Power On!

Power On!

By Jean J. Ryoo and Jane Margolis

A diverse group of teenage friends learn how computing can be personally and politically empowering and why all students need access to computer science education.





A diverse group of teenage friends learn how computing can be personally and politically empowering and why all students need access to computer science education.

This lively graphic novel follows a diverse group of teenage friends as they discover that computing can be fun, creative, and empowering. Taylor, Christine, Antonio, and Jon seem like typical young teens—they communicate via endless texting, they share jokes, they worry about starting high school, and they have each other's backs. But when a Black man is shot and killed by police in their city, they are outraged—and then they learn that he had been misidentified and tracked by an artificial intelligence program. How can an algorithm be racist? And what is an algorithm, anyway? In school, they decide to explore computing classes, with mixed results. One class is only about typing. The class that Christine wants to join is full, and the school counselor suggests that she take a class in “Tourism and Hospitality” instead. (Really??) But Antonio's class seems legit, Christine finds an after-school program, and they decide to teach the others what they learn. By summer vacation, all four have discovered that computing is both personally and politically empowering.

Interspersed through the narrative are text boxes with computer science explainers and inspirational profiles of people of color and women in the field (including Katherine Johnson of Hidden Figures fame). Power On! is an essential read for young adults, general readers, educators, and anyone interested in the power of computing, how computing can do good or cause harm, and why addressing underrepresentation in computing needs to be a top priority.


$19.95 T ISBN: 9780262543255 136 pp. | 6.75 in x 10 in


  • “A must-read for every educator working to make the pressing issues of technology and harm legible to kids.”

    Safiya Noble

    Associate Professor, UCLA; author of Algorithms of Oppression

  • “A meaningful, student-centered look at the impact of computing, and the power of student voice. I encourage computer science teachers of all grade levels to read this and share with their students.”

    Jake Baskin

    Executive Director, Computer Science Teachers Association

  • Power On! is a next-level, full-service graphic novel that is sure to 'power on' CS education for students. I couldn't put it down!”

    Brenda Wilkerson

    President and CEO, AnitaB.org

  • “A brilliant model of theory to practice for digital equity scholars and practitioners.”

    Kim Scott

    author of Compugirls: How Girls of Color Find and Define Themselves in the Digital Age

  • “Margolis and Ryoo have found the perfect medium to convey to young Latina/o students the importance of their participation in artificial intelligence. The message is clear and empowering and will leave students asking for more.”

    Patti Ordóñez

    Associate Professor of Computer Science, University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras

  • Power On! is a beautifully written and illustrated tool for engaging learners in critical issues related to equity, justice, and computer science education, and empowering young people to be the leaders of our future.

    Allison Scott

    CEO, Kapor Center

  • Power On! does a great job of identifying the many challenges students from different identities face in pursuing/completing CS courses. I love how they all find ways to advocate for themselves and others!”

    Nicki Washington

    Professor of Practice, Duke University; author of Unapologetically Dope: Lessons for Black Women and Girls on Surviving and Thriving in the Tech Field

  • Power On! reveals the deep connections we too often overlook between computer science, narrative, friendship, and justice. Drop into a dynamic story world where four devoted friends support one another, learn a lot, and mobilize for change.”

    Lissa Soep

    coauthor of Code for What? Computer Science as a Medium for Storytelling and Justice