Coding is no longer consider geeky and uncool. In fact, more and more adults and kids are learning to code, either as a hobby or as the start of a business or career. While there are a lot of resources online for beginning programmers, sometimes it's helpful to follow the guidance of a good book where you can take notes, quickly refer back to old lessons and commands, and share information among family members and friends. Here are some great options for kids who are just getting started... with coding. Note that most of these books will have downloadable content such as graphics and sample files, so make sure you poke around their websites for freebies.
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This is one of the earlier books for teaching kids to code, but it still sets a high standard for the genre. Written by father-and-son team, Warren and Carter Sande, Hello World! introduces kids (and their adults) to Python, a professional, yet reasonably straight-forward, programming language. The best thing about this book is that it makes no assumptions about what the reader already knows. It defines words and ideas in simple and clear language while introducing programming concepts in a... logical way. Even with all of the information it has packed on board, it still manages to be playful and fun. All in all, a great introduction to not only Python, but programming logic.
02 of 05
Teach Your Kids to Code, written by Bryson Payne, also focuses on Python, but is geared more for an adult working with a child than a child working on their own. It's not quite as playful as other titles. There is a great chapter early on about using turtle graphics (aka LOGO), which is a quick and fun visual introduction to what coding is and how it works. By the end, kids will be programming their own games with graphics. If there is one drawback to this title, it's that it has you... entering in programs before introducing basic concepts, which some kids (and adults) may find confusing.
03 of 05
Super Scratch Programming Adventure! from the LEAD Project is an excellent introduction to a programming platform that was designed to teach kids to code in a visual way using code bricks, much like LEGO bricks. This one is all about creating playable games using Scratch, so there is a lot of appeal for young programmers. The format looks and feels like a graphic novel, which is engaging, but may be too busy for younger kids to follow independently. It's also fairly short, but covers a... range of game genres from side-scrolling to mazes to fighting and flying adventures. The source files include both fully-coded versions of the games, as well as just the frameworks so kids can either start from the bare bones, or build on pre-existing code.
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Coding Games in Scratch is another option for learning to program in this very popular visual language. It's a quality book with glossy pages that perfectly pairs with the visual aspects of the language itself. The best part about this book, though, is that it really walks kids through the basics of game design from the beginning. It explains the different aspects of a game and different types of games before delving into the programming. There are 8 games included with additional tips for... customizing each one beyond the instructions. The book ends with next steps and ideas for moving forward. It's all logically laid out and a great start for kids who don't have an adult sitting by their side. The Coding in Scratch: Games Workbook can be used as a companion or a stand-alone option.