21 Excellent Books About Engineering

With the exciting new emphasis on STEM, it's no wonder that there's been a surge of STEM books for kids to inspire the engineers of tomorrow. We've compiled a list of the best kids books about engineering, so you can dive right in!

We've included a range of different books on this list, from children's books about inventors like Londer Phillips in "Papa's Mechanical Fish" to story books about engineering like "Rosie Revere Engineer." Some are books that will help train young minds to the engineering mindset like "What Do You Do With an Idea?" and "The Almost Impossible Thing". Others focus on teaching specific engineering principles such as "Aerospace Engineering for Babies." Whatever your tastes, you're sure to find some of the best STEM books of 2019 on this list, as well as years past.

This list has board, picture and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers, from newborn to ages 2 or 3. Picture books are ideal for toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners and early elementary age children. If you're looking for books for older elementary (for example engineering books for 10-year-olds) or for middle school, some picture books may still be of interest, but you're most likely looking for chapter books. You can either view the full list, or filter to a single type of book at a time!

Without further ado, enjoy this engineering list!

Rosie Revere, Engineer book
#1
Rosie Revere, Engineer
Written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from Readerly Mom

Little Rosie Revere dreams of becoming a great engineer, but she’s plagued by embarrassment and disappointment when things don’t go quite right. This rhyming book tells a sweet story about perseverance and the power and importance of being willing to take chances and make mistakes. The illustrations are fun, and Rosie’s inventions will make both parents and children chuckle. Even though it’s a bit long, this is one of my pre-schooler’s most requested books. We love Rosie!

Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal—to fly—Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success: you can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit. From the powerhouse author-illustrator team of Iggy Peck, Architect comes Rosie Revere, Engineer, another charming, witty picture book about believing in yourself and pursuing your passion. Ada Twist, Scientist, the companion picture book featuring the next kid from Iggy Peck’s class, is available in September 2016.

Interstellar Cinderella book
#2
Interstellar Cinderella
Written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Meg Hunt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Once upon a planetoid, amid her tools and sprockets, a girl named Cinderella dreamed of fixing fancy rockets. With a little help from her fairy godrobot, Cinderella is going to the ball. But when the prince’s ship has mechanical trouble, someone will have to zoom to the rescue! Readers will thank their lucky stars for this irrepressible fairy tale retelling, its independent heroine, and its stellar happy ending.

What Do You Do with an Idea? book
#3
What Do You Do with an Idea?
Written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A New York Times Best Seller and award-winning book, What Do You Do With an Idea? is for anyone who’s ever had a big idea.

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.

Albie Newton book
#4
Albie Newton
Written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Ester Garay
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This has a lot of layers for a book about preschoolers… and I love it! The cadence is awesome (I’m a sucker for great rhyme), which makes this a fun read-aloud, and the illustrations have lots of little things going on, leaving new things to discover on multiple read-throughs—the children’s expressions are particularly interesting as you watch their different reactions to Albie’s behavior. This book manages to both be one that preschoolers can relate to and one that touches on more adult themes like genius level intelligence vs social intelligence…and boy can Albie build a great rocket!

Meet Albie Newton: child genius. But when this whiz of an inventor enters a new preschool, his perfect plan for making friends turns into a disaster: he steals the hamster’s wheel, snatches the wings off a toy airplane, and generally creates a giant mess. Now everyone’s angry! Will his new invention delight the other kids enough to make everything right—and win their friendship?

The Almost Impossible Thing book
#5
The Almost Impossible Thing
Written and illustrated by Basak Agaoglu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from The Notorious RAD

Really beautiful illustrations and easy re-readability. It should spark conversations of the young readers dreams and how parents could help achieve them.

Nothing is so impossible that it shouldn’t be tried. Even if you’re a bunny hoping to fly. A tribute to teamwork, big dreams, perseverance, and those who don’t listen when others say their goals are unreachable. The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.—Chinese Proverb Most of us want to fly—even if we know we’re rooted to the ground. Especially if we know we’re rooted to the ground! So when a rabbit spots a bird soaring in beautiful, colorful loop-de-loops, a dream is born. Though her friends tell her “You can’t do that!” our rabbit is undeterred. Through comical ski jumps, trampoline bounces, swings on the trapeze, and experiments with kites . . . somehow, some way, there must be a way to fly. And there is! Teamwork. Debut author/illustrator Basak Agaoglu delivers a story of faith, persistence, and humor—along with some of the most adorable, child-friendly art ever seen. For fans of Extremely Cute Animals Operating Heavy Machinery.

