Hi. Teenager here. I learnt how to program when I was about 11 (or maybe 10), self-taught. My best recommendation: let him learn how to program by himself. What I did was, and I've done such a thing for all programming languages (8, I think) I know: first, go to the first tutorial you see on the Internet. I believe I used Wikibooks (Python). And, then, leave the tutorial after knowing just the basic I/O and simple statements. Then, give yourself a project. For example, I created one which solved me the maths homework. Something you find useful. And, while doing that, one must learn more features of the language. In case you have doubts, be self-sufficient: just f*cking google it, and results will appear (learning how to google is probably a priority before programming languages!).
So, what you said is true. Don't spend money on programming books. Let him learn by himself.
FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]