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The Code-Cracking Booklist (and An Hour of Code-cracking activities!)

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The Code-Cracking Booklist (and An Hour of Code-cracking activities!)

The week of December 7-13 is a celebration of computers and computer science. The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 40 languages. No experience needed. Ages 4 to 104.

December 7-13 is a celebration of computers and computer science

You can go to the hour of code website and host an hour of code event, party, classroom challenge, and win some really big prizes for you and your school.

We’re celebrating too. Here on Jump into a Book we’re starting our celebration with books! And then I have some suggestions to get everyone up and coding which is just another form of writing. In fact, let’s call it creative writing!

Meeting demand, publishers are beginning to publish excellent titles to get kids coding. I thought I’d share a few of those with you today. Some aren’t even out yet so you’re getting the scoop here first.  Drum roll, let’s bring it on…

The Code Cracking Booklist

Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding by Linda Liukas

An Hour of Code

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. Then, these basic concepts at the core of coding and programming will be reinforced through fun playful exercises and activities that encourage exploration and creativity.In Ruby’s world anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

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

For Kids Aged 10+ (And Their Parents)

an hour of code

The code in this book runs on almost anything: Windows, Mac, Linux, even an OLPC laptop or Raspberry Pi!

Python is a powerful, expressive programming language that’s easy to learn and fun to use! But books about learning to program in Python can be kind of dull, gray, and boring, and that’s no fun for anyone.

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.

Chapters end with programming puzzles designed to stretch your brain and strengthen your understanding. By the end of the book you’ll have programmed two complete games: a clone of the famous Pong and “Mr. Stick Man Races for the Exit”—a platform game with jumps, animation, and much more.

As you strike out on your programming adventure, you’ll learn how to:

  • Use fundamental data structures like lists, tuples, and maps
  • Organize and reuse your code with functions and modules
  • Use control structures like loops and conditional statements
  • Draw shapes and patterns with Python’s turtle module
  • Create games, animations, and other graphical wonders with tkinter

Super Scratch: Learn to Program by Making Cool Games by The LEAD Project

an hour of code

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. The book’s patient, step-by-step explanations of the code and fun programming challenges will have kids creating their own games in no time.

This full-color comic book makes programming concepts like flow control, subroutines, and data types effortless to absorb. Packed with ideas for games that kids will be proud to show off, Super Scratch Programming Adventure! is the perfect first step for the budding programmer.

The Official Scratch Jr. Book: Help your Kids to Learn Code by Marina Umaschi Bers and Mitchel Resnick

An hour of Code

ScratchJr is a free, introductory computer programming language that runs on iPads and Android tablets. Inspired by Scratch, the wildly popular programming language used by millions of children worldwide, ScratchJr helps even younger kids create their own playful animations, interactive stories, and dynamic games.

The Official ScratchJr Book is the perfect companion to this free app and makes coding easy and fun for all. Kids learn to program by connecting blocks of code to make characters move, jump, dance, and sing.

Each chapter includes several activities that build on one another, culminating in a fun final project. These hands-on activities help kids develop computational-thinking, problem-solving, and design skills. In each activity, you’ll find:

  • Step-by-step, easy-to-follow directions
  • Ways to connect the activity with literacy and math concepts
  • Tips for grown-ups and teachers
  • Creative challenges to take the learning further
  • By the end of the book, kids will be ready for all sorts of new programming adventures!

Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang, illus. by Mike Homes

hour of code

Welcome to Stately Academy, a school which is just crawling with mysteries to be solved! The founder of the school left many clues and puzzles to challenge his enterprising students. Using their wits and their growing prowess with coding, Hopper and her friend Eni are going to solve the mystery of Stately Academy no matter what it takes!

From graphic novel superstar (and high school computer programming teacher) Gene Luen Yang comes a wildly entertaining new series that combines logic puzzles and basic programming instruction with a page-turning mystery plot!

Coding Games in Scratch by Jon Woodcock

an hour of code

Coding computer programs is one of the most valuable skills for anyone to have. Written for children with little to no coding experience, Coding Games in Scratch guides children through building platform games, puzzles, racers, and 3-D action games.

