I ran into Sheena Vaidyanathan at the recently CSTA Conference. (See my interview with her here. It includes links to resources that she’s created.)
Now, running into Sheena isn’t strange; she’s a regular at this conference. It was the circumstance that was strange. Just five minutes before I saw her, I had cleaned up the check-in desk and saw that someone had left a book on the counter. It was called “Creative Coding in Python” and written by Sheena with a 2019 Copyright.
I had a quick flip through the book, noting all the colourful pages and then put it on the back shelf for the owner to claim it.
When I saw Sheena, I figured she had to be the owner and was showing it off. I had a quick discussion about it, thinking that she was selling them at the conference but no, she wasn’t. And, this copy wasn’t hers. She told me to take it if nobody came looking for it.
Fortunately for me, I guess, nobody came to ask about it so it came home with me and provided me with the chance to read it cover to cover on the flight home. Now, I did have a couple of other books on my iPad to read that would be considered more recreational but I’ve given up being worried about looking geeky long ago!
I was nicely surprised with the format. I’ll admit, your typical Computer Science book isn’t exactly a page turner! But this one was. I didn’t have Python on my computer to try the examples but I did them in my head and it wasn’t long before I was at the end of the book.
I found the content a nice combination of old and new school content. I wondered to myself if you actually had to be old school to recognize the old school content.
There are five chapters, each devoted to a specific content that introduced and expanded on the concepts.
- Chapter 1 – Create your own chatbots
- Chapter 2 – Create your own art masterpieces
- Chapter 3 – Create your own adventure games
- Chapter 4 – Create your own dice games
- Chapter 5 – Create your own apps and games
As to be expected, new concepts are added as you go along and the programs become more sophisticated as you work your way through the book. In the side columns, Sheena introduces and fleshes our computer concepts along the way.
So, who is the audience? Sheena teaches middle school and the writing level and activities would fit very nicely there. Of course, there are all kinds of tools for development of code in Python; she goes conservative and talks about using IDLE. I could see this book being used as a reference for a teacher learning and using Python with students. I could also see it being in the Resource Centre for students to check out if their regular classes are using a block based application for those who want to go further.
Of course, keeping with tradition, the first program is a “Hello world”.
The book is available through Amazon here. Click the cover and explore things.