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Inventions: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about inventions?

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

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, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about inventions, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Dumpster Diver to popular sellers like The Invention of Hugo Cabret to some of our favorite hidden gems like Rosie Revere, Engineer.

We hope this list of kids books about inventions can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Top 10 Books About Inventions

#1
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The Crayon Man
Written by Natascha Biebow & illustrated by Steven Salerno
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Celebrating the inventor of the Crayola crayon! This gloriously illustrated picture book biography tells the inspiring story of Edwin Binney, the inventor of one of the world's most beloved toys. A perfect fit among favorites like The Day the Crayons Quit and Balloons Over Broadway. purple mountains’ majesty, mauvelous, jungle green, razzmatazz… What child doesn't love to hold a crayon in their hands? But children didn't always have such magical boxes of crayons. Before Edwin Binney set out to change things, children couldn't really even draw in color. Here’s the true story of an inventor who so loved nature’s vibrant colors that he found a way to bring the outside world to children – in a bright green box for only a nickel! With experimentation, and a special knack for listening, Edwin Binney and his dynamic team at Crayola created one of the world’s most enduring, best-loved childhood toys – empowering children to dream in COLOR!
#2
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Rosie Revere, Engineer
Written by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
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.
#3
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The Big Ideas of Buster Bickles
Written & illustrated by Dave Wasson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Buster Bickles's big ideas are always getting him into trouble. But when Buster gets to test the newly invented What-if Machine, anything Buster imagines becomes reality. Packed with rivers of chocolate, robot dinosaurs, and eggs-ray vision, the world becomes Buster's creation in this fantastically creative picture book by debut author-illustrator Dave Wasson.
#4
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Albie Newton
Written by Josh Funk & illustrated by Ester Garay
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9
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?
#5
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The Templeton Twins Have An Idea
Written by Ellis Weiner & illustrated by Jeremy Holmes
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Suppose there were 12-year-old twins, a boy and girl named John and Abigail Templeton. Let's say John was pragmatic and played the drums, and Abigail was theoretical and solved cryptic crosswords. Now suppose their father was a brilliant, if sometime confused, inventor. And suppose that another set of twins—adults—named Dean D. Dean and Dan D. Dean, kidnapped the Templeton twins and their ridiculous dog in order to get their father to turn over one of his genius (sort of) inventions. Yes, kidnapped. Wouldn't it be fun to read about that? Oh please. It would so. Now in paperback, this is just the first in a series perfect for boys and girls who are smart, clever, and funny (just like the twins), and enjoy reading adventurous stories (who doesn't?!). And now, there's more!
#6
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Marsha Is Magnetic
Written by Beth Ferry & illustrated by Lorena Alvarez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
It turns out that the best way to draw others to you is by being yourself in this sweet, STEAM-minded picture book from <i>New York Times</i> bestselling author Beth Ferry. Marsha is a scientist who has never met a problem she couldn't solve. But when it comes to making friends to invite to her birthday party, she is stumped. Luckily, Marsha knows the solution to being stumped: the scientific method. With equal parts creativity, determination, and humor, Marsha sets out to <i>attract</i> as many friends as she can--what could possibly go wrong? In this hilarious celebration of friendship and ingenuity, Beth Ferry and Lorena Alvarez show readers that the best way to attract friends is to simply be yourself.
#7
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Hedy Lamarr's Double Life
Written by Laurie Wallmark & illustrated by Katy Wu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10
To her adoring public, Hedy Lamarr was a glamorous movie star. But in private, she was something more: a brilliant inventor. Now Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu, who collaborated on Sterling's critically acclaimed picture-book biography Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code, tell the inspiring story of how, during World War Two, Lamarr developed a groundbreaking communications system that still remains essential to the security of today's technology.
#8
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This Little Scientist: A Discovery Primer
Written by Joan Holub & illustrated by Daniel Roode
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Learn all about scientists who changed history in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for inventors-in-training! Asking why. Then making a guess. Asking how. Then proving with tests. Little scientists make great big discoveries. In this follow up to This Little President, This Little Explorer, and This Little Trailblazer now even the youngest readers can learn all about great and empowering scientists in history! Highlighting ten memorable scientists who paved the way, parents and little ones alike will love this discovery primer full of fun, age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.
#9
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The Dreamer
Written & illustrated by Il Sung Na
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Once, there was a pig who admired birds. But he could never join them. Or could he? Thus begins the journey of a pig with big dreams, and the perseverance to make them come true. He develops flight plans, builds experimental contraptions, and has far-flung adventures, but at the end of the day, his favorite thing to do is still to sit and watch for those he loves best: the birds. Il Sung Na creates a world at once whimsical and aspirational, where anything is possible and, yes, even pigs can learn to fly.
#10
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Norton and Alpha
Written & illustrated by Kristyna Litten
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-7
Battered wheels, rusty cogs, broken springs: Norton, an adorable robot, collects this junk and uses it to create amazing inventions. But one day he and his dog Alpha find something they ve never seen before: a flower! At first, they re baffled . . . but when a seed blossoms into a flowery field, the two discover the true magic of nature. Includes a big, stunning gatefold!"
Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Inventions and...

