Alex Miles, The Hackathon (Girl Geeks #1), Penguin Random House Australia, July 2019, 192 pp., RRP $14.99 (pbk) ISBN 978014379505
I’ve taken my kids to a few robotics and coding workshops at our local library over the years and thought I was fairly up- to-date on technology, but this book opened my eyes to a whole new world. The 10-year-olds in this story have a school project to pitch their own technology startup – an actual business!
It’s told from the point of view of Hamsa, who ends up working with a group of girls she doesn’t know well, away from her usual popular clique. She’s thrown outside her comfort zone, introduced to loads of technical jargon and ideas, including hackers, hipsters and hustlers, incubators, wireframes and pivoting. The reader learns alongside her as Hasma sets up online message feeds for her group to chat on. They have to brainstorm, problem solve and work as a team to succeed. While the book centres around the school project, Hamsa is also struggling to figure out her friendships and where she fits. There’s themes of honesty, integrity and being true to yourself too. It’s a fun, educational read that inspires girls to embrace their individual strengths, think creatively and be willing to try.
The series is written by Melbourne author Alex Miles in partnership with Girl Geek Academy, an Australian-based global movement that aims to increase the number of women with successful technology and games careers.
Reviewed by Carissa Mason