March 17, 2018

40 Best Coding Books for Kids

40 Best Coding Books for Kids

Kids who want to learn coding have more options than ever to get started. Whatever they’re interested in, there are an abundance of coding books for kids, websites, apps, and games to get them up and running quickly.

They can learn to build video games, create animations, develop mobile apps, and launch websites. If your child learns best through reading and writing, a book may be the first place you start. Coding books for kids are not one size fits all. Below, you’ll learn how to spot a good coding book and how to differentiate between the multitude of current programming languages. Then, you can pick the right book for your child’s experience level and interest.

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What Makes An Excellent Coding Book for Kids?

Whether you’re browsing for a child who has never written a line of code before or looking for material to boost the skills of an accomplished young programmer, recognizing a good coding book is simple.

Coding Books for Kids With No Experience Should Cover the Basics.

All programming languages have a few things in common, things that are important for kids to learn early if they are to be successful coders. When flipping through coding books for beginners, take note of whether they cover:

  • basic math operators for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
  • variables
  • if/then statements
  • loops and functions

You don’t need to understand how these concepts work. Just make sure they’re covered in any title you consider for a beginning programmer. They should be among the first items discussed. If they’re not present, the book isn’t appropriate for novices.

Many of the Best Coding Books for Kids Focus on One Language.

With the exception of general computer science and programming publications, a good coding book for kids covers just one language.

For elementary school students, we recommend starting with Scratch and moving into HTML/CSS and Javascript after.

For middle school students, we recommend starting with Python and moving into HTML/CSS and Javascript, at an advanced level, after.

For high school students, we recommend starting with Python or Java and then switching to the other.

You won’t find many books about more than one, so, if you don’t know which one your child should learn, consider getting books about two or three different languages.

Excellent Coding Books for Kids Have Plenty of Photos and Illustrations.

It’s also important for a book to be visually appealing, especially for kids who are learning to code for the first time. Many of the best coding books for kids have colorful illustrations on every page, which keep kids focused and interested.

Excellent Coding Books for Kids Provide Useful, Transferable Knowledge.

Learning a specific language isn’t as important as gaining an understanding of fundamental coding concepts. Beginning coders can start with almost any language and move into others with minimal difficulty. There are a few languages that might be inappropriate for kids, such as C and C++, because even many adult learners struggle with learning these.


The Best Block Programming Books for Kids

Preschool-age kids can start learning how to code with “block” programming languages. Most languages are text-based and can look unintelligible to total beginners, but block languages are highly graphical and easy to learn. Kids build programs, like games and applications, by connecting puzzle-like blocks of code.

Our Favorite Scratch Coding Books for Kids

Scratch is a popular block programming language designed for kids. It’s easy to learn and introduces children to coding gently. After exploring this language thoroughly, many kids will be ready to progress to text-based languages like Python.


1. Coding with Scratch Workbook

Coding Books for Kids, Scratch WorkbookAge Range: 10+

Best Because: This nearly 300-page book covers everything a beginning coder needs to know about the Scratch language. It begins by directing kids to the Scratch website, and they’ll be coding before they’ve read more than two pages from the first chapter. Readers learn about variables, conditionals, lists and all the other key components of coding. After finishing this book, kids will have a solid grasp of Scratch and programming ideas that will apply to almost any language.


2. Learn to Program with Scratch

Coding Books for Kids, Learn with Scratch

Age Range: 10 and older

Best Because: This nearly 300-page book covers everything a beginning coder needs to know about the Scratch language. It begins by directing kids to the Scratch website, and they’ll be coding before they’ve read more than two pages from the first chapter. Readers learn about variables, conditionals, lists and all the other key components of coding. After finishing this book, kids will have a solid grasp of Scratch and programming ideas that will apply to almost any language.


3. Scratch for Kids, for Dummies

Coding Books for Kids, Scratch For Dummies

Age Range: 10-14

Best Because: To establish a solid foundation in Scratch and general programming knowledge, readers learn to design and animate their own characters in Scratch for Kids. They’ll learn about variables, if/then statements, loops, and basic programming logic while building 16 projects.


4. The Official ScratchJr Book: Help Your Kids Learn to Code

Coding Books for Kids, Official Scratch Jr

Age Range: 5-9

Best Because: For kids who are still a bit too young to learn Scratch, there’s ScratchJr, an even-simpler block programming language. This short guide gets kids acquainted with ScratchJr, walks them through several fun projects and establishes a firm grasp of programming they’ll use in all their future programming endeavors.


