Early CT Reading List

We have identified books that relate to CT. They may tell historically-accurate stories of important figures in computing, impart important lessons for how to design computing systems, or build specific skills related to CT. Come on a CT reading journey with us!

Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding

Linda Liukas

978-1250065001

This fictional story describes Ruby meeting her friends in different scenarios on her adventure finding gems. Each of the ten chapters integrates one or more computational thinking concepts.

The story emphasizes many CT skills, such as sequencing (give specific step-by-step instructions), decomposition (break down a big problem into small tasks), and debugging (detect and solve problems).

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Laura Joffe Numcroff

978-0060245863

This classic fictional story describes a boy's encounter with a mouse with a long list of requests - with the "punchline" at the end being that the first request will come back, leading to an unending cycle.

In computing, we call this an infinite loop. With our resources, you can read this to your children and tie it to computational thinking, introducing them to the reasoning necessary to successfully use loops in their code.

Beautiful Oops

Barney Saltzberg

076115728X

 

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race

Margot Lee Shetterly

978-0062742469

Margaret and the Moon

Dean Robbins

978-0399551857

This true story about Margaret Hamilton shows her love for mathematics as a child and how that grew into a love for more complex mathematics later. It then describes her work for NASA programming software for the first lunar landing. 

Amidst the storytelling, it weaves in several very important concepts for computing. In age-appropriate language, it introduces real-time constraints and the importance of planning for everything that could go wrong.

Lucy and the City

Julie Dillemuth

978-1433819278

This a fictional story about Lucy, a young raccoon whose family accidentally leaves her behind during their search for food. She has to find her way home with some help from an owl and her memories about sights, sounds, and smells on her way there.

 

This teaches spatial reasoning, which has been correlated with success in computer science, yet it is not a formal part of school curricula. The owl flies above, and the reader is shown a map containing a 2-d grid of streets.

Mapping My Day

Julie Dillemuth

978-1433823336

The Art of Clean Up

Ursus Wehrli

978-1452114163

This a fictional picture book showing everyday scenes followed by new versions of those everyday scenes with items in it sorted in some way.

 

This provides interesting examples of organizing data in different ways. This can be used along with fun activities to explore the different ways to organize data.

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Rosie Revere, Engineer

Andrea Beaty

978-1419708459

This is a fictional story about Rosie, who loves to invent but gives up when adults laugh at her inventions. Great-great-aunt Rose (implied to be Rosie Riveter) laughs too, but points out the success prior to failure. You build on the success rather than get disappointed by lack of complete success.

 

This provides interesting examples of using common items to create innovative inventions. This focuses on creativity and seeing failure as an opportunity to re-engineer.

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How to Code a Sandcastle

Josh Funk

978-0425291986

This is a fictional story about Pearl who has tried many times to build a sandcastle, only to have it destroyed by frisbees, dogs, and sharks! She asks her robot friend Pascal to help her build the sandcastle by giving him instructions in computer code. Working with Pascal, Pearl learns how to decompose problems to make them more understandable, give specific instructions in the right order, and use code she’s written, over and over again.

 

This provides interesting examples of using a robot to complete a seemingly simple task. This focuses on the need for specific instructions and provides an introduction to introductory coding concepts such as sequences and loops, and decomposition.

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The Most Magnificent Thing

Ashley Spires

978-1554537044

This is a fictional story about a girl that decides to build the most magnificent thing but with all her planning, she fails over and over again until she decides to quit. Her best friend, who is a dog, convinces her to take a walk to clear her mind which allows her to return to her project and build it just right! Her perseverance and creativity allow her to create a truly magnificent thing!

 

This provides interesting examples of using common items to create innovative inventions. This focuses on creativity and seeing failure as an opportunity to re-engineer.

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