At an early age, Sasha Ariel Alston became interested in learning to code. However, she quickly realized there were never many girls — especially African Americans — interested in learning to code as well. Her early observations quickly led her to fulfill a goal of writing a children’s book to motivate girls to learn about STEM and coding at a young age.
The book, Sasha Savvy Loves to Code, took Alston two years to write. It focuses on a 10-year-old girl who becomes interested in learning to code, much like Alston did at that age. Young readers will be immersed in basic coding terms via the book and the hope is to pique their interest, much like Alston’s was.
In the book, 10-year-old Sasha Savvy has the opportunity to attend coding camp with two friends after her mom, a software developer, gives her a small taste of what it is like to code. Sasha’s interest is sparked even further when she realizes she can create gaming apps.
Alston, a 19-year-old Pace University student majoring in information systems and minoring in marketing, said she was motivated to write her book after she noticed a “lack of diversity in terms of gender and race” in the field.
“A lot of people aren’t aware of what STEM is and what coding is,” she said. “I wanted to raise awareness of the acronym, specifically for girls.”
Because Alston self-published the book, she had to raise the funds on her own. Via Kickstarter, she was able to meet her goal of $5,000 in four days. By the time the campaign had ended, she had raised more than $17,000 to help publish her book.
Alston’s biggest hope for her book is that it encourages girls to chase their dreams while also focusing their attention on the world of STEM.
“I just want them to know they can achieve whatever they want.”