Books About Inventions and Problem Solving

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Rosie Revere, Engineer
Written by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
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.
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The Big Ideas of Buster Bickles
Written & illustrated by Dave Wasson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Buster Bickles's big ideas are always getting him into trouble. But when Buster gets to test the newly invented What-if Machine, anything Buster imagines becomes reality. Packed with rivers of chocolate, robot dinosaurs, and eggs-ray vision, the world becomes Buster's creation in this fantastically creative picture book by debut author-illustrator Dave Wasson.
Add to list
The Templeton Twins Have An Idea
Written by Ellis Weiner & illustrated by Jeremy Holmes
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Suppose there were 12-year-old twins, a boy and girl named John and Abigail Templeton. Let's say John was pragmatic and played the drums, and Abigail was theoretical and solved cryptic crosswords. Now suppose their father was a brilliant, if sometime confused, inventor. And suppose that another set of twins—adults—named Dean D. Dean and Dan D. Dean, kidnapped the Templeton twins and their ridiculous dog in order to get their father to turn over one of his genius (sort of) inventions. Yes, kidnapped. Wouldn't it be fun to read about that? Oh please. It would so. Now in paperback, this is just the first in a series perfect for boys and girls who are smart, clever, and funny (just like the twins), and enjoy reading adventurous stories (who doesn't?!). And now, there's more!
Honorable Mentions
Papa's Mechanical Fish book
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The Most Magnificent Thing book
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Marsha Is Magnetic book
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The Boy and the Wild Blue Girl book
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  1. Papa's Mechanical Fish - In the summer of 1851, with encouragement and ideas provided by his family, an inventor builds a working submarine and takes his family for a ride. Includes notes about Lodner Phillips, the real inventor on whom the story is based.

  2. The Most Magnificent Thing - 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!

  3. Marsha Is Magnetic - It turns out that the best way to draw others to you is by being yourself in this sweet, STEAM-minded picture book from New York Times bestselling author Beth Ferry. Marsha is a scientist who has never met a problem she couldn’t solve. But when it comes to making friends to invite to her birthday party, she is stumped. Luckily, Marsha knows the solution to being stumped: the scientific method. With equal parts creativity, determination, and humor, Marsha sets out to attract as many friends as she can—what could possibly go wrong? In this hilarious celebration of friendship and ingenuity, Beth Ferry and Lorena Alvarez show readers that the best way to attract friends is to simply be yourself.

  4. The Boy and the Wild Blue Girl - Inspired by the work of wind pioneer Poul la Cour, The Boy and the Wild Blue Girl is the imagined story of the invention of wind turbines, featuring themes perfect for Earth Day. Everyone thought the wild blue girl was a nuisance. Everyone, that is, but Poul. This is a clever and inspiring story of how curiosity and observation can bring about change in the world.

