Welcome to Computer Programming For Kids (CP4K)

Welcome to the Computer Programming for Kids blog! We are the co-authors of the book "Hello World! Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners", released in March 2009. The book is published by Manning Publications. Manning has a web site for the book, which is where you can download the software and other files related to the book. You can purchase it here, at the Manning web site. If you use this link to purchase the print book or e-book from the Manning web site, you can use the discount code aupromo40 at checkout to get a 40% discount. You can also get it through online retailers like Amazon, as well as in many retail locations such as Chapters in Canada and Barnes & Noble in the U.S. This blog is mostly about the book (for now), but anything related to computers and programming, particularly for kids and beginners, is fair game. We will post articles with extra material that didn't make it into the book, and reader feedback and suggestions are always welcome.

Monday, April 6, 2009


When we set out to write a book, we had some goals and a vision for how it would turn out. Getting the book written and published was a long and winding road. (It felt, really, really, excruciatingly long at times). So, when we got to the end of it and actually had a book in our hands, we wondered if those initial goals and vision made it through to the end result. Happily, we feel they did. But of course we want to know what others think of it, too. Do kids, parents, teachers, and other readers think the book is useful, readable, and fun?

We've started getting some reviews of the book, and it is very gratifying to see that others are noticing and pointing out the very qualities that we tried hardest to include: fun and readable (but not condescending), well organized, suitable for use in schools and at home.

Here's what some reviewers are saying about the book:

Colin D. Sulin (on amazon.com):
I'm an IT veteran with nearly 25 years of programming experience in a variety of languages and technologies. This book is really one of the best that I have come across. I'm teaching my girls and this book is just perfect for the task. I'm not a Python programmer, but this book is the best thing you can get for getting kids going in computers. I highly recommend it.

Noel O'Blog:
I think this is a great book that fills a real niche. ... What's amazing is that it has set its sights so high, and yet manages to meet its goals. I think it would be great to see this book promoted as a way of teaching programming in primary schools. In the meanwhile if you know any 12+ kids interested in computers, give them an opportunity to develop a fascinating hobby and get them this book.

JR Peck (on Slashdot)
The book is formatted with lots of visuals and fly-outs that give information on how computers operate and how programming languages deal with information processing. My daughter and I have already had interesting discussions on subjects like integers and floats. An example that draws a sine wave led to a great teachable moment about amplitude and wave length. Then there is the constant need for approaching problem solving in a structured manner using logic. I think that taking on programming brings a wide number of benefits.

Hello World! Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners is a clear and easy-to-digest voyage through the beginnings of programming with Python. ... By having a junior author involved in the learning process, the reader can quickly identify with the questions being asked to either reinforce the concept that they have learned, or if required, cling to it like a life preserver until they come to a better understanding. It’s a good writing strategy that not only supports an even paced read and lesson, but makes the task at hand genuinely more enjoyable.

Dan Appleman (Gadgets Examiner):
"Hello World” is easy to read, well written and logically organized. ... In an unusual twist, the authors chose to use Python as their computer language. In this they made an outstanding decision. ... Beginners learn best with a kind of language called an interpreter – that allows you to experiment interactively, and Python is a fine choice. Plus the Python language is similar enough to other languages so that a kid who learns it will be able to move to others if necessary. The programming concepts that are taught in the book are easily transferrable to other languages.

The book also has a nice selection of sample programs, with an emphasis on games, but with enough variety that a broad set of concepts can be covered. And the games include graphics – which adds to the appeal.... So this is one book that I’d encourage you not just to buy for your kids, but to read and work on with them.

These days a search for "programming for kids" on Amazon wouldn't return any interesting results, until now. A new book called "Hello World! Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners" has just come out. It is a book in the spirit of those old BASIC programming books. It covers the fundamentals of programming using the Python language and has game programs that you can get started with including a lunar lander game and a ski-free clone. If you want to learn programming or teach it to a kid, this is your book. Enjoy!

David Brin:
Hello World! helps challenge young people to take on technology, making it fun, without dumbing-down the adventure.

Sue Gee (I-programmer):
I'm very pleased to discover this new book written by a father and son team to help make up for a very real deficiency in the educational system. Learning to program is a mind expanding experience so while the book has been written to appeal to a young audience it has a lot to offer all beginners. It adopts a logical approach and presents clear explanations backed up by well chosen examples. This book is a very good introduction to programming and can be recommended to anyone, young or old, who wants to start learning this vital and highly enjoyable skill.

Steven Gilham (on amazon.co.uk)
Hello World! is a gentle and humorous introduction to the idea of programming, using Python, a language well suited to filling the niche that BASIC dialects did a generation ago. Even to a crusty and cynical old-timer, like myself, it makes entertaining reading -- not only is the writing style light and engaging, but you can nod sagely and think "Been there, done that" at all the "In the good old days" asides.

Trying out on members of the target audience, it has proven a hit. In its catchy and absorbing manner, it explains the fundamentals (the simple things like variable names being, well, just names) clearly and the exercises concentrate on making fun things happen sooner rather than later. The infectious enthusiasm of the author even managed to hook my non-programmer wife, and get her trying out the examples.

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