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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.

The Journey Continues (Inside the Computer)

Posted by Linda Liukas (Creator)
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.




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


Tasha Turner, Stanley Halstead, and 38 more people like this update.


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    1. Linda Liukas Creator on

      Mark - yes! You can find a list at For example delivers as well.

    2. Missing avatar

      Mark Gamble on

      Hello Linda, it this available in the UK?