Colorful and creative STEM picture books suitable for 4 to 8 year olds. Your kids will want to read these engineering books again and again, and they make enjoyable read alouds for parents and teachers too!
Introduce the concepts of problem-solving, critical thinking, perseverance, creativity and more to young kids through stories. These engineering book titles have been handpicked by our K-2 STEM (gifted and talented) teacher and are sure to inspire some imaginative engineering and inventing too!
BOOKS ABOUT ENGINEERING FOR KIDS
WHAT IS AN ENGINEER
Is a scientist an engineer? Is an engineer a scientist? It can be very confusing! Often scientists and engineers work together to solve a problem. You may find it hard to understand how they are similar and yet different. Learn more about what is an engineer.
Think like an engineer! Talk like an engineer! Act like an engineer! Get kids started with a vocabulary list that introduces some awesome engineering terms. Make sure to include them into your next engineering challenge or project.
ENGINEERING DESIGN PROCESS
Engineers often follow a design process. There are different design processes but each one includes the same basic steps to identify and solve problems.
An example of the process is “ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve”. This process is flexible and may be completed in any order. Learn more about the Engineering Design Process.
CHILDREN’S ENGINEERING BOOKS
Teacher approved engineering books for kids! Whether you’re in the classroom, at home, or in a group or club setting these are fantastic books for kids to read! Also check out our list of STEM books for kids!
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Anything is Possible by Giulia Belloni
This fun STEM picture book is all about teamwork and perseverance. Sheep is a dreamer, while her friend the wolf is more practical. One day the sheep runs to the wolf with an idea. She wants to build a flying machine! But the wolf tells her it’s impossible.
Eventually, however, the sheep’s dream gets the better of the wolf’s doubts, and they begin to work on the project together. Through perseverance and the process of trial and error, the sheep and wolf manage to create a winning design, inspired by paper collage art.
The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken
Trying new things, making mistakes and learning from them is all part of the engineering. Help young kids embrace the creative process with this quirky book.
It tells the story of an artist who incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art. The reader can see how all those mistakes come together into a complete bigger picture by the end.
With minimal text and beautiful illustrations, this story shows readers that even the biggest “mistakes” can be the source of the brightest ideas—and that, at the end of the day, we are all works in progress, too.
Coppernickel, The Invention by Wouter van Reek
This is sure to be one of your kids’ favorites! It has funny and beautiful illustrations, with a simple story that will stimulate your child’s imagination and lead them to think in new and creative ways.
Sometimes keeping things simple is the best practice. That is the moral of this story about two best friends, Coppernickel the bird and Tungsten the dog, who set out to invent a machine for picking hard-to-reach elderberries.
Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams
Set in the African nation of Malawi, this is a story about a boy called Kondi who is determined to make a galimoto—a toy vehicle made of wires. His brother laughs at the idea, but all day Kondi goes about gathering up the wire he needs. By nightfall, his wonderful galimoto is ready for the village children to play with in the light of the moon.
Hello Ruby: Adventures In Coding by Linda Liukas
Meet Ruby―a small girl with a huge imagination, and the determination to solve any puzzle. As Ruby stomps around her world making new friends, including the Wise Snow Leopard, the Friendly Foxes, and the Messy Robots.
Kids will be introduced to the fundamentals of programming without needing a computer. Like how to break big problems into small ones, create step-by-step plans, look for patterns and think outside the box through storytelling.
How to Bicycle to the Moon to Plant Sunflowers by Mordecai Gerstein
Learn how you can visit the moon on your bicycle in this humorous step-by-step instructional picture book. All you need is a very long garden hose, a very large slingshot, a borrowed spacesuit, and a bicycle . . . and plenty of imagination.
Often kids are big dreamers. They come up with creative plans that often will never work. This book however lets kids know that it is okay to dream big. As a matter of fact they should be encouraged to dream because you never know where life will take you later on.
If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen
Jack has designed the ultimate fantasy car inspired by zeppelins and trains, Cadillacs and old planes, with brilliant colors and lots of shiny chrome. There’s even a fireplace, a pool, and even a snack bar! After a tour of the ritzy interior, Robert the robot starts up the motor and Jack and his dad set off on the wildest test drive ever!
This book is perfect for aspiring engineers and encourages creativity and critical thinking. Great for kids ready to build on their vocabulary. The illustrations follow along closely to the words, which will be helpful to new readers.
Incredible Inventions by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Help you kids think about inventions in a broader way. With sixteen original poems and beautiful illustrations, Incredible Inventions celebrates creativity that comes in all shapes and sizes.
Inventions can be big, like roller coasters, or small, like crayons. And inventors can be scientists or athletes or even boys and girls! It’s hard to imagine life without Popsicles, basketball, or Band-Aids, but they all started with just one person and a little imagination.
Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor by Emily Arnold McCully
Based on the true story of American inventor, Margaret E Knight. When she was just twelve years old, Mattie designed a metal guard to prevent shuttles from shooting off textile looms and injuring workers.
As an adult, Mattie invented the machine that makes the square-bottom paper bags we still use today. However, in court, a man claimed the invention was his, stating that she “could not possibly understand the mechanical complexities.” Marvelous Mattie proved him wrong, and over the course of her life earned the title of “the Lady Edison.”
An inspiring read for all junior engineers!
Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming and Boris Kulikov
A fun story about a real submarine inventor!
Clink! Clankety-bang! Thump-whirr! That’s the sound of Papa at work. Although he is an inventor, he has never made anything that works perfectly, and that’s because he hasn’t yet found a truly fantastic idea.
But when he takes his family fishing on Lake Michigan, his daughter Virena asks, “Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a fish?”―and Papa is off to his workshop. With a lot of persistence and a little bit of help, Papa―who is based on the real-life inventor Lodner Phillips―creates a submarine that can take his family for a trip to the bottom of Lake Michigan.
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
This fun STEM picture book is about pursuing your passion with persistence and learning to celebrate each failure on the road to achieving your dreams.
Rosie Revere dreamed of becoming a great engineer. Where some people see rubbish, Rosie sees inspiration. Alone in her room at night, shy Rosie constructs great inventions from odds and ends. Hot dog dispensers, helium pants, python-repelling cheese hats: Rosie’s gizmos would astound—if she ever let anyone see them.
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
A light hearted picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. It captures the ups and downs of the creative process and is useful reminder that most problems can be worked out if we give it time.
The girl has a wonderful idea. “She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing and she knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!”
But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right.
Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen
By the time she’s two years old, Violet Van Winkle can engineer nearly any appliance in the house. And by eight she’s building elaborate flying machines from scratch—mind-boggling contraptions such as the Tubbubbler, the Bicycopter, and the Wing-a-ma-jig.
The kids at school tease her, but they have no idea what she’s capable of. Maybe she could earn their respect by winning the blue ribbon in the upcoming Air Show. Or maybe something even better will happen—something involving her best-ever invention, a Boy Scout troop in peril, and even the mayor himself!
What Do You Do With An Idea? By Kobi Yamada
This is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child’s confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens.
This is a story for anyone, at any age, who’s ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, too difficult. It’s a story to inspire you to welcome that idea, to give it some space to grow, and to see what happens next. Because your idea isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s just getting started.
Want to get started with STEM? Or simply want some new engineering activities and challenges to try… check out these engineering projects for kids and grab our FREE printable engineering challenge calendar!
MORE STEM PROJECTS FOR KIDS
Click on the image below or on the link for tons of awesome STEM activities for kids.