Hello World!


When we set out to write a book, we had some goals and a vision for how it would turn out. Getting the book written and published was a long and winding road. (It felt, really, really, excruciatingly long at times). So, when we got to the end of it and actually had a book in our hands, we wondered if those initial goals and vision made it through to the end result. Happily, we feel they did. But of course we want to know what others think of it, too. Do kids, parents, teachers, and other readers think the book is useful, readable, and fun?

We’ve started getting some reviews of the book, and it is very gratifying to see that others are noticing and pointing out the very qualities that we tried hardest to include: fun and readable (but not condescending), well organized, suitable for use in schools and at home.

Here are some of the latest reviews from Amazon:

A Wonderful Book, Dec 12, 2011
Great homeschooling programming resource, October 28, 2011
Father Son Project  (“… it is perfect.”), September 22, 2011
Eleven-year-old loves it, August 30, 2011
Almost mistake-proof learning, August 21, 2011
Terrific book for a father/son project, May 23, 2011
A great resource for High School CS teachers, March 29, 2011
Excellent resource for a middle schooler, March 24, 2011
Great book for non-programmers, March 14, 2011
First Place Science Fair Award!, February 1, 2011
GREAT asset to my computer class, January 12, 2011

Here’s what some other reviewers have said about the book:

Noel O’Blog:
I think this is a great book that fills a real niche. … What’s amazing is that it has set its sights so high, and yet manages to meet its goals. I think it would be great to see this book promoted as a way of teaching programming in primary schools. In the meanwhile if you know any 12+ kids interested in computers, give them an opportunity to develop a fascinating hobby and get them this book.

JR Peck (on Slashdot)
The book is formatted with lots of visuals and fly-outs that give information on how computers operate and how programming languages deal with information processing. My daughter and I have already had interesting discussions on subjects like integers and floats. An example that draws a sine wave led to a great teachable moment about amplitude and wave length. Then there is the constant need for approaching problem solving in a structured manner using logic. I think that taking on programming brings a wide number of benefits.

Hello World! Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners is a clear and easy-to-digest voyage through the beginnings of programming with Python. … By having a junior author involved in the learning process, the reader can quickly identify with the questions being asked to either reinforce the concept that they have learned, or if required, cling to it like a life preserver until they come to a better understanding. It’s a good writing strategy that not only supports an even paced read and lesson, but makes the task at hand genuinely more enjoyable.

Dan Appleman (Gadgets Examiner):
“Hello World” is easy to read, well written and logically organized. … In an unusual twist, the authors chose to use Python as their computer language. In this they made an outstanding decision. … Beginners learn best with a kind of language called an interpreter – that allows you to experiment interactively, and Python is a fine choice. Plus the Python language is similar enough to other languages so that a kid who learns it will be able to move to others if necessary. The programming concepts that are taught in the book are easily transferrable to other languages.

The book also has a nice selection of sample programs, with an emphasis on games, but with enough variety that a broad set of concepts can be covered. And the games include graphics – which adds to the appeal…. So this is one book that I’d encourage you not just to buy for your kids, but to read and work on with them.

These days a search for “programming for kids” on Amazon wouldn’t return any interesting results, until now. A new book called “Hello World! Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners” has just come out. It is a book in the spirit of those old BASIC programming books. It covers the fundamentals of programming using the Python language and has game programs that you can get started with including a lunar lander game and a ski-free clone. If you want to learn programming or teach it to a kid, this is your book. Enjoy!

David Brin:
Hello World! helps challenge young people to take on technology, making it fun, without dumbing-down the adventure.

Sue Gee (I-programmer):
I’m very pleased to discover this new book written by a father and son team to help make up for a very real deficiency in the educational system. Learning to program is a mind expanding experience so while the book has been written to appeal to a young audience it has a lot to offer all beginners. It adopts a logical approach and presents clear explanations backed up by well chosen examples. This book is a very good introduction to programming and can be recommended to anyone, young or old, who wants to start learning this vital and highly enjoyable skill.

Steven Gilham (on amazon.co.uk)
Hello World! is a gentle and humorous introduction to the idea of programming, using Python, a language well suited to filling the niche that BASIC dialects did a generation ago. Even to a crusty and cynical old-timer, like myself, it makes entertaining reading — not only is the writing style light and engaging, but you can nod sagely and think “Been there, done that” at all the “In the good old days” asides.

Trying out on members of the target audience, it has proven a hit. In its catchy and absorbing manner, it explains the fundamentals (the simple things like variable names being, well, just names) clearly and the exercises concentrate on making fun things happen sooner rather than later. The infectious enthusiasm of the author even managed to hook my non-programmer wife, and get her trying out the examples.