Picture Books & Coding Concepts

What CS books are in your classroom or school library? Do you have any of the titles below?

  • Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science by Diane Stanley

  • Secret Coders (series) by Gene Luen Yang

  • Hello Ruby by Linda Liukas

  • Rox’s Secret Code by Mara Lecocq and Nathan Archambault

  • How to Code a Sandcastle by Joshua Funk

  • Gabi's Fabulous Functions by Caroline Karanja

  • Gabi’s If/Then Garden by Caroline Karanja

  • Grace Hopper Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark

  • A Computer Called Catherine by Suzanne Buckingham Slade

What about something a little different? Let’s consider a few different CS concepts and connections to picture books. I was inspired by this blog post on Using Picture Books for Beginning Coding Concepts to head to the library to find more titles. What I love most about the use of picture books is the multitude of concepts that can be taught with a single book. These books are great starting points for a wide variety of CS concepts as well as other literary and social-emotional concepts. The lists below include some titles from the blog post linked above in addition to a few more. 

picture book stack


This is one of the easiest ways to incorporate coding concepts into literacy lessons and can be done with a wide variety of books.

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

  • Quest by Aaron Becker

  • Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt de la Peña

  • Lost and Found by Shaun Tan

  • I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll

  • The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat



  • If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff

  • The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

  • A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon

  • Because You are My Teacher by Sherry North

  • One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul



  • Please Mr. Panda by Steve Antony

  • Drawn Together by Minh Le


Debugging (& Perseverance!)  

  • The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan

  • Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

  • Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson

  • The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

  • After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat

  • One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck


What books have you used? What books would you add to the lists? What other CS concepts might you introduce or reinforce using picture books?



Profile picture for user brendalb1989@gmail.com
Submitted by Brenda Burmeister on Tue, 09/03/2019 - 10:15 am EDT

This is such a great list of books.

I really enjoy how you have also organized them by CS concept.

A possible extension of this list would be to create activity boxes with coding lessons (in scratch or swift)  and physical activity cards. I was thinking I might create sample scratch programs with the book characters and print off lesson cards. These activities boxes/ bins may help students work independently and draw the connections between the book and the CS concept.

I will be sure to share this list with our librarian, as well!


In reply to by Brenda Burmeister


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Submitted by Nancy McGowan on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 9:17 pm EDT


I agree with you...great list and VERY helpful to have the titles connected to CS concepts.   We love reading books such as "Pout, Pout Fish" and "Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type" as the repetitive words present a cadence of their own which can be used to introduce loops.  


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Submitted by Lisa Rode on Tue, 09/03/2019 - 7:19 pm EDT


Thanks so much! I like your idea of activity boxes + coding lessons and physical activity cards. It would work well during our reading and writing workshop as an independent work option. These coding concepts could easily be paired with lessons on concepts such as character traits, character change, internal/external conflicts, and plot structure.