Books About Inventions and 1850-1899

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The Crayon Man
Written by Natascha Biebow & illustrated by Steven Salerno
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Celebrating the inventor of the Crayola crayon! This gloriously illustrated picture book biography tells the inspiring story of Edwin Binney, the inventor of one of the world's most beloved toys. A perfect fit among favorites like The Day the Crayons Quit and Balloons Over Broadway. purple mountains’ majesty, mauvelous, jungle green, razzmatazz… What child doesn't love to hold a crayon in their hands? But children didn't always have such magical boxes of crayons. Before Edwin Binney set out to change things, children couldn't really even draw in color. Here’s the true story of an inventor who so loved nature’s vibrant colors that he found a way to bring the outside world to children – in a bright green box for only a nickel! With experimentation, and a special knack for listening, Edwin Binney and his dynamic team at Crayola created one of the world’s most enduring, best-loved childhood toys – empowering children to dream in COLOR!
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Just Like Rube Goldberg
Written by Sarah Aronson & illustrated by Robert Neubecker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Discover how Rube Goldberg followed his dreams to become an award-winning cartoonist, inventor, and even an adjective in the dictionary in this inspiring and funny biographical picture book. Want to become an award-winning cartoonist and inventor? Follow your dreams, just like Rube Goldberg! From a young age, Rube Goldberg had a talent for art. But his father, a German immigrant, wanted Rube to have a secure job. So, Rube went to college and became an engineer. But Rube didn’t want to spend his life mapping sewer pipes. He wanted to follow his passion, so Rube got a low-level job at a newspaper, and from there, he worked his way up, creating cartoons that made people laugh and tickled the imagination. He became known for his fantastic Rube Goldberg machines—complicated contraptions with many parts that performed a simple task in an elaborate and farfetched way. Eventually, his cartoons earned him a Pulitzer Prize and his own adjective in the dictionary. This moving biography is sure to encourage young artists and inventors to pursue their passions.
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Samuel Morse, That's Who!
Written by Tracy Nelson Maurer & illustrated by El Primo Ramón
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Back in the 1800s, information traveled slowly. Who would dream of instant messages? Samuel Morse, that’s who! Who traveled to France, where the famous telegraph towers relayed 10,000 possible codes for messages depending on the signal arm positions—only if the weather was clear? Who imagined a system that would use electric pulses to instantly carry coded messages between two machines, rain or shine? Long before the first telephone, who changed communication forever? Samuel Morse, that’s who! This dynamic and subtsantive biography celebrates an early technology pioneer. Perfect for fans of Gene Barretta's popular inventor series.
Honorable Mentions
Who Was Thomas Alva Edison? book
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The Wright Brothers: Nose-Diving into History book
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When Sparks Fly: The True Story of Robert Goddard, the Father of US Rocketry book
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  1. Who Was Thomas Alva Edison? - One day in 1882, Thomas Edison flipped a switch that lit up lower Manhattan with incandescent light and changed the way people live ever after. The electric light bulb was only one of thousands of Edison’s inventions, which include the phonograph and the kinetoscope, an early precursor to the movie camera. As a boy, observing a robin catch a worm and then take flight, he fed a playmate a mixture of worms and water to see if she could fly! Here’s an accessible, appealing biography with 100 black-and-white illustrations.

  2. The Wright Brothers: Nose-Diving into History - A hilarious nonfiction look at two of history’s most epic “failures”: the Wright brothers, whose countless crashes and biggest failures led to ultimate success. Although the Wright Brothers are now celebrated as heroes for their groundbreaking contributions to science and engineering as the first men to successfully manage powered, piloted flight, their eventual success was built on the back of a lot of nosedives. It took the self-taught engineers years of work and countless crashes before they managed to remain airborne for a mere twelve seconds! In this hilarious first installment of the Epic Fails series, Ben Thompson and Erik Slader take readers through the the Wright Brothers’ many failed attempts at flight before achieving their groundbreaking success, laying the foundation for aviation as we know it today.

  3. When Sparks Fly: The True Story of Robert Goddard, the Father of US Rocketry - Robert Goddard may be known as the father of US rocketry, but back in the 1880s, he was just a kid in Worcester, Massachusetts. Even as a youngster, his eyes glimmered with scientific interest and the thrill of discovery. With BAMS! POPS! BANGS! he experimented time and time again with one mission: make his rockets fly! Join Kristen Fulton and Diego Funck as they take you on one explosive journey about a young kid who shot for the moon, never gave up, and let his creative sparks of curiosity burn bright.

