“Realm of Racket” (http://tinyurl.com/kdp3eto) from No Starch Press offers a fun guide to serious programming. Racket is a programming language well suited for novice coders, first-year programming students, and those who simply want to write better code in any language.

With this in mind, one of Racket’s original creators — Northeastern University professor Matthias Felleisen — teamed up with a handful of freshman computer science students to write “Realm of Racket” (No Starch Press, June 2013, 312 pp., $39.95, ISBN 9781593274917). Using the students’ insights about learning to program, the book mixes game programming, technical explanations, and comics to make powerful programming concepts accessible to a wide audience.

Inspired by Conrad Barski’s Lisp programming guide, “Land of Lisp,” Realm of Racket guides readers through the fundamentals of the language with a lighthearted tone. As readers master the concepts introduced in each chapter, they’ll incorporate their newfound skills into a series of increasingly sophisticated Racket-based games — ranging from the simple Guess My Number game to Hungry Henry, a complex multiplayer game. Readers will also learn to:

° Write concise and elegant functional programs;
° Create a graphical user interface using the 2htdp/image library;
° Create a server to handle true multiplayer games.

Felleisen is the author of numerous books on Lisp, Scheme, and programming, including the classic “Little LISPer.” He’s also one of the co-founders of the Racket language and the TeachScheme! project (now known as ProgramByDesign and Bootstrap), which seeks to bring a gentle notion of algebraic programming to mathematics and science education in high schools.