5. MicroWorlds EX Books for Kids

Coding Books for Kids, MicroWorlds EX

Age Range: 5-9

Best Because: With MicroWorlds, kids learn through a combination of graphical and text-based programming. In this coding book for kids, they’re not stuck with a purely graphical language with “canned” code. Nor do they have to deal with text 100% of the time. MicroWorlds does a good job blending easy-to-understand tools with powerful and flexible capabilities.


6. Coding for Kids, For Dummies

Coding Books for Kids, Coding For Kids For DummiesAge Range: 10-14

Best Because: Coding for Kids guides young coders through 15 projects that include drawing, animation and games. Books in the Dummies series typically make extensive use of bulleted lists, bold headings and warnings to bring important points to the forefront of the reader’s attention. Coding for Kids follows this model perfectly. This book also walks kids through the process of creating a computer program, from coming up with an idea to building and testing it.


The Best Programming Fundamentals Books for Kids

No coder can go far without a solid grasp of the core ideas behind programming. Despite the abundant differences between languages such as C++, Java, and Python, kids who understand the basics of coding can move with relative ease from one to another.

Python Coding Books for Kids

Nothing beats Python when it comes to easy text-based programming languages for beginners. It’s also powerful and works for all kinds of software, including applications for the web. We often recommend Python for kids and they’re usually excited to hear that the world’s second-largest search engine, YouTube, runs on Python.


7. Python for Kids

Coding Books for Kids, Python for Kids

Age Range: 10+

Best Because: Few books about Python, or any programming language, are as thorough yet easy to follow as Python for Kids. The material in this book is suitable for elementary school kids, but it’s detailed enough even for many adult learners. The first chapters cover downloading and installing Python. From there, the book describes the Python programming environment, which is simply the interface used to write code. It then shows readers how to save their programs and covers an enormous amount of important coding knowledge.


8. Coding Projects in Python

Coding Books for Kids, Coding Projects in Python

Age Range: 9-12

Best Because: Whether they’ve learned a block language such as Scratch or haven’t done any programming at all, kids will find everything they need to build software in this slick volume. The first chapter covers downloading and installing Python, writing and saving programs. The glossary and reference section in the back of this book are helpful should be useful to kids even after they’ve finished the book and want to build new projects.


9. Python in Easy Steps

Coding Books for Kids, Python in easy steps

Age Range: Middle School and up

Best Because: Mike McGrath, the author of Python in Easy Steps, has written several programming books for the In Easy Steps series and does a fantastic job of presenting coding concepts in small, digestible chunks. This book isn’t specifically for kids, but it’s so well organized that middle schoolers, especially those with some experience in Scratch or another language, can easily understand it.

By the end of this book, readers will be able to build simple web pages and write desktop applications in Python.


10. Hello World! Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners

Coding Books for Kids, Hello World

Age Range: 12+

Best Because: When learning to code, the first program most people write in any language simply displays the words “Hello World” on the screen. Scores of coding books for kids and adults start out with this straightforward script. It’s easy to write and familiarizes new programmers with some of the most basic features of a language. This book follows in that tradition and quickly moves into the requisite skills coders need to build useful software of any kind.


Java Coding Books for Kids

Java is an immensely popular language used to build programs for all types of operating systems as well as Android devices. It’s also the most common language in high school computer science programs.


11. Java Programming for Kids: Learn Java Step by Step and Build Your Own Interactive Calculator for Fun!

Coding Books for Kids, Java

Age Range: 13-17

Best Because: Java is fun and easy with the simple instructions presented here. Teenage readers get an explanation of the Java programming language, instructions for downloading and installing everything needed to code in Java, plus thorough guidance for building an interactive calculator app.


12. Java for Kids (and grown ups): Learn to Code and Create Your Own Projects with Java 8

Coding Books for Kids, Java For Kids (and grown-ups)

Age Range: 10-12

Best Because: Java for Kids aims to keep things simple and presents only what’s necessary for each step in the learning process. Every chapter builds on those covered previously, and kids discover the basics of Java in short steps that don’t overwhelm.


C++ Books for Kids

C++ is part of the computer science curriculum at just about every college and university. It’s a fast, robust language used in some of the most complex software available. It’s not the easiest language to learn (that’s probably Python), but those who master C++ will understand much more about how computers work than those who stick to simpler endeavors.


13. C++ Programming In Easy Steps

Coding Books for Kids, C++ in easy steps

Age Range: Middle school and up

Best Because: The “In Easy Steps” books are generally short (less than 200 pages), colorful, and simple. This book is no exception. Author Mike McGrath presents C++ in a series of easy lessons with plenty of expert tips to help readers adopt the best programming practices while learning one of the most versatile programming languages in existence. Kids can learn the basics of C++ in a very short time with this book and will likely refer to it often over many years.


