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Help Your Kids with Computer Coding Paperback – 19 May 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley) (19 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 146541956X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1465419569
  • Product Dimensions: 19.5 x 1.4 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 275,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"[T]he instruction is so well thought out and presented that, even without parents watching over their shoulders, kids should be able to teach themselves both of the languages without much trouble." - GeekDad.com

""Help Your Kids With Computer Coding" was just the thing I needed to give my daughter a jump start on programming a game." - GeekDad.com

..".[T]his is not your typical, boring programming text. The book is colorful, playful and engaging, using a combination of words and pictures to explain complex programming topics." - SheKnows.com

"[T]he instruction is so well thought out and presented that, even without parents watching over their shoulders, kids should be able to teach themselves both of the languages without much trouble." GeekDad.com

""Help Your Kids With Computer Coding" was just the thing I needed to give my daughter a jump start on programming a game." GeekDad.com

" [T]his is not your typical, boring programming text. The book is colorful, playful and engaging, using a combination of words and pictures to explain complex programming topics." SheKnows.com"

A TECH/prep by Facebook recommended resource.

"[T]he instruction is so well thought out and presented that, even without parents watching over their shoulders, kids should be able to teach themselves both of the languages without much trouble." GeekDad.com

""Help Your Kids With Computer Coding" was just the thing I needed to give my daughter a jump start on programming a game." GeekDad.com

" [T]his is not your typical, boring programming text. The book is colorful, playful and engaging, using a combination of words and pictures to explain complex programming topics." SheKnows.com

"I highly recommend this book for introducing the world of computer science to adults and students in grade 5 and higher." EdSurge.com"


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I brought this book for our daughter, whom is home educated. She loves this book and it is easy to follow and explained well
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is so easy to follow
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Format: Paperback
As an introduction to programming, it's straightforward and colourful.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9c157150) out of 5 stars 61 reviews
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9aa86b94) out of 5 stars Enticing Design, Content Wanting 17 Oct. 2014
By Rob M - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When a parent of one of my students showed me this book at first I was impressed by the color and 8-bit fun design style. Then I looked closer at the material it covers. Later, after one student's frustration with the Bubble Blaster project that he couldn't get to work even with both parents' help I looked more closely and identified several anti-idioms, bad practices, and overall confusion in that particular challenge, which prompted me to create http://github.com/skilstak/dk-help-your-kids-with-computer-coding to help them through it.

I also really don't like Scratch. I favor and promote Blockly (http://learn.code.org) instead for many reasons including the fact that it is open-source, not created in Flash, allows porting to JavaScript and Python, and -- most of all -- actually includes functions (a core programming concept). Scratch is way too open-ended for the kind of learn-through-failure challenges presented on code.org. But if you are going to do Scratch then this book does add some structure to an otherwise complicated, unstructured Scratch site (think 4-year-olds here). I know Scratch has helped thousands to learn programming and I'm sorry this sounds negative but knowing the alternatives is important.

I still consider this one of the better books for the target audience particularly for the sections in the back that take on more advanced topics about how computers work and such. I also love the one-to-one comparison of Scratch-to-Python and their use of Python 3, which is a very good first _real_ programming language to learn.

I almost wish Python for Kids could be combined with this book and the Scratch section replaced with Blockly challenges. But at least it is something to refer to.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9aa86be8) out of 5 stars A programer's perspective 22 Aug. 2014
By ut158 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have read several positive reviews on this book and I think they accurately describe my take on this book. Let me add...

I write code for a living and in the past I've wanted to teach some of that to the kids, but I found it a bit difficult to know where to start. Heck, it can be difficult simply to come up with an example program to write that will be simple and illustrate a particular point. I thought this book did a great job starting at the beginning and laying a foundation to build on. There are lots of samples and examples of code including a game where you make a submarine move around and pop bubbles. (Disclaimer: I have not actually taken the code that was presented and written it out myself to make sure there are no bugs.)

Any beefs I had with this book were little nit-picky things. Like...
* the authors refer to parenthesis as "brackets" (and brackets as "square brackets"). I have never heard parentheses called brackets before and every time I read that I stopped and said, "Huh? That wouldn't work!" only to realize they didn't mean brackets, they meant parentheses. Just to set the record straight:
These are parentheses --> ( )
These are brackets (aka "square brackets", but that sounds redundant)--> [ ]
These are braces (aka "curly braces"; again redundant) --> { }
They might all look similar but mean MUCH DIFFERENT things in programming languages.
* There is a little blurb that said something like "Computer programmers use the term 'GIGO' which stands for 'Garbage In, Garbage Out'...". No we don't. Sure, we all know what it means, but nobody I've ever talked to has ever actually USED the term. It's a word that I have only ever heard used when teaching the concept that bad data yields bad results. However, in every day speech, we don't say GIGO, we say "bad data" or "bad input"; the bad output is implied and understood.
* the book mentions several popular languages, but C#, my language of choice, was not one of them (<frown>).

