Category Archives: Books

Book Review :: How Does Cloud Computing Work?

In an effort to utilize my librarian background, I am embarking on a series of book reviews, to be published on Fridays. These reviews will cover science education books for and about children, as well as reality-based children’s books for a Montessori lifestyle.

Picture of the book, How Does Cloud Computing Work

A kids’ book on cloud computing, written by Leon Gray.

Ages 10 and up
Gray, Leon. How Does Cloud Computing Work? Gareth Stevens Publishing: New York, 2014.

For a book that tries to explain a very abstract concept, Gray does a great job of breaking down the various parts that make up ‘cloud computing.’ Although the book is short, he provides enough background information for students to understand how computers, the Internet and mobile storage are all connected. With chapters on the cloud and its various parts, students (and adults) will finish this book will a clearer understanding of where our data resides and why we can access it through our connected devices.

Picture of TOC for How Does Cloud Computing Work

Juvenile non-fiction book by Leon Gray explaining cloud computing.

How Does Cloud Computing Work?

Gray briefly discusses the sharing of information and how it has evolved from floppy disks to cables to wireless transmissions. This helps students to place the cloud computing concept into a historical context. I think it might be similar to my initial understanding of the evolution of television – from black and white to color. As in, wow, really? Television was really only in black and white? How could you tell what anyone was wearing or what color their hair was? Was there even a point to watching TV back then? At least, I imagine that’s how my children think about it when I tell them that the Internet (as they know it) wasn’t even around until I was in high school. But, alas, I digress…

Gray also introduces and defines the terms LAN, MAN and WAN. If you have a Minecraft player among you, they should be able to tell you what LAN (Local Area Network) stands for, but may stumble when asked about MAN or WAN. Since I don’t live knee-deep in computer science, I had a hard time coming up with the correct terms.  For the record, the Internet is a good example of a WAN (Wide Area Network).

This book is colorful and will appeal to today’s visually-oriented youth. Although some of the pictures are seemingly irrelevant, there are a few that are note-worthy, especially the picture of Tim Berners-Lee, the “father” of the modern-day Internet.

This is a great book to get your students excited about the different aspects of computer science. Cloud computing can be overwhelming, but this book does a good job of succinctly explaining a very abstract concept. Since the author uses the proper terminology, students can further their learning and seek out more information on a particular topic.

Pciture from How Does Cloud Computing Work by Leon Gray

 

Book Review :: Sylvia’s Super Awesome Project Book Vol. 2

In an effort to utilize my librarian background, I am embarking on a series of book reviews, to be published on Fridays. These reviews will cover science education books for and about children, as well as reality-based children’s books for a Montessori lifestyle.

Sylvia's Super Awesome Arduino book

Sylvia’s Super Awesome Arduino book

Book Review :: A Force for Good

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 science education books for and about children, as well as reality-based children’s books for a Montessori lifestyle.

Force_4_good_bookI know this book doesn’t seem to fit the mold of ‘science education’ or a ‘Montessori lifestyle,’ but stick with me – I promise I’ll make it work.

Toward the end of Dr. Montessori’s life, she began to talk more and more about educating children in an effort to achieve peace. She felt that through education, man could become fulfilled and then we could work toward a peaceful world. If you think about the context in which she lived – WWI and WWII – you can only imagine how strongly she must have wanted to find a solution to conflict.

It is this desire for peace – through education – that ties the above-mentioned book to a Montessori lifestyle. Part story and part biography, Goleman’s book walks us through the many facets of the current Dalai Lama’s way of thinking. Obviously he values compassion, understanding and forgiveness, but his comments eerily echo those of Dr. Montessori with regards to education. He feels that through compassion education we can open up communication and potentially avoid conflicts. World peace may truly be achieved if we can properly educate our children.

Of course, we need to begin with ourselves and be sure that we can identify our own emotions. As a Buddist monk, I imagine he’s had more practice than most of us, but this book shows how keenly interested he is in the science of being self-aware.

With an upbeat approach, Goleman recounts the numerous ways that the current Dalai Lama has made positive changes in our world. He also describes the ways in which the Dalai Lama delves deeply into scientific research, all to prove the value of his own mindful education. The result is a book full of hope – and a little despair – but with a positive vision for our future. It’s also a call to action and I am thankful for the reminder that I am part of a much bigger world.

