Gabi's If/Then Garden

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Aug 2018

Member Reviews

I’ve never read a book with this concept before. Basically, it teaches you about computer programming. And I find that amazing! It should help inspire many young minds...
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ne of the basic concepts of coding is that it uses "if/then" statements to help computers perform tasks. In this story, two friends, Gabi and Adi, start out in the garden, learning about how different factors affect how plants grow:  "IF the weather is dry, THEN they water the plants...IF the weeds start to grow, THEN they pull them from the garden."  And how different tasks must be performed depending on the state of the plant:  IF the tomato is red, THEN put it the basket.  IF the tomato is green, THEN leave it on the vine." Clever, right?

Once Gabi and Adi (and readers) get the hang of it, they decide to play the "if/then" game - a version of Simon Says where Simon is the Programmer and the followers are the Computers.  Gabi and Adi have a silly time giving commands and carrying out tasks, even learning about what do to when there's a bug in the program!

I love this book so much.  Coding for the youngest kids, through story and play. It's brilliant. Plus there are already three companion books, Gabi's Perfect Pattern and Loops and Adi Sorts with Variables, and Gabi's Fabulous Functions! Official age range is 6-8, but I have no idea why. We started reading this when my youngest was 2 - never too young, I say!
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This is an interesting way to approach coding but I am not sure students would understand what the text is trying to teach about coding. The story does a great job of demonstrating what if/then statements but there seems to be something missing to help connect the gap between if/them statements and coding. In addition to the story, I feel the method of relating a garden to coding makes the text more child friendly. Overall this s a book I would include in my classroom library, but I would not use it as my only resource if teaching coding or computer programming to students.
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Adi and Gabi are a perfect pair. They they like to wonder and question about the world. They have even developed a game called "If...Then..." where they follow each others actions based on the first one given. The book is a fun way to teach kids the very basics of coding. It would be a great lead in to an introductory coding class for elementary students. So many possibilities with this book! I loved it and will be ordering it for my classroom.
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I was so excited to find Gabi’s If/Then Garden by Caroline Karanja because not only is it a perfect companion to Josh Funk’s How to Code a Sandcastle, it is also another book that is going to inspire young kids, girls especially, into looking at how to code thus expanding interest in STEAM.
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I loved how this book linked the If/Then tasks of gardening to the If/Then tasks of coding, to make it make sense for the beginning designer/coder. I think children are really into designing, coding and stem and this is an excellent way to explain concepts. The illustrations were beautiful and I especially like the fact that girls were represented as coders in a predominantly male-driven field. Way to get more girls into STEM! Kudos!
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This book is an intro to coding, and while I’m still thinking about the best ways to use it with my students, I think it gets the point across fairly well. Even without the programming explanations, understanding conditional statements can be a struggle for students, and this book would be a great tool for that alone. To then also relate it to basic computer programming seems like an extra bonus. The illustrations are beautiful, and while the story may seem a little repetitive, I think it helps to get the point across. I especially liked the problem-solving/debugging part! Thank you, NetGalley for the ARC!
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Hooray for STEM and girls who code! This book teaches young children the basic concepts underlying computer coding in a fun and accessible way. It could even be read to a group in story time. This book is one of a kind, but I hope we'll see more like it, especially from this author.
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It's refreshing to see a book about coding that embeds computational thinking into the natural world of gardens and growing food. Particularly for younger children, understanding coding as a powerful thinking tool for problem-solving, paired with an emerging identity of concern and advocacy for the natural world is an ideal way to encourage girls into ways of thinking about computers as tools.of sustainability. 

The author, Caroline Karanja is a developer, creator and designer who also drives and supports projects with social impact.  This book promotes the idea that every lived experience has the potential to make us better coders, and this is shown through the characters Gabi and Adi. The colourful illustrations by Ben Whitehouse will appeal immediately to a younger audience. 

I reviewed the digital edition but I imagine that the physical book could be read aloud to a group of children in a classroom too.  It could equally garner attention as read-to-self book, making an eye-catching display to attract young readers as part of a library Makerspace book collection. 

The book has boxed text included throughout the story that expand and explain the coding concepts at key points.  These appear as the concepts are encountered in the text, so they might interject with the flow of storytelling if reading aloud to a group. These explanations might be something to return to after the story has been shared. 

Educators could also pair reading this book, with a physical unplugged coding/computational activity based on the activity included at the end of the book.  If your school is lucky enough to have a produce garden on site or nearby, educators could take children into a vegetable garden or orchard for some if/then code-inspired harvesting!

