This beginners-oriented book from the co-author (with Andrea J. Buchanan) of The Daring Book for Girls (2007) guides readers from basic programming concepts to DIY computerized crafts.
The instruction starts with an efficient chapter on programming in Scratch, which is a good way to get used to working with programming concepts without getting bogged down in typing code. Next, the book jumps to hardware in a chapter on setting up a Raspberry Pi computer. Then it’s back to code for a healthy dose of functional training in Python via writing a Mad Libs–style game. The fourth chapter jumps back to hardware for tinkering in electronics—while some projects here may disappoint, some are cool and useful (e.g., taking apart old earbuds to make smartphone gloves). The fifth and final instructional chapter culminates the lessons by combining all of the skills learned for the big project of setting up a bedroom motion detector that sends email alerts when tripped (although, if readers use Gmail as instructed, this may trip Google’s security features and require adjusting account settings to be less secure). The conversational, generally positive tone stresses perseverance and that mistakes are OK; however, the repeated reassurances sometimes cross over into condescension or even socially conditioned female self-deprecation, which seems the opposite of the book’s goal. Full-color screenshots throughout provide clarity.
Effective skills progression conveyed in an irritating tone. (glossary, acknowledgments, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)