Offbeat

By Mollie Mansfield


A stunning young woman has written a children’s storybook to encourage girls to learn how to code.

After learning how to code herself whilst studying at high school, Sasha Ariel Alston, 21, realised not enough girls were learning the technological skill.

PICS BY SASHA ARIEL ALSTON/CATERS NEWS

Sasha, from Washington, DC, US, decided to write a book to encourage other girls to learn how to code and to stop gender stereotypes in the technology industry.

‘Sasha Savvy Loves to Code’, which is aimed at girls aged seven to 10, revolves around the character Sasha Savvy, a smart 10-year-old African American girl who, after much deliberation, decides to learn to code at summer camp.

Sasha said: “I hope my main character, Sasha Tech Savvy, will inspire girls to pursue opportunities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) because I see first-hand how underrepresented women and girls are in this area in both college and careers.

“I don’t want to be an unhidden figure and I don’t want other girls to be either.

PICS BY SASHA ARIEL ALSTON/CATERS NEW

“With enough support and sales, I will be able to donate some books to schools, community centres, and not-for-profits that uplift girls.

“I hope to not only inspire girls to pursue opportunities in both the STEM and publishing industries but to also dream big.

Alongside removing the stereotype of a ‘traditional coder’ in her book, Sasha also teaches children tips on how to make coding easier and how useful the skill is.

She said: “An important tip to teach children coding is to help them have a positive attitude about it.

“In my book, I emphasise what coding allows us to do in our daily lives.

PICS BY SASHA ARIEL ALSTON/CATERS NEWS

“Once you get this across, you can show how it can be used to solve all kinds of problems.

“It’s also important to let children know that making mistakes while coding might happen but to keep trying and to ask for help.

“There are plenty of resources on the Internet that will teach the skill set but the mindset is most needed.

“Without capturing a strong interest, children will move on quickly and may never return.

“I wrote the book to encourage children to try something new and to stick with it if their interest gets even a little sparked. It can pay off.”