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Recently we reviewed a book that introduced kids to programming. The idea of getting my kids started in something that not only can lead to a rewarding career, but increase general logic and problem solving skills was very appealing. I recently had the opportunity to continue teaching my kids with a new programming book, Python For Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming by No Starch Press.
The first book we used taught the general thought processes and logic required to program, but Python For Kids jumps right into a specific language. Although I am not a programmer (yet?), I work in IT and interact with programmers a great deal. Python is an increasingly popular language due to its simplicity and ability to get programs up and running quickly. No Starch Press could not have chosen a better language to start teaching kids programming.
All the software required to follow along with the book is available online and 100% free of charge. Python For Kids explains in detail how to set your PC up to start. I was up and running in less than 15 minutes!
I’m going to say right away that Python For Kids is an excellent guide and very easy to follow, but I want to clarify the “For Kids” claim in the books title. Python For Kids has lots of fun pictures and talks to the reader in simple terms, but this book is not for all ages. I would feel comfortable saying that Python For Kids is an excellent start for kids as young as 12, but the concepts are still complex enough to be confusing for kids any younger (I am sure there are exceptions). I am not ashamed to say this is an excellent book for adults as well, it is not too simple.
The interpreter (software) that you download to follow along in the book is not specific to the book, it is the real legitimate interpreter that even professional programmers use to program in Python. This is no watered down version of Python! When you are done with the book you have learned real-world Python.
I have not finished the book, but I feel very comfortable recommending Python For Kids to anybody (young or old) wanting to learn to program. I have put my IT pride aside by showing off my Python For Kids book proudly on my desk at work. I simply cannot wait to finish the lessons and start my next programming learning adventure.
You can buy Python For Kids anywhere books are sold for as little as $20 as I write this. What a paltry investment for such grand returns!
Thank you to No Starch Press for providing a complimentary product sample for us to base this review upon.