Coding with Anna and Elsa: A Frozen Guide to Blockly
When I had the idea to blog about various resources I figured the scope of the resources would be undergraduate and above. About three reviews in that plan has already changed. A friend of mine asked me to review a book for her niece as she wanted to introduce her to programming. The book she showed me was an introduction to programming with the language Blockly through Code.org. While I do not have much experience with books and resources for the younger crowd, I figured I would give it a once over.
Overall this book seems like a good entry point to programming and Computer Science. I especially liked the care in which the author highlighted the distinction between programming and Computer Science. I like that she focused on the notion of problem-solving and algorithmic thinking when defining Computer Science. This is still a distinction that eludes my undergraduate students at times so I was happy to see this message reaching the younger age groups.
Another aspect of this book that I feel would be important for the younger students are all the various asides. In one chapter of the book, the students are learning how to draw various shapes using the Blockly language. The author takes the time to go into the geometry behind shapes and angles. Another aside early in the book was about how mistakes are common and normal. While this is a relatively short book, there is a breadth of information integrated within the lessons.