Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding

Hello RubyHello Ruby: Adventures in Coding
by Linda Liukas; illustrated by
112 pages; ages 4-8
Feiwel & Friends, 2015

Imagine a picture book with chapters, combined with an activity book, all with the focus of inspiring young children to play around with tools of computer programming. At the core of this book is a philosophy that play is integral to learning, and that coding is a way to express yourself through play, like crayons or LEGO blocks.

This is no coding guide. Instead, Hello Ruby introduces fundamentals of the kind of thinking that kid coders need: how to break big problems into small problems; how to look for patterns; and how to write step-by-step directions (useful not only in sharing recipes but also in telling a computer what to do).

Ruby, the character in this book, is a small girl with a huge imagination and lots of cool friends. She builds things using her imagination, and that sometimes means making maps, gathering information, and testing out different solutions to problems.

The second half of the book is a collection of activities designed for parents and children to explore together. This is where the actual “coding” comes in. For example, how would you instruct Ruby in making her bed? You see, coding is how you tell a computer what things to do, and what order to do them in. This back section is where you play with logic, meet Booleans, and decode a secret language. Perfect for cold winter afternoons!

Head on over to Sally’s Bookshelf to catch an interview with author, Linda Liukas. Also, this week is Hour of Code, so check out Archimedes Notebook for some hands-on activities.