kids will understand some of the coding references. If you are thinking of introducing coding to your class, this book is great! Its also just a funny book to read with your kids when it comes out.
Julie Kirchner
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Coding is all the rage in our school district. Students do it during tech class, they take after school enrichment classes in coding, they code at home! This book will inspire budding coders to try their hand at this fun hobby. I love the illustrations and the back matter that explains the coding terms used in the book. I’m excited to see future books in this series.
Mary Ann
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1st, 2nd, humor, preschool, 3rd, math
Love the problem solving outlook that Pearl has, experimenting and trying things again. This picture book introduces young kids to the concepts of coding while keeping the story flowing. I especially like how the illustrations help reinforce and explain concepts like looping. A great into to coding for young kids.
Caitlin Zonder
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Yet another amazing book by Josh Funk. It is such a clever way to teach the basics of coding. It would be a great read for anyone who wants to understand what coding is. I seriously think my mother needs to read this! Kids will enjoy this as both a story and a learning tool.
Jo Oehrlein
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Intro to computing concepts like loops, if-then, and code once/use many times, all in a cool storyline about building a sandcastle at the beach.

I like the way Pearl finds problems with the instructions she gives her robot, Pascal. The iterative way she "writes" the code is very realistic.
Tracy Clausen
My first thought was, "Great, let's ruin the carefree joy of beach play with computer coding...*yawn*" - but this book is completely adorable! Perfectly explains basic coding concepts for the youngest readers. Highly recommended for use in the elementary classroom.
Casey Lyall
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is so cool! It's such a fun way of introducing the concept of coding to young readers (I learned things too!) A great read-aloud option that's sure to spark lots of conversation and interest.
Kim Tyo-Dickerson
A fun, light-hearted read aloud for our middle school ICT classes introducing computer science terms like conditionals, loops, iterations, and more! Fans of BrainPOP animations will like seeing a little girl and her robot taking on the step by step challenges of building a sand castle.
This is the first picture book I have seen about coding; hooray that it had a poc, girl as the MC! Cute illustrations.
Mikey Golczynski
Jul 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Eh...I'm all about coding for all children, but geez kid. It's just a sandcastle. They aren't hard to build.
Erin Buhr
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fun and creative introduction to coding. I love how the author integrated the basics of coding into this cute story about building a sandcastle. I hope there will be more books in this series.
Dec 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
Girls who code! Love it! My aunt, who is s computer programmer, gave it a thumbs up!
Christina Carter
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Christina by: https://www-joshfunkbooks-com.filesus...
Shelves: book-excursion
It's the last day of summer vacation and Pearl's very last chance to try and successfully build a sandcastle. Troubles of all kinds have thwarted her plans and have caused every attempt to flop. Pearl isn't the sort to give up though, she is an inventive problem solver. She brainstorms an idea that involves her trusty robot, Pascal who can only understand her commands through code. Through a series of instructions, Pearl gets to enjoy a summer sandcastle at last with a moat to boot. Go Pearl, Go ...more
Bethany M. Edwards
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This book is a brilliant combination of an introduction to what coding entails for young children; while being inclusive of savory nerd moments for the advanced coding audience. You can both geek out with the engineering specifics, (including the fact that book characters Pearl and Pascal are named after programming languages), and enjoy a day on the beach reading about the innovative teamwork of a little girl and a robot making a sandcastle.

The story takes a complicated subject (for some) and t
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have mixed feelings about the "trend" to get a lot of STEM literature into circulation. While including STEM related topics in literature is not a bad idea, the execution is where the flaws can sometimes lie, and creating STEM literature just to create STEM literature is not the way to go, it's a matter of creating stong STEM literature and I feel like this book fit that bill. It took a normal story about a girl trying to build a sandcastle, gave her a robot, and had her work with the robot to ...more
Martha Marani
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book for so many reasons. The always clever Josh Funk picked the perfect activity to introduce kids to coding, and then he broke it down into funny, easy-peasy parts. Sara Palacio's colorful, friendly style, and the interesting and diverse people she draws, pair perfectly with Funk's accessible prose. Yes, How to Code a Sandcastle is the first picture book chosen by Girls Who Code ( national non-profit that's working to close the gender gap in the tech industry--bu ...more
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Josh Funk writes silly stories such as the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series, the How to Code with Pearl and Pascal series, the It's Not a Fairy Tale series, the A Story of Patience & Fortitude series in conjunction with the New York Public Library, Dear Dragon, Albie Newton, Pirasaurs!, A Night at the Bookstore: A Barnsie & Noble Adventure, and more coming soon!

Since the fall of 2015, Josh h

Other books in the series

How to Code with Pearl & Pascal (2 books)
  • How to Code a Rollercoaster

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