Right now, women make up about 25% of the tech industry’s labor pool, but some of the world’s biggest tech companies want to change that. Google, Facebook, and other tech giants have programs that encourage women to take on S.T.E.M. roles. And since 2014, the percentage of women in tech positions at Google has increased 5%.

Tech companies want to hire women.

Girls can get early exposure to science, technology, engineering, and math through programming. Building applications, developing games, programming robots – all these activities and more form a strong foundation in the math and science girls need to pursue S.T.E.M. degrees and tech careers.

Read our favorite coding books for girls in Elementary School, Middle School, and High School.

What is S.T.E.M?

S.T.E.M. is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. It’s a broad collection of fields that involve skills like problem-solving, data analysis, logical reasoning, and technical know-how. Mechanical engineers, chemists, and software engineers are all S.T.E.M. workers, and so are people working in dozens of other occupations. There’s a wide range of careers under the S.T.E.M. umbrella.

Why should girls learn to code? 

Technology continues to grow rapidly, and the demand for knowledge in related fields continues to expand right along with it. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment opportunities for software developers are expected to increase by 21% in the next 10 years. Girls who can code will be prepared to thrive in the burgeoning field of IoT (Internet of Things), or in artificial intelligence, information security, automation, and myriad other domains that involve coding. 

How can girls learn to code? 

There are numerous resources available for the aspiring programmer, and many of them are tailored exclusively to girls. Non-profit organizations, like Girls Who Code, promote the development of middle-school and high-school girls who are interested in S.T.E.M. Their specific mission is to achieve gender parity in tech fields and they publish a series of coding books that teach girls the fundamentals of computer science and programming. There are also plenty of additional coding books for girls from publishers like DK.

Online coding classes and bootcamps are also excellent learning resources. Some classes involve fun projects like building video games, websites, or animations. CodeWizardsHQ’s online coding classes for kids and teens are perfect for beginners with no coding experience. They’re led by a live teacher, and kids spend 80% of the class writing code. Girls in CodeWizardsHQ classes build projects with Python, an in-demand language for programmers in data science, gaming, web-development, and many other fields.

Code.org has several fun coding tutorials that show kids how to build games in various programming languages. Some tutorials are tailored specifically to girls, and instructional content is available for kids of all ages.

Coding Books for Girls in Elementary School

How to Code a Rollercoaster

Girls who code

Age range: 3-9

This short book is part of the Girls Who Code series, a whole series of coding books for girls, and provides an easy breakdown of how code works. It’s about a young girl and her dog at an amusement park, and how a computer program could help the girl spend her money on the things she most wants to do. The simple analogies are easy for young girls to understand, and the explanations of coding concepts are brief but helpful. 

How to Code a Sandcastle

Code a sandcastle

Age range: 3-9

A young girl figures out how to build the perfect sandcastle using computer programming in How to Code a Sandcastle. The coding book for girls shows kids how programmers divide big problems into little ones, making solutions easier to find. How to Code a Sandcastle covers loops, if/then statements, and other building blocks of code. It also establishes some basic knowledge of coding vocabulary that applies to coding in any programming language. 

Rox’s Secret Code

Coding Books for Girls, Secret Code

Age range: 3-9

Rox has a messy room and her dad wants her to clean it up, but she’d prefer to write code. This short story is about how she does both by programming a robot to do her chores. When the robot gets out of control, she has to quickly fix her code to prevent some big trouble. There’s a free smartphone app girls can download to code their own robots too. 

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code

Coding Books for Girls, Grace Hopper

Age Range: 5+

This coding book for girls is about the queen of computer code. Grace Hopper was an inventive computer scientist and mathematician, as well as a decorated naval officer and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Kids will find encouragement in this illustrated history of her fascinating life and achievements.

Women Who Launched the Computer Age

Women who launched the computer age

Age Range: 6-8

Here’s the little-known story of a group of women who programmed the first electronic computer way back in 1946. It’s an inspiring and true account of six ingenious women who worked on a secret project for the United States military during World War II.

Coding Books for Girls in Middle School

Code Like a Girl: Rad Tech Projects and Practical Tips

Coding Books for Girls, Code Like a Girl

Age range: 10-13

Code Like a Girl is a good coding book for girls who are complete beginners. It starts out with the Scratch language and a visual approach to learning to code. There are step-by-step projects and readers will end up knowing a hefty bit of Python. This book isn’t just about coding. It also teaches girls how to build a computer!

Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done  

Coding Books for Girls, Girls Code

Age range: 10-13

Girl Code tells the real-life story of two girls who built a video game that went viral. This is an excellent coding book for girls who want to get a look inside the technology industry. It includes a section to help girls get started with coding.

Emmy in the Key of Code

Coding Books for Girls, Emmy

Age range: 10-13

This is a coding book for girls about a middle school girl and her love for coding and music. Aimee Lucido, the author of Emmy, holds a computer science degree, is a professional coder, and used to write fiction in her spare time. She does a wonderful job describing a character who loves to code but also enjoys the arts. This story mixes poetry, music, and coding, along with strong female characters in good tech positions. 

Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World

Coding Books for Girls, Girls Who Code

Age Range: 10+

Reshma Saujani, founder of the organization Girls Who Code, provides girls with an introduction to computers and coding, plus fun anecdotes about women working in technology in this colorful and rousing book. This coding book for girls is a great read for girls who haven’t yet started coding. They’ll find plenty of motivation to start and keep learning.

Coding Books for Girls in High School

Geek Girl Rising: Inside the Sisterhood Shaking Up Tech

Coding Books for Girls, Geek Girl Rising

Age range: 14+

This book is about women in tech: coders, founders of start-ups, inventors. Geek Girl Rising tells inspiring stories of successful women in male-dominated S.T.E.M. fields. One of the main ideas behind this coding book for girls is powerful but simple—when women work in tech, everybody wins. 

Coding for Beginners in Easy Steps: Basic Programming for All Ages

Coding Books for Girls, Coding for Beginners

Age range: 14+

Here’s a general coding book (it’s not just for girls) that’s easy enough for beginners of all ages to understand, but full of powerful lessons in coding basics. Coding for Beginners uses Python to teach the basics of computer programming. Each chapter contains several full-color illustrations and plain language tutorials about programming fundamentals. Readers will learn about algorithms, object-oriented programming, and much more. 

The New Girl Code – The launch of a fashion app

Coding Books for Girls, New Girl

Age range: 14+

Teenage girls who code, or want to learn how to code, will find this book inspiring and motivating. Charlie, the main character, pursues her dreams and accomplishes some impressive feats when she learns to code and builds a successful fashion app. The New Girl Code isn’t a coding tutorial, it’s a story about innovation, persistence, and so much more. Proceeds from the sale of this book go to a non-profit that donates copies to underprivileged girls. 

Coding Books for Girls are Just the Start

Learning to code can be thrilling for girls of any age, and there are so many ways to get started. Books, online classes, summer programs, and other activities can teach girls to code using fun activities that will keep them interested. The most important thing is just to get started. As Plato said, “The beginning is the most important part of the work.”