What does it mean to be human?

The Clone Codes #1 - Patricia C. Mckissack;Fredrick McKissack;John McKissack

In the year 2170, clones are created to do specific jobs and basically treated like slaves. They are created bald, with skin colors, like purple, orange, and silver and referred to by number. These measures serve to dehumanize them and make it easy for people to spot a clone. In addition to clones, there are cyborgs; a person becomes a cyborg if they have artificial or bionic parts (due to replacements from accidents or illness). Cyborgs are considered three fifths of a person.  


The book opens with Leanna attending virtual school and experiencing the Underground Railroad with Harriet Tubman. The reader quickly sees the comparison between slaves and the clones & cyborgs. At the start of the book, Leanna sees the clones and cyborgs as less than people also; 99% of society does. But, Leanna is about to discover some secrets that will rock her world.


This is a compelling story and Leanna goes through a significant transformation. Students should read this book when they learn about slavery in U.S. history. It could lead to thought-provoking discussions about slavery, cloning, and society.


I do have to admit that the "secrets" Leanna discovers are pretty obvious from page one, but that doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the story. At the end of the book, the authors compare fact to fiction. At 165 pages, the book is a quick, enjoyable read that also teaches some history. This is book one of a trilogy, which I will end up reading I'm sure.


Recommended to:

Students in grades 5 and up.