Monday, November 28, 2016

MMGM- Get Coding

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.

Sorry that I don't have a fiction book as well-- I'm struggling to find enough books to post! I've checked Edelweiss AND Netgalley, and still have read just about everything being published in December and January that I want to read. (Meaning all of the realistic fiction and about half of the speculative fiction.)

Anything that people have really liked that I've missed and should look for? 

28948548Young Rewired StateGet Coding!: Learn HTML, CSS & JavaScript to build a website, app & game
May 5th 2016 by Walker Books
ARC provided by publisher

Unlike many of the coding initiatives to get kids coding, this book plunges young computer experts right into creating a web site with HTML and goes further with Java Script and even building an app. The instructions are clear and precise, and the projects that are addressed are ones that beginning coders will definitely want to use. 

There is also a "mission" that fictional characters talk about in the text. Each chapter starts with a message (in 4 point font) about what Professor Bairstone and his colleague Dr. Ruby Day need to do. Scattered through the instructions are more tasks tangent to this mission that go along with whatever is being designed. The artwork for these characters is a bit goofy and appealing, and in the final version will be in full color. 

The information in Get Coding is also available on their web site, but the book would be useful to have at one's side while working on the computer if it's hard for you to toggle back and forth between screens. There's a lot of information, it's very useful, and it's formatted in a good way with fun pictures. 

I'm a little torn about this one. It's fantastic that it's giving children actual coding information instead of drag-and-drop websites. A couple of years ago, when our students participated in the Day of Coding, the organizer couldn't tell me what language they were using. WAAAAAY back in the day, I coded in Basic, one of the versions of C, HTML, and JavaScript. I designed the school website in HTML in about 2000. Even so, this book was a little bit of a challenge for me. I never did try to make an app. It was too daunting.

Really motivated students who have someone to help them or who have worked with code before will find this to be helpful and amusing. For my students, many of whom don't have any coding experience, I am looking for something much simpler and less dense. If this hadn't included the "mission", it would have been more useful for my school's needs, but also less amusing. 


  1. I like the idea of the Day of Coding, and we participated last year, but I wish the app we used was more rigorous. In a way, it feels like we are sharing the wrong idea---that coding is just playing someone else's game. Or maybe it's just me.

  2. Anonymous7:31 AM EST

    Thanks for sharing--sounds like it could be a good supplemental book about coding for kids that like to read.

  3. You're right about the book's value, I suspect. Only those who already have some background & huge determination will love it. So that's good, but now the need is for a simpler one, too. Thanks, Karen. I'll pass this on to former colleagues!

  4. This sounds like the perfect book for students with a passion for coding. Thank you for sharing this title.

  5. This is the sort of thing I wish existed years ago when my husband and I were growing up - he's a software engineer, and a book like this might have actually enticed him to pick up a book!

  6. I was considering a coding book for a Christmas gift, but am having trouble deciding which one. Thanks for the great review.

  7. Thanks for the helpful review. I know I have also been looking for coding books, but it is hard to find books that have the right mix of challenge and fun without them being overwhelming.

  8. This book is very, very interesting. While the audience might be small, I think it is great that it exists!

  9. There seems to be quite a number of books about this topic lately (I have Gene Luen Yang's coders in mind) - I am sure it must be popular with a lot of tweeners.

  10. This does sound interesting, even to a technodinosaur like me. And read The Copernicus Files, if you're looking for something you've missed. Your middle schoolers would like it. (and it's sophisticated enough to hook grownups)

  11. I will definitely recommend this to our tech teacher who does coding in her class. Thank you!
    Happy reading this week :)