Curly Bracket - The Hidden Code - A Graphic Novel

Tor Moström & Johan Wendt Explain Why It’s So Important To Teach Kids to Think Like Coders

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The mindset of a coder is valuable both in and out of the classroom, teaching students the importance of problem solving and that it’s okay to fail.
— Tor & Johan
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Curly Bracket: The Hidden Code is a graphic novel about Curly Bracket, an adventurous 13-year-old girl growing up in a dystopian future where everything is ruled by the mysterious company Corporatus.

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The book has been out in Sweden for a year and so far the reception has been great – both kids and parents love it. Not only that, but it’s now being used as an educational tool in school curriculums across Sweden.

There have been tons of books written in every coding language that teach kids how to code, but what is needed is a book to teach kids how to solve a problem, how to create an algorithm, how to break down a problem into smaller steps and put them together.
— Tor & Johan
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Tor Moström is an award-winning coder who also writes books teaching children to think like coders and Johan Wendt started Europe's largest after school program teaching one million children math and coding for free every month.

Why are they so passionate about teaching kids to code?

Basically we can look at parents’ level of education and by that determine kids’ futures when it comes to studies and that is something that we want to change. We want to reach out with Curly Bracket to as many kids as possible because we want to light the spark for coding and interest in coding. And the reason is that the world is changing…. The most common job in Stockholm today is a software developer. In order for the next generation to find jobs, we want to give them a chance to pick up coding very early.
— Johan

They collaborated with Peter Bergting, a well-known fantasy illustrator in Sweden, to make Curly Bracket look amazing. Bergting has illustrated, among other things, the roleplay West, Mutant and Kult and has also contributed to the games Battletech and Vampire the Eternal Struggle. In the United States, he has produced a number of series novels for Image Comics, IDW and Dark Horse.

Besides the fact that the book is well-written, has terrific illustrations, and features a girl, what I love about it is that it got me excited about thinking like a coder – and that’s not something I ever thought possible!

In each chapter, Curly is faced with a problem which she then solves, and at the end of the chapter, Tor and Johan explain how she did it. For example, mean ol’ superintendent Mrs. Murk makes Curly calculate the sum total of all numbers from 1-100 (in other words, 1+2+3+4, etc.), fully intending to stump the girl and ruin her life. But 57 seconds later, Curly returns with the answer: 5,050.

In four steps (decompose the problem, recognize a pattern, design an algorithm, execute the algorithm), they walk you through how Curly solved the problem – by looking at the problem from a different angle.

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To download the fun and educational graphic novel Curly Bracket: The Hidden Code visit the website: http://www.curlybracket.com/.

You can also read the first chapter, including the problem solving part, for free, but I know that once you do you’ll be hooked, so you might as well just purchase the whole book!

And, of course, be sure to listen to our podcast to hear the story directly from the authors.

Selena Templeton, Editor, DiverseIT on ITSPmagazine