Linda Liukas is a woman on a mission, to equip young people with the outlook and skills that they will need to embark on a career in the tech industry. Liukas has previously founded the phenomenally successful non-profit Rail Girls, an initiative that has taught programming to girls across 160 cities all over the world.
“I have spent the last three years teaching programming, and making the world of technology more approachable,” says Liukas. Now she wants to “combine software and storytelling”, and has launched a Kickstarter campaign that will enable her to write and illustrate a children’s book about “the magical world of technology.”
The book, entitled Hello Ruby, features a young red-haired protagonist who originated as something of an imaginary friend back when Liukas was teaching herself programming: “I would use the Ruby character as a reference. How would she explain object-oriented programming?” Liukas wants to teach young readers the core principles behind coding and programming, and empower them to take big problems and break them down into smaller, manageable ones.
Liukas is particularly keen for Hello Ruby to find a female audience. “Teenage girls have such energy… that shouldn’t just be expressed in repeating or reblogging. They should be creating instead of curating.”
Hello Ruby will consist of two physical volumes; one traditional illustrated storybook, and a workbook which will introduce elements of programming theory. These will take the form of challenges that can be solved with pen and paper. Liukas wants the end product to be “very tangible and crafty”.
Hello Ruby has secured over 6,000 backers and has smashed its original donation target of $10,000, with a current pledge total of over $274,000 at the time of writing this. View the Kickstarter campaign here.