Review: Secret Coders: Paths & Portals

Secret Coders Vol 2Stately Academy is just crawling with mysteries to be solved! In the last volume, Hopper and Eni discovered a robot in the supply closet and programmed him to do mischief. Now they’re trapped in an underground lair, and they must use their new programming skills to escape.

The second volume of the Secret Coders series, Paths & Portals picks up on the mystery laid out and begins asking readers if they did their homework. Yes, Secret Coders is an educational graphic novel that not only entertains but also teaches real world coding skills.

Writer Gene Luen Yang again nails it out of the park in this graphic novel which continues Hopper and Eni’s adventures but also teaches, it’s edutainment and holy crap is it good. Secret Coders teaches coding as the kids must solve problems using robots that run on the instructions they are given. Readers learn basic commands and how computer programming works with more and more complicated commands added as the story progresses.

This isn’t an information dump, instead, a particular command is taught and then used in a practical way for the story to solve some issue. It also asks the readers to participate by writing their own code along to see if what they came up with matches what the team comes up with in the story. It’s a fantastic and utterly brilliant way to get younger kids interested in computer programming.

It’s also not just for kids. Even as an adult, I felt like I was receiving a refresher on things I learned when I was much younger. It’s a great 101 introduction that takes you along on an adventure that’s as fun as it is educational.

Joining Yang is artist Mike Holmes whose art is fantastic. With minimal colors, the graphic novel has a look that’s inviting to people of all ages and what might seem like a dry idea is enhanced by the art which helps bring out the humor in Yang’s writing. This feels like something aimed at kids in look but as I said it’s great for adults too. I personally love the inviting art.

Like the first volume, this graphic novel is absolutely amazing and a must get for parents who want their kids to be entertained and educated at the same time. Even as an adult I found myself learning as Yang masterfully teaches without you feeling like you’re being taught to. Just an amazing accomplishment that has me excited for the next volume to see what I can learn next!

Story: Gene Luen Yang Art: Mike Holmes
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

First Second provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review