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Coderdojo: global network of self-directed hacker schools for kids


Glenn sez, "An Irish programmer started with a club in Cork to teach (at no cost) kids aged 5 to 17 how to program. It was such a hit that it's expanded to hundred of cities across 27 countries. CoderDojo has a template that includes self-directed learning with mentors on tap to help out. The notion is to provide kids a productive outlet. Among its successes is an average participation split about halfway between girls and boys in most chapters."

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Free download of danah boyd's must-read book "It's Complicated"

danah boyd has posted a free PDF of the full text of her must-read book It's Complicated, the best book about young people and the Internet I've read to date. boyd hopes you'll enjoy the book and then support her and her publisher by buying a copy, sending a signal "that this book is important, that the message in the book is valuable."

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Guest review: my daughter reviews Ariol

I love reading with my daughter, Poesy, who has just turned six. We agree on almost all of her favorites, and re-reading them is one of our best-loved activities, and how we pass the time on boring bus-rides and so forth. However, there are a few books that Poesy loves, but which leave me cold. First among these is are the Ariol books, a long-running French kids' comic series that are being swiftly translated into English by Papercutz (there are three books out so far, and a fourth is due in May). Ariol was co-created by the amazing and talented Emmanuel Guibert, whose other work includes the anarcho-gonzo Sardine kids' comics; the brilliant WWII memoir Alan's War, and the extraordinary memoir of doctors in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, The Photographer.

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Man, newsies sure could dress


Suddenly I want to buy a newspaper. Everybody crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed urchin.

11:00 A.M. Monday May 9th, 1910. Newsies at Skeeter's Branch, Jefferson near Franklin. They were all smoking. Location: St. Louis, Missouri. [Library of Congress]

(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (must, MUST read)


Sociologist danah boyd's long-awaited first book, It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, hits shelves today. boyd is one of the preeminent scholars of the way young people -- especially marginalized young people of diverse economic and racial backgrounds, as well as diverse gender and sexual orientation -- use the Internet, and her work has been cited here regularly for her sharp observations and her overwhelming empathy for her subjects.

It's Complicated is a passionate, scholarly, and vividly described account of the reality of young peoples' use of networked technologies in America today. Painstakingly researched through interviews and close study for more than a decade, boyd's book is the most important analysis of networked culture I've yet to read.

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Two ways breastfeeding ladies can pump milk in a more convenient fashion

Yes, this is a review of a nursing bra. No, this is not me getting all mommyblogger. If you are a woman with a new kid and you work, then milking yourself is a weird and frequent part of your work schedule. It's also obnoxious. So I want to make sure you know about two ways to make it a little less obnoxious. One is a Kickstarter-funded product (i.e., a handy solution to an everyday problem created by an inventive Maker). The other is a simple hack you can do at your desk for $1.50. In other words, this is about boobs and babies. And it's also very BoingBoing.

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Dante for fun: kids books that retell the Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso


As mentioned, I'm in Florence, Italy with my daughter for a speaking gig. We toured the Palazzo Vecchio on the first day, and happened on a bust of Dante, and I began to explain the story of Dante, his exile, and the way he damned all his enemies to the most grotesque tortures in his epic poem. My kid was fascinated -- being sentenced to an eternity to boil, head down, in a lake of filthy blood, is pretty fascinating when you're six!

When we got to the gift-shop, we discovered an improbable set of childrens' picture books that retell Dante for young people: it's called "Dante for fun" and it comes in three volumes (naturally): Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise.

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Seventh grader's Lego-based Braille printer

Shubham Banerjee, a seventh grader in Santa Clara, California, invented a Lego Mindstorms-based Braille printer called the Braigo. He's declared his intention to release his printer -- which costs about $350, much less than traditional $2000+ Braille printers -- as open source hardware so that it can be improved by a wider developer community.

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Classic picture books as color wheels


Arthur Buxton writes, "Here's a tribute to three classic children's books - The Snowman, Where the Wild Things Are and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Using custom software, I've reduced each page in all three books to its main five colours proportionally according to size, then arranged each resulting chart in sequence."

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Chestburster Onesie

This Alien chestburster onesie was drawn by comics creator Mike Dougherty for a baby-shower. (via Geeks Are Sexy)

Kickstarting a kid-friendly steampunk graphic novel

Thom writes, "When our Kickstarter for a kid-friendly steampunk comic was 'kicktrolled' last November, the Internet quickly came to our rescue. And while we ultimately cancelled that project for fear of a repeat incident, we're back with a new campaign for a graphic novel of our webcomic -- and a possible way to make 'Crimson Rhen of the True North' happen!"

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9 year old girl's awesome advice letter to her dad who is about to meet Bill Nye

The once-9-year-old girl with advice for a dad meeting Bill Nye is now an adult: Ms. Lauren Dyson. Her dad, none other than author George Dyson. Shared here with permission. Thanks, George and Lauren!

Animals from 60 different species are best pals at this Arkansas critter refuge (photos)

Via Bored Panda, photographs from Rocky Ridge Refuge in Arkansas, a facility that cares for abused and abandoned animals from some 60 domestic and wild species. [Facebook, website].

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HOWTO make an intercom out of obsolete corded phones

Here's a great, simple Make project that teaches you how to make an intercom from a pair of old, corded phones, a 9V battery and a resistor. I loved walkie-talkies and intercoms when I was a kid -- the idea of setting up your own house-wide wireline intercom is super-cool, and the project is dead-simple.

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Amulet: amazing, adventurous kids' graphic novels have everything to love


I am unquestionably late to the party on Amulet, Kazu Kibuishi's young adult graphic novel series that kicked off in 2008 and has so far been serialized in five fantastic books. That's OK: it's a big world and there's plenty to read in it, and getting to Amulet this late merely meant that I had five books to inhale in one long session, which is, frankly, an amazing experience.

Amulet tells the story of Emily, a young girl whose family moves to her great-grandfather's tumbledown mansion after her father's tragic death. Shortly after their arrival, Emily and her mother and younger brother Navin find themselves in a parallel dimension where Emily's destiny awaits. Emily is descended from a line of "Stonekeepers," who are charged with protecting the alien world from mysterious forces, aided by gemstones that give them mystical powers, but also threaten to destroy them.

The first five volumes of Amulet are something of a marvel.

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