Programming Languages ABC ++

Programming Languages ABC++ book showing the cover which states the title and portrays a green bug playing with cubes with numbers 1 and 0 on them. The bottom of the cover shows the authors Michael and Martine Dowden and the publisher Inedo.

Published in 2015 Programming Languages ABC++ is an alphabet book all about coding that’s fun for both toddlers and their grown up counterparts. It’s not about teaching a baby to make a program, that’s silly. It’s about creating a way for software developers to connect with the kids in their life. Share a little about what they do, in a context that the kids will actually enjoy.

About the Book

J is for Java page including the bug spilling his coffee on the letter J. A hello world in Java. At the bottom of the page are details about the creation of the Java language and its creator.

From Ada to Zimbu, every letter highlights a code language with a “Hello World” program for each.

Kids love following the Bug as he stumbles his way through the alphabet, and you will love trying to figure out the software pun in each full-color illustration. Plus, at the bottom of each page we have some tidbits about the creators or circumstances surrounding the language.

The Project

Programming Languages ABC++ was a very personal project as it challenged every aspect of my knowledge from the history of programming for coming up with each bit of information about the languages. To design as each page contains a visual element that is related to programming but also recognizable by as small child (as this is a kids book after all). And finally code for making sure that each of the hello worlds actually ran (available on Github). Watching it all come together though made all of the head scratching for what to use for letters such as W or U totally worth it.

To initially launch the book, we launched the book via kickstarter with great success. Funded in just 2 days, the communities response was beyond anything I had ever imagined, and it was just the beginning. A year later we then went on to create a workbook edition and sell over 20,000 copies.

What Are People Saying About the Book

I love this little book! If I had a grandchild, I would certainly buy a copy and read it to her! But of course… I’m biased. When I pick up a lovely book like this, written with an interesting concept, charming characters, and a wonderful way to draw in talented children to the world of programming, I am going to love it :-)

Each page is dedicated to a letter of the alphabet and a programming language that starts with that letter, hence the name Programming Languages ABC++. I love that A stands for Ada. Ada is still my favorite programming language. A small blurb at the bottom of each page (obviously meant for the grandparent reading this with a child) reminds the reader of a bit of the programming language history. In the case of ‘A’ – Ada was named for a woman, Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, the poet. She is billed as the worlds first programmer. Long before the women of ENIAC who received little credit for their astounding work as the first programmers in a large computing setting, I confess I did not know much about some of these languages, but all my favorites were here… well, except C of course… but I digress.

Whether you have grandchildren or not, check out this amazing book. It will make you smile :-)!

Linda Rising

I really like it! I like that I didn’t get it at first, that the pictures are part of the alphabet game too, and that when I spotted that I went back and looked at them all more carefully. Anything that causes you to look at the whole thing is good.

Dan North


Elisabeth Hendrickson

Programming geeks! Do you have trouble describing to your children what it is you do at work all day? Why not show them, while also strengthening their ABCs and getting them interested in programming?

This is a really cute book! Each page contains “Hello World” code, adorable illustrations, and trivia about the featured programming language. While it’s geared toward younger kids, even older kids can enjoy compiling each code sample and researching other languages that start with each letter. Heck, I’m a programming adult and I still learned a lot from it.

You’ll have a hard time deciding whether to leave the book at home with the kids, or display it in your office cubicle for fellow geeks to pore over. :)

Ellis Morning

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