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Hello Ruby is a children’s book that teaches programming fundamentals through stories and kid-friendly activities.
Hello Ruby is a children’s book that teaches programming fundamentals through stories and kid-friendly activities.
9,258 backers pledged $380,747 to help bring this project to life.

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How do computers talk to each other? Hello Ruby 3 is out now

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Dear backers, 

My third book, Hello Ruby: Expedition to Internet is now out in English. Ruby has grown into a series of three books with new characters and new adventures. In this update I wanted to share footnotes and resources that inspired me while writing the book and a warm thank you for all of you for helping me on this Great Expedition of becoming a real children's book author. 

In the third Ruby book we learn about the Internet. Ruby, Julia and Django think snow is the best thing about winter. You can make anything out of snow - even a Snow Internet!

The kids decide to build a Snow Internet, but run into many questions. Is the Internet a cloud or a bunch of cables? How does the information travel online? And why do you need people on the Internet?

Linked List

As an author, I always enjoy reading the tidbits, footnotes and references of the process of making a book. So here is a list of things that sparked my interest and curiosity while writing Hello Ruby: Expedition to the Internet. In no particular order. 

Try it out!

Fix underwater Internet cables, go on a Wi-Fi hunt, send secret messages, design a web-page, detect fake news and prevent a DDoS attack. Like in the other Ruby books part of the fun is crafting, imagining and discussing. Try out a free selection of the exercises here.

Final thoughts

This generation of kids grew up with computers and the Internet as part of their everyday life. Kids can chat online or play games over the Internet with friends on the other side of the world. Childhood increasingly happens online.

The Internet is invisible yet it is almost everywhere. For many people it is difficult to define what the Internet actually is. The book explains what the Internet is from three different perspectives: what is the infrastructure of the Internet, how protocols of the Internet work and what services the Internet provides to people.

Ultimately the Internet is about communication: from machine to machine, from human to machine, and from human to human.

Hugs, 

Linda

P.S I'm sending roughly once a year updates on new books on this list. If you'd like to know more about what's happening in Ruby's world, you can subscribe to the mailing list here. 

The Journey Continues (Inside the Computer)

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Ruby and Mouse
Ruby and Mouse

 

Dear backers,

I come bearing book news:

The second book in the Hello Ruby series is coming out in English. It's called "JOURNEY INSIDE THE COMPUTER" and it's published on October 3rd. (And you can get it from bookstores everywher!)

As the community that made me into an author, I wanted to give you a story: how the book was born, footnotes and resources that inspired me while writing the book as well as a secret list of easter eggs that made their way into the book.

Cover of Hello Ruby 2
Cover of Hello Ruby 2

 

So the book. It's about computers - the machines we spent last book talking to. This time Ruby is bored, but fortunately dad’s computer is always magical. However the computer doesn’t work - who could find the missing cursor? Ruby and the white mouse fall inside the computer and meet a group of new, exciting friends. Who lives inside the computer? And who left footprints all over dad’s desktop?

Writing the second book was so much easier. I trusted the process. Where while writing the first book I felt loss, this time I knew it was part of the journey and embraced, almost enjoyed the misadventures.

For me, the genesis of a new picture book is two-fold. It's a picture and a sentence a. For this book, respectively:

1. Idea of falling inside a machine. I asked kids to illustrate what they imagined was inside a computer and kept returning back to the idea of shrinking yourself to the size of a silicon chip. The first picture I drew for the book was the one of Ruby and the Mouse falling inside the computer.

Ruby and Mouse fall inside the computer
Ruby and Mouse fall inside the computer

 

2. "Computer is an abstracion machine." I think it was Neal Gershenfeld who said something similar and I kept a post it with the sentence on my desk. I wanted to explain the entire abstraction of a computer: from the lowest levels of electricity, bits and logic gates all the way up to operating systems and apps. Many of the How computers work -books focus on peripherals (the mouses, screens and keyboards). I wanted to focus on the big idea of a computer.

Abstraction of a computer
Abstraction of a computer

After this, words and images interact with one another over beautiful, messy, fluctuating months. The book is pulled apart, divided into little thumbnails, twisted and turned around. At one point the book was set in an amusement park, at another Ruby got stuck inside the computer. In the end, the book was ready a few hours before deadline. As always. Then it was 18 months of waiting - and now it's almost in the hands of the readers.  

And again, this book defies the covers. It has already spread to the website where you can play a memory game with RAM and ROM, build a computer or see what children around the world (from Australia to Japan to Finland) imagine is inside a computer. The great team at CS4All in New York was kind enough to already create content and curriculum around the book. And this is before the book is even out. If you decide to get it let me know what you think!

As always, thanks. I wouldn't be here without the support from all of you.

Linda

Processor
Processor

 

Linked List

It's been a long time! I heard a lot of people enjoyed the tidbits, footnotes and references I collected, so here's a list of things that sparked my interest and curiosity while writing the book. In no particular order.

 

Easter Eggs

Because every update should have some secrets, right? I've listed below a few references you might spot from the book, if you look close enough.

