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Google Engineer Creates Coding Book For Children

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Google engineer Brandon Tory has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Little Hackers, a book designed to teach coding and computer programming to children without them needing to have access to a computer.

Fast Company reports that Brandon first came up with the idea in 2019 after a colleague mentioned learning to code for children around the age of Brandon’s six-year-old son. He mentioned there was a lack of resources for younger children, and that most courses and toys were aimed at children aged nine and older.

However, Brandon realised that the basics of coding could be explained easily simply using a pen and paper, saying: I can just write up a little bit of code and walk him through what it means on graph paper.”

The realisation led him to create Little Hackers, which is essentially a workbook that focuses on reading and interpreting code instead of writing it and figuring out what a computer given the instructions would do.

The book does not require any specialised apps, but it does include augmented reality (AR) features such as 3D-animate characters and hidden answers to questions, which can be accessed by scanning a QR code from the book with a smartphone.

The aim of Little Hackers is to limit screen time, and beyond the book and optional access to a smartphone for the AR features, it does not require any additional hardware, allowing the children to focus on thinking through the problems, instead of worrying about typing code into a computer and getting it to run.

However, coding isn’t the only aim of the book. Brandon, who is black, set out to create a book that offered more representation of children who look like him and his son than typical computer books.

I was unable to find a book like this that had children of colour on the cover,” he says.


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