Usborne Children’s Books

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Usborne coding books for a new generation

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

To celebrate the release of Coding for beginners using Python, we've released five more 1980s Usborne coding books. Scroll down to download the free pdfs. 

Usborne 1980s coding books

Scroll down to download free copies of the Usborne 1980s computer books. NB these programs don't work on modern computers.

Coding for beginners using Python

A friendly beginner's guide to coding using Python – one of the most popular computer languages – with step-by-step instructions showing children how to create games and programs, from a virtual bomb trap to spy encryption programs. 

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Coding for beginners using Scratch

A friendly guide to coding in Scratch, with step-by-step instructions showing absolute beginners how to use code to create games and animations, from racing cars to virtual pets.

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

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Lift-the-flap computers and coding

Over 100 flaps to lift to discover what goes on inside a computer, how coding works and how computers talk to each other across the internet.

Helps bring a really difficult topic to a level children can master and many adults will find it useful too. LoveReading4Kids review of Lift-the-flap Computers and Coding

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Look inside – How computers work

Just what goes on behind the screen, beneath the keyboard and inside the electronic "brain" of a computer? A fun and informative introduction to a key UK curriculum topic for young children.

This book will help anyone understand how computers work... The information is presented clearly and in such a fun and interactive way that children will hardly notice how much they’re learning. LoveReading4Kids

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Staying safe online

Whether you’re worried about oversharing on social media or coming across dangerous people, this guide gives you tips and tools to take control and stay safe online.

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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.

Free computer books

To download a pdf copy of any of the 1980s computer books, just click on a cover. Please read our copyright notice.

Tweet #usborne80s and spread the word!

Latest free pdfs

Here are the latest pdf versions of classic 1980s Usborne computer books.

Basic   Better Basic     How to make computer-controlled robots

How to Make Computer Model Controllers  Experiments with Computers   Keyboards and computer music

Their format of colourful cartoons and easy to digest layout have made them something of a cult object among the now-grown-up generation who first received them. Hackaday

Introduction to programming

Computer games listings

Computer Spy Games Weird Computer Games Creepy Computer Games Computer Battlegames Computer Spacegames

Adventure games

Island of SecretsFantasy GamesAdventure Programs

First computer library

First computer library - Computer FunFirst computer library - 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 us 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.

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