The Best Raspberry Pi Beginner's Books (2020)

For Raspberry Pi beginners who still love to follow along in a book.
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Remember the days when you could buy game guides packed full of sweet art, strategies, and extended storylines? Me too. I miss those days sometimes. Luckily, we have some great ways to bring them back with our RetroPie guide or this Retroflag GPi case. And maybe it's my experience with those guides or maybe it's my age, but I still prefer to follow along and learn via a good book sometimes.

As I begin my Raspberry Pi journey (exciting!), I started looking for just the right book to help out a beginner like me. Did the perfect Raspberry Pi beginner's book exist that would blend great content with readability, and make sense to a complete newbie?

Turns out...there were a lot of great options for Raspberry Pi beginner's books! (And lots of not-so-great options too.) I've done all the work to narrow them down to a top five.

(Stay tuned for some incoming Raspberry Pi projects from yours truly in the future!)

Posted in these interests:
h/pi207 guides
h/retropie39 guides
h/books3 guides

No surprises here! This is the official beginner's guide released by MagPi and updated for the Raspberry Pi 4. And, honestly, nothing even comes close to it when it comes to overall quality.

It's the best written of the bunch and laid out in a way that's engaging and fun to read.

Raspberry Pi Beginners Guide Inside Page

The official beginner's guide includes 225 pages of essential information like setting up the Raspberry Pi, learning to code it, and making some cool projects. And best of all, MagPi lets you download a paired-down free version as a PDF.

What I love about it:

  • Engagingly written
  • Beautifully laid-out
  • Well-designed projects to help teach you useful skills
  • Great explanations for the uninitiated
  • Gets you started in a way that allows you to do a variety of projects

An oldie, but still a goodie! Written with the young person in mind, this book - like other books in the "Adventures in" series - makes learning about your new Raspberry Pi a fun experience.

Adventures in Raspberry Pi is particularly great at introducing coding to those unfamiliar and kids wanting to learn. And it's written by a former high school teacher (and now current Raspberry Pi employee), so the lessons are clear and well-designed.

What I love about it:

  • Great for the absolute beginner with no coding experience
  • Thoughtfully laid-out
  • Fun to read
  • Gives you a great coding introduction with projects to practice your skills
  • Can be done with kids

Who doesn't love a good "for Dummies" book? They're one of the most trusted names in the how-to publishing market. And just buying a "for Dummies" book can be quite a humbling experience.

The Raspberry Pi for Dummies book is quite meaty, coming in at just over 500 pages. The book includes a lot of information that a beginner will not be ready for right away but might be able to use with some experience. This can be intimidating for the beginner, so I would recommend this book as more of an intermediate Raspberry Pi book.

Still, it's well-written, and the information it does it have is quite valuable.

What I love about it:

  • Comprehensive information
  • Good writing quality
  • Introduces you to the tools to complete most major Pi projects
  • Great for teaching "Scratch"

As the title might imply, this "user guide" does feel a bit like something you might find buried deep under some styrofoam popcorn in a box. What it lacks in grandeur, however, it makes up for in comprehensiveness. It's written by the Raspberry Pi creator, after all.

It includes just about everything you'd want to know about the Raspberry Pi 3 (not 4), and then some. I imagine this book would be a great addition to another beginner's book that's a bit less intimidating and more fun to read.

It's the encyclopedia of Raspberry Pi books. So if you're into encyclopedias, then give this one a shot!

What I love about it:

  • Great for helping you master Linux
  • Detailed explanations for Pi add-ons like Wi-Fi dongles and touch screens
  • Thoroughly comprehensive

I have a secret and strange love for DK books and workbooks. (It's a long story.) If I'm in a book store, I'll pick one up almost no matter what the subject. They're often beautifully laid-out and do a great job of introducing you to a new topic. This DK Raspberry Pi Projects workbook is no different!

The workbook is designed for children around the ages of 7-11, so it's the perfect book to use with your kids. This also happens to be a great resource for designing STEM-based lessons for kids who are homeschooling. The book includes lesson guides and quizzes to test their knowledge!

I'm going to use it with my nephews to learn more about Raspberry Pi and programming together!

What I love about it:

  • Lesson-based projects introduce you to coding and Raspberry Pi
  • Fun to do the projects with kids
  • Projects teach and use Scratch, Sonic Pi, and Python
  • Easy to read and engaging