The ways technology changes our lives may seem a bit overwhelming at times. Through stories and information children can become more comfortable with this state of constant change and how it impacts their learning, friendships, and communication with others.
“The 4-1-1 on Phones!” by Kama Einhorn, Illustrated by Mark Borgions, 2015, ages 7-9.
From Alexander Graham Bell’s patent on the telephone in 1876 to the smartphones of today, communicating by phone has changed as technology has changed. This nonfiction easy reader will give children a sense of the telephone milestones along the way. Humorous illustrations and age-appropriate vocabulary explain topics such as the science of hearing, phones becoming mobile, phone books, and pay phones.
“Josh Baxter Levels Up” by Gavin Brown, 2016, Scholastic, 172 pages, ages 9-12.
Middle-schooler, Josh lives for video games and often finds himself bringing aspects of the games into real life, and vice-versa. When his grades drop and his mom takes away his games, Josh uses gaming principles to encourage himself to study more and make friends.
“Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding” by Linda Liukas, 2015, Feiwel & Friends, ages 5-9.
In 2013, Code.org organized the first Hour of Coding worldwide event, bringing attention to the importance of teaching children about coding and computer science. The author of “Hello Ruby”, Linda Liukas describes coding as the twenty-first-century literacy that teaches the skills of looking for patterns, creating step-by-step plans, breaking up problems into smaller chunks, and thinking outside of the box. This children’s picture book uses the story of a young child, Ruby and her search for the hidden gems left by her father before departing on a trip. Colorful illustrations, fun animal characters, and an engaging story present the computational thinking skills needed to solve problems in the story, but also in a computer setting.
“Katie Friedman Gives Up Texting!” by Tommy Greenwald, Illustrations by J.P. Coovert, 2015, Roaring Book Press, 227 pages, ages 9-12.
Katie and her seventh grade friends are constantly using their cell phones to send message and photos to each other. A hard lesson that involves the wrong message to the wrong boy and hurt feelings, teaches Katie that technology can break down relationships and become addicting. She convinces ten of her friends to give up their cell phones for a week, and the results cause Katie to learn new things about herself. One of Katie’s friends is Charlie Jo Jackson, a character in the popular series by author Tommy Greenwalk.
“My Life as a Gamer” by Janet Tashjian, Illustrations by Jake Tashjian, 2015, Christy Ottaviano Books, 250 pages, ages 8-11.
For video game lover Derek, what could be better than being selected to test a new video game “Arctic Ninja” for Global Games? Having his three closest friends join him is icing on the cake. Derek discovers there is more to being a gamer than just racking up points and that the lessons he learns from playing can help him to become a better student and a better friend. Janet and Jake, a mother and son author/illustrator team have created five books in the “My Life As” series. The illustrations include simple comic drawings depicting vocabulary definitions, set in the margins.