 

Book Reviews :: Montessori Sensorial :: Visual Observation

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 science education books for and about children, as well as reality-based children’s books for a Montessori lifestyle.

One of the layouts from the children's book, Dreaming Up by Christy Hale.

One of the layouts from the children’s book, Dreaming Up by Christy Hale.

“The aim is not an external one, that is to say, it is not the objects that the child should learn how to place the cylinders, and that he should know how to perform an exercise. The aim is an inner one, namely, that the child train himself to observe; that he be led to make comparisons between objects, to form judgements, to reason and decide…”
– Maria Montessori, Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook, page 71

Visual Observation

Although many of the materials in this area of the classroom are based on the decimal system (pink tower, brown stair, knobbed cyclinders, etc.) and fit together in a very specific way – it is the hope that a young child will begin to notice when things “look out of place.” You want them to walk past that pink tower and notice when one of the other children didn’t put it back quite right. You want them to begin to develop their observation skills – to realize there is a world outside of themselves. Therefore, the books I have found ask children to notice something; to be active observers.

Ages 2.5 and up
Swineburne, Stephen. Lots and Lots of Zebra Stripes. Boyds Mill Press: Homesdale, PA, 1998.
Swineburne’s photographs showcase various brightly-colored animals and plants that exist in nature. The accompanying words (both Spanish and English) point out the concept of patterns and seasons, but the true gem of this book is in the details. Close-up photos of snakes, cut tree trunks and a sandy beach provide the opportunity to discuss patterns in everyday life. Younger children will enjoy identifying the objects in the pictures, but older kids may enjoy relating other incidences of patterns that they see outside.

Patterns in the sand.

Patterns in the sand.

Ages 4 and up
Hoban, Tana. Look! Look! Look! Greenwillow Books: New York, 1988.
The first page of each section provides the reader with a small square cut-out of the photograph that is featured on the following page. Excited youngsters will be eager to try and guess what the picture is – a surprise on every two pages. Photographs include: a border collie, a ferris wheel, a ball of red yarn, the back of an elephant, a pink rose, the leg of a Galapagos tortoise, a guitar, a lamb, and a pumpkin. Kids will enjoy looking over the book a few more times and “guessing” correctly. Use this book during a discussion about a whole item and its parts – or in an art lesson with a focus on detail.

From Tana Hoban's Look! Look! Look! Did you guess that this is a ball of yarn?

From Tana Hoban’s Look! Look! Look! Did you guess that this is a ball of yarn?

Ages 4 and up
Micklethwait, Lucy. I Spy A Lion: Animals in Art. Greenwillow Books: New York, 1994.
Micklethwait’s first “art” book was I Spy: An Alphabet in Art, a book where she asks children to look at famous art masterpieces and find objects that begin with “A, B, etc.” This book also features class art and children are asked to find certain animals in each layout. The animals are sometimes easy to spot and sometimes require a keen eye and a new way of looking at things. Similar to the I-Spy series of books by Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick.

Ages 3.5 and up
Hale, Christy. Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building. Lee & Low Books, Inc.: New York, 2012.
This fabulous book challenges children (and adults) to take a close look at the buildings and structures around them. In each two-page spread, Hale includes a picture of a famous architectural site and and displays a way that children can recreate it with everyday materials. For example, stacking cups can resemble the Petronas Twin Towers, while drip sand castles can recreate the La Sagrada Familia basilica in Spain. For the non-architects among us (and those older children interested in the reality of the buildings), Hale has included a detailed description of each building and its location, architect and date of creation. A fabulous book that makes the connection between art, free-building and purposeful design. Highly Recommended.

I love the picture of a real-world structure next to a child playing with similar building materials. What inspiration!

I love the picture of a real-world structure next to a child playing with similar building materials. What inspiration!

Ages 4 and up
LeSieg, Theo. Wacky Wednesday. Illustrated by George Booth. Random House, Inc.:New York, 1974.
Although this book has a lot of fantastical elements to it (there is a shoe on the wall, after all), the main backdrop to this story is the boy’s home and school. In typical Dr. Seuss fashion, this book rhymes and asks the reader to find an increasing array of out of place objects. Children will giggle as they see an extra large candy cane acting as a chair leg or find it incredibly odd that there is a turtle stuck up a tree. Since the book is not overly large, prepare to use this book in small group settings or snuggled up next to a child.