Want to see books about 1850-1899?

Books About Inventions and Animals

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The Dreamer
Written & illustrated by Il Sung Na
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Once, there was a pig who admired birds. But he could never join them. Or could he? Thus begins the journey of a pig with big dreams, and the perseverance to make them come true. He develops flight plans, builds experimental contraptions, and has far-flung adventures, but at the end of the day, his favorite thing to do is still to sit and watch for those he loves best: the birds. Il Sung Na creates a world at once whimsical and aspirational, where anything is possible and, yes, even pigs can learn to fly.
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Mary Had a Little Lab
Written by Sue Fliess & illustrated by Petros Bouloubasis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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?
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Henry's Bright Idea
Written by Lauren Bradshaw & illustrated by Wednesday Kirwan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Deep in the shade of a walnut grove stands a tall tree house. A delightful group of friends gathers here. They call themselves the Walnut Animal Society. Their mission is to create and to always remain curious. Henry the Fox is a knowledgeable fellow, known for his unique inventions. Margaux the Kitty’s many books are filled with stories and poems she’s written. Ruthie the Deer loves to dance like the butterflies that flutter outside. The collection of ropes and fishing poles belongs to adventurous Chester the Raccoon. Magnolia the Bunny makes maps of the places she’s explored beyond the walnut grove. And Eleanor the Bear gathers flowers and plants to make tea for her friends. Henry is a founding member of the Walnut Animal Society, an inventor and a tinkerer. Today Henry is not inventing or tinkering. Henry has lost his idea. Follow Henry and his friend Eleanor as they search for Henry’s lost idea and discover much more in this charming picture book, the first in a series of titles, reminiscent of such classics as Winnie the Pooh, and illustrated in a rich, vintage palette.
Honorable Mentions
Fantastic Toys book
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How to Build a Hug book
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Microsaurs: Tiny-Raptor Pack Attack book
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Microsaurs: Follow that Tiny-Dactyl book
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  1. Fantastic Toys - This delightfully imaginative book catalogs eleven fantastical inventions of magical toys, with detailed descriptions and vivid illustrations that will make kids want to create their own fantastic toys Fantastic Toys is a dream catalog of eleven marvelous inventions, magical toys that would make the world far more interesting, if only they existed. Here are inventions based on fantasy, like winged jumping boots that let you leap so high you startle the birds; inventions to assuage fears, like a glowing teddy bear; inventions to improve upon boring tasks or gloomy weather, like child-size bath-foam animals and animal umbrellas; and even educational inventions, like the treasure-hunt letter maze. Best of all are the inventions just for fun: the skipping machine that should be in every playground and the sheep toboggan (real sheep not included) that takes sledding to a whole new level. In a perfect mimicry of marketing, each toy is advertised with an earnest, compelling description and a detailed hand-drawn illustration of happy children demonstrating the fun that can be had. Reminiscent of Marjorie Winslow’s Mud Pies and Other Recipes, Fantastic Toys is a book not only for reading but for marveling, inventing, and building. Who knows what other fantastic toys are just waiting to be invented?

  2. How to Build a Hug - Amy Guglielmo, Jacqueline Tourville, and Giselle Potter come together to tell the inspiring story of autism advocate Dr. Temple Grandin and her brilliant invention: the hug machine. As a young girl, Temple Grandin loved folding paper kites, making obstacle courses, and building lean-tos. But she really didn’t like hugs. Temple wanted to be held—but to her, hugs felt like being stuffed inside the scratchiest sock in the world; like a tidal wave of dentist drills, sandpaper, and awful cologne, coming at her all at once. Would she ever get to enjoy the comfort of a hug? Then one day, Temple had an idea. If she couldn’t receive a hug, she would make one…she would build a hug machine!

  3. Microsaurs: Tiny-Raptor Pack Attack - Tiny dinosaurs lead to big adventures in this second action-packed Microsaurs chapter book.

