JavaScript for Kids, Eloquent JavaScript

2014-12-10 00:00:00 +0000 by Alex R. Young

JavaScript for Kids by Nick Morgan introduces programming by using JavaScript, HTML, and lots of games. It's tailored for younger readers, but it's more for teenagers than under 10s. You might be able to use it as a guide to teach someone under 10 though. Here's a quote from the section on syntax:

Our program includes lots of symbols, including parentheses (), semicolons ;, curly brackets {}, plus signs +, and a few words that might seem mysterious at first (like var and console.log). These are all part of JavaScript's syntax—that is, JavaScript's rules for how to combine symbols and words to create working programs.

When you're learning a new programming language, one of the trickiest parts is getting used to the rules for how to write different kinds of instructions to the computer. When you're first starting out, it's easy to forget when to include parentheses, or to mix up the order in which you need to include certain values. But as you practice, you'll start to get the hang of it.

I remember when I was a kid, learning programming for the first time, and I was worried about learning the "best" programming language. I like the fact Nick suggests that you're likely to learn other programming languages and points out the similarities.

The examples use HTML and JavaScript, so all you really need is a browser and editor. The earliest examples use the console debugger, so I can imagine kids turning up at school, opening the developer tools in a browser and impressing their friends with their newfound hacker skills.

The publisher (no starch press) has a discount for this book (today only): just enter LILCODER during checkout to get 40% off. The standard price for the e-book is $27.95.

No starch press also sent me the second edition of Eloquent JavaScript by Marijn Haverbeke. This book also introduces programming, so beginners may find it useful:

Besides explaining JavaScript, I also will introduce the basic principles of programming. Programming, it turns out, is hard. The fundamental rules are typically simple and clear. But programs built on top of these rules tend to become complex enough to introduce their own rules and complexity. You're building your own maze, in a way, and you might just get lost in it.

However, at over 400 pages this edition includes a lot of content, including a chapter on performance, and a full-stack worked example in the Skill-Sharing Website chapter. The book covers client-side JavaScript, including some fun Canvas drawing examples, and Node.

Both of these books complement each other, and JavaScript for Kids may work well as the source material for something like Code Club.