  • The cuckoo clock characters are Github Octocat, Twitter bird and Scratch cat. 
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a wonderful novel by Philip K. Dick. That's why the robots are dozing off. 
  • On the way to dad's study you can see pictures (from left to right) of: Bubble sort algorithm, Ada Lovelace, Venn Diagrams, Super Mario mushroom, Konami sode, Why´s Cat, Petersen graph, Susan Kare's icon work, Insertion Sort, Alan Turing, Dijkstra's algorithm, David Heinemeier Hanssen, Binary tree, Grace Hopper and Yukihiro Matsumoto. 
  • First spread of Ruby sitting inside the computer - can you recognise what the bits spell? 
  • Venn Diagrams next to the logic gates reference the graphic version of the gate. 
  • GPU borrows ideas from the 3D graphic communities: neural networks, Utah teapot, Stanford bunny and triangles. 
  • When the RAM is too busy, Mac computers get a much feared spinning pinwheel 
  • Mouse doesn't recognise the floppy drive anymore! It's a modern world. 
  • Pictures from first Ruby book in the Mass Storage. 
  • Code from original MacPaint in Pascal is now open-sourced. 
  • Icons for Tetris, Ping Pong, Pacman, Minecraft - Ruby seems to like classics!
  • Sudo is a much loved command for Unix users. Windows Ninja Cat is an easter egg in the Windows 10 OS. 
  • The line of code Ruby tries to fix is the cursor code for the original MacPaint program. 
  • The Computer in the workbook namedrops famous fictional computers.
Ruby and Mouse 2
Ruby and Mouse 2

 

Hello, Ruby!

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For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.

The digital Hello Ruby book now available

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For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.

Almost there!

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Almost there!
Almost there!

Seventeenth update

Put your party hats on - this 16 month ride is almost at its’ finish. I’ve lined up everything with Feiwel & Friends for fall, I have some exact dates for you and it’s time for a summer update.

What you'll get and when:

  • Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding and workbook. The final page count is 112 pages and I'm super pleased with the end result. These start shipping a little before official publishing date October 6th. 
  • eBook in mobi, ePub and PDF. (And no one else is getting the PDF version!). This will be shipped to you in the beginning of September, a month before official publishing date.
  • As a thank you for the long wait, a very special Kickstarter only backer booklet with 24 pages of exclusive exercises, stickers and computing crafts. This will ship together with the book in early October and as a PDF.

Shipping information

US cover
US cover

I'll send a reminder two weeks before closing the address changes, but now is a good time to check that those addresses you submitted are still ok. You can do this by following instructions here.

If you've changed countries in the last year, please let me know and I'll make extra arrangements. The book deliveries will be done by an external company, but I’ll start sending the posters and other special pledge categories in August.

I couldn't be more proud of the product Hello Ruby turned into. Thanks for your patience - the book will be worth the wait, I promise!

What's next?

Hello Ruby also has confirmed publishers in Finland, Sweden, Japan, Korea, Australia and Netherlands and many new ones in the works. It's going to be an exciting fall with many new announcements coming up.

I also did a short piece for Telegraph and spoke about lessons learned from Hello Ruby at RedDotRubyConf.

My spring schedule included also working on the web community side of Hello Ruby, in preparation for the official launch in fall. As I’ve mentioned before, I see Hello Ruby as something way more than only a book - as a living, breathing community of kids sharing their creations and being gently guided to the world of technology. 

This has meant learning a lot about early childhood development (I’ve gotten to know Dewey, Vygotsky and Montessori well during the last months!) and lots of hands-on experimentation.

One exercise I’ve loved doing with kids is where I give them a sticker with an on/off button and ask them to imagine any object in the room being a computer. The technologies kids imagine and describe are pretty amazing and help them see the world in a different way.

Another set of exercises we’ve been working on is a party kit to organise coding birthdays. This will be released later in the fall, but I wanted to show you some behind the scenes pictures from prototyping day. (You can sneak a peak also of the rest of the team, through the first Hello Ruby Fellowship organised this spring)

The remote control exercise allowed kids to learn about the computing concepts of events (if I do this, then that happens) through wiggling, jumping and dancing. The kids also got to design their own buttons and learned how small and exact commands need to broken down into. One of the most heart warming stories I heard came from a little girl who coded her own button to make mom happy. After consideration, they came to the conclusion that it should be broken further down into smiling to mom, cleaning up, saying thank you.

The tattoos were a huge hit and everyone had fun. I look forward to seeing these parties in the wild come fall!

I've also slowly started work on the mobile app with prototyping some ideas on paper. I’ll share more once we’re ready for testing, but it’s been an interesting challenge for me to rethink what the experience of learning about the computational thinking concepts should look like on screen. So far my list of design requirements looks like this: 

  • Not only tapping, encourage exploration. 
  • Small, simple experiences that connect concepts to real life. 
  • Be multiplayer. 
  • Always keep a sprinkle of silliness.

Oh, and there’s also a logo for digital products:

I also have so many thoughts about the humbling and unique experience of taking a raw idea into a ready product through Kickstarter, but I think I’ll need to wait until you have the book in your hands. A huge thank you for all the support during the last 16 months!

Hugs,

Linda