As a book that invites children outside to think about how coding can aid our perception and understanding of the natural and everyday world around us, this is a unique, simple and visually beautiful book for young children.
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I am not sure if children will get that this book is teaching the basics of computer programming or not, but I like the concept. Gabi and her friend Adi spend an afternoon in the garden learning about if/then statements. “If it doesn’t rain, then they water the plants.” "If the tomato is red, then you pick it and put it in the basket." The girls then use the concept of the game Simon Says to explain what they mean.  “If the Programmer does a jumping jack, then the Computer does a cartwheel.”  Caroline Karanja has created an accessible and fun way for children to learn the basics of coding. Using young girls experimenting or explaining technology is a great way to show girls that science and technology are not just for boys. Using child-friendly language and experiences, the girls discover that coding concepts are all around them. A well done book explaining an important concept in computer programming and in life.
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Gabi's If/Then Garden by Caroline Karanja is really an unusual book. I thought that the book was a gardening book explaining the process of things growing. It is that in the introduction, but this is not the main purpose of this book. It is written to explain how computers work. If the command is this, then this would happen. 

I am not sure if this is how I would have explained it. Having been an educator for thirty years, I thought I was on top of ways to illustrate a concept. For me this book only sort of work at best. However, I asked a fifth grader to read the digital copy with me to see if he thought it makes clear simple computer programming, debugging commands and computer responses especially for younger children. He gave me a resounding yes when he had finished this quick reading book. He thought the book clearly and interestingly described the topic. For him it was 5 Stars but for me it was 3 Stars, averaging out this would make the rating 4 Stars. Please remember the intended audience is the younger crowd.
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Art: black girl with afropuff, cute things with dog going on in background

I don’t know if kids will be able to understand coding from this. But coding can be very complex.  I do like the art and that it is talking about coding with  two girls (one of them being a black girl with an afropuff)
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This is really cute, and one of the better books I've seen directed at children for coding. This could be a great storytime or younger elementary lesson plan book paired with some low tech coding projects or games. The story itself is simple enough that even younger children will understand, and the text boxes with further information are helpful for older kids or even adults without much computer programming knowledge.
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Gabi and her best friend Adi are two very clever girls.  They are scientific thinkers who perform as a team.  They work in the garden and while working they talk about "if/then" things.  What in the world is that you may ask?  Well let me enlighten you.

The two best friends programme the world around them in kid-friendly computer language, in basic code:  "IF it doesn't rain THEN we will water the garden.  Or IF a tomato is red THEN we pick it and place it in the basket.  It is very much like the Simon Says game.  It illustrates that Simon is the programmer and his followers are the computer.  It even sheds light into debugging which can and does happen when the computer doesn't respond to the code correctly.  

The story is a wonderful introduction to basic coding concepts.  "Thinking like a programmer and thinking like a kid are a lot alike."  

The illustrations enrich the text and the main characters are adorable.  The book is about friendship, teamwork and is educational. Well done and recommended by Storywraps.  It would be a great book to include in a classroom or elementary school library setting.
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This was an interesting g idea. Written by a computer programmer, it explains if/then statements. Kids who are into programming would find it easy to understand this explanation of language. Not sure if it was quite what I was expecting, but it was a neat concept.

#netgalley
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While the author may have overdone  the if / then concept a bit, I still really enjoyed the story of the garden and friendship. This will be a great STEM classroom read aloud!
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I really like how this book was done.  The girls use if/then in their everyday life.  If the tomato is red, then pick it put it in the basket.  Then they play the if/then game.  It is very similar to Simon Says, but illustrates how Simon is the programmer and his followers are the computer.  It even goes a little into debugging.  I love that the author used girls, and for those who need more examples, the author is a POC.
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Gabi and her friend Adi are scientific thinkers who make a great team. While working in the garden they talk about if/then things: IF it doesn’t rain THEN we will water the garden. Or IF a tomato is red THEN we can put it in the basket. As the story moves on the kids talk about how the if/then game they've been playing is like a programmer and a computer, or even like Simon Says game. But occasionally the computer doesn’t respond to the code correctly. This is called a bug and the programmer needs to debug the code. The story is a very basic introduction to coding concepts.

Cons: None

Pros: The illustrations and simple introductions through the garden and if/then examples should make this a wonderful book for that curious child (who we all know and love).
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This brilliant children's book meaningfully challenges young readers to make connections to technology by illuminating their presence in everyday tasks towards accessibility for all!
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As a math teacher who has taught conditional statements to high schoolers, I really loved reading this to my almost 5-year old as an introduction to if/then statements. There were even explains at the end of the book that we were able to practice with. The story itself and the pictures were also really cute too. We will certainly be reading this one again.
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