Inspire your kids to learn to code with these books

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

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

Why do kids need to read books like these? After I taught 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. As a parent, an aunt, an uncle, or a grandparent, 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 began my IT career by writing technical manuals back in 1991. I understand how challenging it is to engage readers of user manuals. The book Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World achieves this brilliantly. This non-fiction book, created by Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code, aims to close the gender gap in technology—a mission Saujani began five years ago.

What I like most about this book is how it addresses many shortcomings of one-time workshops by providing a clear methodology and reasons for executing 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 have previously tried Scratch to further advance their coding knowledge using Scratch. Its four projects are designed to deepen their coding skills. This review explains why this book, along with others in the series, is 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.” –

Age: 7-9

Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding

I recommend this book, which is half picture book and half activity book, for kids in kindergarten. While Linda Liukas may not be the best storyteller, she has designed awesome activities that teach about computers, programming, and technology without using a screen. The workbook section alone makes Hello Ruby a worthwhile choice. More play activities are available for free on her website. Be sure to try the activity 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 from the others as it is a fiction book series. In this series, you follow the adventures of a sixth-grade girl who joins 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 have been published: the Friendship Code and Team BFF. Lights, Music, Code! is scheduled for March 2018.

Age: 8-12