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BRAVE NEW DIGITAL WORLD - ROBOTS, AI AND SOCIAL MEDIA IN GERMAN CHILDREN'S BOOKS

Our children grow up in a world immersed in technology. Little ones get a tablet to keep them quiet with videos or play educational games and this, of course, carries on, with cell phones, Alexa, more educational apps, you-tube and social media as they grow older.. Now AI is taking us all in a storm.


Obviously these are topics that offer lots of opportunities for hilariously funny and also super suspenseful books, but also a need for explaining the technology and its perils in particular as kids get older (smart phone addiction and social media bullying just being some of them). Kids are naturally curious about the topic as well. Luckily there is a broad variety of books in German for all ages, and with different angles.


You as parents might look for guidance in digital matters - so I have added parenting books to the mix this time. (If you don't want to read a whole book - the German initiative SCHAU HIN! by many German public institutions over various boards offers great advice on various topics and offers online classes as well.)


Here is our selection!



Paul Thomas Zilly und Zingaro DER BÖSE ROBOTER

Valerie Thomas / Korky Paul

DER BOESE ROBOTER

Zilly and her cat Zingaro made a robot out of junk. She likes him so much, she wishes he was real. Luckily she is a magician and a tap with her magic wand with the right words makes him come alive. Unfortunately though he turns out to be not helpful at all. He takes her magic wand and turns everything into robots!

With lots of quirky details in the illustrations to pour over, this picture book as others in this series are loved by kids.

4 years and up







Andrea Erne

ALLES UEBER ROBOTER - Wieso, Weshalb, Warum


How does a robot work? This non-fiction books with flaps gives a good overview of where robots today are in use already, in productions, the health-system or agriculture. A good introduction to the topic!

4 years and up









Fiona Robinson

ADA LOVELACE UND DER ERSTE COMPUTER

Ada Lovelace, daughter of the poet Lord Byron and Baroness Byron grew up during the industrial revolution - with a mathematical mind and a big imagination. She worked with the mathematician Baggage on machines and was the first to develop a program to be a carried out by a machine, an algorithm.

Stunningly illustrated with water color cut outs, this biography of a woman in science is inspiring.

4 years and up




Andreas Hüging, Angelika Niestraht, NIkolai Rengier

ROKI: MEIN FREUND MIT HERZ UND SCHRAUBE


Paul in Berlin has a new neighbor - an inventor as it turns out. And in his little inventor hub he is harboring a secret, a little robot kid who learns with AI. He learns to walk, talk and even burp! The little Robot is super curious - just like Paul who found out about the robot - and does not like to be confined to the apartment where the inventor hides him, he wants to learn more. He keeps running off. Unfortunately there are some men who want to capture him. And a cat who is very annoyed by Roki... But luckily Paul is there to rescue and protect Roki. A chase ensues.

A super suspenseful, but also hilariously funny start to a series.

6 year and up as a read-aloud,

8 years and up for emerging readers




Bernd Flessner, Hannah Flessner

DIE ROBOT-KIDS: RETTUNG VON MOTO-5


Books for beginning readers tend to be a little uninspiring.

This book is an exception. Written for 1st graders (or reluctant bilingual readers),it tells about a group of friends, bored during their summer break. The aunt of one of them has a robot laboratory, however, and they get to explore that a little - and keep one robot that is broken, if they manage to fit it. Good story in simple sentences and short chapters, that teach a bit about robots on the go.

It is the beginning of a series.

6 years and up






Nathan Lepora

SUPERCHECKER! ROBOTER



Written by the professor of Robotics Nathan Lepora, this non-fiction book offers lots of information. We learn about the use of robots in every day life, in the manufacturing industry, the mars rover as well as drones. With lots of pictures, interviews, fact checkers and more this is a great book for kids to explore the topic themselves.

7 years and up











Kensa Ait Si Abbou

MEINE FREUNDIN ROXY


Lili doesn't not have many friends in her class - maybe due to the fact she has different interests than the others. She likes to hang out with her grandmother, who is a scientist... But then Lili finds a broken robot on her way to school - she brings it to her grand-mother, who fixes it. And Roxy learns what a robot needs to function and what it can do. She also learns what the robots and computers still struggle with, Lili and her robot become friends - and Roxy help Lili to make friends and overcome her fears..

A modern story about friendship that kids can relate to, it teaches kids about robots, computers, AI but also data protection in a fun way. Kensa Ait Si Abbou is an expert for AI and you can tell.

8 years and up






Gregor Eisenbeiß

CHECKER TOBI: SMARTPHONE, INTERNET, SOCIAL MEDIA


If your child is a fan of the German TV star Checker Tobi, this book with an overview on all things digital is a great pick. It covers smartphones, computers, the internet, search machines, social media, AI and digital cameras, as well as which dangers the digital world poses in the typical Checker Tobi manner - light and breezy, giving good information (though not going into depth and omitting Tic Toc and other popular social media formats with young people).

8 years and up







Jaromir Konecny

DATEN-DETEKTIVE: ROBOTER IN GEFAHR


Lina is the new one in class, but she doesn't come alone. She brings her robot Brabbelbot along. There is a lot of excitement in class - and also lots of questions arise.

But Lina and Brabbelbot are not the only new ones at school, a hacker is trying to get into the school system and seems keen on getting Brabellbot.

Lina teams up with Vicky, Laurin and Theo, three kids with different strengths and weaknesses and the Data detectives are born.

A great series that offers lots of suspense while explaining technical terms and concepts in a age-appropriate manner. The authors teaches AI at a college and has also been writing children's and adult books for years - a great match.

