Have you ever found yourself struggling to get your child interested in STEAM? Do you find it difficult to get them to engage with engineering, or to apply themselves to art? Fear no longer! Here is a list of the top 30 books to help your kids to find interest in engineering. We have divided the list according to age group, but feel free to mix and match where you feel appropriate.
Engineering Books for Young Learners (Ages 4-8)
1. How Machines Work: Zoo Break! by David Macauley
This charming tale tells the story of two animals, named Sloth and Senti, and the feats of their escape from a zoo. Not only will this story help to teach your kids about simple machines, but you can also use it to engage in discussion about zoo conservation programs.
2. Count on Me by Miguel Tanco
Containing many cute illustrations, this book looks at applying Math to different aspects of our world and will teach your kids just how useful this subject is.
3. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
This inspiring story uses rhyme to talk about a young girl who aspires to be an engineer, but things do not go as she first plans. A real story of faith.
4. Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark
This picture book biography is about the true story of Grace Hopper, a pioneering female engineer who is known for helping to develop the first electronic computer. Guaranteed to inspire!
5. Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming
Another true story, Papa’s Mechanical Fish is a sweet story about the life of Lodner Phillips, who was a famous inventor known for designing and testing very early submarines.
6. How Do You Lift a Lion? by Robert E Wells
Just like the title says, young learners will find out about using levers, wheels, pulleys, and other basic machines to lift animals, including lions and zebras!
7. The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
One of the key lessons that this book teaches us not only about engineering but also that success is not guaranteed; failure and perseverance are an important part of inventing.
8. When Sparks Fly: The True Story of Robert Goddard, the Father of US Rocketry by Kristen Fulton
Part of the canon of STEM books, this is the charming story of the “Father” of the American Rocketry industry told through colorful illustrations.
9. Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding by Linda Liukas
After it raised over $10000, this text became the most funded book for kids ever on Kickstarter - and it’s not hard to see why. It teaches basic coding to children with stimulating illustrations.
10. If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen
A young boy named Jack has the creative idea to make his dream car and thinks of all the materials he will need for it. A great text to encourage students to think about construction and engineering.
11. A Computer Called Katherine by Suzanna Slade & Veronica Miller
This is the riveting story of Katherine Johnson, a NASA scientist, and the challenges she overcame as one of the first African-American female scientists in the 1960s. It is certainly one of the best aerospace engineering books to inspire young learners.
Engineering Books for Elementary School (Ages 8-12)
12. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Reader’s Edition) by William Kawkwamba and Bryan Mealer (YR Edition)
With his family struggling to make an income without any water for their crops, a young boy takes it upon himself to learn how to build windmills to water the fields by reading books in the school library. A real story about perseverance and the importance of trying again after failing.
13. Nick and Tesla Series by Steve Hockensmith and Bob Pflugfelder
This book involves a number of mysteries that your students can solve themselves using science and technology. Some of the projects can be completed at home, too!
14. Girls Who Code Series by Stacia Deutsch
This series of stories of girls who create apps are an excellent way to introduce coding to both girls and boys, as well as essential values of friendship and teamwork. One of the essential STEM books for science- and math-minded girls.
15. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
An acclaimed and cinematic story, this book was the winner of the 2008 Caldecott Medal and the inspiration of the 2011 film Hugo. It tells the story of a young orphan who works on the clocks in a Parisian train station, only to discover a mystery about his deceased father.
16. Janice VanCleave’s Engineering for Every Kid: Easy Activities That Make Learning Science Fun by Janice VanCleave
Become a brilliant inventor at home! This book contains a variety of engineering experiments for hands-on learning, with each experiment detailing an explanation of the process, purpose, and much more detail. The inventions could also be completed by kids at school.
17. The Crimson Five by Jackie Yeager
Kia Krumpet, a brilliant inventor from the year 2071, is competing at the Piedmont Challenge where she must succeed in order to win a place at a prestigious school. This is a great text to help students think about inventions of the future.
18. Elon Musk and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (Young Reader’s Edition) by Ashlee Vance
Elon Musk is a name on everyone’s lips at the moment, and this story about perseverance is a superb way to make this 21st-century inventor accessible to younger learners.
19. Secret Coders series by Gene Luen Yang
This witty picture book series is all about coding and involved the reader in the mystery. They are given the opportunity to solve the problem for themselves before they are given the answer.
20. Hidden Figures (Young Readers Edition) by Margot Lee Shetterly
This acclaimed picture book details the true story of four African-American NASA mathematicians who helped to launch rockets (and astronauts!) into space. It is also a good text to use to talk about difficult ideas like racism and sexism.
21. Build This Book by David Eckold
A book of inventions with a twist; you can actually make them! The pages of this text can be turned into eight machines, teaching kids key engineering principles while doing so.
Engineering Books for Middle School (Ages 12-16)
22. Amazing Paper Airplanes: The Craft and Science of Flight by Kyong Hwa Lee
Everyone loves airplanes, and now your students can create them for the sake of education! This brilliant book helps students to learn about the theory behind paper planes, their creation, discussion of models like inclined planes, and much more.
23. The Code Book: The Secrets Behind Codebreaking by Simon Singh
Throughout history, cryptography (the study of creating and solving codes) has formed an essential part of society, and this book will be sure to foster the inventive spirit in students by teaching them codes from Julius Caesar’s cipher to the Enigma machine used during World War 2.
24. Stem Careers; Enhancing Engineering by Wendy Conklin
One of many STEM books that focuses on topics while also building literacy skills. It is aligned with state standards.
25. Learn to Program with Scratch by Majed Marji
This text teaches your middle school students how to use the beginner’s programming software Scratch explains essential concepts to solving real-world problems.
26. A Young Innovator's Guide to STEM: 5 Steps To Problem Solving For Students, Educators, and Parents by Gitanjali Rao
Critically acclaimed by NBC, ABC. CBS, NPR, this text details the step-by-step process of identifying problems and developing solutions through STEM practices.
27. Always Use Protection: A Teen’s Guide to Safe Computing by Dan Appleman
Safe commuting can be a difficult idea to discuss, but this text does the opposite of most by empowering students to protect themselves online without any adult assistance.
28. Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 for Teens by Jerry Lee Ford Jr.
This book allows students to transfer knowledge from the text about programming and robotic development to Lego creations, encouraging more real-world application.
29. Scratch 2.0 Programming for Teens by Jerry Lee Ford Jr.
This text is vital for establishing the foundations of more challenging programming languages by teaching students how to develop their own interactive games, web programs, and more.
30. Amazing Feats of Electrical Engineering by Jennifer Swanson
Combing both history and engineer, this book is aligned to Common Core and state standards to explore what it takes to be an engineer.
These are just a few of the great books on offer to help kickstart your child’s passion for engineering.