The 15 Best Coding Books for Kids

Kids coding books

This is the final blog in our three-part series on Kids and Coding. Now that you know the many ways children can benefit from learning coding skills and the tools and resources available to them to start learning, you can supplement their web development journey with books and other reading materials. Read on to discover 15 books that can provide a gentle introduction or additional inspiration as your child gains new skills.

How soon can kids learn to code? 

The answer may surprise you. If your child has a passion for patterns and a knack for mathematics, they might start reading and writing code before picking up their first chapter book! Countless coding books for kids are stocked and ready for the picking at your local bookstore. But which should you take off the shelves for your child?

Much like other media, like movies and games, the programming books you select for your child will largely depend on their age. In this article, we’ll break down a few of the best programming books for kids in various age groups and note the skills and capabilities you can expect your child to glean from each.

But wait, you might ask, is there really a benefit to teaching an elementary schooler how to code? Shouldn’t children learn programming skills in college or, at the earliest, high school?

Well, they can. But you might want to encourage your child to pick up computer programming skills earlier. Research indicates there are tremendous benefits for jump-starting a child’s coding education, as computer programming can help young learners develop their higher-order thinking and algorithmic problem-solving skills.

In 2013, researchers found kindergartners who took part in a programming environment generally “enjoy the engaging learning activities and had opportunities to develop mathematical concepts, problem-solving, and social skills.” Another study conducted the following year found that coding games may boost middle schooler’s grasp on computational learning — i.e., their ability to determine which problems are solvable.

“Coding for kids should be introduced as young as possible,” David Dodge, CEO of Codakid, recently wrote for the platform’s blog. “Not only does it teach skills that will be immediately relevant in tomorrow’s job market, but it also helps strengthen skills in a number of corollary areas such as math, reading, spelling, and problem-solving.”

Kids are uniquely positioned to use innovative thinking to solve difficult programming problems. Because programming is both creative and logical as a discipline, its practice teaches children to weave critical thinking and logic into their creative process. 

The benefits of coding are evident, but which programming resources should you use to provide a gentle introduction? Let’s review a list of the best coding books for kids on the market.

Coding Books for Kids Aged 4 to 8

Need a coding primer for your elementary schooler? Here are a few recommendations. 

HTML for Babies

By Sterling Children’s Group

  • Type: Chapter book
  • Recommended Age Range: 3 to 5
  • Prerequisite Knowledge: None
  • Skills Taught: HTML coding, website structure

Is your child transfixed by your iPad? Why not try HTML for Babies

This tablet-based programming book for kids introduces young readers to one of the foundational building blocks of the World Wide Web: HTML. This colorful book teaches children the rudimentary concepts underlying the scripting language by using shapes and colors as analogs for basic HTML code. 

Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding

By Linda Liukas

  • Type: Picture and activity workbook
  • Recommended Age Range: 4 to 7
  • Prerequisite Knowledge: None
  • Skills Taught: Computational thinking, problem-solving

Half picture book and half activity, Liukas’ book primer guides young children through the foundational ideas that underlie all computer programming. 

Without requiring a computer at all, Hello Ruby introduces kids to a girl, Ruby, who is determined to solve any puzzle. Ruby makes friends with foxes, robots, and leopards as she strives to break down big problems into small ones. After each chapter, kids are prompted to help Ruby solve problems by applying computational thinking.

By reading with Ruby, kids learn to use out-of-the-box thinking and recognize patterns that underlie each challenge that the protagonist faces.

25 Scratch 3 Games for Kids: A Playful Guide to Coding

By Max Wainewright

  • Type: Step-by-step workbook
  • Recommended Age Range: 7 and up
  • Prerequisite Knowledge: None
  • Skills Taught: Scratch, critical thinking, problem-solving, project creation

Wainewright uses colorful graphics and straightforward explanations to teach young readers the fundamentals behind Scratch 3, a free, kid-friendly programming language developed by the MIT media lab.

In each chapter, kids are prompted to create fully-fledged games such as mazes, road-runners, and two-player games that keep score. Kids can flesh out their games more by adding simple animations and sound effects.

Lift-the-Flap Computers and Coding

By Rosie Dickins

  • Type: Chapter and picture book
  • Recommended Age Range: 5 and up
  • Prerequisite Knowledge: None
  • Skills Taught: Computer architecture, Scratch programming, problem-solving

In this illustration-supported chapter book, kids are encouraged to explore how computers work “under the hood” by lifting flaps to reveal fundamental knowledge. Dickens’ book explores the principles of good code, how algorithms work, and simple functions through treasure hunts, games, and puzzles.