14. C++ for Kids

Coding Books for Kids, C++ for KidsAge Range: 7-9

Best Because: This brief, colorful coding book for kids shows how C++ programming works. Example programs are color-coded so kids understand what the various parts of a program actually do. A legend describes the meaning of each color upfront. Words in green, for example, are notes and don’t affect the function of a program.


HTML, CSS, and Javascript Books for Kids

Web pages are built with HTML and styled with CSS. These aren’t true programming languages, but they do provide exposure to text editors and ideas that will be useful to kids who go on to explore languages such as Javascript or Python. HTML and CSS are also easy to learn and perfect for young kids.


15. Build Your Own Website: A Comic Guide to HTML, CSS, and WordPress

Coding Books for Kids, Build Your Own Website

Age Range: Middle school and up

Best Because: In this comic book style guide to building websites, kids learn the HTML markup language. They also get familiar with CSS, the language that controls the styling of web pages. Kids learn about WordPress, a content management system used for a huge percentage of current websites. WordPress makes building a website easy with templates and pre-written code for a huge array of functions. It’s possible to build and maintain a WordPress website without any coding, but tweaking the code offers infinitely more options for display, interaction, and functionality.


16. Coder Dojo Nano: Building a Website: Create with Code

Coding Books for Kids, CoderDojo Nano

Age Range: 8-12

Best Because: In a mere 96 pages, this coding book for kids guides them through the entire process of building a website. Readers can build a site exactly like the example in the book, but they’re encouraged to experiment and build whatever they like. Subjects covered include the basic code needed to get a page up and running, CSS styling to display elements correctly on the page, and Javascript for interactive features.


17. Creating a Website: Design and Build Your First Site

Coding Books for Kids, Creating a Web Site

Age Range: 7-11

Best Because: Here’s a guide to everything web design for kids, from planning a site’s structure to adding fine details that make a site extraordinary. So many books focus on coding, but this one provides advice about many of the techniques and processes software engineers use in the real world.

There are tips about wireframing, a technique professional developers use to mockup websites before development. Readers will also benefit from information about site mapping, making a style guide, and fine-tuning a site’s appearance. There’s plenty of HTML and coding instruction, too.


Javascript Coding Books for Kids

Javascript has been around for a long time, but it wasn’t always as important to web development as it is now. Many programmers agree that Javascript is the future of the internet, and learning this language is beneficial to anyone who wants to build interactive and useful sites.


18. Computer Coding with Javascript

Coding Books for Kids, DK Workbooks

Age Range: 8-12

Best Because: Moving into Javascript from HTML and CSS can be confusing. That’s because Javascript is so much more complex and powerful. But Computer Coding with Javascript presents simple explanations so kids can make the transition smoothly. The book describes how HTML, CSS, and Javascript work together to power interactive web pages. It’s a short, mostly graphical workbook with step-by-step instructions kids can handle with ease.


19. Javascript for Kids; No Starch Press

Coding Books for Kids, A Playful Intro to Programming

Age Range: 10+

Best Because: Like Python for Kids from the same publisher, this is a comprehensive title for those who really want to dig into code. The 17 chapters in this book discuss everything from arrays and other variable types to game programming. Javascript offers a myriad of opportunities for creative kids. Whether they want to build games, make animations, or work with virtual reality, Javascript has the power kids need to turn their ideas into real programs. This book gives them more than enough information to get started in any of these areas.


20. Javascript for Kids; For Dummies

Coding Books for Kids, JavaScript For Kids For Dummies

Age Range: 10-13

Best Because: You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy Javascript for Kids. Just check out the reviews on Amazon. Plenty of adults say they loved this book. If you’re interested in reading about programming to help your child learn how to code, try this book. Readers learn to build fun apps and games, like a calculator and a shopping app. The contents of Javascript for Kids will take readers far beyond the basics and get them ready to build just about any kind of web project they can dream up.


21. Get Coding! Learn HTML, CSS, Javascript & Build a Website, App & Game

Coding Books for Kids, Get Coding

Age Range: 9-12

Best Because: The lessons in this book are presented as a series of missions that teach kids to build web apps and games. The idea is to make learning fun. Kids also get an explanation of the different types of programming languages and what each is good for. Kids who choose to explore other types of coding after finishing this book will know what languages are best suited to the kinds of projects they’d like to create.


