Winter Break Activity Alert: Learn Javascript

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Javascript for Kids by Nick Morgan
Javascript for Kids by Nick Morgan

I’ve fallen in love with a book. Like fallen head-over-heels, carry-it-all-around-town, sneak-in-pages-whenever-I-can in love. The real deal.

The book that is the object of my affection?

Uh… it’s Nick Morgan’s Javascript for Kids.

I know you were probably expecting something in the realm of fiction, something with characters a person could fall in love with. But let me explain.

A few months ago, I needed to learn some simple Javascript to add something to my blog. Within a few seconds, I was completely lost in the tutorial; the author shooting ahead of my skill range. I tried a few other sites before I caved and asked a friend to do the coding for me. And then I went and smushed my face into my blanket and told my husband that I felt like an idiot.

Okay, I’m not an idiot, but it’s difficult to informally pick up programming, especially when your background is in the fine arts. All programming books begin with the assumption that you have a basic concept of how coding works. No one starts at the very beginning, explaining things in a manner that even a child can understand.

That is, until Nick Morgan’s Javascript for Kids.

Suddenly I felt very very smart because I got it. No more pushing my face into my blanket and moaning about how I’ll never learn Javascript. He backed up the topic right to the very beginning. Instead of assuming that I knew all about strings and booleans, he began by explaining strings and booleans. He explained variables and how to assign a value. By the time he got to arrays in the third chapter, I was right there with them, able to understand arrays because he leads the reader slowly and surely through the subject matter.

But the real test was when I turned the lessons over to my 10-year-old twins. Both understood his instructions immediately and were able to replicate the exercises. And now all three of us were running around the living room shrieking, “I get it! I get it! I get it!”

It’s empowering to be able to write a program; to make a computer do what you want it to do. And it can be very frustrating trying to find books that take non-computer savvy people into consideration, or that start at point zero for kids. Thankfully, Morgan’s book does just that: it creates a door that all people can walk through — kids and adults, knowledgeable and unknowledgeable.

If you’re looking for a great winter break activity, hand your child Javascript for Kids. It covers a fairly wide age range. I probably wouldn’t give it to a child under the age of 10, but middle schoolers and high school students who want to learn Javascript will find this helpful. Or for younger children, consider making it a parent-child activity for the break.

Thank you, Nick Morgan, for writing a great (and empowering! And easy-to-understand!) book.

I was given a review copy from No Starch Press

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