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Hello Ruby is a children’s book that teaches programming fundamentals through stories and kid-friendly activities.

1000.times { puts "Thank you!" }

Feb 22 2014 
You are all amazing. Thank you so much for your support.

Hello Ruby wouldn't have happened without you all. It started as my sideproject, but grew into something so much bigger.

The campaign is now over and this page is frozen. You can see everything that happened in the campaign - but it is all out of date and you can't back the project anymore. If you're interested in Ruby's world, or want to pre-order the book, head over to www.helloruby.com. I'll be waiting you over!

Hugs,

- Linda

--

And here’s the story that started it all:

My name is Linda Liukas. I have spent the last three years teaching programming and making the world of technology more approachable for the millions through co-founding a non-profit called Rails Girls and working at Codecademy.

Now, I want to combine software with storytelling. I want to write and illustrate a book for young children about the magical world of technology - Hello Ruby. 

Twitter: @lindaliukas  
Blog: http://helloruby.com

----

UPGRADES: EVERYONE who has pledged for the first hardcover book or above will ALSO get a digital version of the book and workbook.

STRETCH-GOAL 250 000: If we hit 250 000, I'll write a Parents Guide to complement the workbook and make it available as a download.

STRETCH-GOAL 500 000: If we hit 500 000, I'll extend Ruby's world into a mobile app. Think magic!

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As seen on

Hello Ruby kids' coding book raises $185k (and counting) on Kickstarter. (27.1.2014)

Kickstarter loves this children's book that gets kids excited about coding (23.1.2014)

Can this children's book help make the Internet a better place? (29.1.2014) 

Children's book Hello Ruby teaches 4 to 7 year olds how to code  (28.1.2014)

 Book That Teaches Kids to Code raises 250k on Kickstarter (4.2.2014)

 Getting Girls Into Programming, One Children's Book At A Time (4.2.2014)

The story

Ruby is a small girl with a huge imagination. She stomps and stumbles around her own little world while her dad is traveling. On her adventures, Ruby makes friends with the lonely Snow Leopard, visits castles made of windows, and solves problems with the wise penguins. She bakes gingerbreads with the green robots and throws a garden party with... well, if you like to hear the rest of the story, I need your help.

Ruby's world is an extension of the way I've learned to see technology. It goes far beyond the bits and bytes inside the computer. This is the story of what happens between the ones and zeros, before the arrays and the if/else statements. The book and workbook are aimed for four to seven year olds. 

I believe stories are the most formative force of our childhood. Everyone has a book that made the world seem beautiful and full of possibility. My book is about little Ruby.

Ruby and her friends
Ruby and her friends

Why this matters?

Code is the 21st century literacy and the need for people to speak the ABC of Programming is imminent. Our world is increasingly run by software and we need more diversity in the people who are building it.

More importantly, writing software is about expression, creativity - and practical application. Our kids should learn to bend, join, break and combine code in a way it wasn't designed to. Just as they would with crayons and paper or wood and tools. I believe there's plenty to learn in programming logic and culture before showing children a single screen.

Here's what I want to do

 

Hello Ruby is a children's book that comes with an activity book. The two books teach the very foundations of technology through stories and activities that serve as a simple template for all future learning. The book and workbook are aimed for four to seven year olds. 

Why a storybook?

 We all have treasured childhood stories that have affected the way we see reality. Instead of only focusing on how applications are built or code is constructed, I want to tell about the architects, principles and personalities behind software. And I believe the best way to tell this story is through a book that will be read with children and parents at night, and live in the bookshelf for years to come.

Hello Ruby will be a classic journey of discovery that teaches the readers about different people working together, how problems can be solved in small sequences and how remixing and sharing helps everyone.

Illustrations are as important as the story. My book will be full of detail and whimsy, with cutaways and magical moments, a world where everything is not apparent at once.

  • Hardcover book, 8 x 8 inches and 32 pages 
  • Traditional story of friendship, being different .. and technology. 

Why an activity book?

The activity book teaches kids early programming skills. It’s designed to be enjoyed by a kid alone, but can also be worked through with an adult. And best of all - the workbook is designed to be doodled, wrecked and drawn all over. 

  • The foundational knowledge structures, like sequences, variables, patterns, loops, lists, conditionals, operators and events. Taught through exercises of dot-to-dot, pairs, odd-one-out, all from Ruby's world. 
  • A sprinkle of software culture, by teaching them to abstract and modularise, work iteratively and incrementally as well as encouraging them to reuse and remix work. 
  • Creativity and DIY attitude. Tons of doodles, logic puzzles and even a foldable miniature laptop that allows the kid to peek inside a computer. 

The Budget

The book will be hardcover, 8x8 inches and 32 pages. The activity book is  16 pages and paperback. To make the minimum order of 1000 copies, I need you.

You'll get a lovely old-fashioned storybook that introduces Ruby and the other characters. In addition there will be a workbook with puzzles, exercises and additional materials for the parent to teach web literature for the little ones. 

I'm writing and illustrating all of this myself. Most of the funds will be production costs: printing the books and workbooks and hiring an editor. And you'll get to be a part of the journey of a first time author. 

Breakdown of budget

  • Editor for spelling and storyline
  • Purchase of fonts
  • Book and workbook layout design
  • Obtaining ISBN numbers, registration fees and costs associated with getting listed in online bookstores
  • Production of the books 
  • Shipping 

Who am I?

Prior to writing this book, I co-founded Rails Girls, a global non-profit teaching programming to tens of thousands of women in over 160 cities. I also worked at Codecademy as one of the first employees. I first got excited about programming when I was 13 years old and madly in love with Al Gore. However, it took me almost ten years to learn more than the basics, so beginners are close to my heart. 

