21 October 2015
I've just got a first look at my new book, Super Skills: How to Code, which is out now. The book aims to teach young readers some of the fundamental concepts of programming, using Scratch to demonstrate them, and introduces basic HTML and CSS for building web pages. It features colourful illustrations and has a spiral binding that means it stays flat on the desk when you're copying the code or using it as a reference. It has a cover that wraps around the spiral binding to protect it. Following the book, you can build a number of games and demos, and your first web page.
It's published by QED Publishing, with different editions in the UK and the US, and a separate edition available with library binding. You can find links for ordering the book in my shop here.
One of my favourite projects in the book is a platform game, which readers can easily customise with their own designs. There's an extended version of the game with multiple levels below. To play it you will need a Flash-compatible device.
To get the very best out of Scratch, and work within the confines of a short (but powerful!) book, I've focused on Scratch 2.0. That means some of the examples won't work on the Raspberry Pi or on computers that still use the old version of Scratch. Since Scratch 2.0 is available online for free, I hope that this won't spoil anybody's enjoyment.
For more information on the book, including sample pages, the example code, and some further reading, check out my page for Super Skills: How to Code. I put a couple of Easter eggs on that page too.
For titles for even younger readers, check out Max Wainewright's How to Code series, for which I was the technical consultant. For those who want to dig deeper into the topics and languages introduced in this title, check out my books Scratch Programming in Easy Steps, Web Design in Easy Steps and Raspberry Pi For Dummies.
What would you say is the cutover age (roughly) between the Wainewright series and your new book? i.e. when do "younger readers" become old enough to grapple with Super Skills?
I'm always a bit wary about giving out age recommendations because children are all different. I've posted samples of both books on my site to help parents choose the best book for their child.
That said, the Super Skills book was written for (roughly) age 8 and above. The scope of the programs is fairly sophisticated (interactive games) and there's a fair bit of text (see example pages). Max's books are for younger children, with less text, more puzzle content, and basic code examples.
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