It is the first of a series of 5 volumes, the others tackle spreading fake information with AI generated videos (vol II), rubic cubes, AI and transfer learning (vol III), drones and safe passwords (vol IV) and computer games/Minecraft (vol V)

8 years and up







Rosie Dickins

GANZ EASY PROGRAMMIEREN LERNEN - SCRATCH


If you want your child to learn to code in German, this books is a great first introduction to Scratch, an MIT developed free coding program, that is often used in elementary schools. Your child will be able to develop simple games and animations. Well presented, with colorful illustrations, so kids can easily understand.

8 years and up











Marc-Uwe Kling

DER TAG, AN DEM DIE OMA DAS INTERNET KAPUTT GEMACHT HAT


Tiffany's Kindergarten and her siblings school is closed, the parents have to work, so the kids are with Grandma. There is some confusion, whether the kids now that they have time are looking after grandma - or she is the caretaker of the kids. But anyway, things go wrong. The internet is not working. It seems grandma broke it. NOt only the wifi at home, but of the whole world! It is a major crisis: Max can not play computer games, his sister can not listed to music, the adults can't work, companies closed, the food deliveries included, and people get lost without the navigations tools. Everybody is upset - apart from TIffany. Finally people have time to play with her!

A laugh out funny satire about our dependency of technology that will entertain kids and adults.

8 years and up




Angelika Zahn

WAS IST KÜNSTLICHE INTELLIGENZ?


An amazing introduction for children into AI - the history of AI which dates back to the 1950ies, an overview where AI is actually a part of our everyday life (you would be surprised) and a discussion of the pros and cons of AI and inviting critical thinking.

8 years and up













Thomas Feibel

HAPPY - DER HUND IM HANDY


Finja's biggest wish is to have a dog, but unfortunately her mother is allergic to pet hair. So she is very excited when her friend Omar shows her his newest app - Happy, a dog who is her friend. You can feed and pet him, take care of him. And he becomes your friend. You just need to keep paying for Knochis to feed him, plus some other caveats: you have to promise to never delete him, he requests access to the phone's camera, microphone. location and more... Soon more and more friends are glued to the phone because of Happy. And it starts sending messages and images on his own...

A suspenseful read that teaches about phone addiction, data protection, and cyber bullying. The author is an expert for children and new media, he's the head of Büro für Kindermedien and gives talks at schools.

8 years and up





Sabine Zett

COLLINS GEHEIMER CHANNEL - WIE ICH ENDLICH COOL WURDE


Collin Duhm, 13 year old, is fairly popular and does fairly well in school. But he wants to be the most popular of all in school, and it is a mystery to him, why he isn't. When he and his friend Jo-Jo, overhear the girls talking about youtube and how they follow certain channels and take cues up from there, they decide to start their own youtube channel. His parents are not to know about this, of course. He confides somewhat to his grand-mother, though claims it will be a science channel. Will he succeed, or will his plan backfire?

A novel written in comic-style (like Diary of the Wimpy Kid) that should appeal to the reluctant reader and is highly entertaining.

10 years and up









Simak Blüchel

PROJEKT MIMESIS -DIE INSEL DER KÜNSTLICHEN KINDER


11-year old Yorin is homeless, after he ran away from his foster family, and life on the street is not easy. HIs luck turns though, when he is invited to move to an island, where there is a school for disadvantaged kids. Soon he discovers that things are not as blissfull as they seem, and he himself is in danger...

A suspenseful story about AI and hunger for power and poverty, with an unlikely hero. It is the beginning of a series.

10 years and up








Johanna Olson

KIRA KOLUMNA - PLÖTZLICH BELIEBT


Kira, who moved from Spain to a small city in Germany, is new to school. She is not excited. The first week his a project week on social media. Kira and the class learn a lot. She soon discovers that the most popular kids have the most followers. So it is not surprising when one girl, Nele, using a selfie with a famous singer to up her game. Unfortunately she exaggerates quite a bit and soon she is entangled in a web of lies...

Kira Kolumna is a popular audio book series and this is the book format. Can Kira help?

A easy to read with a likable protagonist girls can identify with, and some adventure.

10 years and up






Patricia Cammarata

DREISSIG MINUTEN, DANN IST ABER SCHLUSS!



A parenting that addresses almost all questions parents might have regarding digital devices: Are computer games addictive? How much time a day should you give your kid time on a device? When should you get a smart phone for your child? Youtube, cyber bullying, pornography, whatsapp and more. The author, a psychologist does not give cookie cutter answers to these questions, and if you are looking for a parenting book that has a very strict approach towards media, this might not be the right book for you. But in the end, Cammarata does not let you off the hook, she may take a moderate approach regarding the time spent with media - but she does say, that we as parents have to play and watch anything our kids are into on media, so we can decide if it is appropriate and talk with them about it.









Silke Müller

WIR VERLIEREN UNSERE KINDER!


Silke Müller is a head of school is a smallish middle class town in Germany. A safe world it seems. But she and her teachers are confronted with the digital reality our children live in on a regular basis - and they are regularly shocked. Children use TikTok, Youtube and other social media, where they are exposed to racist and pornographic content, to images of war, sexual violence and more. And they share the content with their social media freely, so even if your child has no access he will learn about it from others.

She makes the clear point that we need to teach our children media literacy and what sharing cruel images does to others, rather than limit their time.

It is an eye-opening read.









Leonie Lutz - Anika Osthoff

BEGLEITEN STATT VERBIETEN


If you are looking for a guide regardings which boundaries to set with your children, which technical help you can get through settings or apps, and how to teach your child media literacy without any fear mongering, than this book will be a good choice. Leonie Lutz and Anika Osthoff realize that media are just a reality by now - digital devises are used in schools, most kids have a tablet and eventually a phone - and offer help to navigate this responsibly.












All books are available for rent within the US with one of our subscriptions. 



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