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Usborne coding books for a new generation

Usborne has been publishing award-winning computer books since the 1980s. Now our two latest books will give today's kids a clear understanding of computers and coding, which are compulsory school topics in the UK.

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About the books

  • Lift-the-flap computers and coding is a colourful introduction to computers and basic coding. Flaps to lift on every page take children inside computers and show them how code is written and used.
  • Coding for beginners using Scratch takes children step-by-step through the basics of the program until they can create simple games and animations on screen.

National curriculum

Computer coding is now a compulsory topic on the UK National Curriculum for primary schools: children learn to create and debug simple programs at Key Stage 1.

Scratch is one of the most popular programs used in UK primary schools.

Lift the flap computers and coding"Brings a really difficult topic to a level children can master"

LoveReading4Kids review of Lift-the-flap computers and coding.
Usborne Scratch book"A super guide to coding for beginners... Written so clearly and simply that even a non-coding adult could understand it."

Lancashire Evening Post review of Coding for beginners using Scratch.

"Usborne Books believed in #hardcore #coding."


"I love the old Usborne computer books from the 80s. They even predicted WiFi around year 2000!"

@scafie, ICT Specialist

Usborne 1980s computer books

Many of today's tech professionals were inspired by the Usborne computing books they read as children. The books included program listings for such iconic computers as the ZX Spectrum, the BBC Micro and the Commodore 64, and are still used in some computer clubs today.

If you'd like to download a free copy of any of these books, just click on a cover. Please read our copyright notice.

Tweet #usborne80s and spread the word!

Introductions to programming

1980s introduction to programming book covers Programming Tricks and Skills Machine Code for Beginners Computer Programming: Basic for Beginners Practical Things to do With a Microcomputer

Computer games listings

1980s computer games design book covers Computer Battlegames Computer Spacegames Computer Spy Games Weird Computer Games Creepy Computer Games

Adventure games

1980s adventure games computer design book covers The Mystery of Silver Mountain Island of Secrets Write Your Own Fantasy Games Write Your Own Adventure Programs

First computer library

1980s computer library book covers Computer Fun Simple Basic

These pdf copies of the original Usborne Computer Guides published in the 1980s are free to download for your own personal or educational use. The books and files are the copyright of Usborne Publishing. You can provide a link to the pdfs from your website, but you may not host or distribute the original files.

Please note

These books were written for 1980s computers such as the ZX Spectrum and BBC Micro. The programs will not run on modern computers. For any enquiries please use the Contact form.

Adapting the programs

You may adapt any of the programs in these books to modern computer languages, and share the adaptations freely online. You may not use the adaptations for commercial purposes. Please credit the name of the Usborne book from which you adapted the program, and provide a link to this webpage.

Other retro Usborne books

Here are some other Usborne books you may remember. They're still in print and available to buy from booksellers and this website – and the Spy's and Detective's Handbooks are also available as ebooks.

Retro Uaborne books still in print The Spy's Handbook The KnowHow Book of Spycraft How Your Body Works The Detective's Handbook

Browse the complete Usborne catalogue

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