Inspire your kids to learn to code with these books

November 27, 2017

With holiday shopping in mind, I compiled a list of my favorite children books about coding. They are a mix of nonfiction books, fiction books and activities books.

I wish there were books like these when I was a kid. In fact, I wish there were books as awesome as these 10 years ago. Now that they are a few, it’s important that kids have access to them.

Why kids need to read books like these? After I taught a 1-hour to 3-hour workshops, I asked myself the same question: “Did I inspire some kids to continue?”. I wonder how many kids will continue to code. Most children say they will continue but how many actually do it. As a parent, an aunt, an uncle, or a grand-parent, you can do something to encourage children to go beyond the introductory workshops. Reading books like these is a step towards that goal.

Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World

I started my IT career writing technical manuals, back in 1991. I know how hard it is to engage the readers of any user manuals. Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World does it brilliantly. This non-fiction book was created by Reshma Saujani, the woman who founded Girls Who Code five years ago to close the gender gap in technology.

What I like the most about this book is that the book addresses many shortcomings of the one-time workshop: it provides a methodology, a reason to do steps in a specific order. It teaches kids that there is a lot that happens before you write your first line of code on any project. It explains to children why projects are done this way.

Last week, I read an excerpt to an educational teacher, a man. I commented that the how-to guide and explanations are so well-written that it should appeal to anyone, not just girls. He agreed with me. He’s going to put a request to get at least a copy for his school’s library.

Age: 10+

DK Workbooks: Scratch Challenge Workbook

This book enables children who tried Scratch before to advance further in their coding knowledge with Scratch. The four projects will deepen their skills. This review says why this book and other books in the series are a must have.

“DK’s computer coding workbook series has set the standard for how to present simple but effective projects that are easy to follow and not overwhelming to novices.” – GeekDad.com

Age: 7-9

Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding

I suggest this half picture book, half activity book for kids in kindergarten. Linda Liukas might not be the best storyteller but she designed awesome activities that teach about computers, programming and technology without a screen. Just for the workbook section, Hello Ruby is worth it. More play activities are available on her website for free. Do the one called My First Computer with your child.

Age: 4-8

The Friendship Code: Girls Who Code, Book 1

The Girls Who Code series is different than the others since it’s a fiction book series. You follow the adventures of a sixth grade girl who joined a coding club. Imagine The Babysitters Club but for girls interested in coding and digital technology and you’ll get a good idea of what to expect from this new chapter book series. I started reading it. It’s great!

So far, two books has been published: the Friendship Code and Team BFF. Lights, Music, Code! is scheduled for March 2018.

Age: 8-12

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