Thank you No Starch Press for sending us this book to review!
There's definitely a lot to learn in this book and I like how they made it fun to put these concepts into practice. Throughout my daughter's learning adventure she has created a text based Hang Man game, a random insult generator (what kid can resist that?), a treasure hunt game with a map, and the final program was a Snake game.
The Notepad++ editor that this book recommends is free and will catch some, but not all syntax errors. Debugging broken programs takes just as much (if not more) time to fix than they do to write. Sometimes the show stopping errors are typos, other times it's a misplaced space or semicolon. Fortunately, my computer science major husband was able to catch some of the errors in my daughter's programs when I couldn't find everything.
Despite the frustrations of debugging, this has been a positive learning experience for our daughter. She has been so excited about this that she showed her teacher at school what she has done, and was so impressed that her teacher made a whole lesson about it. As a parent, I have seen the confidence and motivation this has given her and I am both proud and excited for her. I feel like this could be a big first step towards a lifetime of self-learning and I can't wait to see where she goes with it next.
My seven year old son has been inspired by her and has started doing the Ruby Wizardry book. Expect a blog about that soon! I highly recommend either book to tech savvy kids, or to anyone who wants to introduce a potentially highly rewarding hobby to someone they love.
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