I'm a Ruby Hero 2013 and the Digital Champion of Finland. 

See my talk at Heroku Waza 2013 on Ruby and a talk on girls & programming in Railsberry 2012. 

Tell me more about Ruby!

 Gladly. I've actually already drawn a few of her adventures here.

Ruby is one of the best little girls I know.  

She has family all around the world. Her father is from Japan, but she has aunts and uncles and siblings and cousins everywhere.  Ruby loves her family, wants to be helpful and make people around her happy. 

Sometimes Ruby is a little bossy. She says things like “Get me the milk from the lowest shelf of the fridge” and “Combine two spoonfuls of cocoa with the milk”. 

Ruby learns quickly. If you show her how to make her bed, she’ll have no trouble doing it a hundred times over. 

And she’s independent: Ruby doesn’t like other people telling her how to clean her room, only what should be done, while she prefers to figure out the process herself. 

All the adults say Ruby is a sensible, nice kid. But sometimes she can be mischievous. If you’re not very precise in ordering your chocolate, the kitchen might end up be flooding with hot cocoa. 

Ruby’s favorite things in the world are her precious gems. The colorful, glittering gemstones are presents from all over the world. When Ruby closes her eyes the gems become magic and help her do things she never could have done alone. 

Ruby's friends are pretty mischievous too. Androids are messy. Snowleopard doesn't want to play with other kids. Penguins are booksmart but sometimes hard to understand. 

Oh, and the coolest thing about Ruby? She and her friends have their own secret language. Can you guess what happens when Ruby says: 

  puts “hip hip hooray “*5

In Ruby’s world there are words that mean things and words that do things. And magic happens every day.

Past updates

Fri Jan 24, 2014

Oh wow. What a day.

You are amazing. During the first 24 hours of the campaign we surpassed $100k. I'm so excited to be able to work on Ruby's world with all of this overwhelming support.

Every additional dollar will go towards building the magical world of Ruby. A larger budget means I can commit to making everything so much more better. Let’s do this! Thank you so much for your support.

Hugs,

- Linda

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

I’ve spent the last weeks learning everything I can about authoring, publishing and printing. The timelines for printing and shipping something this big are very different from the project I started with. It’s all very exciting, but also all very new. Luckily I have great people helping me.

I know it sucks to wait for more than 6 months for a book, but for normal industry printed books the cycle is even longer. Here's my plan:

1. Making the book
This is the first time I’m doing a children's book. I’ve talked with several Kickstarter authors about the process as well as other children's book authors. I've almost written the story and sketched the pages into a storyboard format. Before starting with the final artwork, I'd like to hire a native english speaking editor to go through the story with me. With all of the support I can also work together with an art director. I hope you’ll love every single page of both books as I've loved making them.

2. Printing the book
When the book leaves my desk, there’s still a lot of things that need to happen. My biggest concern is the shipping, but also printing takes time.

Both the storybook and the workbook are industry standard, so production problems shouldn't be an issue. Now that the Kickstarter is ending, I'll know the number of books I can afford and where I should be printing them.

3) Shipping the book
Shipping is expensive and always a bit of an unknown. This is why I’m planning on shipping the books with Amazon and using their third party fulfilment services. If there are delays in shipping I’ll keep everyone posted and try to share the e-book (as that’s the one part I really can influence) as soon as possible with all the backers (excluding the 5 dollar pledge category).

I’m very committed to making this all happen and feel very privileged by all the support. I will keep you posted, all the way.

FAQ

9,258
Backers
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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    173 backers

    JUST WATCHING - Follow my journey in making this book reality through exclusive backer updates full of information on making a children's book, learning programming and creating Ruby's world.

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    839 backers

    THE E-BOOK - Digital version of the book (your choice of ePub, PDF or Mobi) available for your phone or tablet.

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    2067 backers

    THE E-BOOK + WORKBOOK. Digital version of the book and the workbook (your choice of ePub, PDF or Mobi) available for your phone or tablet and printable even for the neighbours kid.

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    THE HARDCOVER BOOK + WORKBOOK. One lovely, hardcover copy of 'Hello Ruby' with the workbook. self.heart :ruby

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    THE HARDCOVER BOOK + WORKBOOK + POSTER. A hardcover version of the book and workbook. A special poster (11"x14") of Ruby and her friends, perfect for nurseries (or offices).

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    672 backers

    DOUBLE THE FUN. Two hardcover books, two workbooks. Something to share with a friend.

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    SKETCH. A hardcover book, workbook and a sketch of one of the characters drawn in the book + a personalized note to the recipient.

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    22 backers Limited (28 left of 50)

    EXPERIENCE. A hardcover book, workbook and hand-annotated background stories of how I came up with the characters.

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    LET'S TALK. I'll talk with you for one hour over Skype about little Ruby's world, beginner programming, teaching basics of Ruby or just having a friendly chat. And you'll get the hardcover book & workbook.

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    KINDERGARTEN KIT. Get 10 copies of the book, workbook and electronic copies for a kindergarten of your choice. Includes a teacher kit with easy instructions on classroom use.

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    EXPERIENCE. Get an exclusive day tour with me in Helsinki through Ruby's imagination. We'll visit all the awesome places of the book (and you'll get a dinner in a very special location). Location: Helsinki & surrounding areas. Travel costs not included.

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    7 backers

    CORPORATE. Get 10 copies of the hardcover book and workbook as well as a custom hand-drawn version of Ruby's adventure with your organisation as a postcard and file, free to use as you wish.

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Funding period

- (30 days)