Mobile Development Books for Kids

Android App Inventor Coding Books for Kids

App Inventor features a block programming interface similar to Scratch. It’s designed to make mobile development easy and is an ideal way to introduce kids to programming for Android.


22. Building a Mobile App

Coding Books for Kids, Mobile App

Age Range: 7-11

Best Because: Kids who read Building a Mobile App will learn more than just coding; they’ll learn how to plan and develop their own custom apps. After working through example projects like a photo editor and a mobile game, kids will have the know-how to create all kinds of other apps. This is a book about programming, but it’s also a valuable resource for future software developers because it provides an overview of the app development process used by professionals. The sections on prototyping and creating app skeletons will be particularly valuable to kids who might want to seriously pursue mobile development.


23. Hello App Inventor

Coding books for kids, Hello App Inventor!

Age Range: 9+

Best Because: Apps built with App Inventor can make use of many smartphone features such as motion sensors, GPS and the camera. Hello App Inventor shows readers how to take advantage of these capabilities with 30 example projects. At the end of the book, kids also learn how to publish their apps so other people can use them.

 

Swift iOS Coding Books for Kids

To build applications for Mac, iPhone, and other Apple products, developers use a language called Swift. When creating this language, software engineers attempted to make it easy enough for people with no experience to learn. It’s a good option for kids who have never programmed, and versatile enough for everything from mobile development to robots.


24. Coding iPhone Apps for Kids

Coding Books for Kids, iPhone Apps

Age Range: 10+

Best Because: Kids don’t need any prior coding experience to start building iPhone apps with this helpful and thorough book about Swift development. The first several chapters introduce the Swift language and coding fundamentals. In the last two sections, kids get to build two real apps: a birthday tracker and a skateboarder game.


25. Hello Swift

Coding Books for Kids, Hello Swift

Age Range: 9+

Best Because: One of this book’s authors was only four when he started coding. At nine, he launched his first app. Readers of Hello Swift will learn to build apps they can publish on the iOS App Store. The book takes a step-by-step approach to teaching iOS development and starts with universal programming concepts.


Game Development Books for Kids

26. Game Programming for Teens

Coding Books for Kids, Game Programming for TeensAge Range: Teens

Best Because: Some gamers aren’t content with simply playing games; they want to know how to make them. That’s exactly what they’ll learn here. The book introduces a game-specific language called BlitzMax that enables kids to build games for all platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux). Teens will discover techniques for working with graphics, audio files and everything they need to create fully-functional computer games.

 

Scratch Game Programming Books for Kids


27. Coding Games in Scratch

Coding Books for Kids, Coding Games in Scratch

Age Range: 8-12

Best Because: Some programming languages require kids to download several files before even getting started, but that’s not true of Scratch. Kids can start making their own games right in the browser with help from this colorful paperback. Games they’ll build include mazes and puzzles for one or more players. Step-by-step instructions and plenty of images on every page make coding easy.


28. Code Your Own Games: 20 Games to Create with Scratch

Coding Books for Kids, 20 Games to Create with Scratch

Age Range: 6-11

Best Because: Divided into five progressive levels, the 20 game projects in this short book get kids familiar with the principles of coding and game development. Each game offers kids opportunities to build skills like controlling player interaction, animating objects on the screen and adding sound. A glossary near the end of the book is an excellent reference for the key ideas.


29. Star Wars Coding Projects

Star Wars Coding Projects

Age Range: 8-12

Best Because: Kids who enjoy Star Wars can learn to code from C3PO, R2D2, and their other favorite characters. Star Wars Coding Projects is all about building games in Scratch with guidance from the Force. Readers don’t need any programming experience to get started with this book because all instructions are accompanied by colorful illustrations.

 

Python Game Coding Books for Kids


30. Mission Python

Mission Python

Age Range: 10+

Best Because: Although straightforward enough for kids as young as 10, Mission Python explores depths of Python game programming that make it exciting for teens and adults. The book centers around the development of a single game and kids build their knowledge by adding more and more features as they work through the material. Mission Python starts with Python essentials and, afterwards, moves into more advanced concepts like dealing with audio files and 3D graphics.


31. Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python

Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python

Age Range: 10+

Best Because: This Python coding book for kids teaches programming through detailed explanations of several popular games like Hangman and Tic-Tac-Toe. After familiarizing kids with Python through these easy to build games, it discusses more complex ideas and finally leaves readers with the knowledge they’ll need to invent their own games.

