A couple of years ago when my son asked me about the book on programming for kids, I could not find one, and have written my own e-book called Java Programming for Kids, Parents and Grandparents. For some reason computer books targeting teenagers are very rare. There are reader-rabbit kind books for very little kids, but 10-16 years old people do not have much of a technical literature, and 17-18 years old are studying computers using boring adult technical books (the Head First series is a lucky exception).
By the time kids are out of school, they know from their own bad experience that computer science is not an exciting career, which eventually will lead to a “death” of such profession here in the USA.
Adults do not want to admit that kids are smarter than them. They keep saying something like, “My son is not too good at math – he can’t be a programmer”. But most of the programming tasks require only minimal knowledge of arithmetic and algebra skills. To start programming, a kid needs to understand what x = y+2 means. Another important concept is an if-statement. This is pretty much it.
Kids learn much faster than adults, and they do not have “previous programming experience”, which may actually be a good thing, because they do not have to switch from a procedural to object-oriented way of thinking. After learning about inheritance in Java, my son called my wife a super class.
Some people recommend using simple languages to teach people programming – I disagree. Java can be a good first programming language, but you should do it right. That’s why I’ve included lots of color cartoon-like characters that act like a Java-fabric softener.
This e-book was never printed. I’ve got some offers to publish it in black and white because it’s cheaper. I rejected these offers – this book has to be printed in color.
This book was written about three years ago, but it’s about core Java, which did not change that much. I’ve been using Eclipse IDE in the book, but IDE does not really matter – use NetBeans or whatever else you have handy.
You can download the book at this URL. I hope you’ll enjoy the reading and will introduce your kids to an exciting world of programming.