Wacky Wednesday is just one book in a large area of children’s publishing that asks you to find what’s out of place. Other interesting books include the Spot the Differences in Art series by Dover. These books are meant to be pored over within small groups, but accomplish the same task – asking the reader to look deeper.

Wacky Wednesday is a silly book. Do not read it at bedtime if you want your children to go to bed on time!

Wacky Wednesday is a silly book. Do not read it at bedtime if you want your children to go to bed on time!

To read more about reality-based books for the Sensorial section of a Montessori classroom, continue to the post about auditory learning.

 

Book Review :: Tinkering – Kids Learn by Making Stuff

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 science education books for and about children, as well as reality-based children’s books for a Montessori lifestyle.

Tinkering by Curt Gabrielson“It is sad to think that perhaps it is not the norm but rather something rare and special to see joyful kids learning.” -Curt Gabrielson

I am fresh off of the completion of my Coursera course on tinkering and feeling rather fired about this topic. Recently, a friend gave me Curt Gabrielson’s book, Tinkering: Kids Learn by Making Stuff. It’s part of the Make Magazine series of books and I happily dived in to see what he had to say.

As with many of the books on tinkering that I have come across, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that making, tinkering and building provides educational value. I don’t doubt it and I think observation is an important scientific tool. But, if you are looking for research studies that equate tinkering with learning, check out a different book. This book is FULL of projects. Stuff you can build and then lay out the supplies for the kids to build too. Pages after pages of projects that Gabrielson and others have done with the Community Science Workshop network (out in California).

Picture from Tinkering by Curt GabrielsonYou won’t find any step by step instructions here, but there are a lot of pictures and some great advice about what you, as a facilitator, will need to help kids begin tinkering. They even offer some really great ideas on how to store and organize all of those things that crop up for a productive afternoon of tinkering. Although the pictures are grainy and only in black and white, the ideas are enough to get you started. With chapters on sound, magnetism, mechanics, electric circuits, chemistry, biology, and engineering (with a special emphasis on motors), the children in your life will be bugging you to try out some of these projects.

Parents – hand the book to your kids and let them choose a project each month or do some focused project-based tinkering. This is problem-solving at it’s core and they aren’t getting a lot of that in school.  Although, the environmental-minimalist in me is cringing at the thought of what to do with those finished projects, I know they are important. So we do them anyway. And, take many of them apart when we are finished.

boys tinkering in the workshop

 

Book Review :: Batteries and Bulbs II

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 for a Montessori lifestyle.

From Batteries and Bulbs II - make a street light

From Batteries and Bulbs II – make a model street light

Ages 7 and up
Education Development Center. Batteries and Bulbs II: An Electrical Gadget Suggestion Book. Elementary Science Study. McGraw Hill: New York, 1969.
This very old, musty-smelling book has been loads of fun for me these past few weeks. In fact, as I picked it up from the library (on Interlibrary Loan – which means they had to borrow it from another library), the librarians were chuckling at my gleeful gasp as I grabbed it and started looking it over.

From the late 1960s

From the late 1960s

During the first week of my Tinkering class, my kids wanted to know more about electricity and batteries and how to make more things work. And I will admit, I am not a good “discover it by accident” kind of person. I like to have some resources and I like to try it the “safe” way and then I want to get at it and tinker. I am impatient. I’m trying to fix that. Truly.

This book and its predecessor, Batteries and Bulbs, were recommended by the Exploratorium as a resource for kids who were interested in learning more about circuits. Although I didn’t get to look at Batteries and Bulbs, this second book offers some extensions to our homemade circuit blocks. And, it has some really basic designs with items that would have been found in the 1960s – like creating a connection with a cut away piece from a tin can. (Oh, the Tetanus horrors)!

Love that there is NO mention of going to RadioShack for parts!

Love that there is NO mention of going to RadioShack for parts!

Since I wasn’t able to get Batteries and Bulbs I or II at my local library, I did pick out a few juvenile books on electricity. I found this book quite helpful. It was simple, but not boring, and nicely illustrated.

How to make a homemade bulb holder.

How to make a homemade bulb holder.

Book Reviews :: Montessori Sensorial :: Solids and Shapes

 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 for a Montessori lifestyle.

Montessori Sensorial __ VisualTechnically, we refer to this category as the “visual discrimination of form,” but that seemed awfully stuffy for a book review blog post. Essentially, it’s helping a child to visually notice the differences in objects, forms, etc. Later, we’ll add other ways to distinguish differences, such as by taste, touch and smell, but at this point we’re focusing on the visual sense.