 

Minecraft Coding Books for Kids


32. Learn to Program with Minecraft

Learn to Program with Minecraft

Age Range: 10+

Best Because: Minecraft is a popular 3D game where kids can explore and build structures like castles or forts in a virtual world. Learn to Program with Minecraft shows kids how to expand Minecraft with Python programming. In addition, they’ll learn skills that transfer into other kinds of programming, like game development and building desktop applications.


33. Minecraft Modding for Kids, for Dummies

Minecraft Modding For Kids For Dummies

Age Range: 10-13

Best Because: Kids graduate from Minecraft “players” to “modders” with the help of nine projects in Javascript. Readers need to have experience playing Minecraft, but no previous knowledge of coding is required. Access to an online cheat sheet and other resources come with the book.


34. Block Breaker

Coding books for kids, block breaker

Age Range: 10+

Best Because: In Block Breaker, educator Brian Aspinall explains how Minecraft may be just the right tool to teach your child coding. This book aims to engage learners and empower them to find success with fun ways to practice critical thinking and spatial reasoning. Block Breaker comes complete with lesson ideas and learning strategies.


Robotics and IoT Programming Books for Kids

Arduino Programming Books for Kids

An Arduino is a tiny computer that can control all kinds of circuits with little pieces of hardware like sensors, LED lights and motors. Learning Arduino means more than just learning to code; it involves designing and building real-world projects.


35. Adventures in Arduino

Adventures in Arduino

Age Range: 11-15

Best Because: Mechanically inclined kids and future engineers will enjoy the projects covered in this publication. If your child is new to the platform, the book provides an explanation of the Arduino computer and a list of the parts, accessories, tools, and software needed to follow along with the material. The introductory sections include tutorials for downloading and installing the Arduino programming environment. Kids then start working with simple projects like blinking an LED light before progressing into more difficult tasks.


36. Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Project Book: Super-Simple Arduino

Sylvia's Super-Awesome Project Book

Age Range: 8-12

Best Because: Young inventors and makers can learn how to program the Arduino from Sylvia, an author, illustrator, and fellow kid. Sylvia shows her readers how to build Arduino projects that control lights and make music and more. The projects include detailed explanations of how and why things work, not just instructions for putting things together or copying code.

 

Raspberry Pi Books for Kids

You can think of the Raspberry Pi as a step up from the Arduino. The two computers are about the same size, but the Raspberry Pi’s operating system endows it with functionality much more like that of a full-size laptop. Kids can also play games, control robots, and develop many other exciting projects in Python or Scratch.


37. Raspberry Pi Projects Workbook

DK Workbooks Raspberry Pi Projects WorkbookAge Range: 7-12

Best Because: Building games, making music, creating animation: kids will find all of this and more in the Raspberry Pi Projects Workbook. Kids can also learn Scratch, Python and the Raspberry Pi in these 40 info-packed and fully-illustrated pages.


38. Adventures in Raspberry Pi

Adventures in Raspberry PiAge Range: 11-15

Best Because: The nine projects covered here get kids up and running with the Raspberry Pi quickly, and the supplemental video lessons should prove invaluable to readers who require a bit more explanation. Concepts covered include programming fundamentals, game programming, graphics creation and more.


Lego Mindstorms Coding Books for Kids

It’s hard to imagine a more exciting way to learn coding than building and programming Lego robots. That’s the idea behind Mindstorms. Lego produces several kits with all the necessary parts for bots that roll, spin and even climb. They also have their own language kids use to program their creations.


39. The Art of Lego Mindstorms EV3 Programming

The Art of LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Programming

Age Range: 10+

Best Because: Many kids have learned to code by building and programming Lego Mindstorm robots. This comprehensive title shows kids how to use the EV3 Mindstorms programming environment to control their own bots. Kids learn how to build a Lego robot and control it with code.


40. Building Robots with Lego Mindstorms

Building Robots With Lego MindstormsAge Range: 10+

Best Because: In this hefty volume (656 pages), kids can learn about building robots, working with electronic circuits and sensors, and programming Lego Mindstorms. There’s extensive information about gears, motors, pneumatics, and other engineering concepts, all of which are important for serious robotics enthusiasts. Kids who want to build and program Mindstorms will find plenty of ideas and inspiration in this book.


Explore Coding Books for Kids to Find the Right Fit

Coding is a vast subject and there are so many ways for kids to get started. Mobile development, web development, game programming, and robotics are fun ways to build solid programming skills. It may take time to identify the kind of coding your child likes best. Hands-on kids might like Arduino or Lego programming. Gamers may enjoy Minecraft books. All of the books discussed in this article will establish a firm grasp of the basics that will transfer to any language, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

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