As I continue this year’s Gifts for the Gifted series, I should re-iterate a few things. First of all, these recommendations are for all children – not just those identified as “Gifted and Talented.” Secondly, these gifts will be much more meaningful to their recipients if the gift-giver follows through by enjoying the gift along with the child. This is particularly important to remember with today’s gift suggestion.
Hello Ruby began as a Kickstarter campaign by Linda Liukas, and is now available for purchase. Liukas wanted to create a book that would showcase Ruby, a young girl who refuses to back away from a challenge. Linda Liukas, as she learned to program, used the imaginary Ruby as her own inspiration to persevere in problem solving.
Some of you may recognize “Ruby” as a programming language – but don’t expect this to be a textbook. As Liukas states in her “Introduction for the Parent,” this book is not intended to teach programming. Instead, it “introduces the fundamentals of computational thinking that every future coder will need.” Targeted toward students in primary grades (I would recommend 2nd-4th), this book includes programming vocabulary, such as “functions” and “loops,” but is not a curriculum.
There is an “Activity Book” included in Hello Ruby. This portion of the book includes 22 short activities to reinforce the coding concepts in the story. Each one connects back to the storyline and characters, continuing with Liukas’ delightful illustrations.
I would recommend reading this book along with your child, and doing the exercises together. If you pair the exercises along with some introductory programming activities, such as The Foos, Box Island, or Kodable, great connections can be made to the concepts in the book. Also, be sure to visit the Hello Ruby website for more resources, including printable pages for the activity book.
For more in the “Gifts for the Gifted” series, check out this page. If you would like more resources for programming for kids, here is my Pinterest Board for that topic.