5 Best GraphQL Books for Beginners in 2023

A hawk is on the cover of the O’Reilly book, Learning GraphQL, which is one of my favorite GraphQL  titles.

A hawk is on the cover of the O’Reilly book, Learning GraphQL, which is one of my favorite GraphQL titles.

GraphQL is an open-source data query and manipulation language for APIs. It is designed to solve a lot of the problems that RESTful APIs present. With RESTful APIs, you are often querying many times for resources that grab way more information than you need.

But with GraphQL, you query only once and get the exact information you want. GraphQL is becoming increasingly popular as the middleware of choice for Facebook, GitHub, Shopify, and more.

Increasingly, software companies are looking for GraphQL on your resume.

GraphQL was developed internally by Facebook in 2012 before being publicly released in 2015. GraphQL is now becoming the new standard for API development . GraphQL APIs are fast, efficient, and easy to maintain. They reduce app latency and server cost while boosting developer productivity.

In this article, let’s go over why developers learn GraphQL and unveil the best books on GraphQL for its rapid adoption.

Why Learn GraphQL?

Here are a few reasons why learning GraphQL is a great investment in your future. 

  • GraphQL APIs have a strongly typed schema: GraphQL schemas are strongly-typed and can be written in the simple and expressive GraphQL Schema Definition Language (SDL). Now, the developers don’t have to manually write API documentation any more. Instead, it can be auto-generated based on the schema that defines the API. That’s a game-changer for API development.

  • GraphQL enables rapid product development: GraphQL makes frontend developers’ lives easy. With GraphQL, it is possible to completely redesign the UI of an app without needing to touch the backend. Increased productivity among frontend developers leads to a speedup in product development.

  • Versioning is not required: With GraphQL, there is no need to maintain versions. The resource URL or address remains the same. You can add new fields and deprecate older fields. This approach is intuitive as the client receives a deprecation warning when querying a deprecated field.

  • Rich open-source ecosystem and an amazing community: GraphQL has a strong and thriving community support. You will find great learning resources online to polish your skills.


What Makes Best GraphQL Books? 

There are a few things to look for that can help you sort through the innumerable GraphQL books on the market.

  • Offer multiple approaches to learning a topic, including hands-on exercises, source code, and detailed explanations.

  • Chapters are written in a well-structured and well-organized way.

  • Contents are up-to-date and thoroughly explains the basic concepts of GraphQL.

  • The book is written in a concise and easy-to-understand language.


Best Books on GraphQL

If you want to get started with GraphQL, here are a few books to help you get your feet off the ground quickly:

Let’s look at them in brief. 


1. Best book for practical learners: Learning GraphQL

Learning GraphQL by Eve Porcello and Alex Banks is an excellent introduction to GraphQL. The book explores graph theory, graph data structure, and GraphQL types. The author uses a hands-on approach to build a schema for a photo-sharing application.

Real talk: Eve and Alex are some of the best programming teachers. They give real-world examples and speak in a narrative style that makes concept absorption easy. The authors describe the ‘why’ and not just the ‘how’.

Here's what you will learn in the book:

  • Explore graph theory and review popular graph examples in use today

  • Learn how GraphQL applies database querying methods to the internet

  • Create a schema for a PhotoShare application that serves as a roadmap and a contract between the frontend and backend teams

  • Use JavaScript to build a fully functioning GraphQL service and Apollo to implement a client

  • Learn how to prepare GraphQL APIs and clients for production

The practical guide is divided into seven chapters and includes the following topics:

  • Chapter 1 gives you the introduction to GraphQL

  • Chapter 2 covers Graph Theory

  • Chapter 3 talks about the GraphQL Query Language

  • Chapter 4 talks about designing a Schema

  • Chapter 5 guides you to create a GraphQL API

  • Chapter 6 covers GraphQL Clients

  • Chapter 7 talks about GraphQL in the Real World

The concepts are presented in an easy-to-understand way. 


2. Best book for step-by-step learners: The Road to GraphQL: Your journey to master pragmatic GraphQL

The Road to GraphQL by Robin Wieruch will help you learn how modern client-server architecture is driven by GraphQL. The book takes a step-by-step approach to explore the concepts of GraphQL and how to use them in modern client-server architectures.

The book covers lots of facets about GraphQL in JavaScript that is important for building modern applications. You will explore GraphQL in React.js and Node.js for a full-stack architecture.

The first part teaches how to build a GraphQL client application in React. The second larger block of the book continues with implementing your own GraphQL server application with Express.js and Apollo Server in Node.js.

Here's what you are going to be learning in the book:

  • Why GraphQL

  • Why Apollo

  • GraphQL Setup, Tools, and APIs

  • GraphQL Fundamentals

  • React with GraphQL

  • Apollo Client

  • React with GraphQL and Apollo Client

  • Node.js with GraphQL and Apollo Server

You will have plenty of time to apply your learnings in exercises after each chapter of the book.


