Book Review

ScooReview: Twins & Their Robot Just Made Coding Easier For Children

Team ScooNews
ScooReview: Twins & Their Robot Just Made Coding Easier For Children

Scholastic has been a vastly known publishing, media and education company founded a century ago (est.1920). They are popular for their collection of books for children written, designed and compiled by the best authors and illustrators from around the world. 

Recently, Scholastic India (a subsidiary of Scholastic Inc), in association with the Early Childhood Association (ECA) & Association for Primary Education & Research (APER), has launched a book for 4-6-year-olds named ‘Yash and Yashika Learn about Coding.’ This book comes under the Scholastics’ Precoding Storivity series that is a set of two books: Pre-basic and Basic. This one, in particular, is a Pre-basic Coding Book.

In the beginning, the author, addressing the parents and teachers, explains why coding is important and how it can add value to children’s life from a young age by quoting Steve Jobs. “Everyone should learn how to code, it teaches you to think.’ We expose children to technology and screens without understanding its all-round impact. Robots have made their appearance around us, be it Siri, Google Home, Alexa or the Internet of toys etc. Children cannot understand how these machines talk, move, remember and do things. It is time to teach children that the technology that they see around them is not magic but is created by us, Humans.”

So, what ‘Yash and Yashika Learn about Coding’ is about? It narrates a pleasant story of twins Yash and Yashika and their parents, who have taught them that computers and robots are not magical and instead need programming and coding (created by humans) to do the work we want them to do.

The story has got another interesting character called Mr Bot, a robot built by the mother who’s a Computer Coder by profession. We like how subtly and intelligently the author breaks the gender misconception here and dismisses the gender bias by showing a woman in tech. Other than this, we feel, the illustrations and characters used in the book are more appealing to a lot of Asian countries.  

Coming back to the theme that demonstrates how coding primes young brains to think, understand and apply, we love how Yash and Yashika often go on coding quests with Mr Bot as they learn to program him under the guidance of their talented mother.

According to the well-researched book, coding can truly help children develop computational thinking that ultimately teaches them how to relate, apply and understand analytical steps during everyday learning activities. This includes: 

Coding: a set of instruction

Algorithm: a sequence of codes

Decomposition: breaking down a problem/task into smaller tasks

Debugging: to look for bugs/errors in the program

If-then-else Conditions: helps the program to perform a certain action when faced with choices

Looping: a set of instructions that are repeated

While this family enjoys its quest of learning to code, the readers, too, can indulge themselves in fun activities simultaneously that are mentioned along. For example, trying to debug or find what was wrong with the activity/program; algorithm activities & sequencing activities. These are definitely a delightful way for children to learn about the computer world, the kind of words used and what they mean.

In simple words for young kids to understand, the book talks about technicalities like instructions to the robot.

As the story progresses, you will observe how Mr Bot gets well-programmed by the kids to even help the family make snacks in the kitchen!

Moreover, the friendly robot is shown playing with the twins as they set hurdles and challenges for it to overcome during an obstacle course.

In the end, their father reads them bedtime stories while also teaching what ‘Debugging’ or finding an error is. 

Overall the book is a very good way of stimulating a child’s mind and is highly recommended by ScooNews. Gone are the days when we thought computers were an older person’s cup of tea; they are also now young children’s cups of milk. 

About the author: 

With over three decades of experience as an educator, Dr Swati Popat Vats is on the global think tank of Kidzania and is the President of Early Childhood Association. She has also designed the world’s first curriculum for coding for early years. 

Design by: Pranali Shinde

Find the book here: https://amzn.to/3cFKSlK

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