Examples of how programs would work are explored through the kid-friendly Scratch language. Each chapter includes internet links to curated websites where children can discover coding tips, tricks, and ideas for their next project.

DK Workbooks: Computer Coding: An Introduction to Code

By DK

  • Type: Coding workbook
  • Recommended Age Range: 6 to 9
  • Prerequisite Knowledge: None
  • Skills Taught: Python programming, problem-solving, computational thinking

Ideal for new coders, this DK Workbook explains how code works and teaches readers how to create simple programs step-by-step. Each chapter includes written quizzes and a visually engaging glossary covering key terms. After your child has turned the last page, they will have the ability to craft applications, animations, and games in Python.

Readers will need an internet connection and desktop to complete the text’s Python 3 exercises.

Coding Books for Kids Aged 8 to 12

For older kids, it’s best to invest in more hands-on workbooks that will guide them through the nitty-gritty details of computer programming. The best coding books for this age bracket offer step-by-step activities, internet resources, and chapter-style layouts.

Coding Games in Scratch: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Own Computer Games

By Jon Woodcock

  • Type: Step-by-step workbook
  • Recommended Age Range: 8 to 12
  • Prerequisite Knowledge: None
  • Skills Taught: Scratch, game creation

In his text, Woodcock shares the adage that kids learn best when they have to apply their knowledge. 

Woodcock’s workbook is written for kids with no programming experience. It guides readers through a straightforward step-by-step guide of Scratch, a programming language designed specifically for young coders. The guide uses bright colors and graphics to show off all the fundamental capabilities of the programming language. 

Once your child has closed the book, they’ll be able to craft simple games, programs, and animations with Scratch.

Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World

By Reshma Saujani

  • Type: Chapter picture book
  • Recommended Age Range: 9 and up
  • Prerequisite Knowledge: None
  • Skills Taught: Coding history, computational thinking

The world’s first coders were women. Pioneers such as Grace Hopper and Ada Lovelace helped shape the programming landscape as we know it today — and yet, according to recent research from Stack Overflow, only 7.7 percent of developers in the United States are women.

Part girl-empowerment and part how-to, Saujani encourages young girls to balance the industry’s gender skew by developing their computational skills. The book uses dynamic artwork and real-life stories of successful women to show just how fundamental females have been to the computing world.

This workbook features art on every page and encourages young girls to craft their own apps, games, and robots.

Getting Started with Coding: Get Creative with Code!

By Camille McCue, Ph.D

  • Type: Coding workbook
  • Recommended Age Range: 8 and up
  • Prerequisite Knowledge: None
  • Skills Taught: Coding, critical thinking, project creation

Brought to you by the Dummies Jr. series creators, this fun and informative read encourages kids to jump right into code-based problem-solving. It walks readers through engaging, story-based problems that were user-tested in classrooms worldwide.

The jargon-free guide is geared towards beginners that want to start building their own projects right away. The book opens by teaching kids foundational coding principles, then proceeds to outline the details of functions, score-keeping, character creation, and animations.

Computational Fairy Tales

By Jeremy Kubica

  • Type: Adventure book
  • Recommended Age Range: 9 to 12
  • Prerequisite Knowledge: None
  • Skills Taught: Critical thinking, computer programming basics

Does your kid love rich worlds of fantasy and magic? Computational Fairy Tales might be the resource they need. 

Resplendent with dragons and wizards, Kubica’s book uses the underlying tenets of computer programming to uphold a magical world. He illustrates high-level computer science concepts, such as why computers work the way they do and how their logic applies in his fairy-world domain.

The book follows Princess Ann, who is sent away from the kingdom to unravel a dark prophecy. After leaving her home, Ann faces down evil goblins, curses, oracles, and stuffy academics in coding challenges. The only way for her to advance is to meet her opponents head-on with reader-crafted computer programs.

The guide is meant to capture a beginner’s initial interest in coding and, once caught, guide them through basic coding concepts. Kids can fight enemies with recursion and master the basics of programmatic thinking through “real-world” problem-solving.

Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide

By Grant Smith and Workman Publishing

  • Type: Workbook and study guide
  • Recommended Age Range: 10 and up
  • Prerequisite Knowledge: None
  • Skills Taught: Cybersecurity, web development, Scratch, Python, computational thinking

Designed to reinforce a student’s understanding of coding fundamentals, Smith’s comprehensive guide covers computing systems, binary code, algorithms, loops, procedures, boolean expressions, web development, and more.

