Before writing the chapter book, Alston visited her local library. “I read things like the Junie B. Jones books to help me get inside the minds of my audience, 7- to-10-year-olds,” says Alston. She also drew on her own experience of going to coding camp when she was in high school.
Alston submitted her book to agents, but they rejected it. “I was discouraged, but I didn’t give up,” she says. At her mom’s suggestion, Alston wrote a list of reasons she believed the book was needed. “That gave me the motivation to keep going,” she says.
Eventually, Alston decided to publish the book herself. She raised $18,000 through an online fundraiser. “It was amazing,” says Alston. “It showed me that this book was truly needed and that people were inspired by my story.”