Hello World! is a delightfully approachable first programming book. It provides a thorough introduction to the Python language, but it is really about teaching programming in general. I read the book from the perspective of teacher, rather than student. I know many programming languages and teach programming workshops to both kids and adults. Based on my experience, I would recommend this book for teens or adults on their own. There’s a lot of reading for younger kids, but I think the exercises would be suitable for ages 8 and up if led by a grown up or older kid. Of course, I also believe that a truly motivated kid can do anything, so if yours is avidly into computers and a good reader, “HelloWorld!” could be a great adventure at any age. I like the vibrant mix of hands-on experiential learning, discussion of concepts and historical context.
In my own teaching, I have found that it is essential for students to have practical learning exercises that provide quick access to the thrill of writing code that does your bidding. Along with the book, you are guided to install a bunch of software, including IDLE, a nice interactive python shell with syntax highlighting. The exercises focus on specific concepts and authors do a good job of explaining what is going on, and, just as importantly, what might go wrong.
Overall, I found the storytelling entertaining and educational. I would recommend the book for anyone who wants to learn programming. I think Python is a good first language and many folks use it in “real world” programming as well.