Schools have incorporated computer coding into their curriculum, beginning as early as kindergarten to ensure students understand the languages and uses of computer coding. The step-by-step guides are simple and easy to follow with Minecraft-style pixel art. Children will learn essential coding skills while having fun and creating games to play with their friends. The many different styles and types of games are covered, such as classic and arcade games. When people learn to code in Scratch, they learn important strategies for solving problems, designing projects, and communicating ideas.

Lauren Ipsum: A Story About Computer Science and Other Improbable Things

an hour of code

Lauren Ipsum is a whimsical journey through a land where logic and computer science come to life.

Meet Lauren, an adventurer lost in Userland who needs to find her way home by solving a series of puzzles. As she visits places like the Push & Pop Café and makes friends with people like Hugh Rustic and the Wandering Salesman, Lauren learns about computer science without even realizing it—and so do you!

How to Code in 10 Easy Lessons by Sean McManus

an hour of code

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. Starting off with a short introduction that poses the question, “What is coding?,” the super skills of coding then explains how to use Scratch coding software to give coding instructions, write simple code, and use loops; debug and fix code; and use coding knowledge to create a simple computer game and a webpage using simple HTML. With easy-to-follow explanations accompanied by clear, step-by-step graphics throughout, this is a great first coding book for middle-school children, ages 8+ interested in learning about computer science and web design.

Out in 2016

Learn to Program with Mine Craft: Transform Your World with the Power of Python by Craig Richardson, out in 2016

coding minecraft

Coding Games in Scratch Workbook by Jon Woodcock ,out in January 2016


So you Want to be a Coder ? by Jane Bedell , out in May 2016

an hour of code

Something To Do

Incredibly Amazing Coding Tutorials

Don’t know how to code ? Have  no idea what I’m talking about ? Ten to one your child does. Here are some great and engaging hours of code to inspire anyone !!! Yep and I mean that, anyone !!!

Girls Who Code

Do you have a daughter in your home per chance?

Girls who code

Girls Who Code programs work to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. Girls Who Code is committed to providing computer science education to 1 million girls ages 11-18 by the year 2020. How do they do that ? By providing mentorship, education and experience and their club locations and summer immersion programs.


One of the authors on our book list, researcher Marina Umaschi Bers has created KIBO. KIBO are toys for learning about technology. Children build their own robot with KIBO, program it to do what they want, and decorate it – all without a PC, tablet, or smartphone. Not only that but KIBO is more than a robot kit. It allows children to make anything they want. They can use everyday materials, such as recyclables and arts and crafts, and integrate them into their KIBO projects. When getting a KIBO one has access to lots of fun activities to do both at home and school. KIBO robots are for ages Pre-K to 2nd grade.

Learn To Code, Code To Learn

Mitch Resnick from MIT has created new programming language called Scratch which makes it easier for kids to code their own animated stories, video games, and interactive art.

“I see coding (computer programming) as an extension of writing. The ability to code allows you to “write” new types of things – interactive stories, games, animations, and simulations. And, as with traditional writing, there are powerful reasons for everyone to learn to code.” Mitch Resnick


Dash and Dot

Opening their eyes to how the world around them works, Dash and Dot guide kids through the world of coding and robotics, turning ideas into adventures. Children learn through play. Combining a real robot with coding fires up a child’s imagination.

Using Dash and Dot in Education:

Coding Curriculum for K-5

Our curriculum makes it easy to integrate coding into school day. We provide scaffolding to guide beginners as well as extensions to challenge more experienced coders.

All lessons include detailed lesson procedures, guiding questions, evaluation rubrics. Find out more about robotics, coding, and relevance to the Common Core.

Here are some actual lessons being taught in over 600 elementary schools.


Wishing you a wonderful week of coding and reading!

**some of the above links are affiliate links which means; when you click and buy, I may get a small commission. This money is put towards postage when I am mailing out books to young readers.

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