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Computers: Books For Kids

Computers and technology are omnipresent today. Screens abound and with them frequent contact with our loved ones far away ("Hey Grammy!"), instantaneous access to information ("Yes, it looks like pelicans really do eat crabs!"), directions to new places and many more awesome opportunities. But they also bring with them dangers that we, as parents, are growing increasingly aware of. Is the solution to lock away all screens and return to a frontier lifestyle? Perhaps. But more likely it's simply to teach our children wise technology usage and model good behavior. Books can always help, so here are a few worth investigating as you encourage your children to be wise, unplug and use computers and technology to do awesome things (like code!) rather than just waste time. And don't worry, we threw in a few about computer history as well... because who doesn't love Ada Lovelace!?

When Charlie McButton Lost Power book
#1
When Charlie McButton Lost Power
Written by Suzanne Collins and illustrated by Mike Lester
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

A wonderful book about unplugging and using your imagination and spending time with those you love! :) I didn't love the illustrations at first, but they've really grown on my and I think they, and the rest of this book, are so fun! I especially think all of the wording and rhyme is fantastic.

Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I'm going to commit blasphemy here and say that Suzanne Collins' (of The Hunger Games' fame) rhyming in this book is on par with Dr. Seuss (only with fewer made up words)—it's seriously such a fun read-aloud that trips right off the tongue. Initially, the illustrations weren't my favorite, but after reading it several times, I think they add a delightful pizzazz and sense of chaos that really adds to the story. With the prevalence of technology, the message that relationships can be strengthened and fun had without turning to electronics is lovely.

Charlie McButton likes computer games so much, he never plays with anything else. When a thunderstorm knocks out the electricity, his tech empire comes tumbling down, and his whole world loses power. Charlie needs batteries?FAST! But the only triple- A?s he can find are in his little sister?s talking doll. Will he resort to desperate measures and cause his sister to have a meltdown of her own? Or will he snap out of his computer craze long enough to realize his sister might be fun, even if she doesn?t come with batteries? Collins and Lester team up for a hilarious and timely tale that will crack up young computer addicts and those who love them!

Grace Hopper book
#2
Grace Hopper
Written by Laurie Wallmark and illustrated by Katy Wu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

This is a children's book biography of Grace Hopper, who played a prominent role in the early days of computers.--

How to Code a Sandcastle book
#3
How to Code a Sandcastle
Written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Sara Palacios
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

A good introduction to programming concepts. A little tedious to read. Covers the idea of breaking down problems into solvable chunks, if/then/else statements and loops and sequences.

Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

While this isn't one I'd enjoy reading over and over again at storytime, it is a delightful introduction to programming that both has a story that makes things relevant to children and includes some actual code and coding principles!

All summer, Pearl has been trying to build the perfect sandcastle, but out-of-control Frisbees and mischievous puppies keep getting in the way! Pearl and her robot friend Pascal have one last chance, and this time, they’re going to use code to get the job done. Using fundamental computer coding concepts like sequences and loops, Pearl and Pascal are able to break down their sandcastle problem into small, manageable steps. If they can create working code, this could turn out to be the best beach day ever! With renowned computer science nonprofit Girls Who Code, Josh Funk and Sara Palacios use humor, relatable situations, and bright artwork to introduce kids to the fun of coding.

Unplugged book
#4
Unplugged
Written and illustrated by Steve Antony
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This little robot, Blip, ends up getting unplugged during a blackout and tumbles her way outside, where she enjoys the outdoors and makes new friends. After a fun day, she goes back home and plugs back into the computer she loves, but misses being unplugged. I like that this book portrays the message of being unplugged without being preachy, and I loved that the illustrations are all black and white until Blip goes outside.

Meet Blip. Blip loves being plugged into her computer. When a blackout occurs, Blip trips over her wire and tumbles outside. Suddenly, Blip's gray world is filled with color and excitement. She plays with her new friends and has adventures all day long. When Blip finally returns home, she realizes that the world can be even brighter once you unplug.

Tek book
#5
Tek
Written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

This book comes shaped like an iPad. It's humorous and tells the story of Tek, a caveboy that's too interested in his computer, tablets and gameboys to go outside and play with his dino friends.

From a beloved, bestselling Caldecott Honor recipient comes a hilarious reminder of how technology can take us backward... all the way to the times of prehistoric man! Tek is a cave boy in love with tech: his tablet, videogames, phone, and TV keep him deep in his cave, glued to his devices, day in and day out. He never sees his friends or family anymore--and his ability to communicate has devolved to just one word: "UGH"! Can anyone in the village convince Tek to unplug and come outside into the big, beautiful world? A distinctive package and design cleverly evokes the experience of using an electronic device that eventually shuts down... and after a magic page turn, Tek (and the reader) reconnects with the real world.

