JavaScript for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming

jsfk

Written for people with no programming experience, especially those who might find the very idea of sitting down and learning to program intimidating, this book is likely to get some absolute newbies to the programming world very excited.  It starts with the most essential basics -- such as how do you get computers to do what you want them to -- and works it way up to building some simple but fun little programs such as creating a hangman game and doing some simple animation.  In between, it lays down the fundamental basics of programming -- data types, variables, arrays, objects, looping, and functions.  It even jumps into interactive and object-oriented programming and has the reader writing and modifying html.

One of the things that makes this book work so well is the book's layout.  Playful illustrations, noticeably larger than normal text, and a casual font for headings make the book surprisingly inviting.  It also ends most chapters with "What You Learned" and "Programming Challenges" sections to help cement the material in the readers' minds and tease them into seeing whether they can push what they have learned just a bit further.

What impressed me most was how solid a framework it lays down for programming essentials while maintaining a lighthearted, playful presentation throughout.  I'd recommend this book for anyone in middle school through to retirement who wants to see what programming is all about, but wants a gentle, fun introduction.  They won't be disappointed and they're likely to get to the end of this book with a much deeper understanding of programming in general than they probably ever expected.

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