Other that stuff like that, the book is fabulous and gets my stamp of approval. Even if you don't know anything about programming, you can get this for your kids--I really don't think you will need to supplement anything from this book to help them understand what they are saying (or heck--you can read it yourself if you want to learn about it, too). The only prerequisite would be at least a spark of interest in the topic on the part of the reader (old or young).

Recommended.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9aa86ae0) out of 5 stars I got this book for me! (The parent) - Scratch & Python coding. 20 Aug. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Firstly, my husband is a computer programmer, and I've dabbled a little with MS Access. I saw this book and right away it appealed to me, but we also have two little boys I thought might want to read this book as well.

This book is definitely not for little kids. I'm going to guess about a 10 year old (give or take), but I don't know, kids start so young at coding these days.

This book is part of DK's "Help Your Kids" series, and written by some great English & Scottish scholars, one of which is Carol Vordeman, former co-host of the English show "Countdown" and mathematician -- I loved watching her as a kid! Other contributing authors are Dr. Jon Woodcock, Sean McManus, Craig Steele, Claire Quigley, and Daniel McCafferty.

Section 1 covers "What is Coding?" a brief 6 page explanation of what a computer program is, how computers think, and what the programming languages are. This book only discusses two languages: Scratch & Python.

Section 2 is all about "Scratch" coding. About 60 pages cover what it is, what things mean, and how to program simple games using it. There are lots of pictures and examples, and I found it fairly easy to follow. The book tells you how to download Scratch to your computer, and walks you through easy things like making a "sprite" (character) talk, or something more complex like building a game that you can modify as you learn more coding.

Section 3 is all about "Python." I found this part useful because it's something I've heard a lot about but didn't really understand. I appreciate the authors easy description of how to write code using Python as it compares to Scratch (page 87). Once again the authors show you how to install Python and start you off on writing simple codes for a game. The book covers errors in coding and how to find them, simple and hard commands, making decisions, loops, lists, functions, and a LOT more. Here I started to feel overwhelmed with nearly 90 pages of explanation that seemed more complex than Scratch, or maybe my brain just couldn't handle that much information at once.

Section 4 is all about what's Inside Computers. Basically how they're designed, binary codes, processors and memory, the Internet and IP addresses. I read this and plan to use it to explain to my kids.

Section 5 is Programming in the Real World, which talks a bit more about all the different programming languages, and includes the names of some of the top Programmers in the world. This is just a hodgepodge of information that didn't fit anywhere else in the book.

Overall I like the book, and can't wait to try my hand at writing some of the programs. It's definitely a nice start to understanding computers and computer coding. My husband thumbed through the book and was disappointed that it wasn't more useful for our 5 year old son, but he would like to sit with him and work through the coding projects. I was impressed with it, and figure it's a good place to start for me, the parent, who likes to have things broken down very simply before I go off and learn more.

I'm rating it 4 out of 5 because I feel like organization on each page could be a little clearer. It's a bit overwhelming to look at with a lot going on, and I just didn't like the pixel pictures, kind of drove me crazy after awhile because there are so many of them.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9aa949c0) out of 5 stars More written for kids than parents - and that's a good thing! 13 Aug. 2014
By J. Tant - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a good book, though the title is a bit misleading. I had thought it would be more parent-focused, but instead it seems aimed directly at kids. That is not a bad thing, but just something to be aware of.

That said, the book is written in a highly approachable style, with plenty of graphics that, while colorful and active, aren't too busy and therefore detracting from the content. It starts out with a very basic explanation of what a computer program is, very basic concepts of how a computer interprets commands, and then gets into the hot diggety. Scratch is heavily featured here, and if your kid even has a modicum of interest in programming, I highly recommend getting started in Scratch. The book exactly duplicates the unique style one sees in Scratch programs (namely the color-coded balloons), so going back and forth between the computer screen and the book is ultra-easy.

The second half of the book focuses on Python, a more traditional language, but again the authors go into the challenging material in an approachable and logical manner. Examples given (here and in Scratch) are clear and very good at illustrating the concepts the authors are trying to get across.

The last part of the book gets into some very light computer science topics, like how computers work (and not just lay stuff either - things like logic gates are described), as well as some exploration of real world programming concepts.

Frankly, I had wanted this book as a way to help me help my son (10 years old), but it is actually something I was able to just hand to him and he flew with it. It's a good book.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9aa948dc) out of 5 stars Good book for kids; could even be good for adults. 29 July 2014
By Jene E. Simmons - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a very clear, concise book written like a textbook. I could see this being helpful to adults wanting to learn to code; trying to jump in to something like, say, JavaScript as a first language would be foolish, while Scratch teaches a person the basics of coding in a drag-and-drop environment. If you know someone with a passing interest in computers but who thinks computers just do random things to spite them, this could be helpful as well.
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