As you can tell from the chart above, I’ve broken down the “visual sense” into the three main Montessori-defined categories (as I learned them in my AMS-training). For a review on how the Sensorial work fits into a Montessori 3-6 classroom, check out my post here. You can also find book reviews on color – for beginners and more advanced youngsters.

From Jane Brocket's Circle, Stars, and Squares

From Jane Brocket’s Circle, Stars, and Squares

Ages 1.5 -3.5
Hoban, Tana. So Many Circles, So Many Squares. Greenwillow Books: New York, 1998.
As with most of Hoban’s books, this one features full-length, full-color photographs of various real-life items. Bicycles and car tires are used to express the shape of a circle, but no words are mentioned. Children (and their adults) will be the ones to seek out the shapes in this book. I don’t think this is the best book to introduce shapes, but it would work well if the Montessori metal insets or the geometric cabinet have already been presented. You will want to use this book as further reinforcement of the concept of shapes.
For Montessorians — Be wary of Hoban’s inclusion of oranges and grapes to represent circles. Use this book only with the very young (who aren’t ready to grasp solids) or once the difference between shapes and solids has been firmly established.

The inside of a paw-paw fruit, from the book, A Triangle for Adaora.

The inside of a paw-paw fruit, from the book, A Triangle for Adaora.

Ages 3 and up
Onyefulu, Ifeoma. A Triangle for Adaora: An African Book of Shapes. Dutton Children’s Books: New York, 2000.
The real-life photographs of the African people (living their daily lives) makes this book a worthy choice for sharing with your young child. Thankfully, Onyefulu’s story flows nicely and helps to reinforce the various shapes that can be found in any environment. Adaora’s cousin helps her to find a triangle so that she will resume eating the paw-paw fruit. She had stopped eating it because it was such a pretty star shape. As Adaora’s cousin helps her to see all sorts of shapes, the readers are introduced to everyday life in presumably, Nigeria (as that is where the author is from). There are a number of local foods mentioned which would provide a great opportunity to introduce the children to the continent of Africa and some of its specialties (paw-paw fruit, cassava roots and plantains). This is a beautiful book that is worth sharing.

A Triangle for Aadora

A Triangle for Adaora by Ifeoma Onyefulu

My local library didn’t have the following book -and I have far exceeded my ILL requests for the year- but Shapes in Buildings looks as if it would blend in nicely to a reality-based way of learning.

Ages 4 and up
Emberley, Ed. The Wing on a Flea: A Book About Shapes. Little, Brown & Company: Boston, 2001.
Of all the artists to produce a book on shapes, no one knows better than Ed Emberley. His Go Away, Big, Green Monster book screams “shapes” without explicitly saying so and many of his instructional drawing books break down complicated objects in a collection of shapes. Therefore, his actual book on shapes starts with a supposition – “a triangle could be the wing on a flea or the beak on a bird; if you’ll just look and see.” His silly pictures continue to feature exaggerated shapes (an admiral’s hat, a piece of confetti, a map or eyes in the dark). Parents will note that the rectangle he mentions looks a lot like a square (which is technically a rectangle), but may confuse young children who are learning otherwise.

Ed Emberley's Shapes

Ed Emberley’s The Wing on a Flea.

Though I didn’t have a chance to review it, the book A Cloak for the Dreamer might be a good fit for an elementary classroom read aloud. Along those same lines, the book Grandfather Tang’s Story tells a fictionalized story based on tangram shapes. It’s quite appropriate for five-year-olds as they extend their work with tangrams (and constructive triangles).

Ages 4 and up
Brocket, Jane. Circles, Stars, and Squares: looking for shapes. Millbrook Press: Minneapolis, MN, 2013.
Brocket’s brightly colored photographs make this a book you will want to share with young children. Her proof of concept is especially useful as she clearly makes the distinction between flat shapes and solid shapes. Obviously, this book should be accompanied by hands-on activities that encourage children to simultaneously create their own shapes and solids. Montessorians should take careful note as the second shape that Brocket introduces is an oval, which looks quite similar to a Montessori ellipse.  So, do your research and make sure you aren’t confusing your kids (or yourself)!

Jane Brocket's view on solids.

Jane Brocket’s view on solids.

