“Super Scratch Programming Adventure,” by the Learning Through Engineering, Art and Design (LEAD) Project; $25, also from

“Scratch” is a simple programming system that can be used by kids or adults. It works by dragging colorful blocks of code to make games and animations. This, by the way, is not far removed from much professional programming, which typically pulls together blocks of code called routines or modules.

By chapter two, you will have made your first game and learned how to create costumes and movements for your character.  These are classic arcade-style games that can be created in an afternoon. The book is in comic book format with step-by-step explanations. The “LEAD” project was created by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth groups in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab.

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