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Flying Machines: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about flying machines?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to flying machines. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about flying machines.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about flying machines, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont to popular sellers like Airborn.

We hope this list of kids books about flying machines can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering!
Written by Ruth Spiro & illustrated by Irene Chan
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

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!

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Nadya Skylung and the Masked Kidnapper
Written by Jeff Seymour & illustrated by Brett Helquist
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Nadya Skylung paid a high price when she defeated the pirates on the cloudship Remora- She lost her leg. But has she lost her nerve too? When Nadya and the rest of the crew of the cloudship Orion reach the port of Far Agondy, they have a lot to do, including a visit to Machinist Gossner’s workshop to have a prosthetic made for Nadya. But though the pirates are far away across the Cloud Sea, Nadya and her friends are still not safe. A gang leader called Silvermask is kidnapping skylung and cloudling children in Far Agondy. When Nadya’s friend Aaron is abducted, Nayda will stop at nothing to save him and the other missing kids, and put a stop to Silvermask once and for all.

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Flight of the Bluebird (the Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters Book 3)
Written by Kara LaReau & illustrated by Jen Hill
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Sisters Jaundice and Kale Bland are flown to Egypt, where they are reunited with their parents, whose real identities they learn, and seek to uncover the mysteries of a magical scarab.

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Death by Airship
Written & illustrated by Arthur Slade
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Prince Conn will never be king. And that’s just fine with him. He’s ninth in line for the pirate throne and is quite happy to sail the skies in his airship with his crew of cheery misfits, plundering as they go. But one by one his siblings are being murdered, in tragic fires, violent cannon attacks or mysterious poisonings. Soon all fingers are pointing toward Conn as the mastermind. To prove his innocence, Conn must make his way to Skull Island, navigating his airship through a gauntlet of villains, explosions and betrayals. Can he reach his father’s kingdom before it’s too late? Or will he suffer the same fate as the rest of his family?

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I Survived the Hindenburg Disaster, 1937
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
New York Times bestselling author Lauren Tarshis provides a birds-eye view of one of America's most ghastly accidents ever be captured on film, the Hindenburg Disaster of 1937.
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  • Airborn - Sailing toward dawn, and I was perched atop the crow’s nest, being the ship’s eyes. We were two nights out of Sydney, and there’d been no weather to speak of so far. I was keeping watch on a dark stack of nimbus clouds off to the northwest, but we were leaving it far behind, and it looked to be smooth going all the way back to Lionsgate City. Like riding a cloud. . . . <P>Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean, ferrying wealthy passengers from city to city. It is the life Matt’s always wanted; convinced he’s lighter than air, he imagines himself as buoyant as the hydrium gas that powers his ship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist’s granddaughter that he realizes that the man’s ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious. <P>In a swashbuckling adventure reminiscent of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Kenneth Oppel, author of the best-selling “Silverwing” trilogy, creates an imagined world in which the air is populated by transcontinental voyagers, pirates, and beings never before dreamed of by the humans who sail the skies.

  • The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont - Profiles Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, who made great strides in the invention of flight.

  • A Dream of Flight - Years before the invention of the modern airplane, Alberto Santos-Dumont dreamed of flying. As a boy, he was mesmerized by the machinery on his father’s coffee plantation in Brazil and went on to study science and engineering in France. Soon his groundbreaking—and sometimes silly—inventions became the talk of Paris, especially after he set his sights on building an airship that could bring the world’s people together. His small stature and big ideas earned him the nickname “Le Petite Santos.” This is the story of Santos’s successful race for the Deutsche Prize, and his many failures along the way. Chock-full of cool diagrams, charming Parisian scenes, and graphic novel-style spot illustrations, A Dream of Flight will have young readers looking to the sky and scheming up their own aerial inventions.

  • The Sky Phantom - Nancy goes to Excello Flying School in the Midwest to take lessons, while her friends Bess and George perfect their horseback riding. But soon the young sleuth is confronted with the mystery of a hijacked plane and a missing pilot. Then the rancher’s prize pony, Major, is stolen. Nancy becomes a detective in a plane and on horseback to track down the elusive sky phantom and the horse thief. A lucky find – a medal with a message to be deciphered on it – furnishes a worthwhile clue. Romance is added to mystery when Bess becomes interested in a handsome cowboy. Readers will spur Nancy on as she investigates a strange magnetic cloud, hunts for the horse thief, and finally arrives at a surprising solution.

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A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785
Written by Matthew Olshan & illustrated by Sophie Blackall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In the year and a half since the flight of the first manned balloon in 1783, an Italian has flown, a Scot has flown, a woman has flown, even a sheep has flown. But no one has flown from one country to another. John Jeffries, an Englishman, and his pilot, Jean-Pierre Blanchard, a Frenchman, want to be the first. On January 7, 1785, they set out to cross the English Channel to France in a balloon. All seemed to be going fine, until Jeffries decides the balloon looks too fat and adjusts the air valve―how hard could it be? Too bad he drops the wrench over the side of the aerial car. With no way to adjust the valve, the balloon begins to sink. Jeffries and Blanchard throw as much as they can overboard―until there is nothing left, not even their clothes. Luckily, they come up with a clever (and surprising) solution that saves the day. A VOYAGE IN THE CLOUDS from Matthew Olshan and Sophie Blackall is a journey that will keep kids laughing the whole way.

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Where Do Jet Planes Sleep at Night?
Written by Brianna Caplan Sayres & illustrated by Christian Slade
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
The same team that brought you Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? and Where Do Steam Trains Sleep at Night? have created another high-flying bedtime story--this one for plane enthusiasts!

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