  4. Microsaurs: Follow that Tiny-Dactyl - Danny and Lin never say no to adventure, so when Danny’s spy camera captures a tiny dinosaur crashing into Lin’s helmet during her skateboarding tryouts they know they have to investigate. But even they weren’t prepared for a secret laboratory filled with amazing inventions (including the Shrink-a-Fier and the Expand-o-matic 2) and astonishing discoveries (Triceratops are NOT fond of the color red!). Who knew that tracking one tiny pterodactyl would open up such a giant world of adventure with the Microsaurs!?!

Want to see books about animals?

Books About Inventions and Science And Nature

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Norton and Alpha
Written & illustrated by Kristyna Litten
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-7
Battered wheels, rusty cogs, broken springs: Norton, an adorable robot, collects this junk and uses it to create amazing inventions. But one day he and his dog Alpha find something they ve never seen before: a flower! At first, they re baffled . . . but when a seed blossoms into a flowery field, the two discover the true magic of nature. Includes a big, stunning gatefold!"
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Amazing Inventions
Written & illustrated by James Olstein
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
Did you know that the ancient Egyptians may have used kites to help build their pyramids? That robots have a hard time learning karate? Covering everything from sneakers made of spider silk to glow-in-the dark cats, this amazing collection introduces kids to inventions made from the natural world, inventions created by accident, green inventions, and just-plain-strange inventions. Plus, it offers cool ideas on what the future may hold.
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The Dumpster Diver
Written by Janet S. Wong & illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Once a month--every week in the summer--Steve the electrician dons special gear and, with the help of youngsters who live in his building, dives into a dumpster seeking useful objects that they can transform into imaginative new ones.
Honorable Mentions
How to Become an Accidental Genius book
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Flying Deep Climb Inside Deep Sea Submersible ALVIN book
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Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin book
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Whoosh! book
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  1. How to Become an Accidental Genius - Don’t be afraid to try! Make connections! Be persistent! Ask questions and never take no for an answer! Learn the secrets and amazing stories of successful inventors! How to Become an Accidental Genius is full of inspiring tales of famous and lesserknown inventors who have changed the world, from George Washington Carver, Mary Anderson (inventor of the windshield wiper) and inventor and actress Hedy Lamarr to Frank Epperson (of Popsicle fame) and Mary Sherman Morgan (The Woman Who Saved the U.S. Space Race). Readers will be amazed at the inventiveness of these geniuses. The book focuses on inventors from North America but includes stories from around the world. Organized into eleven chapters that highlight the qualities inventors have in common, the book also features profiles of inventive kids and teenagers.

  2. Flying Deep Climb Inside Deep Sea Submersible ALVIN - Climb aboard Alvin, the famous deep-sea submersible credited with helping to find the Titanic, and take a trip two miles down to the bottom of the ocean. Experience a day in the life of an Alvin pilot, diving two miles down to explore the seafloor, collect samples, and conduct research. Along the way, discover what one wears, eats, and talks about during a typical eight-hour trip in a underwater craft, and find out more about the animals that live deep in our oceans. In expressive, poetic language and gorgeous illustrations, the mysteries of the deep sea are revealed. Backmatter includes an author’s note about researching this book, a glossary, and suggested further reading.

  3. Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin - What would you do if you lived in a community without a library, hospital, post office, or fire department? If you were Benjamin Franklin, you’d set up these organizations yourself. Franklin also designed the lightning rod, suggested the idea of daylight savings time, and invented bifocals-all inspired by his common sense and intelligence. In this informative book, Gene Barretta brings Benjamin Franklin’s genius to life, deepening our appreciation for one of the most influential figures in American history.

  4. Whoosh! - A cool idea with a big splash You know the Super Soaker. It’s one of top twenty toys of all time. And it was invented entirely by accident. Trying to create a new cooling system for refrigerators and air conditioners, impressive inventor Lonnie Johnson instead created the mechanics for the iconic toy. A love for rockets, robots, inventions, and a mind for creativity began early in Lonnie Johnson’s life. Growing up in a house full of brothers and sisters, persistence and a passion for problem solving became the cornerstone for a career as an engineer and his work with NASA. But it is his invention of the Super Soaker water gun that has made his most memorable splash with kids and adults.

