Without a doubt, more and more emphasis is being placed on incorporating technology and computer science into the classroom. Numerous articles and studies have shown the significant benefits of doing so. However, it can be daunting for educators to learn a new technology—especially one that students may know better, or pick up faster, than their teachers. Never fear! There are many resources out there to help adults and children gain these useful and creative skills.

Fiction Titles with Computer Science Concepts

For students (and adults, too!) who are completely intimidated by computer science, there are some great educational fiction titles that help create familiarity with foundational computer science concepts without getting caught up in technical jargon and detail.Secret Coders

In Gene Luen Yang’s latest graphic novel series Secret Coders (Grades 3-7)), two friends are thrust into an adventure at their mysterious new school. They solve puzzles involving simple computer science concepts throughout the adventure. While this text will not turn anyone into a computer genius overnight, it does help create a foundation of computer science knowledge on which to build new skills. The storyline is engaging and will keep readers interested and involved the whole way through.

Secret Coders panelIn Secret Coders, readers learn basic computer programming concepts through engaging storylines.

Lauren IpsumLauren iPsum (Grades 5-9) by Carlos Bueno stars a plucky young adventurer who ends up lost in a strange land. In order to get home, she must solve a series of puzzles that use computer science concepts. The story is engaging without getting too bogged down in technical detail. More in-depth information is included in the back matter for those who are ready to learn more.

Nonfiction Titles on Coding

Scratch is a free online program from MIT that allows users to build their own programs by dragging and dropping pieces of simple code together. This program has become immensely popular for several reasons. Users can log into the program from any computer that has internet access to work on new or ongoing projects.How to Code in 10 Easy Lessons It is very easy to use and lends itself well to exploration and “playing around” with the code. Several tutorials exist within Scratch, as well as other sites and many trade books. Below are a handful of new titles that teach Scratch skills. Some activities from these books (and others) can be found here.

How To Code In 10 Easy Lessons (Grades 3-7) starts with very basic computer science concepts, builds to creating video games and ends with designing personalized websites. Several computer languages are discussed, such as Python, Scratch, Java, HTML and C++. Most activities use Scratch, but some use other free online resources. The progression of simple to complex throughout all 10 lessons makes this an ideal resource for introducing coding.

How to Code SpreadLesson on prototyping a video game feature in How to Code in 10 Easy Lesson.

Video GamesVideo Games: Design and Code Your Own Adventure (Grades 3-7) includes instructions to create 17 different projects based on computer science concepts. While this is a computer science book, several projects use nothing more advanced than scissors, cardboard and glue. These projects are great to do with a whole class to build knowledge around concepts. More advanced projects build from these concepts to create fun and basic computer games. The book encourages students to experiment and play with the code, offering advice on how to find and fix “bugs” along the way.


Check out these and other great titles in Booksource’s new STEM Catalog. Or request a catalog here.

Booksource Recommendations

STEM catalogSTEM Catalog

Coding & Computer ProgrammingCoding & Computer Programming

Inventions K-2Inventions K-2