3. Best book for hands-on learners: GraphQL in Action

GraphQL in Action by Samer Buna teaches everything you need to get started with GraphQL. It gives you the tools to get comfortable with the GraphQL language, build and optimize a data API service, and use it in a front-end client application. 

The book is packed with thorough GraphQL concepts and numerous practical examples. Here's what you will learn in the book:

  • Define a GraphQL schema for relational and document databases

  • Implement GraphQL types using both the schema language and object constructor methods

  • Optimize GraphQL resolvers with data caching and batching

  • Design GraphQL fragments that match UI components' data requirements

  • Consume GraphQL API queries, mutations, and subscriptions with and without a GraphQL client library

The book is divided into ten chapters and includes the following topics:

Part 1. Exploring GraphQL

  • Chapter 1 gives you the introduction to GraphQL

  • Chapter 2 guides you to explore GraphQL APIs

  • Chapter 3 talks about customizing and organizing GraphQL operations

Part 2. Building GraphQL APIs

  • Chapter 4 covers how to design a GraphQL schema

  • Chapter 5 talks about implementing schema revolvers

  • Chapter 6 covers how to work with database models and relations

  • Chapter 7 talks about Optimizing data fetching

  • Chapter 8 talks about implementing mutations

Part 3. Using GraphQL APIs

  • Chapter 9 talks about using GraphQL APIs without a client library

  • Chapter 10 guides you in using GraphQL APIs with Apollo client

After completing the book, you will be able to have all the skills needed to get started writing and using scalable data APIs with GraphQL. This book will quickly take you from novice to expert!


More books you may like:


4. Best book for serious learners: Hands-On Full-Stack Web Development with GraphQL and React

Hands-On Full-Stack Web Development with GraphQL and React by Sebastian Grebe guides you to build full-stack applications with modern APIs using GraphQL and Apollo. The book also helps you to integrate Apollo into React and build frontend components using GraphQL.

After reading the book, you will be able to:

  • Resolve data from multi-table database and system architectures

  • Build a GraphQL API by implementing models and schemas with Apollo and Sequelize

  • Set up an Apollo Client and build front end components using React

  • Use Mocha to test your full-stack application

  • Write complex React components and share data across them

  • Deploy your application using Docker

The contents covered in the book are:

  • Preparing Your Development Environment

  • Setting up GraphQL with Express.js

  • Connecting to The Database

  • Integrating React into the Backend with Apollo

  • Reusable React Components

  • Authentication with Apollo and React

  • Handling Image Uploads

  • Routing in React

  • Implementing Server-Side Rendering

  • Real-Time Subscriptions

  • Writing Tests

  • Optimizing GraphQL with Apollo Engine

  • Continuous Deployment with CircleCI and Heroku

By the end of the book, you will be proficient in using GraphQL and React for your full-stack development requirements. The book is for web developers who want to enhance their skills and build complete full-stack applications using industry standards.


5. Best book for full-stack development: Full Stack Serverless

Full Stack Serverless: Modern Application Development with React, AWS, and GraphQL by Nader Dabit guides you through the process of building full-stack applications using React, AWS, GraphQL, and AWS Amplify. This hands-on guide helps you to create and incorporate services into your client applications. Along the way, you will learn general best practices, deployment strategies, rich media management, and continuous integration.

The book is divided into eleven chapters and includes the following contents:

  • Chapter 1 talks about Full Stack Development in the Era of Serverless Computing

  • Chapter 2 helps you to get started with AWS Amplify

  • Chapter 3 talks about creating Your First App

  • Chapter 4 gives an introduction to Authentication

  • Chapter 5 covers Custom Authentication Strategies

  • Chapter 6 covers Serverless Functions In-Depth

  • Chapter 7 also covers Serverless Functions In-Depth

  • Chapter 8 covers AWS AppSync In-Depth

  • Chapter 9 teaches us to build Offline Apps with Amplify DataStore

  • Chapter 10 talks about working with Images and Storage

  • Chapter 11 covers hosting and deploying your Application to the Amplify Console with CI and CD

After reading the book, you will be able to:

  • Learn how to build serverless applications that solve real problems

  • Understand what is and isn’t possible when using these technologies

  • Create a GraphQL API that interacts with DynamoDB and a NoSQL database

  • Examine how authentication works and learn the difference between authentication and authorization

  • Get an in-depth view of how serverless functions work and why they’re important

  • Build full-stack applications on AWS and create offline apps with Amplify DataStore

This book is for any software engineer looking to build full-stack applications. 


More Ways to Learn GraphQL

By now, you must have a good idea to find the latest and best GraphQL book to match your needs. They serve as a great resource for those who want to learn best through reading.

If you want to learn GraphQL through video courses, we have some suggestions for you:

  • The Modern GraphQL Bootcamp helps you to learn how to build GraphQL applications using Node.js. The 23.5 hours on-demand video will help you to master GraphQL by building real-world Node applications.

We also suggest here over 70 online coding resources that are free online. YouTube is your friend. Learning for free is a great way to dip your toe in before investing further.

Best of luck with your GraphQL journey, and I will see you in the next article.

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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