  1. Nerdy Birdy Tweets - Nerdy Birdy and his best friend, Vulture, are very different. Nerdy Birdy loves video games, but Vulture finds them BORING. Vulture loves snacking on dead things, but Nerdy Birdy finds that GROSS. Luckily, you don’t have to agree on everything to still be friends. One day, Nerdy Birdy joins Tweetster, and the friend requests start flying in. Vulture watches as Nerdy Birdy gets swept up in his new friendships, but when she finally gets angry, Nerdy Birdy knows just what to do to make things right.

  2. Mayday - In the tradition of Counting By 7s and The Thing About Jellyfish, a heartwarming coming-of-age story about grief, family, friendship, and the importance of finding your voice Wayne Kovok lives in a world of After. After his uncle in the army was killed overseas. After Wayne and his mother survived a plane crash while coming back from the funeral. After he lost his voice. Wayne has always used his love of facts to communicate ("Did you know more people die each year from shaking a vending machine than from shark attacks?"). Without his voice, how will he wow the prettiest girl in school? How will he stand up to his drill-sergeant grandfather? And how will he share his hopes with his deadbeat dad? It's not until Wayne loses his voice completely that he realizes how much he doesn't say. Filled with Karen Harrington's signature heart and humor, Mayday tackles an unforgettable journey of family and friendship.

  3. Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science - "A fascinating look at Ada Lovelace, the pioneering computer programmer and the daughter of the poet Lord Byron." --

  4. Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine - Offers an illustrated telling of the story of Ada Byron Lovelace, from her early creative fascination with mathematics and science and her devastating bout with measles, to the ground-breaking algorithm she wrote for Charles Babbage's analytical engine.

Baby Loves Coding book
#10
Baby Loves Coding
Written by Ruth Spiro and illustrated by Irene Chan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Big, brainy science for the littlest listeners Accurate enough to satisfy an expert, yet simple enough for baby, this clever board book showcases the use of logic, sequence, and patterns to solve problems. Can Baby think like a coder to fix her train? Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby's sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two, as well!

Once Upon A Time... Online book
#11
Once Upon A Time... Online
Written by David Bedford and illustrated by Rosie Reeve
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Once upon a time, a laptop arrived in Fairy-tale land... A happily ever after is only a click away! Find out what happens when our favorite fairy-tale characters receive a laptop and learn a lesson in online safety. Once Upon a Time... Online is illustrated by Rose Reeve and written by David Bedford.

Adi Sorts with Variables book
#12
Adi Sorts with Variables
Written by Caroline Karanja and illustrated by Ben William Whitehouse
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

It's time to clean Adi's room! If only a computer could do it for her! That gives Adi and her best friend Gabi an idea-think like a coder! These scientific thinkers put on their computer coding caps and make cleaning up a snap by sorting with variables!

A Computer Called Katherine book
#13
A Computer Called Katherine
Written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The inspiring true story of mathematician Katherine Johnson--made famous by the award-winning film Hidden Figures--who counted and computed her way to NASA and helped put a man on the moon! Katherine knew it was wrong that African Americans didn't have the same rights as others--as wrong as 5+5=12. She knew it was wrong that people thought women could only be teachers or nurses--as wrong as 10-5=3. And she proved everyone wrong by zooming ahead of her classmates, starting college at fifteen, and eventually joining NASA, where her calculations helped pioneer America's first manned flight into space, its first manned orbit of Earth, and the world's first trip to the moon! Award-winning author Suzanne Slade and debut artist Veronica Miller Jamison tell the story of a NASA "computer" in this smartly written, charmingly illustrated biography.

Ada Lovelace book
#14
Ada Lovelace
Written by Isabel Sanchez Vegara and illustrated by Zafouko Yamamoto
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Meet Ada Lovelace, the British mathematician and daughter of poet Lord Byron. New in the Little People, Big Dreams series, this inspiring and informative little biography follows the colourful life of Lord Byron’s daughter, from her early love of logic, to her plans for the world's first computer program. With stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world. From designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. These books make the lives of these role models accessible for children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!

  1. The Friendship Code - Loops, variables, input/output – Lucy can’t wait to get started with the new coding club at school. Finally, an after school activity that she’s really interested in. But Lucy’s excitement turns to disappointment when she’s put into a work group with girls she barely knows. All she wanted to do was make an app that she believes will help someone very special to her. Suddenly, Lucy begins to get cryptic coding messages and needs some help translating them. She soon discovers that coding – and friendship – takes time, dedication, and some laughs!

  2. Gabi's If/Then Garden - Gabi's garden needs some help. Where to begin? Gabi and her best friend Adi use if/then statements to decide what to plant, what to water, and what to pick! These scientific thinkers find ways every day to use computer coding concepts to make work and play more fun!

  3. Adi's Perfect Patterns and Loops - Best friends Adi and Gabi love to play with Adi's toy train. Round and round it goes-choo choo! Watching it loop the track gives the girls an idea. These scientific thinkers use their computer coding knowledge to put the train to work!

