A clear, empowering way to learn app-making.

A guide to begin programming in MIT App Inventor.

This guide breaks down the app programming process into steps involving assembling and organizing the components you need (images, buttons, etc.) and then coding the functions using an interface that will already be familiar for readers who have used MIT’s visual programming language, Scratch. To help readers become confident with the software, the book uses screenshots to introduce them to the drag-and-drop graphical user interface—the Designer, where the components are assembled, and Blocks, which allows for Scratch-like coding. After the first chapter familiarizes readers with the vocabulary and basics, subsequent projects are designed with a clear focus. One possible drawback of the simplified, streamlined process is that it assumes everything will go smoothly and doesn’t have much troubleshooting built in short of proofreading code blocks to make sure they match those provided by the book. The chapter projects start off simply (a greeting app, a basic translator, and a digital piano) before working up to more complicated creations (a game played by tilting a mobile device, a tour guide app, and a cloud-supported chat app). Each project ends with ideas for how young programmers can further customize them. Between chapters, there are inspirational profiles of diverse young programmers from around the world who have used programming to improve their communities. Readers must have a computer, mobile device, and internet access to implement the instructions.

A clear, empowering way to learn app-making. (bibliography, index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1914-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: MITeen Press/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021


From the Pocket Change Collective series

Small but mighty necessary reading.

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020


From the Pocket Change Collective series

Brief yet inspirational, this story will galvanize youth to use their voices for change.

Teen environmental activist and founder of the nonprofit Hannah4Change, Testa shares her story and the science around plastic pollution in her fight to save our planet.

Testa’s connection to and respect for nature compelled her to begin championing animal causes at the age of 10, and this desire to have an impact later propelled her to dedicate her life to fighting plastic pollution. Starting with the history of plastic and how it’s produced, Testa acknowledges the benefits of plastics for humanity but also the many ways it harms our planet. Instead of relying on recycling—which is both insufficient and ineffective—she urges readers to follow two additional R’s: “refuse” and “raise awareness.” Readers are encouraged to do their part, starting with small things like refusing to use plastic straws and water bottles and eventually working up to using their voices to influence business and policy change. In the process, she highlights other youth advocates working toward the same cause. Short chapters include personal examples, such as observations of plastic pollution in Mauritius, her maternal grandparents’ birthplace. Testa makes her case not only against plastic pollution, but also for the work she’s done, resulting in something of a college-admissions–essay tone. Nevertheless, the first-person accounts paired with science will have an impact on readers. Unfortunately, no sources are cited and the lack of backmatter is a missed opportunity.

Brief yet inspirational, this story will galvanize youth to use their voices for change. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22333-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

Close Quickview