Author: Oyvind Nydal Dahl

Publisher: No Starch Press
ISBN: 978-1-59327-725-3

This is the best book about electronics for kids I have read. From colorful illustrations to simple explanations and examples, this book makes electronics clear for those starting out. Every section of this book shares the excitement and fun that the author clearly finds in electronics.

The introduction prepares the reader for the general format the book will use, what supplies will be helpful, and how to recognize warnings so the reader can have a fun safe time experimenting with electronics and electricity.

Part 1 Playing with electricity includes chapters on what electricity is, how to make things move using electricity and magnetism, and how to generate electricity. Some of the fun projects in this chapter include making an intruder alarm, an electromagnet, a motor, a shake generator, and turn on a light with lemon power.

Part 2 Building Circuits teaches the basics of circuits and introduces components such as resistors, capacitors, switches, and LEDs. Basic soldering skills are also introduced in this part of the book. Fun projects such as controlling things with electricity and building a musical instrument make this an exciting enticing book. Projects in this section include destroying an LED, lighting an LED, using a breadboard, testing a capacitor, blinking a light, soldering an LED circuit, desoldering (when you want to remove a component), building a touch sensing circuit, a sunrise wakeup alarm, and making an instrument that beeps and boops.

Part 3 The Digital World introduces how circuits understand 1s and 0s, circuits that make choices, circuits that have ‘memory’ and how to combine all the knowledge and skills taught in this book to create a game. In this section the activities include converting numbers from binary to decimal, and building a pixel color guessing game, a secret message machine, a secret code checker, and an ‘electronic coin tosser.’ The electronic coin tosser doesn’t flip actual coins, but it does generate a random ‘heads’ or ‘tails’ result. The final project in the book, an LED reaction game, uses the skills learned in each of the earlier projects. The author included problem solving information after each project in case the expected result didn’t happen.

The handy resources include some tables of information that are useful in identifying resistor values, capacitor values, prefixes used when working with very large or very small numbers, a review of Ohm’s law, and a list of online electronics shops and other online resources.

The illustrators created a visual delight with the child friendly graphics in this book. Each experiment consists of steps that are fully explained in simple language. If this book were simply a how-to, the excellent graphics and the detailed steps would be wonderful enough, but the author also explains the science underneath in terms kids can understand. This is truly a must-have book for the budding maker or inventor. The accompanying artwork and clearly labeled photos make this book an easy to follow fun guide. I recommend this for parents, teachers, and youth who are interested in technology. I am really excited about using this in our 4-H Electronics and Electricity project and the Robotics project.