Smith uses mnemonic devices, diagrams, drawings, and teen-friendly definitions to help young coders leverage new concepts to their advantage. The book is an excellent counterpart to beginning computer science courses or independent instruction.

The book meets Common Core state standards and has been vetted by award-winning teachers around the U.S.

Coding Guides for Kids Aged 12 to 16

Get Coding!

By Duncan Beedie and Young Rewired State Group

  • Type: Guidebook
  • Recommended Age Range: 9 to 16
  • Prerequisite Knowledge: None
  • Skills Taught: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, web development

Is your teen interested in making a website, game, or application? Beedie uses colorful illustrations to guide new learners on their journey through the web’s primary web development languages: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Young readers will follow the adventure of the book’s protagonists, Professor Bairstone and Dr. Ray, as they attempt to keep the legendary Monk Diamond safe from jewel thieves. Along the way, readers will face six exciting missions that will help them master basic concepts. By completing these missions, young learners can gain real-life coding skills that professional developers use every day. 

 After finishing the book, your student will be ready to craft and host an application on the web.

Creative Coding in Python: 30+ Programming Projects in Art, Games, and More

By Sheena Vaidyanathan

  • Type: Project workbook
  • Recommended Age Range: 12 and up
  • Prerequisite Knowledge: None
  • Skills Taught: Python, computational thinking, problem-solving

In a book that covers the fundamentals of programming, Vaidyanathan introduces over thirty fun, creative projects that teens can use to kickstart a lifelong love for coding. The author uses drawings, flowcharts, pseudocode, and diagrams to demonstrate how control flows through a program. Students will learn how to create chatbots, geometric art, interactive fiction, dice games, and arcade apps.

The book uses Python, an open-source language, to build its readers’ basic programmatic knowledge.

3D Game Programming for Kids: Create Interactive Worlds with JavaScript

By Chris Strom

  • Type: Project-based workbook
  • Recommended Age Range: 10 and up
  • Prerequisite Knowledge: None
  • Skills Taught: JavaScript, web development, critical thinking

With little more than a browser window, teens who read 3D Game Programming for Kids can build their real-world knowledge of the JavaScript language. Strom outlines all the tools required to create interactive games; every chapter introduces hands-on exercises that slowly build in complexity and size. Readers start by creating basic animated shapes, then learn to build websites, complex solar system models, and more.

The purpose of the book is to help beginners build confidence in creating robust, scalable applications. Each project is designed to encourage your child to apply programmatic thinking during problem-solving challenges. 

Adventures in Minecraft

By David Whale

  • Type: Guidebook
  • Recommended Age Range: 11 to 15
  • Prerequisite Knowledge: None
  • Skills Taught: Python, best programming practices, algorithms

Is your teen addicted to Minecraft? Thankfully, there’s a way to turn that obsession into a learning opportunity. Teens can learn how to extend the functionality of the popular, block-based game through programming. 

In this book, Whale guides young readers through the process of launching a Minecraft coding project on PC, Mac, or Raspberry Pi. By the time they flip the final page, readers will know how to write interactive games, build treasure hunts, create immense 3D structures, and create intelligent objects.

Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming

By Jeremy Moritz

  • Type: Workbook
  • Recommended Age Range: 12 and up
  • Prerequisite Knowledge: None
  • Skills Taught: JavaScript, programmatic thinking

Moritz’s guidebook is geared for teens that love video games and social media — and let’s be honest, what teen doesn’t? This guide provides a lighthearted, easy way for teens to gain exposure to a popular coding language.

From creating logic loops to recursive functions, Moritz covers all the basics and hard-to-understand features of the JavaScript language. Teens develop their skills by completing review questions, quizzes, drills, and DIY projects. The guide uses colorful illustrations and helpful diagrams to outline the basics of JavaScript.

Final Thoughts

Interested in getting your child to express their creativity through code? A computer programming book for kids provides one of the most straightforward routes.

Packed with age-appropriate resources and engaging content, the above books allow kids to get started building projects they are genuinely excited about right away. Just make sure you understand your child’s interests so you can pick out a book that will align with their preferences and personality.

The right resource might just kick off a lifelong passion for a fulfilling, high-potential career path — and improve their problem-solving skills along the way.

Get Program Info

The following requires your attention:
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
0%