Review of How to Explain Coding to a Grown-Up, by Ruth Spiro, illustrated by Teresa Martinez

How to Explain Coding to a Grown-Up

by Ruth Spiro
illustrated by Teresa Martinez

Charlesbridge, 2023. 32 pages.
Review written November 17, 2023, from a library book.
Starred Review

I love this title! It of course gives a clear and simple explanation of coding — because that’s what grown-ups need.

The pictures show an elementary school-aged kid and her grown-up. And the book explains that sometimes your grown-up may need your help understanding things. I love the Pro Tips sprinkled throughout. Here are some examples:

Pro Tip: When dealing with grown-ups, don’t jump into the complicated stuff too fast. Start with something they already know.

At that point, you’re explaining that many common objects in your home have computers inside them.

Pro Tip: Now may be a good time to check in with your grown-up. Ask if they have any questions before you move on.

That tip comes after showing what’s inside a computer, talking about what code is, and telling that programmers write the code.

Then to explain algorithms, you’re encouraged to take your grown-up for a walk in the park with healthy snacks, using an algorithm to decide whether to swing on the swings (depending on if one is available). With that example, the grown-up learns about conditionals and loops.

Then the book adds some more details such as debugging, and then it’s time to ask your grown-up questions.

Pro Tip: If your grown-up can explain it, that shows they understand it!

It all adds up to a basic explanation of coding that’s a lot of fun to read.

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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