Ages 4 and up
Hoban, Tana. Cubes, Cones, Cylinders and Spheres. Greenwillow Books: New York, 2000.
This book features brightly-colored photographs that showcase geometric solids that we see in our everyday world. Traffic cones, bubbles, drums, dice and a globe are just some of the subjects featured in this book. This book is a great resource to use after a presentation on select geometric solids. Allow the children to apply their own knowledge of solids and ask them to keep track of other “solids” that they see on their way home. This book contains no words, so the resulting “answer” will provide a great starting point for a circle time discussion.

Ages 4 and up
Bryant, Jen. Georgia’s Bones. Illustrated by Bethane Andersen. Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers: Grand Rapids, MI, 2005.
“As a child, shapes often drifted in and out of Georgia’s mind.” Our story begins as we are introduced to celebrated artist, Georgia O’Keefe’s way of viewing the world. She is pictured as a young teenager gathering everyday objects – sticks, flowers, stones, leaves – to bring home and gaze upon them because they bring her pleasure. The story follows O’Keefe as she grows up to become an artist who was interested in the beauty of everyday objects. The text is short and simple and the drawings are soft and lovely, but it is Georgia’s own story of seeing different perspectives that will draw children and adults alike. Of course, you could also use this book during an art discussion with older students when discussing the concept of different perspectives and the science of observation.

Georgia's Bones

Georgia’s Bones

Book Reviews :: Montessori Sensorial :: Colors :: Part 2

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.

What better way to learn the names of colors than to use some paint! Outside, with newspapers, of course.

What better way to learn the names of colors than to use some paint! Outside…with newspapers, of course.

In Part One of the Sensorial color series, I focused on books for a younger audience. The books in this post are more appropriate for those children who are familiar with the concept of colors and know most of their names. They will be thrilled to point and identify the colors as you turn each page…anything to prolong the bedtime routine, right?

Ages 3.5 and up
Stockland, Patricia M. Red Eyes or Blue Feathers.: A Book About Animal Colors. Illustrated by Todd Ouren. Picture Window Books: Minneapolis, Minnesota: 2005.
Although the content and language are more appropriate for a one-on-one setting, this book would still be a good choice for circle time in a primary classroom. Each two-page spread features a brightly-colored animal with a brief description of how the animal’s coloring helps it to hide, hunt or attract a mate. The descriptions are short enough and the paper-cut illustrations are big enough (and bright enough) to hold a younger child’s attention. Use this book when discussing colors, animal adaptations or even when making paper-cuts in art (for an older audience).

IMG_0399

Ages 3.5 and up
Tullet, Hervé. Mix it Up! Chronicle Books: New York, 2014.
This simple, yet interactive little book will delight those young children who need to touch the pages during storytime. This hands-on book invites them to “touch” the paint on the page and mix it to make new colors. The colors on each page are smudges that resemble paint and it looks as if the paint was mixed by hand.  Obviously, this book is best read on a one-to-one basis, but one could also read this book in a small group setting where each child has a chance to participate. Perfect for pairing up with a lesson on primary and secondary colors.

IMG_0583 IMG_0582I have found that young children have a hard time making the distinction between primary and secondary colors, but they all enjoy mixing colors to make new ones. Another great hands-on lesson is to make different colored playdough. This could be a fun and informative “work” for the Sensorial shelf in a primary classroom.

I’ve heard good things about Tullet’s other book, Press Here. I also like the book Mouse Paint for an older audience – around six-years-old. At this point, they have a solid foundation between fantasy and reality and this story emphasizes the primary and secondary colors in a very silly way (white mice and a black cat). For your less verbal children, this creates a story of pictures in their head, which is often an easier way for them to remember new vocabulary.

Book Reviews :: Montessori Sensorial :: Color

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.

Sensorial materials from a primary classroom

Sensorial materials from a primary classroom

According to my AMS primary training, color is a part of the “visual” branch of the Sensorial materials. The visual materials include size, color and form (shape and solids). Many late three-and four-year-olds come into a classroom already knowing their colors. Occasionally, I see a student who has a hard time distinguishing between gray, black and brown and a young three-year-old may still be confused as to the names of colors. Color concept books are a welcome addition to the home and classroom.

Eager parents can start these books at home with their young child. You will be teaching them new concepts without having to do any formal lessons. If only we could learn everything that way! All of the books for this week are for very young children. The books next week will continue to discuss colors, but with a focus on finding new patterns within our world.

