Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to machines. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about machines.
Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
When it comes to children’s stories about machines, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine to popular sellers like Mayday to some of our favorite hidden gems like Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code.
We hope this list of kids books about machines can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.
Who was Grace Hopper? A software tester, workplace jester, cherished mentor, ace inventor, avid reader, naval leader—AND rule breaker, chance taker, and troublemaker. Acclaimed picture book author Laurie Wallmark (Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine) once again tells the riveting story of a trailblazing woman. Grace Hopper coined the term “computer bug” and taught computers to “speak English.” Throughout her life, Hopper succeeded in doing what no one had ever done before. Delighting in difficult ideas and in defying expectations, the insatiably curious Hopper truly was “Amazing Grace” . . . and a role model for science- and math-minded girls and boys. With a wealth of witty quotes, and richly detailed illustrations, this book brings Hopper’s incredible accomplishments to life.
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.
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!
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 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.
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.
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 - 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.
A Computer Called Katherine - 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 - 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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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 - 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 - 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.
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.
Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science - From nonfiction stars Diane Stanley and Jessie Hartland comes a beautifully illustrated biography of Ada Lovelace, who is known as the first computer programmer. Two hundred years ago, a daughter was born to the famous poet, Lord Byron, and his mathematical wife, Annabella. Like her father, Ada had a vivid imagination and a creative gift for connecting ideas in original ways. Like her mother, she had a passion for science, math, and machines. It was a very good combination. Ada hoped that one day she could do something important with her creative and nimble mind. A hundred years before the dawn of the digital age, Ada Lovelace envisioned the computer-driven world we know today. And in demonstrating how the machine would be coded, she wrote the first computer program. She would go down in history as Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer. Diane Stanley’s lyrical writing and Jessie Hartland’s vibrant illustrations capture the spirit of Ada Lovelace and bring her fascinating story vividly to life.
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.
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!