A computer scientist is writing a book about programming for babies

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Baby and book

Cartoon penguins teach Boolean logic.

Eric Redmond, the creator of Computer Science for Babies, wants to teach young children about ones and zeros before they’re even one year old.

Boolean Logic for Babies, the first book in Redmond’s series of educational books for tiny humans, teaches these fundamental concepts with cartoon animals and simple language, helping kids understand “and,” “or,” and “not,” the basic logic at the heart of programming.

Teaching kids algebraic concepts so early might seem like a daunting task, but the cloth book is designed much like any other reading material for children just months old. It’s attached to a teething ring, with pages stuffed with crinkly material. Characters include penguins, kittens, and pandas. There’s no actual technology involved—it’s all about logic and reasoning.

Redmond is a computer scientist who has written several books on programming and computer science for adults. He’s also the father of a young daughter, and he and his wife are expecting another baby in December. He wanted to write a book to teach his own young children the computing concepts and logic they’ll need in a future driven by technology.

Computer Science for Babies

Redmond created the book with help from teachers and educators in the Portland community. It’s based on research about early childhood development, including Mark Johnson’s “Functional brain development in humans,” and developmental milestones published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Redmond also beta-tested the book with his daughter and other young children.

“From the technical side, I’m a computer scientist with a long track record of education, and broke down the minimal required knowledge that a baby could grasp, that cover the basics of computer systems,” Redmond said in an email.

Computer Science for Babies

Redmond launched his project on Kickstarter earlier this month, hoping to raise $10,000 to publish the first book. Backers will get copies of Boolean Logic for Babies by November. Redmond said the tight turnaround is in part due to his own growing family.

“I have a manufacturer, packing, and shipping all lined up,” he said. “I wanted to get the book out before the holiday season, but the biggest driver to get the book out in November is that my second baby is due in December.”

The Kickstarter campaign has raised almost half of its funding goal. Stretch goals include two more books in the Computer Science for Babies series—Counting in Binary for Toddlers and Functions for Tots, both targeted at older children.

Even if Redmond doesn’t raise the $15,000 he’s seeking to publish all three books, he’ll still write them for his own kids.

“Since this is largely a labor of love for my daughter, I’ve already begun writing the second book,” he said. “She’ll continue growing, and as long as there’s a hole in the market that puts basic computer literacy alongside reading, writing, and arithmetic, I’ll do what I can to educate her. Besides writing code, making books is what I know best.”

Screengrab via Computer Science for Babies/Kickstarter

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