Books About Inventions and School

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Albie Newton
Written by Josh Funk & illustrated by Ester Garay
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9
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?
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The Junkyard Wonders
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Inspired by a teacher who believes each of them is a genius, a class of special-needs students invents something that could convince the whole school they are justifiably proud to be "Junkyard Wonders."
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Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot
Written & illustrated by Dav Pilkey
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-18
There's something rotten in the state of Ohio, and it's smellier than a pile of putrid gym socks! Steer clear -- it's Sir Stinks-A-Lot! George and Harold, and their doubles, Yesterday George and Yesterday Harold, have a good thing going. Two of them go to school, while the other two hide in the tree house and play video games all day -- then they switch! But when their malicious gym teacher, Mr. Meaner, creates a method of mind-control that turns their fellow students into attentive, obedient, perfect children, the future of all humanity will be in their hands!
Honorable Mentions
Mrs. Yonkers Is Bonkers! book
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The Secret Notebook book
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Frankie Sparks and the Talent Show Trick book
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  1. Mrs. Yonkers Is Bonkers! - Something weird is going on! Mrs. Yonkers, the computer teacher, is the nerdiest teacher in the history of the world. She can type with her feet! She buys foam cheeseheads off eBay! She even puts a Webcam on a turtle! Is she trying to take over the planet?

  2. The Secret Notebook - Riley Green is certain her lie detector pen will improve her status in a school full of kids from the most powerful families of Washington, D.C. But her plan collapses when her invention idea is stolen, her favorite teacher goes missing, and mysterious threats begin to appear around capital. Before vanishing, Riley’s teacher entrusts her with her most prized possession, the lost notebook of Nikola Tesla, legendary inventor and scientist. Now Riley and her friends must protect the notebook from thieves who want to steal the details it holds about a dangerous invention. When Riley discovers another secret, she must decode a mysterious message before it’s too late. Her teacher’s life depends on it.

  3. Frankie Sparks and the Talent Show Trick - Frankie Sparks uses her inventing skills to help her friend overcome stage fright in this second chapter book in the STEM inspired Frankie Sparks, Third-Grade Inventor series. It’s time for the annual school talent show, and Frankie is excited to audition with her magic act! She wants to be just like her idol, Adelaide Herrmann, Queen of Magic. But on the day of the audition, Frankie’s best friend and Magician’s Assistant, Maya, gets a big, scary case of stage fright! How can Maya be Frankie’s helper on stage if she can’t bring herself to speak in front of their audience? It’s up to Frankie Sparks to invent just the perfect thing to help her best friend cope with the spotlight!

Books About Inventions and Historical Figures

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This Little Scientist: A Discovery Primer
Written by Joan Holub & illustrated by Daniel Roode
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Learn all about scientists who changed history in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for inventors-in-training! Asking why. Then making a guess. Asking how. Then proving with tests. Little scientists make great big discoveries. In this follow up to This Little President, This Little Explorer, and This Little Trailblazer now even the youngest readers can learn all about great and empowering scientists in history! Highlighting ten memorable scientists who paved the way, parents and little ones alike will love this discovery primer full of fun, age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.
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Mr. Ferris and His Wheel
Written by Kathryn Gibbs Davis & illustrated by Gilbert Ford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Describes how the engineer George Ferris invented the famous carnival attraction for the renowned 1893 Chicago World's Fair.
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I Am Albert Einstein
Written by Brad Meltzer & illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Presents the life of the world-renowned German scientist, describing how his life-long curiosity and ability to question accepted theories led him to develop his famous theory of relatvitiy and win the Noble Prize for Physics.
Honorable Mentions
Electric Ben book
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Inventors Who Changed the World book
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When Bill Gates Memorized an Encyclopedia book
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Marie Curie book
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  1. Electric Ben - A true Renaissance man, Benjamin Franklin was the first American celebrity. In pictures and text, master artist Robert Byrd documents Franklin’s numerous and diverse accomplishments, from framing the Constitution to creating bifocals. The witty, wise, and endlessly curious Franklin is the perfect subject for Byrd’s lively style and vibrant art. The pages pulse with facts, quotes, and captions, while the inventive design and intricately detailed illustrations make a striking tribute to the brilliant American.

