My son had been quiet through dinner and was clearly thinking about something. When I asked him what was up, he told us that another Scratcher had just written him to say that his project was in a book.
“What was the book?” I asked.
“I don’t know. It was about Scratch.”
Which made sense. I mean, most books about Scratch would use examples created by the authors, but I could also see screenshots being taken of existing projects because they’re offered under a creative commons license. He wasn’t upset by the idea that his project ended up in a book. He was just confused and had no clue how to go about finding out which book.
“Um… why don’t you ask?” I offered.
So he asked and the kid returned a few days later with two photos. The first was of the page that contained a picture of my son’s project. The other was the cover of the book: The Chinese edition of Learn to Program with Scratch by Majed Marji.
The English edition is a great book — we own it — but it definitely came out before my son’s project was posted. Sure enough, we flipped through our copy to the correct page and saw a different project featured as the example. Usually the various translations of a book contain the same images.
No Starch has worked with GeekDad over the years, so I wrote the publicist there. Sure enough, my son’s project was in the PDF of the book she sent over. He beamed at the page and exclaimed, “I can’t read a thing!” It made him so happy to know his project was immortalized in print.
But moreover, it cemented that he will be posting projects for others well into the future, and it was a great reminder about how important encouragement and recognition is for fueling creativity. One of the nicest parts of Scratch is its social component: kids can tell other kids what they liked about their projects.
Every single time someone writes something kind under a project, it provides an energy boost for the kid. Maybe it makes the difference between quitting in the middle of a difficult project and reaching out to another Scratcher to get some help in the forums. Or instead of sitting on the site only playing other people’s games, it’s an incentive for the kid to learn programming and make their own games to contribute to the community.
All I can say is “thank you” to the translator who chose my son’s project as the example. It made his day.