Playful Intro to Programming
When I picked these books off the shelf from amidst a pile of programming books, there’s one thing I noticed right off the bat: they’re really big. At first I was concerned that, while the playful covers clearly catered towards kids, the content must be too detailed or complicated for the intended 5th grade audience. Thankfully, I was wrong! While the books are indeed thick (over 300 pages!), this only accentuates the excellent material inside. Like many other programming books, each lesson features a different aspect of programming (variables, if’s and else’s, loops, etc.), gradually building off of previous lessons. One feature that grabbed my attention was the clean, linear format—each section of programming logic is printed neatly with the output (and other helpful illustrations) just afterward. But what really stands out is the fun, quirky structure of each lesson. Throwing off the shackles of dry examples and bland topics, this series teaches Strings, Loops, and even games with silly-but-fun lessons using crazed monsters, covetous ravens, and more. The books are written intelligently without dumbing down the content and allowing new learners of all ages to grasp the concepts within.
Each book covers all the basics of the given programming language, gradually ascending to more complicated material and advanced topics in sections II and III. While the tone is geared towards a younger audience, the material lends itself well to first-time adult programmers. This facet allows it to be enjoyed by multiple amateurs at the same time—making the series perfect for both kids and their parents to learn together!