Children are growing up in a world filled with technology that changes every day. The technology we have today may look entirely different in 20 years — even in 5! Young people are going to be instrumental in some of the biggest advancements in the future of technology. So, learning some basic skills and essential information about how things work is a great place to start. These five books teach computer skills, data literacy, and some of the more interesting capabilities of technology in ways that are easy for beginners to understand — whether they’re children learning about the world or adults trying to learn a new skill!
Learn the Language of Computers by William Anthony
Computers have become a major part of every person’s daily life — and young people are growing up in a world where they are constantly using computers for school, gaming, or communication. For some, computers are a hobby or a fun project to work on, for others, they are a necessity in everyday life. But in order to use a computer to its full extent, kids need to learn the basics and to be able to troubleshoot any problems. With essential vocabulary that will help them identify computer parts and programs, to solutions for fixing hardware and software, children can become experts in the language of computers! The book is full of accessible examples, age-appropriate language and lessons.
SQL Quest: A Journey Through Data by Neha Saini
SQL Quest is an instructional book for 11-to-18-year-olds that seamlessly, enjoyably and excitedly makes the SQL (Structured Query Language) relational database accessible to young readers. It demonstrates how databases can be used to organize and manipulate information. Why should someone learn SQL in the first place? Saini points out that it is a valuable skill, teaches problem-solving, helps with data literacy, and is fun and engaging.
While the instruction within is plentiful and easy to follow, Saini is a keen guide who understands how young minds might tend to wander. As such, she fills the book with exercises, challenges, puzzles, fun facts and examples of real-world applications for SQL and databases at large.
(Read the review on BookTrib)
How to Code a Rollercoaster by Josh Funk, illustrated by Sara Palacios
This fictional and informative story highlights the fun to be found in computer science and how math can be applied to everyday activities. When our protagonist Pearl and her robot best friend Pascal arrive at the amusement park, they’re eager to make the most out of their day. That means calculating how many ride tokens they use throughout the day and finding the opportune time to ride the Python Coaster in the hopes of beating the long wait! Sara Palacios illustrates how the pair uses code throughout the day. Real-life software engineer Josh Funk lays out his expertise in the field in a way young readers — and tech-challenged parents! — can easily understand, providing a fun and informative read for everyone.
(Check out these other Kid Lit Reads!)
Machine Learning for Kids by Dale Lane
This hands-on introduction to Artificial Intelligence and machine learning is a timely and necessary book for children in the modern era. Kids will be able to familiarize themselves with the building blocks of AI and understand how easy it is for computers to learn from them! With a companion website to visit as you read, Machine Learning for Kids sets readers up with step-by-step instructions, activities and models that they can turn into computer games and apps. Requiring no prior experience, this activity book is a great bonding tool for adults and the children in their lives as they build and interact with their own AI programs!
Design, Animate and Create with Computer Graphics by Max Wainewright
Technology is not just for the kids whose favorite subjects are math and science — artists and creative thinkers are some of the best minds behind technology and the media we interact with every day. Children will love exploring their artistic side with this easy-to-navigate guide about design, animation and computer graphics. The book focuses on important areas of computer graphics and explains the basics of the free computer software readers can use to create their art. With real examples and inspiration from famous artists, children will be creating their own art as soon as they turn the final page!