Computer coding is becoming the 21st century literacy par excellence. More and more schools are teaching elementary kids computer science and programming. As the popular saying goes, learning coding is like learning a new language, both are better done early. 

When kids learn to code, they also pick up a number of other ‘incidental’ skills along the way. Besides learning the technicalities involved in the digital world, kids also get to develop a number of  key skills including: critical thinking,  problem solving, strategic thinking, logical reasoning,  creative thinking, design thinking, systems thinking, and the list goes on.

More importantly, coding skills come embedded in psycho-social competencies. In other words, as kids grapple to debug codes, they find themselves helping each other, learning from each other, and consolidating their interpersonal bonds. As a result, they develop their social emotional learning and enhance their sense of resilience, determination, perseverance, collaboration, teamwork, and motivation. So, yes coding develops a whole package of soft and social skills important for thriving in a knowledge-based economy.

As an educator, I do recognize the pedagogical importance of teaching kids coding and I believe that every kid should be introduced to the fundamentals of coding  from an early age, if possible. 

To this end, and to help my fellow teachers and educators make the best of coding in their instruction, I have compiled and shared a wide variety of coding resources including coding websites, coding appscoding games, among others.

In today’s post, I am adding another important resource to this collection: books for learning coding. This is a handpicked selection featuring some of the best books to introduce kids to coding and help them master the world of programming. I invite you to check them out and share with the ETML community if you have other suggestions to add.

1- Coding for Kids: Scratch: Learn Coding Skills, Create 10 Fun Games, and Master Scratch, by Matthew Highland

“From sprites and code blocks to scripts and scorekeeping, Coding for Kids: Scratch helps you discover everything you need to know to create 10 amazing games that you and your friends can play. Watch your confidence grow with step-by-step instructions and clear directions that keep things simple―even as the games you’re making get more challenging.”

2- Help Your Kids with Computer Coding, by DK Publishing

Help Your Kids with Computer Coding is a straightforward, visual guide to helping kids understand the basics of computer coding using Scratch and Python coding languages. Essential coding concepts like scripts, variables, and strings are explained using build-along projects and games.

3- Learn to Program with Scratch: A Visual Introduction to Programming with Games, Art, Science, and Math, by Majed Marji

In Learn to Program with Scratch, author Majed Marji uses Scratch to explain the concepts essential to solving real-world programming problems. The labeled, color-coded blocks plainly show each logical step in a given script, and with a single click, you can even test any part of your script to check your logic.

4- Python for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming, by Jason R. Briggs

‘Python for Kids brings Python to life and brings you (and your parents) into the world of programming. The ever-patient Jason R. Briggs will guide you through the basics as you experiment with unique (and often hilarious) example programs that feature ravenous monsters, secret agents, thieving ravens, and more. New terms are defined; code is colored, dissected, and explained; and quirky, full-color illustrations keep things on the lighter side.’

5- How to Code in 10 Easy Lessons: Learn how to design and code your very own computer game (Super Skills), by Sean McManus

‘From writing simple coding instructions using Scratch software, to learning the coding skills to create your own computer game and even design your own website, this book leads the way. By breaking this daunting subject down into the 10 “super skills” needed, young readers can get familiar with computer coding and build on their skills as they progress through the book.’

6- Learn to Program with Minecraft: Transform Your World with the Power of Python, by Craig Richardson

‘Begin with some short, simple Python lessons and then use your new skills to modify Minecraft to produce instant and totally awesome results. Learn how to customize Minecraft to make mini-games, duplicate entire buildings, and turn boring blocks into gold.’

7- DK Workbooks: Coding in Scratch: Games Workbook, by Jon Woodcock (Author), Steve Setford (Author)

‘Perfect for children ages 6–9 who are new to coding, this highly visual workbook is a fun introduction to Scratch, a free computer coding programming language, that will take kids from playing games to creating them.’

8- The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book (Full Color): A Beginner’s Guide to Building and Programming Robots, by Laurens Valk

‘LEGO MINDSTORMS has changed the way we think about robotics by making it possible for anyone to build real, working robots. The latest MINDSTORMS set, EV3, is more powerful than ever, and The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book is the complete, beginner-friendly guide you need to get started.’

9- Hopscotch Challenges: Learn to Code on an iPad, by Wesley Fryer

‘This is an eBook of challenges for students to complete using the free iPad app, Hopscotch. This eBook is an independent publication and is not an official curriculum resource of the Hopscotch development team’

10- 3D Game Programming for Kids: Create Interactive Worlds with JavaScript (Pragmatic Programmers), by Chris Strom

‘This book will teach you how to make your own online games with interactive examples. You’ll learn programming using nothing more than a browser, and see cool, 3D results as you type. You’ll learn real-world programming skills in a real programming language: JavaScript, the language of the web. You’ll be amazed at what you can do as you build interactive worlds and fun games.’

11- Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding, by Linda Liukas

‘Meet Ruby―a small girl with a huge imagination, and the determination to solve any puzzle. As Ruby stomps around her world making new friends, including the Wise Snow Leopard, the Friendly Foxes, and the Messy Robots, kids will be introduced to the fundamentals of computational thinking, like how to break big problems into small ones, create step-by-step plans, look for patterns and think outside the box through storytelling.’

12- Programming: Computer Programming for Beginners – Learn the Basics of Java, SQL & C++, by Joseph Connor

‘Programming: Computer Programming for Beginners Learn the Basics of Java, SQL & C++ is a book that will guide you on how to give specific instructions to your computer with the help of 3 basic programming languages.’

13- Super Scratch Programming Adventure! (Covers Version 2): Learn to Program by Making Cool Games, by The LEAD Project

‘In Super Scratch Programming Adventure!, kids learn programming fundamentals as they make their very own playable video games. They’ll create projects inspired by classic arcade games that can be programmed (and played!) in an afternoon. Patient, step-by-step explanations of the code and fun programming challenges will have kids creating their own games in no time.’