If there’s one thing you should know about the Raspberry Pi, it’s that the device is a flexible little computer that can be used as the hub for all manner of projects.
So it should come as no surprise that a mini industry has sprung up around it, with companies offering accessories to enhance and extend the device to help you get the most out of the device.
Here at MakeUseOf we’ve brought you some particularly useful Raspberry Pi projects over the years, but if you want to go really hardcore, you’ll need some more in-depth reading. Here are ten Raspberry Pi books that are bursting with project ideas, ready for you to get started with straightaway.
Raspberry Pi Books for Beginners
If you’re brand new to the Raspberry Pi and want something that you can use to get the device setup and an OS installed quickly, then check MakeUseOf’s own guide to Getting Started with Raspberry Pi, which I wrote and which is also available from Amazon.
At 271 pages, the Raspberry Pi User Guide by the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s own Eben Upton (who chatted with us back in 2013) and Gareth Halfacree is a great starting point and also provides information for connecting the Pi to other hardware (such as Arduino) and some basic Python and Scratch projects. Note that the currently available 3rd edition covers the Raspberry Pi Model B+.
Raspberry Pi 2: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide! by Andrew Johansen brings everything you need to know about the super-powerful Raspberry Pi 2 together in an easy to read guide. While not chock full of projects like space missions and converting old printers into wireless devices, this guide does includes tips for managing desktop tasks with the Pi 2.
Ideal for owners of the Raspberry Pi 2 as well as A+ and B+ models, Raspberry Pi 2: A Beginners Guide by James K Sargent features 20 projects for Pi beginners. Among these are tutorials explaining how to build your first media center project with XBMC, and a look at how to use the GPIO for some hardware hacking.
Raspberry Pi Books for Kids
You probably know that the Raspberry Pi was developed in part to provide an affordable tool to help children get started with computer science. As Eben Upton told me:
“Like the thing with kids, if we thought we were forcing kids to learn to program, we wouldn’t get anywhere. What I think we have realised with Raspberry Pi is if you give people the tools, they’ll do it. We don’t need to push the program, give them tools a chance to build a house in Minecraft, give them a chance to make the cat run round in Scratch. Giving people the chance to do physical computing, that’s been a real surprise to me.”
So no one should be surprised to see such a great collection of Raspberry Pi books available for kids and teens.
From Daniel Bates comes Raspberry Pi Projects for Kids, a Scratch and Python-centric book that encourages parents and children to embark on a “coding adventure… creating cool and exciting games and applications on the Raspberry Pi.” Want to build a custom version of Angry Birds, or even an interactive map? This is the Raspberry Pi project book for you!
Updated to a Raspberry Pi 2-friendly 2nd edition, Carrie Anne Philbin’s Adventures in Raspberry Pi is a collection of 9 projects aimed at 11-15 year olds, helping youngsters to do everything from creating a Raspberry Pi jukebox to programming with Turtle Graphics and Python.
Philbin’s aim is to explain the fundamentals of computing using the Raspberry Pi, and the book naturally includes a section on getting started.
From the “For Dummies” series, Raspberry Pi For Kids offers 13 fun projects, and will have you creating art in Tux Paint, designing games in Scratch, using HTML to build a Pi-hosted website and understanding the GPIO.
There’s also a section on the ever popular Minecraft, which as you may know has a Raspberry Pi-dedicated release.
If your resident Raspberry Pi tinkerer fancies him or herself as a bit of an “evil genius”, Donald Norris’ Raspberry Pi Projects for the Evil Genius might just be the best gift you can buy them – aside from the Raspberry Pi itself!
This book features a collection of 13 diverse projects, from MP3 player to earthquake detector, and even provides steps to turn your Raspberry Pi into a weather station.
Experts & Beyond: Raspberry Pi Advanced Project Books
Once you’ve got familiar with the Raspberry Pi and Python, you should be able to get your hands dirty building the various projects in the books above. But what happens next?
It’s time to enhance your learning…
Programming the Raspberry Pi by Simon Monk is a good opportunity to do just that. Updated for Raspberry Pi 2 owners, this book provides comprehensive details for using the IDLE Python editor, teaching you how to use strings, lists, functions, modules, classes and methods to unlock the power of your Raspberry Pi.
If you’ve been building hobby projects using online tutorials, this book will help you take your skills to the next level.
Again from Monk is the Raspberry Pi Cookbook, in which the writer compiles an amazing collection of over 60 Raspberry Pi projects for advanced hobbyists. Clearly written, you can use this title to get to grips with the GPIO and begin connecting switches, keypads and other digital inputs, and among the projects inside you’ll find several that feature a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino.
Finally we have Harry Colvin’s Raspberry Pi 2: Advanced Tips and Tricks, a Kindle-only title that brings a collection of unusual, projects together. Forget time lapse cameras and network monitors, this book demonstrates how you can turn your Raspberry Pi into a router, set it up as an email notifier and even sense temperature. Focus is also given to MATLAB support, which can be used by computer students to extend the functionality of the device and acquire data from sensors, and Simulink, which aids in the design of applications.
Bonus Publication: A Raspberry Pi Bookazine
Available from Imagine Publishing, Practical Raspberry Pi Projects is a magazine format book (known in the trade as a “bookazine”) with over 60 projects inside, covering everything from building a Google Glass-style Pi Glass to building a Pi-powered synthesizer.
Practical Raspberry Pi Projects is available online for $15 (£9.99 in the UK, where it is also available on newstands).
With such a large choice of Raspberry Pi books to choose from, there is no way that you will ever be short of project ideas for your little computer again! If you’d like to recommend a book we missed, please tell us in the comments.