  4. Fuzzy - At Vanguard One Middle School (aka Vainglorious), the halls are crawling with robots, but Fuzzy isn't your run-of-the-mill android. When Fuzzy enrolls at Vainglorious as part of the Robot Integration Program, he is quickly befriended by Max, who is determined to help him learn everything he needs to know. The middle school of the future is just as fraught with crazy kids, tricky teachers, and bad smells as the middle school of today. Add in some evil schemers, and you have real trouble. Together, Max and Fuzzy reveal the super-secret, nefarious purpose behind the Robot Integration Program. They must fight to save the school before it's too late. Fuzzy is one girl's quest to befriend a robot, survive middle school, and save the world.

Hello Ruby: Journey Inside the Computer book
#19
Hello Ruby: Journey Inside the Computer
Written by Linda Liukas
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What exactly is a computer? How does it work? What is it made of? Learn all this and more with Ruby! In Ruby's world anything is possible if you put your mind to it—even fixing her father's broken computer! Join Ruby and her new friend, Mouse, on an imaginative journey through the insides of a computer in search of the missing Cursor. From bits and logic gates to computer hardware, in Journey Inside the Computer, Ruby (and her readers!) will learn the basic elements of the machines that power our world. Then future kid coders can put their knowledge and imaginations to work with fun activities. Praise for Linda Liukas and the Hello Ruby series: "[Linda Liukas] wants kids to understand and embrace basic computer logic, so that they later formulate code in the same effortless and creative way they build structures with LEGO." —The Wall Street Journal "Hello Ruby by Linda Liukas is half picture book and half activity book rolled into one adorable package. What I love about it is that it introduces programming without requiring a computer at all." —GeekMom.com

ABCs of the Web book
#20
ABCs of the Web
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

This alphabet primer for the new technology generation—and its parents—brings essential coding words and concepts to young developers-in-training. Featuring beautiful modern tech illustrations and introducing the rich vocabulary of the web-design world through whimsical, geeky rhyme, this unique ABC picture book doubles as a fun and fascinating foray into the World Wide Web. Certain to amuse, inspire, and educate, it is the perfect fit for any web-creative parent or gift giver.

Hello Ruby: Expedition to the Internet book
#21
Hello Ruby: Expedition to the Internet
Written by Linda Liukas
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Welcome back to the world's most whimsical way to learn about technology and coding in Hello Ruby: Expedition to the Internet, as Linda Liukas, a programming superstar, teaches kids all about the internet through storytelling and imaginative activities. What exactly is the Internet? Is it a cloud? A network of wires? How does the information travel online? Learn all this and more with Ruby! In Ruby’s world anything is possible if you put your mind to it—even building the Internet out of snow! But before you can build something, you need to understand what it is and how it works. Join Ruby and her friends in their quest to build the most amazing Snow Internet ever, while learning real life facts along the way. Then, future kid coders can put their knowledge and imaginations to the test with the fun and creative exercises included in the activity book section.

Ada's Ideas book
#22
Ada's Ideas
Written and illustrated by Fiona Robinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Ada Lovelace (1815–1852) was the daughter of Lord Byron, a poet, and Anna Isabella Milbanke, a mathematician. Her parents separated when she was young, and her mother insisted on a logic-focused education, rejecting Byron’s “mad” love of poetry. But Ada remained fascinated with her father and considered mathematics “poetical science.” Via her friendship with inventor Charles Babbage, she became involved in “programming” his Analytical Engine, a precursor to the computer, thus becoming the world’s first computer programmer. This picture book biography of Ada Lovelace is a compelling portrait of a woman who saw the potential for numbers to make art.

Gabi's Fabulous Functions book
#23
Gabi's Fabulous Functions
Written by Caroline Karanja and illustrated by Ben William Whitehouse
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Computer coding in the kitchen? Yes! Best friends Gabi and Adi are baking a special birthday treat-and making a recipe is a lot like creating a function in a computer code. These scientifically minded junior programmers are always on the lookout for ways to work coding concepts into their day with Code Play!

  1. Robot Queen - Today is a special day at Kylie Jean's school, where everyone works on computer projects and learning coding, and Kylie is fascinated by the robotics team called RoboGirls--so she resolves to build a robot of her own, so she can impress the older girls, and join the team in time for the competition.

  2. Who Says Women Can't Be Computer Programmers? - A picture book biography of Ada Lovelace, the woman recognized today as history’s first computer programmer—she imagined them 100 years before they existed! In the early nineteenth century lived Ada Byron: a young girl with a wild and wonderful imagination. The daughter of internationally acclaimed poet Lord Byron, Ada was tutored in science and mathematics from a very early age. But Ada’s imagination was never meant to be tamed and, armed with the fundamentals of math and engineering, she came into her own as a woman of ideas—equal parts mathematician and philosopher. From her whimsical beginnings as a gifted child to her most sophisticated notes on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, this book celebrates the woman recognized today as the first computer programmer. A Christy Ottaviano Book

  3. Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition - New York Times bestselling author Margot Lee Shetterly’s book is now available in a new edition perfect for young readers. This is the amazing true story of four African-American female mathematicians at NASA who helped achieve some of the greatest moments in our space program. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner. Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. This book brings to life the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African-American women who lived through the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the movement for gender equality, and whose work forever changed the face of NASA and the country.

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!