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. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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Small but mighty necessary reading.


From the Pocket Change Collective series

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 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author.


From the Pocket Change Collective series

Deaf, trans artist Man meditates on his journey and identity in this brief memoir.

Growing up in conservative central Pennsylvania was tough for the 21-year-old Deaf, genderqueer, pansexual, and biracial (Chinese/White Jewish) author. He describes his gender and sexual identity, his experiences of racism and ableism, and his desire to use his visibility as a YouTube personality, model, and actor to help other young people like him. He is open and vulnerable throughout, even choosing to reveal his birth name. Man shares his experiences of becoming deaf as a small child and at times feeling ostracized from the Deaf community but not how he arrived at his current Deaf identity. His description of his gender-identity development occasionally slips into a well-worn pink-and-blue binary. The text is accompanied and transcended by the author’s own intriguing, expressionistic line drawings. However, Man ultimately falls short of truly insightful reflection or analysis, offering a mostly surface-level account of his life that will likely not be compelling to readers who are not already fans. While his visibility and success as someone whose life represents multiple marginalized identities are valuable in themselves, this heartfelt personal chronicle would have benefited from deeper introspection.

Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author. (Memoir. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-22348-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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