Review: Python for Kids

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Python for Kids is a new No Starch publication written by Jason R. Briggs. Aimed at children from the ages of 10 up who would like to learn Python, the book starts with the very basics even down to installing Python on your computer.

With Python being such a popular choice in UK education at the moment, especially when it comes to chosing a language to teach at GCSE level, Python for Kids has entered the market at the right time and as things stand, it is one of the better books out there.

The book is well paced, leading readers through 18 chapters starting with variables and operators and finishing with two full game projects. The text is a little heavy at times (to be expected to be fair), but the font is nice and big which hopefully doesn’t look as threatening to young learners. It is also nicely illustrated and has regular code snippets to help with explanations.

I personally wouldn’t recommend this for a 10 year old who was new to programming, but that is certainly no fault of the book itself. I firmly believe block languages such as Scratch offer a much easier introduction to programming and computational concepts as you do not have to worry about the syntax as much as a higher level language. However, if you have a young child who has already progressed passed this stage then I think Python for Kids would be an excellent choice to continue their development.

I also would recommend this book for any KS3/KS4 students who wish to get into programming. The nice, easy to read style of the book that keeps to a gamification style of programming throughout will certainly appeal to youngsters.

No Starch publications also need to take some of the plaudits for continuing to publish books that are slightly different to the mainstream and their catalogue continues to grow with some very interesting books around the area of computer science.  It is worth heading over there for a look at what other titles they have to offer: www.nostarch.com

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