It’s been amazing so far,” says Linda Liukas of the new programming book for children, Hello Ruby, which was put on Kickstarter this morning. “In 3.5 hours it reached its [$10,000] goal. Let’s see what happens next.”
The topic of coding education isn’t new to her – on top of her early involvement in the Aalto entrepreneurship society, Liukas is a cofounder in Railsgirls, a global non-profit that has taught programming to tens of thousands of women in over 160 cities. Additionally she was one of the early Codeacademy employees where she worked as a community manager.
Liukas tells us that the Hello Ruby project got its roots three years ago when Railsgirls got started and they needed some illustrations for the web and their events. “I found when I had problems thinking about garbage collection, for example, I would draw Ruby. And then last September I decided I need to be a little more systematic and someone said, ‘oh, you should do a Kickstarter.'”
At time of publishing, the book has now raised $16,283 with 29 days left to go.
The Hello Ruby book will be a 32 page hardcover that covers the traditional story of friendship, being different, and technology. Rather than an artsy how-to, the book will tell the story of Ruby, a small girl who visits castles and solves problems with wise penguins.
“We instinctively thick in narrative,” says Liukas. “Instead of just giving kids iPad applications that react once, I think theres longer term value in this style.”
Additionally the bundle will come with a workbook for parents to sit down with their kids and think about solving problems with general programming concepts like loops, lists conditionals, sequences, and variables. Rather than punishing kids for forgetting that semicolon, the book and workbook is more focused on getting kids thinking about solving problems and teaching basic programming concepts so that later they can apply them.
She promises on the Kickstarter that Hello Ruby will be shipped by August, but Liukas tells us that she recognizes everyone wants the book sooner than that. This is her first dive into the publishing world, so she promises to keep backers updated with how her progress is going. As you can see in the video below, she’s kind a of a delightful person, so you might as well throw in the minimum $5 commitment just to hear how the publishing progress goes.
Based on the big initial response, Liukas tells us she might put up some milestone rewards for her backers. And perhaps later an iPad app later wouldn’t be out of the question, but right now she’s focused in Ruby’s hardcover world.
You can find the project on Kickstarter.