Ages 2 and up
Hoban, Tana. Is it red? Is it yellow? Is it blue?: an adventure in color. Mulberry Paperback Book: New York, 1978.
Although this book was published the year I was born, it is still a relevant and intriguing book. Young listeners will want to touch the circles of color that show up on each page while adults name them. This wordless book features photographs of colorful objects and everyday scenes. There are red and green apples, a line of brightly-colored cars and a gumball machine. At the bottom of each page, Hoban has included dots of color – to be found within each photograph. This book is best in a one-to-one setting, snuggled up with your two-year-old. They will delight in finding the colors in the everyday objects and you will happily name them over and over again.

Tana Hoban

Tana Hoban

Ages 2 and up
McMillan, Bruce. Growing Colors. HarperCollins Publishers. New York: 1988.
With large, bright photographs, this book displays the different colors of select fruits and vegetables. The color word is written in block text and filled with the featured color. For example, RED is shown in red, with a full-size , enlarged picture of raspberries. PURPLE has a detailed picture of purple string beans. On the opposite page, a small picture of the bean plant is also shown. This book is perfect for a circle time discussion of fruits and vegetables and naming the colors. The only text is the color word, allowing young children the ability to focus on the crisp pictures.

IMG_0400

Bruce McMillan’s Growing Colors

Ages 2.5 and up
Hopgood, Tim. Wow! Said the Owl. Farrar, Strauss and Giroux : New York, 2009.
A semi-realistic story, which follows a little owl as she stays awake one day to discover all of the wonderful colors in the landscape. The owl does not speak, other than to say “Wow” which could be translated into “ooh” by the teacher. A simple story introduces the concept of color and encourages youngsters to look for the color in their everyday world.

Ages 2 and up
Murphy, Stewart J. Beep Beep, Vroom Vroom! Illustrated by Chris Demarest. HarperCollins Publishers: New York, 2000.
Kevin’s little sister, Molly, really wants to play with his red, yellow and blue cars, but Kevin is afraid that she will break them. Kevin also has a certain way he likes to line up his cars. So when Molly sneaks upstairs to play with Kevin’s cars, her mother finds her and helps her to put the cars away – but in the wrong order. Happily, Molly continues to play and her dad sees her and helps Molly to line up the cars in a completely different, but still incorrect, pattern. Savvy children will notice and remember the different patterns, but the author does not point it out. In the end, Molly remembers the order of Kevin’s cars and neatly lines them up before returning downstairs to join the family.

Stuart Murphy's Beep Beep, Vroom Vroom book of colors and patterns.

Stuart Murphy’s Beep Beep, Vroom Vroom book of colors and patterns.

 

 

 

Book Reviews :: Web Design with HTML5

 

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.

html_for_kidsAt first glance, I thought this thin book had too many words and not enough pictures. And, in some ways, I was right. My visually-oriented, computer-geek loving nine-year-old didn’t really go near this book after a first perusal. And for reference, he’s on his 4th re-read of the Harry Potter series in 3 months. The boy loves to re-read books that interest him. Especially non-fiction books.

Ms. Van Lent did a great job of laying out the parts of a web page, but I think she assumes just a little too much from students. She recommends that you use Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit (on Mac) to write out your HTML code. This is a great first step and it allows students to use the materials they have on hand. I would have liked to seen a brief description of why you can’t just use word processing software, but I may be getting ahead of myself.

Throughout the book, she walks students through steps to create a basic web page. All of which is great! Until she recommends they test it in their browser. Unfortunately, she doesn’t tell them how to open up a file in their browser window and I think that new HTML5 users may have trouble with this step.

So, I am hesitant to recommended this book as a stand alone book. This definitely needs some adult guidance, at least with the younger set of kids. But, it is a really good first step into creating an HTML page from scratch. The last two chapters give even more formatting codes and recommendations (and warnings) about publishing your page to the web. Though she gives basic suggestions about domain names and servers, there are no recommended kid-friendly web hosting sites listed. So, interested kids need to turn to parents to find out this information and that may be a huge let down if a child’s parents are not tech-savvy enough to manage that next step.

Overall, I think this is a helpful book, but only for a tech-savvy parent who is comfortable with the questions they might get from their children. I would also suggest that this might be a good book to use in conjunction with Code Academy’s HTML interactive course. The course breaks down each concept and the hands-on work ensures active participation from your child.