Linda Liukas is on a mission to make a magical book that teaches kids the fundamentals of programming through stories and activities. She’s now on track to reach that goal after her Kickstarter campaign raised almost 40 times its target.
Liukas has been bringing coding to the masses for the past three years as co-founder of Rails Girls and one of the first employees of Codecademy. She’s also Finland’s Digital Champion.
Now, Liukas wants to introduce coding at an early age through storytelling. Hello Ruby, a 32-page hardcover storybook combined with a 16-page workbook, is aimed at kids ages four to seven and tells a traditional tale of friendship and being different – with the addition of technology.
Hello Ruby will be written and illustrated by Liukas, who believes code literacy is a necessary skill in a world increasingly run by software. “Our kids should learn to bend, join, break and combine code in a way it wasn’t designed to, just as they would with crayons and paper or wood and tools,” she writes in her Kickstarter proposal. “I believe there’s plenty to learn in programming logic and culture before showing children a single screen.”
Just as children learn about storytelling before they learn about nouns and verbs, Hello Ruby will teach them the main principles of programming – such as taking big problems and making them into smaller ones, sequencing and open-source culture – through Ruby’s adventures.
Ruby’s friends also help along the way: Snow Leopard, who doesn’t play well with others; wise penguins who can be hard to understand; and little green Androids who can be quite messy.
Hello Ruby illustrations by Linda Liukas
While it started out as a side project for Liukas, the Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for Hello Ruby has been a resounding success, surpassing US$100,000 in its first 24 hours. It ended on 22 February, having smashed through its target of US$10,000 to reach more than US$380,000 in just one month.
Because more than US$250,000 has been raised, Liukas has added a parents’ guide to the project, which will complement the workbook and be available to download.
The book and workbook can be pre-ordered now in digital (US$20) or physical (US$40) form, shipping worldwide in August 2014.
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