  2. Inventors Who Changed the World - From the ranging curiosity of Leonardo da Vinci to the dedication and sacrifice of Marie Curie, Little Heroes: Inventors Who Changed the World is a young child’s first introduction to the brilliant people who taught us the meaning of perseverance and innovation. Simple text and adorable illustrations tell the contributions of nine renowned inventors from around the world: Cai Lun, Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Grace Hopper, Mary Sherman Morgan, and Nikola Tesla. Inspire your own little inventor with the words of these inventive heroes who changed the world.

  3. When Bill Gates Memorized an Encyclopedia - Bill Gates is known as the richest man in the world. But do you know what he was like as a child? From selling peanuts to memorizing entire encyclopedias, Bill used his brain. This playful story of his childhood will help young readers connect with a historic figure and will inspire them to want to achieve greatness.

  4. Marie Curie - Celebrated author and artist Demi beautifully portrays the life and story of Marie Curie, the revolutionary scientist and winner of two Nobel Prizes. Maria Salomea Sklodowaska was born on November 7, 1867. Her family called her Manya, but the world would remember her by another name: Marie Curie, one of the greatest scientists who ever lived. In a time when few women attended college, Marie earned degrees in physics and mathematics and went on to discover two elements: radium and polonium. She also invented a new word along the way: radioactive. This book celebrates her momentous achievements while also educating its readers about her scientific accomplishments and their implications.

Books About Inventions and America

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A Ben of All Trades: The Most Inventive Boyhood of Benjamin Franklin
Written by Michael J. Rosen & illustrated by Matt Tavares
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9
**A rousing biography from Michael J. Rosen and Matt Tavares reveals how Benjamin Franklin's boyhood shaped his amazingly multifaceted life.** Young Benjamin Franklin wants to be a sailor, but his father won't hear of it. The other trades he tries -- candle maker, joiner, boot closer, turner -- bore him through and through. Curious and inventive, Ben prefers to read, swim, fly his kite, and fly his kite while swimming. But each time he fails to find a profession, he takes some important bit of knowledge with him. That tendency is exactly what leads him to become the astonishingly versatile genius we remember today. Inspired by _The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin,_ Michael J. Rosen's wry tale captures Ben's spirit in evocative yet playful language, while illustrations by Matt Tavares follow Ben from the workbench to the water in vivid detail. A love story to the value of variety, _A Ben of All Trades_ sheds light on an unconventional path to greatness and humanizes a towering figure in American history.
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The Boy Who Thought Outside the Box: The Story of Video Game Inventor Ralph Baer
Written by Marcie Wessels & illustrated by Beatriz Castro
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10
Crazy about Wii, Nintendo, X-Box, and PlayStation? Meet the inventor whose work made them all possible: Ralph Baer, creator of the first home video game system! Today, the video game industry keeps growing, with ever more platforms available to fans. But how did the very first system come about? This picture-book biography of Ralph Baer, whose family fled Nazi Germany for the US, introduces kids to a great inventor AND the birth of the first home console. Using wartime technology, Baer thought outside the box and transformed the television into a vehicle for gaming; Baer's invention, the Odyssey, is a precursor to the Atari gaming system. Today, interactive systems like Wii and PlayStation are descendants of Ralph’s innovative “Brown Box,” making this award-winning inventor the true “Father of Video Games.”
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To the Future, Ben Franklin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
Track the facts about the great printer, inventor, and Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin! When Jack and Annie came back from their adventure in Magic Tree House #32: To the Future, Ben Franklin! they had lots of questions. What was Ben Franklin's first job? How did a kite teach him about electricity? What are some of Ben's most famous inventions? Why did he have so many nicknames? Find out the answers to these questions and more as Jack and Annie track the facts about Benjamin Franklin. Filled with up-to-date information, photographs, illustrations, and fun tidbits from Jack and Annie, the Fact Trackers are the perfect way for kids to find out more about the topics they discover in their favorite Magic Tree House adventures.
Honorable Mentions
Pass Go and Collect $200 book
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How the Cookie Crumbled book
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Women Who Launched the Computer Age book
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Marvelous Mattie book
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  1. Pass Go and Collect $200 - Boldness, imagination, and ruthless competition combine in Tanya Lee Stone and Steven Salerno’s Pass Go and Collect $200, a riveting picture book history of Monopoly, one of the world’s most famous games. In the late 1800s lived Lizzie Magie, a clever and charismatic woman with a strong sense of justice. Waves of urban migration drew Lizzie’s attention to rising financial inequality. One day she had an idea: create a game that shows the unfairness of the landlord-tenant relationship. But game players seemed to have the most fun pretending to be wealthy landowners. Enter Charles Darrow, a marketer and salesman with a vision for transforming Lizzie’s game into an exciting staple of American family entertainment. Features back matter that includes “Monopoly Math” word problems and equations. Excellent STEM connections and resources.