  1. Violet the Pilot - Mr. Staccato - A powerful story about a girl who likes to build things. Ever since she’s been little, she’s been tinkering with household electronics and gadgets; fixing them and learning how they work. Soon she begins building airplanes and learning to fly. Her unusual hobbies, though, make her quite unpopular with the kids at school.

  2. Papa's Mechanical Fish - Grammy - This is a great story about exploring ideas; sometimes they work out and sometimes they need more work. The creative dad in this book just keeps working on his ideas, most of which don’t really succeed. Although so many of his ideas have fallen short, he doesn’t get discouraged, and no one in his family is ever critical; everyone just keeps thinking and nurturing curiosity. The painterly illustrations engage the reader in the action, both of the inventor and his family who have their own activities parallel to the father’s pursuits. This story is on the long side, although the repetition and reiterations work to keep young readers engaged and there is plenty to look at on every page. It is a terrific book for STEM topics and encouraging curiosity, perseverance, thinking, and patience.

  3. Mary Had a Little Lab - Mary is an enterprising young inventor. She wants a pet, but it isn’t one she can easily buy…so she makes one with the Sheepinator! Mary’s pet sheep and her new invention make her popular with her classmates. But when she starts making sheep for her new friends, things go hilariously awry. Can Mary invent a way to fix this mess?

  4. Little Leonardo's Fascinating World of Engineering - An introductory primer for kids focusing on the “E” portion of “STEAM” engineering. With original Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci as inspiration, this exciting new volume in the Little Leonardo series introduces kids to many of the different types of engineering they can aspire to. Littles will learn how nine types of engineers design and build all sorts of things, from the tiny microcircuitry in your smartphone to large projects like dams and bridges that transform the very face of the planet. Part of the Little Leonardo’s Fascinating World Series. Greg Paprocki works full-time as an illustrator and book designer. He has illustrated several Curious George books, as well as the BabyLit alphabet books and The Big Book of Superheroes. Bob Cooper is a veteran editor whose twenty-year career has found him working on everything from comic books to art, architecture, and children’s titles.

The Most Magnificent Thing book
#10
The Most Magnificent Thing
Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A little girl and her canine assistant set out to make the most magnificent thing. But after much hard work, the end result is not what the girl had in mind. Frustrated, she quits. Her assistant suggests a long walk, and as they walk, it slowly becomes clear what the girl needs to do to succeed. A charming story that will give kids the most magnificent thing: perspective!

Gus's Garage book
#11
Gus's Garage
Written and illustrated by Leo Timmers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Gus’s workshop is chock-full of odds and ends. When his friend Rico comes over with a problem—his scooter seat is way too small for a rhino—Gus finds just the thing to fix it.

One by one Gus’s friends bring him their vehicles and Gus solves their troubles with ingenious solutions. No job is too difficult for Gus!

Soon the workshop is almost empty. Is anything left to solve Gus’s own problem at the end of a long day?

Gus’s Garage is Leo Timmers at his best: effortlessly simple text, intricately detailed illustrations, and vehicles galore.

If I Built a Car book
#12
If I Built a Car
Written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

“If I built a car, it’d be totally new! Here are a few of the things that I’d do. . . .” Jack has designed the ultimate fantasy car. Inspired by zeppelins and trains, Cadillacs and old planes, with brilliant colors and lots of shiny chrome, this far-out vision is ready to cruise! there’s 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!

Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering! book
#13
Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering!
Written by Ruth Spiro and illustrated by Irene Chan
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I LOVE the concept of teaching kids more difficult concepts in a simplified form via board books when they’re little, in the hopes that it may subconsciously spark general curiosity or a specific interest. I think this book does a decent job of building concepts, but it’s a lot more interesting to me as an adult to see how they’re explaining these simplified concepts than it is to my toddler. That being said, there’s a rocket ship at the end, so that helps ;) I could see this being great for a slightly older child!

Big, brainy science for the littlest listeners Accurate enough to satisfy an expert, yet simple enough for baby, this book explores the basics of flight - from birds, to planes and rockets - and ties it all to baby’s world. Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby’s sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two, as well!

