We parents hear all the time about the importance of reading for kids. Fortunately there’s a huge range of topics in outstanding kids’ books to engage kids, from wizardry to classroom adventures to spy novels to fairy tales re-told. But I have to admit that Lauren Ipsum by Carlos Bueno is the first kids’ book (or ebook) I’ve seen that weaves a wonderfully engaging tale about computer science.

Lauren Ipsum — wordplay on lorem ipsum, the “greek type” filler text used in web design — is an adventure story on the surface, but at heart it’s all about logical thinking and problem solving. To make her way home, the title heroine works through a series of puzzles and brainteasers, each one illustrating computer science concepts.

Lauren learns about the nature of infinity, the factorial function, and what happens if you leave part of the instructions out of a computer program. (As website publishers, we’re familiar with that last one ourselves.) But I don’t think you have to be a computer junkie to love it.

Lauren Ipsum by Carlos Bueno: A wonderful story about computer science

I noticed that reviewers on Goodreads have compared Lauren Ipsum to The Phantom Tollbooth (another one of our favorites!), and definitely agree that this engaging, often silly story has the potential to captivate kids in the same way. But is it just for aspiring geeks? Both my book-loving, would-be engineer as well as my Instagram-scrolling social butterfly had high praise for Lauren Ipsum. It could be a great birthday present for a middle schooler or older elementary school age kid, and I bet any Minecraft fan would love it too.

Leafing through the book myself, what really strikes me is how fun it makes a bunch of concepts that, frankly, probably make a lot of adults anxious. Just the word algorithm is enough to give me flashbacks to my first brutal engineering course. But in Lauren Ipsum, kids are introduced to complex ideas through an engaging story that’s so relatable and positive, I wish it were around when I was a kid.

Buy Lauren Ipsum by Carlos Bueno in paperback or for Kindle at our affiliate Amazon, or check your local indie bookseller. For every paperback copy sold, the author donates a copy of Lauren Ipsum to a school or library. Cool!

UPDATE 2/5: You can grab up to $250 worth of awesome STEM e-books for kids at a huge steal through the HumbleBundle “pay what you want” program, including Lauren Ipsum. Plus, you can have your payment donated to charity. It looks like you can pay as little as $10, however $15 gets you all the books. Hurry, this is a limited time offer!