Book Review: Hello, World!

Hello, World! Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners by
Warren and Carter Sande is an introduction to programming in general
(and Python specifically) aimed at pre-teens or young teens.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book from Manning
through the PyATL Book Club.

Although the book is designed for a young audience, it is not
condescending as many kids books tend to be so it remains readable by
adults who need a very basic text on how computer programs work. And
by “basic” I mean from the ground up. The book covers using an editor
to create and modify program files, numbers, strings, variables,
branching, and looping. It doesn’t stop with basic topics, though. By
the mid-point of the book, the authors have built up to the point
where introducing PyGame and graphics programming isn’t a stretch, and
by the end of the book they have covered the GUI, animation, and sound
techniques needed to create two simple computer games.

The writing style is clear and friendly without coming off as cutesy.
Each chapter is relatively short, with review questions at the end in
the style of a text book (the answer guide is available in the
appendix). There is a liberal use of sidebars to break up longer
sections or highlight related digressions. And the authors also don’t
shy away from showing “broken” versions of programs as they evolve,
which teaches the reader how to understand error messages and debug
problems – an extremely important skill for a programmer.

I recommend checking out Hello, World! if you have a young person
in your life who is interested in learning about programming. Writing
the book was a father/son project, and reading it together seems
like a fun parent/child activity for the summer.