The Little Red Fort book
#14
The Little Red Fort
Written by Brenda Maier and illustrated by Sonia Sanchez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Ruby’s mind is always full of ideas. One day, she finds some old boards and decides to build something. She invites her brothers to help, but they just laugh and tell her she doesn’t know how to build. “Then I’ll learn,” she says. And she does! When she creates a dazzling fort that they all want to play in, it is Ruby who has the last laugh. With sprightly text and winsome pictures, this modern spin on the timeless favorite The Little Red Hen celebrates the pluck and ingenuity of young creators everywhere!

  1. Baby Loves Structural Engineering! - Big, brainy science for the littlest listeners. Accurate enough to satisfy an expert, yet simple enough for baby, this clever board book explores the basics of building—from foundation to rooftop—and ties it all to baby’s world. Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby’s sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two, as well!

  2. Magnolia Mudd and the Super Jumptastic Launcher Deluxe - Magnolia Mudd’s Uncle Jamie is the very BEST grown-up. He always invents cool things with her . . . until the day he and Miss Emily announce their engagement. That’s bad enough—but even worse, Miss Emily wants Magnolia to be a FLOWER GIRL! No way is Magnolia tossing petals. But maybe Uncle Jamie’s new bride-to-be is more fun that Magnolia imagined . . .

  3. ABCs of Engineering - A new book in the bestselling series with simple explanations of complex ideas for your future genius! It only takes a small spark to ignite a child’s mind! The ABCs of Engineering introduces babies (and grown-ups!) to a new engineering concept for every letter of the alphabet - including entries for various aspects of engineering like mechanical, architectural, and beyond. With a tongue-in-cheek approach that adults will love, this installment of the Baby University board book series is the perfect way to introduce basic concepts to even the youngest mathematicians.

  4. Ellie, Engineer - A charming, hilarious illustrated middle grade about a girl who is an engineer—perfect creative, STEM-powered fun for girls who have interests in how things work. “Look out, Junie B. Jones! Ellie the engineer is thinking, making, creating, and showing enthusiasm and brilliance with her creations!” —School Library Connection Ellie is an engineer. With a tool belt strapped over her favorite skirt (who says you can’t wear a dress and have two kinds of screwdrivers handy, just in case?), she invents and builds amazing creations in her backyard workshop. Together with her best friend Kit, Ellie can make anything. As Kit’s birthday nears, Ellie doesn’t know what gift to make until the girls overhear Kit’s mom talking about her present—the dog Kit always wanted! Ellie plans to make an amazing doghouse, but her plans grow so elaborate that she has to enlist help from the neighbor boys and crafty girls, even though the two groups don’t get along. Will Ellie be able to pull off her biggest project yet, all while keeping a secret from Kit? Illustrated with Ellie’s sketches and plans, and including a fun how-to guide to tools, this is a STEM- and friendship-powered story full of fun!

The Girl with a Mind for Math book
#19
The Girl with a Mind for Math
Written by Julia Finley Mosca and illustrated by Daniel Rieley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Meet Raye Montague—the hidden mastermind who made waves in the U.S. Navy! After touring a German submarine in the early 1940s, young Raye set her sights on becoming an engineer. Little did she know sexism and racial inequality would challenge that dream every step of the way, even keeping her greatest career accomplishment a secret for decades. Through it all, the gifted mathematician persisted—finally gaining her well-deserved title in history: a pioneer who changed the course of ship design forever. The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague is the third book in a riveting educational series about the inspiring lives of amazing scientists. In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you’ll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colorful timeline of events, and even a note from Montague herself!

Rube Goldberg's Simple Normal Humdrum School Day book
#20
Rube Goldberg's Simple Normal Humdrum School Day
Written by Jennifer George and illustrated by Ed Steckley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

If Rube’s inventions are any indication, “normal” means something very different in the Goldberg household. For Rube, up is down, in is out, and the simplest path to accomplishing an everyday task—like brushing his teeth or getting dressed—is a humorously complicated one. Follow Rube as he sets out on a typical school day, overcomplicating each and every step from the time he wakes up in the morning until the time he goes to bed at night.

This book features fourteen inventions, each depicting an interactive sequence whose purpose is to help Rube accomplish mundane daily tasks: a simple way to get ready for school, to make breakfast, to do his homework, and so much more.

Sleeping Handsome and the Princess Engineer book
#21
Sleeping Handsome and the Princess Engineer
Written by Kay Woodward and illustrated by Jo de Ruiter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Prince Jack is strong, rich, a top trampolinist and very, very handsome …but he is also cursed. When he is pricked by a sword he, and his whole castle, fall sound asleep. It’s up to the Princess Engineer to come and save the day.

    Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!