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Learning to Code: 5 French Books to Teach Kids Computer Languages

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Coding isn't a skill that comes naturally. Just like learning any new language, it takes dedication, hard work, and lots of practice. 

Here are five books that teach children to program in French. Make sure to note the age groups of each book, to better choose the appropriate one for your little coder.

Hello Ruby : à la découverte du codage

Ages 5+

This beginners book is a great starting point for programming. The reader follows the adventures of Ruby, a young girl who delves into the world of computers. At the end of every chapter, children have an activity that introduces them to a different programming concept. This book is an excellent way to introduce your child to coding logic, as author Linda Liukas expertly weaves lessons into the story. For example, in the first chapter, Ruby's (mis)adventure allows the reader to understand that a computer needs simple and clear instructions to understand a request. 

J'apprends à coder avec Scratch

Ages 8+

Have you heard of Scratch? It's a free program, created by MIT, to teach coding basics to children. Natalie Rusk was one of the main developers of the program. This kit includes a booklet and a game of 85 large-sized cards. The illustrated booklet introduces  Scratch software and explains how to use it in less than 12 pages, making it user-friendly. 

Once your child has acquainted his or herself with new keywords, the cards then offer ten coding activities: Animate their name, get two characters to race, create music by selecting an instrument and adding sounds, play hide and seek with disappearing characters, create a story, dress up a character, play ping pong, create a dance scene with music and dance steps, and care for a virtual animal (feed it, play with it, etc). 

The idea behind giving children cards, rather than a complete guide, makes the experience fun, and also makes the learning experience more accessible.

L'Élixir magique

Ages 8+

The series Ton atelier Scratch offers methodological guides to learn how to code by creating a video game, using the the free Scratch software. Once the game has been created, the book provides tips and guidelines to customize the game, or to create their own video game. Your little developers will then be able to play their own video game, export it, and share it with their friends. 

Each book in the series offers a game with a different theme and level of expertise: La Révolte des robots (The Robots' Rebellion) and L'Elixir magique (The Magical Elixir) are made for beginners, and each game takes three to four hours to finish; Panique à Code City (Panic in Code City) with its western backdrop is more appropriate for advanced coders, can take up to five hours to complete. 

This book was developed with the intent to teach – the game demo helps children to better visualize what is expected from them, the game rules are clearly defined in the introduction, and the different steps are explained using short paragraphs and illustrated icons. An excellent learning tool for young beginners.

Code toi-même !

Ages 8+

For those wanting more, this book offers children a selection of four video games to create (again using the Scratch software), but with much shorter completion times – at most 2.5 hours. The four games include: "Le Diamant Maudit" (The Cursed Diamond) about an adventurer who is in pursuit of a treasure, "Krok monstres" (Krok Monsters) about a hungry monster that eats hamburgers and fries, "Basket Banzai" about a basketball champion that has to reach a maximum number of scores in 90 seconds, and "Mission ZX80" about a spaceship that must avoid asteroids by shooting them down. 

The short summaries of the knowledge acquired at the end of each game is very useful to parents. For example, at the end of the "Le Diamant Maudit", the child will have learned how to display backgrounds, manage interactions between characters, and insert sound effects. 

Apprends à coder avec Minecraft

Ages 11+

This book is best for pre-teen Minecraft players that have preferably already dabbled with code. Note that this is an unofficial guide, created with tips and suggestions from the Minecraft gamers community, and that it uses version 1.11.2. The guidelines are much less pedagogical than the other books. The activities, however, get children in the coding mindset by helping them to create their own PVP battle arena (player vs player) and to expand it to other players. 

For those wanting more recommendations, check out the Eyrolles' "Pour les Kids" series. It includes Scratch Jr pour les kidsa book for children from age 5, to get them started using the free Scratch program, the activity book Cahier d’activités 3D pour les kids that allows little ones to learn to create 3D models, and books to learn the Python language such as Python pour les kidsCahier d’activités Python pour les kidsPython pour les maths

This article was translated from French. You can find the original article here.


Isabelle translates and edits articles into English from other languages on the Bookwitty site. She always adds a hyperlink to the original article in her post.

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