I read a quote yesterday that resonated with my geeky upbringing and the shedding of tech’s nerdy stereotypes:
Thinking that coding is the nerdy IT guy at work rebooting your computer is like thinking that music is what happens when the piano tuner comes round.
For me, coding is a much cooler place than it was even a few years ago. In reference to the quote, I think kids of this generation have grown up with coding as an art (like music), not a geeky pass-time. Every day they see the impact this art has on the world, be it stunningly visual Apps, 3D worlds, or even interactive textbooks in the classroom.
But, how do kids make the leap? How do they transcend from code consumer to code creator? Well, like most things, books are a great place to start. To learn, to inspire, to generate ideas, to understand what can be achieved. Here are 8 kids programming books that traverse the technology fields and go beyond just writing code.
Books to Get Kids Programming
Language: Python Ages: 10+
Python is often regarded as the best beginner language because of its simplicity and broad capabilities. The code is easy to read and enforces good programming style and it has many applications on the web, in software, hardware and robotics.
Python is also the recommended language for learners who are keen to start working with the Raspberry Pi.
Language: Scratch Ages: 5+
Scratch is the hugely popular educational programming language created by MIT and used by millions of first-time learners in classrooms, schools, and homes around the world.
Kids learn fundamental programming concepts by dragging colourful blocks of code, creating simple and fun programs. The best part about scratch is that in a very short period of time, kids can create all sorts of cool games and animations.
Language: n/a Ages: 7+
This is a hugely popular book based on the hugely popular game of Minecraft. Written by 10 year old Jake Mayer, the book is a fictional story that will delight any Minecraft fans and inspire any others to get involved in this brilliantly creative digital world.
In the word of one reviewer: “Great for young boys who hate to read and love Minecraft – My son hates reading and loves Minecraft. He has worn this book ragged.”
Language: Linux/Scratch/Python Ages: 7+
If you are not familiar with the Raspberry Pi, it is simply a $35 computer the size of a credit card. The cheap, but amazingly featureful computer is being used by educators and schools around the world to promote computer science and build millions of cool projects along the way.
Not only does the book look at the programming side of Raspberry Pi, it also covers hardware, Linux and much much more. This is a great start if your kids are ready to take the next step with programming.
As the game engine behind some of the world’s most popular games, Unity can do some truly incredible things. But with great power comes… a more challenging development platform. With this in mind, I would direct older kids or those with a reasonable programming understanding to Unity.
Although at the slightly more technical end of the scale, kids with the right experience will start building complex games in a very short period of time. A real winner for kids looking to make ‘real’ games.
Language: n/a Ages: 10+
Not specifically a book on programming, this book has been the catalyst to spark creative chords with many young readers. As one of the most iconic figures of modern technology, the story of Steve Jobs is an inspiration and one worth knowing for any budding programmer or creative.
Language: HTML Ages: 0+
Yes, you did read correctly. ‘HTML for Babies‘ is a book designed by a NYC Web Designer for his own child. The book is a fun and colourful introduction to the world of web design for babies, and although a little ridiculous, it could be the perfect baby shower gift for any geeky parents!
Do you have any book recommendations to help get kids programming? Let us know your suggestions in the comments below.