In an effort to utilize my librarian background, I am embarking on a series of book reviews, to be published every Friday. These reviews will cover computer programming books aimed at children, as well as reality-based children’s books.
Ages 11 – adult
Marji, Majed. Learn to Program with Scratch: A Visual Introduction to Programming with Games, Art, Science and Math. No Starch Press: San Francisco, 2014.
The premise of Marji’s book is not to learn how to use Scratch, but rather to teach core computer programming concepts using Scratch as a medium. The pages are full of colored samples and lots of fun challenges, but this is not a book I would recommend for a beginner. For example, Marji doesn’t get to the sprite and background editor until chapter three and I have found that I can hook my young students with these two tools. Rather, I think this book is great for those who have learned how to make a lot of animations and interactions with Scratch. Especially with regards to young children, I think it’s more important to have them realize the interesting things they can make before getting into the how and why of what makes it function. For advanced (or older) students who want to learn the language of computer programming, this is a fabulous textbook. Altogether, the book’s focus on traditional programming concepts makes it a handy reference text.