Beyond this, all the books I have seen from No Starch Press are beautiful to look at. My own background is in Literary Theory in addition to Information Technology, and I loved my graphic novel guides to Derrida, Foucault and Freud, so much so that I gave them all away to people who wanted to know more about what I was studying. Like those graphic novels, I imagine the books from No Starch Press are a delight to give away; they look great. In addition to the aforementioned Java programmer colleagues, I also think Zakas' book would be very apt for a 15 or 16 year old who is interested in programming, as would any number of No Starch's "manga guides".
In short, good code examples, short chapters, great discussion in depth of core ideas with well