Top 5 React Books for Beginners in 2023


React JS is a declarative and efficient JavaScript framework to build user interfaces flexibly. It was initially developed by Facebook and is now maintained by all the open-source contributors. The flexibility, better performance, and better usability features of React.js make it a very solid front-end development app.

This article is going to go through a list of some of the best and most helpful React.js books for beginners.


Why Learn React?

There’s never been a better time to learn React. It is one of the top JavaScript frameworks that is trending in every web developer’s list. 

A lot of programmers and developers are keen on hopping on the React train. This will open a whole new world of opportunities.

Here are reasons why you should choose to learn React.js:

  • Simple to learn: React is relatively easy to learn. Any developer with even basic knowledge of JavaScript can build beautiful apps in React after just a few days of learning.

  • SEO friendly platform: React is widely recognised as the friendliest JavaScript library for SEO purposes. React embraces SEO and its components are easier for Google to crawl.

  • Optimum Performance with Virtual DOM: React JS overcomes performance issued by using virtual DOM (Document Object Model) which is maintained in memory.

  • Amazing community: React.js has a massive community of dedicated developers. The community helps to maintain and grow the open-source library.

  • Popularity: The popularity of React has been growing every year. It is expected to take over AngularJS very soon.


What Makes Best React Books? 

To help you in selecting a well-structured and latest React book for beginners, we have narrowed it down to the top 5 best React.js books for beginners. 

Here are our criteria for selection of the books:

  • The book should have visuals, diagrams, and images. They break up the text and make it more readable.

  • It includes useful tips and techniques, and presents information in an easy-to-digest way.

  • Engage the learner effectively 

  • Content must be up-to-date and should thoroughly explain the basic concepts of React.js

  • The book should have a clear layout and must be friendly toward self-taught programmers.


Best Books on React

Here is the list of the top 5 best React js books to read if you want to set yourself apart:


1. Best Book for Total Beginners: The Road to React: Your journey to master plain yet pragmatic React.js (2020 Edition)

The Road to React, by Robin Wieruch, teaches you the fundamentals of React.

You will build a real world application without complicated tooling. It explains general concepts, patterns and best practices in a real world React application.

The book uses a step by step approach to explore the concepts of React and how to use them in modern client applications to power our frontend. The contents covered in the book are: 

  • Fundamentals of React

  • React’s Legacy

  • Styling in React

  • React Maintenance

  • Real World React (Advanced)

  • Deploying a React Application

The book comes with additional referenced reading material with each chapter. There are plenty of exercises after each chapter of the book. Besides, the reader will learn how to test their React components and how to organize them in the project.

This is a great book to begin expanding your knowledge of building and using React components.


2. Best Book for Step-by-step Learners: React Explained: Your Step-by-Step Guide to React (2020 Edition)

React Explained: Your Step-by-Step Guide to React by Zac Gordon is a fun and enjoyable introduction to React. The book gives some basic knowledge of how React works. You will learn how to build applications with it. 

The book provides some easy-to-follow practice exercises to reinforce what you have learned. The 368-pages book includes the following contents:

  • The Javascript you should know for React

  • Helpful developer tools for React

  • High level overview of React

  • React Elements and Components Explained

  • JSX explained

  • Create React App Explained

  • Props in React Explained

  • State in React Explained

  • The Component Lifecycle Explained

  • Lifecycle

  • Context Explained

  • React Hooks Explained

  • Project Introduction

  • Step 1 - Listing Content from State

  • Step 2 - Routing and Single Content Views

  • Step 3 - Adding a Content Form

  • Step 4 - Adding Flash Messages

  • Step 5 - Updating Content

  • Step 6 - Deleting Content

  • Step 7 - Maintaining Persistent State With Local Storage

  • Step 8 - Authenticating With a Firebase Database

  • Step 9 - CRUD and Live Syncing With Firebase

  • Step 10 - Deploying the Project

  • Step 11 - Refactoring Your Code

By the end of the book, you will be able to create a real-world React project. This book is an absolute must if you want to learn React!


3. Best Book for Serious Learners: Learning React, 2nd Edition 

Learning React by Alex Banks and Eve Porcello will help you learn how to build efficient React applications. The reader will learn the React library while learning the latest techniques currently emerging in the JS language.

This hands-on book is divided into twelve chapters and the contents are:

  • Chapter 1 gives an overview of React

  • Chapter 2 talks about JavaScript for React

  • Chapter 3 covers functional programming with Javascript

  • Chapter 4 talks about how React works

  • Chapter 5 covers React with JSX

  • Chapter 6 covers React State Management

  • Chapter 7 talks about Enhancing Components with Hooks

  • Chapter 8 talks about incorporating data

  • Chapter 9 covers suspense

  • Chapter 10 talks about React testing

  • Chapter 11 talks about React router

  • Chapter 12 talks about React and the Server

The book will introduce all of React’s basics from scratch. No prior knowledge of React or functional JavaScript is necessary.


4. Best Book for Learners on a Budget: Beginning React (incl. Redux and React Hooks)

Beginning React by Greg Lim is free with Kindle Unlimited. The book gives a great introduction to React and related technologies. This book is a fun, hands-on and pragmatic journey to master React.js. 

Every section of this 166-pages book is written in a bite-sized manner and straight to the point. It is a well designed book and easily understandable. The contents covered in the book are:

  • Introduction

  • Creating and Using Components

  • Bindings, Props, State and Events

  • Working with Components

  • Conditional Rendering

  • Building Controlled Forms

  • Getting Data From RESTful APIs with Axios

  • React Routing

  • C.R.U.D. with Firebase

  • Introduction to Redux

  • React with Redux

  • Introduction to React Hooks

The book is easy to follow and includes illustrations, examples, code snippets, and code explanations. It is a great book for beginners. Through this book, you will start building React apps within minutes.


5. Best Book for Quick Learners: React.js Essentials: A fast-paced guide to designing and building scalable and maintainable web apps with React.js

React.js Essentials by Artemij Fedosejev is a fast-paced guide to designing and building scalable and maintainable web apps with React. This book helps to build maintainable and performant user interfaces for your web applications using React.js.

The book adopts a step-by-step, hands-on approach with ample codes to ensure you learn React.js at a fast pace. After reading the book, you will be able to:

  • Install powerful React.js tools to make development much more efficient

  • Create React elements with properties and children

  • Get started with stateless and stateful React components

  • Use JSX to speed up your React.js development process

  • Add reactivity to your React components with lifecycle methods

  • Integrate your React components with other JavaScript libraries

  • Utilize the Flux application architecture with your React components

  • Test your React components with Jest test framework

This book is simply a golden egg in your hand.


More Ways to Learn React

Each and every one of these books can provide you value if you are new to React. Although books are one of the best ways to learn to program, there are also other means to reinforce learning, such as online tutorials, video lessons, and many more.

And, If you need a course to go along with this book, I highly recommend these online courses:

  • Udemy: Check out The Complete React Developer Course on Udemy. You will learn how to build and launch React web applications using React, Redux, Webpack, React-Router, and more.

  • Codecademy: Check out this 20-hour course Learn React. With this course, you will develop a strong understanding of React’s most essential concepts. I’ve personally gone through this course and found it valuable in building muscle memory on core React concepts. For more on Codecademy Pro, see my Codecademy Pro review.

  • Coursera: Build Your First React Website is a 1-hour long project-based course. You will gain hands-on experience with one of the hottest web development framework, React.

So, what are you waiting for? Start your React.js journey today.

Miranda Limonczenko

Miranda is the founder of Books on Code, with a mission to bring book-lover culture to programmers. Learn more by checking out Miranda on LinkedIn.

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