April Speight writes a nice book, Bite-Size Python, on the topic of introducing beginners to programming using Python.

I found the book not at all intimidating to pick up and read. It’s not super thick/heavy and I must say I enjoyed the color, font and layout of the contents of the book. Visually appealing for the beginner and even I imagine for kids.

Here is what the front and back cover look like:

What’s in the book

April includes the basics of programming (using Python) over 14 chapters. Her book covers how to install Python, what is IDLE (an “Integrated Development and Learning Environment” – a nice and easy interface to run Python commands) and how to use it, and an intro to variables (including numbers and strings), conditionals, lists, loops, functions, dictionaries and modules.

And to help communicate the above topics, April provides:

  • Checkpoints (sort of like mini challenges or questions) to reinforce previously presented material
  • Projects which are multi-page activities designed to get you writing some code and learning by doing. Excellent 🙂

Near the end of the book (the last chapter) a next steps section is provided that points to some more advanced concepts like

  • Leveraging Python libraries (“packages”) – code and behavior other people have written that you can for free use in your own Python programs to make them do amazing things.
  • Virtual environments – a way of keeping your Python programming clean so one project doesn’t mix with another one.
  • IDEs (integrated development environments) – applications like a fancy or advanced text editor you can use to write, run and even debug code all in one tool or “environment”. They help you write better code faster.

Overall Impressions

Bite-Size Python is good book for beginners who know very little or no programming at all. It’s relatively short (compared to some other, thicker Python books) – and that’s not a bad thing! It covers the basics and really just the basics. Programming can be an intimidating thing to try and learn. And I think the book does well by not going too far into advanced topics.

I recommend this book for anyone who is wanting to learn programming. And Python is an excellent choice because it’s syntax (the actual code you write) is easy to read, learn and remember.

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