Summer Picks: Coding for Kids!

Summer is a great time to try new things and hone your skills! In recent years, we’ve seen wave after wave of great books for young readers of all ages on fun topics like art, cooking, sewing, origami, and… coding! Here, full-time librarian, part-time Blue Willow staffer, and all-time tech guru Lisa Stultz shares a few of her favorite coding books. 


Have you ever thought you wanted to code, but you weren't sure where to start? Maybe you're already into coding, and want to take your skills to the next level. Either way, we've got recommendations below for all skill levels. From babies to adults and everyone in between, there's never been a better time to dive in. Many of these books don't even require a computer to start learning how to code. 

You may think that learning to code is only helpful if you want to get a job as a programmer, but there are so many more benefits: improving your collaboration and communication skills; improving problem-solving and critical thinking; even building your own website.

Now I love a good story, so my favorites among these are the fiction books in which the characters solve a mystery using coding (like in the great Girls Who Code series) or learn to problem solve (as Pearl and Pascal do in How to Code a Sandcastle and How to Code a Rollercoaster). But I can't deny the appeal of a great step-by-step guide, either!

So whether you or your kids are looking to get into coding, step up your coding game, or just learn more about the world of computers, coding, and those who have played a part in changing the world through coding, these books are sure to get you thinking creatively, working collaboratively, and reasoning logically!

Books: 
Web Colors (Code Babies) Cover Image
$9.95
ISBN: 9781454921585
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sterling Children's Books - July 19th, 2016

From the series Code Babies, this board book is along the same lines as Astrophysics for Babies in that it helps break down a complex concept, in this case the use of hexidecimal web colors, into easily understandable bites of information. Although targeted to the youngest among us, this title could be used to introduce web colors to learners of all ages. This book would also make a great baby shower gift.


How to Code a Sandcastle Cover Image
By Josh Funk, Sara Palacios (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780425291986
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - May 15th, 2018

In the first book in the Girls Who Code picture book series, Pearl and her rust-proof robot, Pascal, introduce readers to basic concepts of coding like loops, if-then-else, and sequencing during the story of Pearl's attempts to build a sandcastle that won't get washed away.


How to Code a Rollercoaster Cover Image
By Josh Funk, Sara Palacios (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780425292037
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - September 24th, 2019

In this follow up to How to Code a Sandcastle, Pearl and her robot, Pascal, use coding skills as they make their way around an amusement park. Concepts such as variable, conditional statements and sequencing are explored as she explores the park.


Hello Ruby: Journey Inside the Computer Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250065322
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Feiwel & Friends - October 3rd, 2017

This second book in the Ruby series focuses more on the inner workings of a computer rather than coding. The second half of the book features activities like building a computer model out of paper.


My First Coding Book Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781465459732
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DK Children - July 4th, 2017

This board book uses interactive lift-the-flaps and pull-tabs is a great introduction to coding language and does not require a computer to learn.


Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250065001
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Feiwel & Friends - October 6th, 2015

An introduction to programming that is part workbook, part chapter book. Parents may need to assist those younger future-coders as they go through the activities at the end of the book.


Hello Ruby: Expedition to the Internet Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250195999
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Feiwel & Friends - October 9th, 2018

Young coders-to-be will learn about the internet in this workbook/chapter book hybrid.


The Friendship Code #1 (Girls Who Code #1) Cover Image
By Stacia Deutsch, Reshma Saujani (Foreword by)
$12.99
ISBN: 9780399542510
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Workshop - August 22nd, 2017

This series is great for fans of the Babysitter's Club books—in the first book of the series, a computer coding club brings together a diverse group of middle school girls to solve a mystery using code.


DK Workbooks: Scratch Challenge Workbook: Packed with Scratch Coding Activities Cover Image
By DK
$5.99
ISBN: 9781465456861
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DK Children - February 14th, 2017

An intermediate-level workbook for kids who have done the basics in Scratch and are looking to sharpen their skills and create music, games and open-ended projects.


Coding with Basher: Code Your Own Website Cover Image
By The Coder School, Simon Basher (Illustrator)
$9.99
ISBN: 9780753475126
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Kingfisher - July 23rd, 2019

An introduction to website coding with detailed instructions for creating your own website app.


Coding with Basher: Coding with Scratch Cover Image
By The Coder School, Simon Basher (Illustrator)
$9.99
ISBN: 9780753475102
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Kingfisher - July 23rd, 2019

Teaches Scratch 3.0, provides an overview of coding concepts and applications plus nearly 2 dozen challenges with solutions provided.


DKfindout! Coding (DK findout!) Cover Image
By DK
$10.99
ISBN: 9781465462336
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DK Children - July 4th, 2017

A general introduction to coding, the internet, various coding languages, gaming and other topics.


This updated edition covers Scratch 3.0 in a visual format, this book is great for beginners who want to create their own games, interactive artwork, and animations.


How to Be a Coder: Learn to Think like a Coder with Fun Activities, then Code in Scratch 3.0 Online (Careers for Kids) Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781465478818
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DK Children - July 2nd, 2019

Kids can build the logical thinking skills of computer coders by completing the hands-on, no-tech-needed activities like making friendship bracelets, drawing, paper fortune tellers and more.


Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780425287552
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Puffin Books - August 14th, 2018

An engaging nonfiction introduction to and stories of women in coding today written by the founder of the Girls Who Code movement. The audience for this book could be girls who have never coded before, girls who know code but want to learn more about the women making a name for themselves in the coding world or parents wanting to empower and inspire their own girls.


Code It! Create It!: Ideas & Inspiration for Coding (Girls Who Code) Cover Image
By Sarah Hutt, Brenna Vaughan (Illustrator)
$8.99
ISBN: 9780399542558
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Workshop - October 31st, 2017

Part journal, part activity book, this book is all about inspiring creativity in coding.


Help Your Kids with Computer Coding: A Unique Step-by-Step Visual Guide, from Binary Code to Building Games Cover Image
By DK
$19.99
ISBN: 9781465477323
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DK - August 6th, 2019

Intended for parents to help guide their kids with basic coding projects in Scratch and Python. A visual guide with examples, tips from experts, and a glossary.