Love it or hate it, parents in the modern age have to grapple with the fact that their children are being born into a digital world. As such, parents are faced with the challenge of preparing their children for a future that is becoming increasingly intertwined with technology. From smartphones to artificial intelligence, the world is evolving at a rapid pace, and it’s crucial to equip the next generation of little ones with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in this hi-tech landscape.
But how can parents start nurturing their tech-savvy awareness from a young age? While there’s no clear answer to how one should parent their children (much to the chagrin of many), these four books from some of the Start-Up Nation’s leading professionals offer stories that will not only spark a child’s imagination but also lay the foundation for them to become hi-tech experts – even before they learn to tie their own shoes.
1. Atara Shriki’s Sophie’s Dream Lab
From author Atara Shriki in collaboration with software developer Incredibuild, the third book in the company’s Sophie book series presents an introduction to the various roles and technological tools that are necessary to make an entrepreneurial dream come true.
The book sees Sophie, the hero of the story, notice a lonely child on a bench and wish the child had a bracelet that could display their emotions through colors. She then decides to be an intrapreneur and create such a bracelet, involving various hi-tech aspects like hardware, software, and product design, all presented in a child-friendly manner with beautiful illustrations.
Incredibuild CEO Tami Mazel Shahar elaborated on the importance of the book through the perspective of her company’s continued efforts to encourage tech awareness and participation in children beginning from a young age, noting that “Sophie’s Dream Lab combines a little bit of the emotional world of children as well as continuing our legacy and bringing hi-tech to children in a very simplified way.”
The Sophie series can be found at Incredibuild’s website (https://www.incredibuild.com/news?nit=educational) to download free of charge. Dream Lab is currently only available in Hebrew, though prior entries to the series are available in English, Spanish, and Arabic.
2. Dana Maschieny’s Castle Defenders: What Do Cyber Parents Do?
While governments worldwide focus on improving institutional cybersecurity, children’s education in this area remains limited, with fewer than half of K-8 schools in the USA offering cybersecurity lessons.
In Castle Defenders: What Do Cyber Parents Do?, author Dana Maschieny and Israeli cybersecurity unicorn Pentera address the need for resources to teach kids about cybersecurity and online safety in a relatable and engaging manner.
The book finds a fun and engaging way to present themes of cybersecurity in a format suitable for youngsters. One excerpt from the book presents the idea of nefarious online actors with the following couplets:
“Sometimes these crooks find a way in,
Hoping to do harm from within.
They go unnoticed at first, in disguise,
So it’s up to you to detect these bad guys!”
3. Ophir Guttman’s Kingdom of Eureka!
In 2019, Ophir Guttman, the first Israeli CEO of Procter & Gamble, released Kingdom of Eureka!, a children’s book focusing on fostering leadership traits in young ones. This debut work offers young readers a unique perspective on problem-solving by highlighting that every question can have numerous correct answers.
Structured as an adventure, the book includes a dedicated “playground of imagination” for each character, offering endless solutions where every answer is valued, as long as it is expressed respectfully.
Since then, two more books have been released, further exploring the themes of management and leadership for young children.
The book has been praised by several notable tech executives, including Facebook Israel’s CEO Adi Soffer-Teeni. “In today’s world, where information is accessible to everyone, creative and original thinking is the best gift a parent can give to their children,” she stated, going on to tout Kingdom of Eureka! as “A wonderful book for both children and parents alike.”
4. Netzer Shohat’s Through the Door
In Through the Door, author Netzer Shochat presents a comprehensive set of lessons designed to educate both children and parents on how to engage safely online, fostering healthy internet communication. He believes this skill is crucial for developing genuine relationships, cultivating critical thinking, and nurturing independent individuals capable of practical expression.
Written for parents and children alike, the book delves deeply into the subject matter, offering exercises suitable for group settings, family interactions, or individual parent-child activities. It draws parallels between online and offline interpersonal dynamics and covers various essential aspects of online safety and behavior.
“It is important to address the children and tell them: ‘Don’t make phones and the Internet the only way you talk. Meet, talk face to face, pay attention to expressions and gestures when you meet, understand each other better, and enjoy each other’s company,’” Shochat writes. “This is how we find ourselves from time to time closing this door to the outside world, which has been pushed into our home and into our lives.”
At present, the book is available in Hebrew, but an English translation is currently in production and expected to be released in the coming months.