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 9 and up
The LEAD Project. Super Scratch Programming Adventure! for Scratch 1.4. No Starch Press: San Francisco, 2012.
Scratch is an educational programming language designed by MIT’s Lifelong Learning Kindergarten Group. Its purpose is to get kids involved with computer programming without worrying about missing a line of code. This book lays out how to use this language. With short comics at the start of each chapter, this book looks and feels more like a graphic novel. The pages are full-colored and the story “adventure” will appeal to aspiring programmers. There is a lot of information in this book, but through the various projects, children will learn to manipulate their own creations. If your child played with Scratch and then lost interest, I recommend starting with this book. It will get one started with instant projects so a child can see the potential of the programming language. As your child progresses, they can use the provided programs as a way to make them their own by changing the commands.
Note: There are two versions for this book – Scratch 1.4 and Scratch 2.0. Until recently, Scratch 1.4 was the only version available as a download. I prefer the downloaded version for young children as it is too easy to be distracted by all of the cool projects on the Scratch web site. As students become comfortable with their projects, please introduce them to the amazing shared projects. They will be inspired to create and make them their own.