Starting as a joke that became reality, alumni Blake Matthews recently completed his children’s book, “Don’t Give a Bot a Bit.” The book aims to educate young children on computer science, while still entertaining them.
“I wrote this book because no one else had done it and it needed to be done. I was teaching professional development for new Computer Science teachers across the state this summer. In one session the teachers and librarians in the room complained that there were no books for children relating to computer science topics. I joked, ‘Well I guess I will have to write one!’ There was so much enthusiasm for my joke idea that several of the educators contacted me later to ask for updates. Apparently, they didn’t realize I was joking. Or maybe they realized before I did that I wasn’t joking,” Matthews said.
The book features useful information that paves the path for young children towards technology. From explanations of a byte to a drive, the book is written with computer science standards as the structure on which the story takes place.
“Arkansas has new computer science standards for grades K-8. It is written with the new computer science standards in mind. It is only partially written for kids, it is also partially written for K-3 grade teachers to use in class. I want it to be used in class, but also be a story that kids can enjoy anytime. It was at least partially written as a bedtime story for my daughter,” Matthews said.
The process began in the summer, and he plans to complete the manuscript over his winter break. Matthews is currently running a Kickstarter to fund the book. The Kindle copy is ready and published with availability on Amazon as an eBook and paperback. A teacher’s edition releases in January at Barnes and Noble.
“This actually came out of my professional growth plan as part of my teacher evaluation. My professional growth plan was to start creating content to share as a resource to the profession…Each book comes with lessons that would guide teachers on how to implement these concepts in their classroom,” Matthews said.
Matthews, a 2005 graduate currently teaches Computer Science, Robotics and Science at Washington Junior High in Bentonville.