Best Python book(s) for a pre-teen?

Jeff Sandys sandysj at
Fri Feb 21 21:30:49 CET 2003

Mike Silva wrote:
> My son is 11 and wants to try programming, ... and I would now 
> like to hand him a book ... and say "go have fun!" ...

The best book for young people to learn Python is:
_How to Think Like a Computer Scientist: Learning with Python_
by Allen B. Downey, Jeffrey Elkner and Chris Meyers
In dead tree form or free off the web:

Jeffrey Elkner is a high school teacher so the book is aimed 
at this level.  I plan on using this book for an after school 
programming club in middle schools (7th-8th grade).  You can 
read an O'Reilly interview with Jeffrey Elkner here:

> I'd like him to be able to do simple graphics fairly early ...

The turtle module will let you do turtle graphics. 
	>>> from turtle import *
	>>> demo()

I should mention that I have been using Logo in the afterschool 
programming club.  Brian Harvey has a three book series: 
_Computer Science Logo Style_, and offers a free version of Logo:

Jeff Sandys

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