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This guest blog was contributed by Shari Eskenas, who has written a children’s book.

My vision for A Day in Code is to help kids and students of all ages enjoy learning to code by overcoming the following two problems:

  1. Beginner code examples are mundane and hard to relate to
  2. Beginner coding books that teach how to write actual code are textbook-like and not fun to read.

To solve the first problem, I decided that the book would present code examples that were fun and relatable. I thought of the idea of designing the book to be in the form of a picture book that tells a continuous story represented by code. The story is about all the fun activities that two kids enjoy during the course of a day. This storyline allowed me to infuse meaning into the code and have it represent real life situations. By explaining what the code does below each program, the book teaches how the programming logic and syntax work.

To solve the second problem, I wanted to design the book to be as visually appealing as a beautifully illustrated picture book. There’s an illustration next to each code page that shows the situation in the story that the code is describing. I know I used to enjoy looking through picture books just for the art. How great would it be if kids could enjoy looking through a picture book and afterwards be familiar with how a for loop works? This is my vision for A Day in Code.

Another motivation I had was to teach and promote the C programming language. The C language is a fundamental language known as the “mother of all programming languages” because so many languages (like C++ and Java) are derived from it. C is widely used today in many fields including databases, desktop applications, operating systems, computer games/graphics, and embedded systems. C is the most popular language in embedded systems! Microcontrollers are a common type of embedded system that control the operation of devices and appliances all around you, like your microwave, printer, washing machine, and phone- to name a few. The Arduino is a popular microcontroller platform for students and hobbyists and it’s programmed in C.

The 32-page 8”x10” hardcover picture book and digital copies are available for pre-order through Kickstarter. Here is the Kickstarter link.

About Shari Eskenas

Shari Photo

I have a B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering with an emphasis on digital and computer engineering. I’m passionate about inventing useful consumer electronics products and currently hold two patents. I founded my startup Sundae Electronics with the mission of creating an innovative consumer electronics brand with products that improve people’s everyday life and wellness. I enjoy brainstorming new product ideas and juggling bean bags (five!) in my spare time.

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Dr. Koshi Dhingra has dedicated her career to STEM education and is passionate about having every child live up to their potential. Seeing a lack of girls and other underrepresented youth in STEM programs, she founded talkSTEM in 2015 to address the imbalance. She has a doctorate in science education from Teachers College, Columbia University, has years of experience teaching in graduate and undergraduate programs, and has held leadership roles in universities. She advises and collaborates with a broad range of educational institutions globally. Dr. Dhingra began her career teaching science in middle and high school in New York. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and two dogs.

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