Linda Liukas has spent the last three years teaching programming and making the world of technology more approachable for others through her non-profit Rails Girls, and working at Codecademy.
A couple of weeks ago, Linda launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10k for “a little art project” called Hello Ruby, a book about the world of technology that combines her love of software with storytelling. In 24 hours, the campaign met and exceeded the fundraising goal, raising over $100k. In less than two weeks, Hello Ruby has brought in more than $275k with over 6,000 backers, and still has 17 more days to go!
“I believe stories are the most formative force of our childhood. Everyone has a book that made the world seem beautiful and full of possibility. My book is about little Ruby,” says Linda in her campaign video.
Writing and illustrating the book entirely on her own, Ruby’s world is an extension of the way Linda has learned to see technology. The character was born one day in 2010 when Linda was trying to teach herself the programming language Ruby. “Whenever I ran into a problem that I didn’t understand, I’d think ‘how would Ruby see this?’” Linda explains. The sketches and scribbles turned into Ruby making friends with characters like snow leopards and penguins while solving problems.
Hello Ruby aims to help small children (ages 4-7) get excited about technology in a way that goes far beyond the “bits and bytes inside a computer”. The illustrated book, along with an activity book, will teach early programming skills that include big programming principles, sequences, open source culture, etc.
Although Ruby is a girl, Linda wants to be clear that the book is not just for girls, “It’s important that we have a girl protagonist in my storybook, but it’s definitely not a girl/boy thing. Technology is not just for girls or …boys,” she said.
With the runaway success of the campaign, Linda will also be creating a complementary parents guide to the book and workbook, has plans to develop additional books in the series, as well as introduce a mobile app.
“The book is only a glimpse of what’s possible,” said Linda in an interview with TechCrunch, “I’ll remember this for the rest of my whole life,” she added.
While Hello Ruby is designed to be enjoyed by kids, we cannot help but love Ruby’s (and Linda’s) indomitable spirit, can-do attitude and inquisitive nature… we’re sure it’ll become an instant favorite!
More About Linda
Hi, I’m Linda Liukas. Growing up I was messy and little scared of everything and never thought I could write a little neat book for children. But I never really outgrew fairytales.
Now I’m 27 years old. I’m still a bit scared of most things and I still love fairytales. Hello Ruby is my first book. Some days I wish I was a little bit more like Ruby. She’s strong, brave and curious. My heart is in Helsinki, but my home is in New York. In the past I’ve worked with small and big projects related to technology and startups.