  2. How the Cookie Crumbled - In this unique and clever picture book, Gilbert Ford sheds a little light on everyone’s favorite sweet treat—the chocolate chip cookie—and reminds readers everywhere that just because a story is told doesn’t mean it’s true. Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! Mmmmm! Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies! But not everyone knows where they came from. Meet Ruth Wakefield, the talented chef and entrepreneur who started a restaurant, wrote a cookbook, and invented this delicious dessert. But just how did she do it, you ask? That’s where things get messy…

  3. Women Who Launched the Computer Age - This book was chosen by the Children’s Book Council as a best STEM book of 2017! Meet the women who programmed the first all-electronic computer and built the technological language kids today can’t live without in this fascinating, nonfiction Level 3 Ready-to-Read, part of a new series of biographies about people “you should meet!” In 1946, six brilliant young women programmed the first all-electronic, programmable computer, the ENIAC, part of a secret World War II project. They learned to program without any programming languages or tools, and by the time they were finished, the ENIAC could run a complicated calculus equation in seconds. But when the ENIAC was presented to the press and public, the women were never introduced or given credit for their work. Learn all about what they did and how their invention still matters today in this story of six amazing young women everyone should meet! A special section at the back of the book includes extras on subjects like history and math, plus interesting trivia facts about how computers have changed over time. With the You Should Meet series, learning about historical figures has never been so much fun!

  4. Marvelous Mattie - With her sketchbook labeled My Inventions and her father’s toolbox, Mattie could make almost anything – toys, sleds, and a foot warmer. 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.” With charming pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations, this introduction to one of the most prolific female inventors will leave readers inspired.

Books About Inventions and African Americans

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Camp Hero Double Trouble
Written by Gina Bellisario & illustrated by Jessika von Innerebner
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-8
Ellie is excited to go to Camp Hero, where the motto is: Where Super Friendships are Made! But when Ellie's cabinmates, superhero twins Mona and Leona, give her the cold shoulder, Ellie decides to use her parents' latest invention to get them to like her. The invention works too well, and the twins start fighting over Ellie! Can Ellie stop their double trouble and find out why they weren't friendly to her in the first place?
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The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver
Written by Gene Barretta & illustrated by Frank Morrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
**The inspirational story of George Washington Carver and his childhood secret garden is brought to life in this picture book biography by the author-illustrator team behind *Muhammad Ali: A Champion Is Born*.** When George Washington Carver was just a young child, he had a secret: a garden of his own. Here, he rolled dirt between his fingers to check if plants needed more rain or sun. He protected roots through harsh winters, so plants could be reborn in the spring. He trimmed flowers, spread soil, studied life cycles. And it was in this very place that George’s love of nature sprouted into something so much more—his future. Gene Barretta’s moving words and Frank Morrison’s beautiful paintings tell the inspiring life and history of George Washington Carver, from a baby born into slavery to celebrated botanist, scientist, and inventor. His passion and determination are the seeds to this lasting story about triumph over hardship—a tale that begins in a secret garden.
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Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention
Written by Pip Jones & illustrated by Sara Ogilvie and Pip Jones
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
In this companion to the award-winning Izzy Gizmo, Izzy Gizmo returns (together with Grandpa and Fixer) in a charming and eccentric tale of ambition, perseverance, and finding your inner strength. Izzy Gizmo has been invited to Technoff Isle's annual convention where the inventor of the best machine will win coveted admittance to the Genius Guild. Great inventors produce gadgets that can be put to good use, so Izzy Gizmo decides to build a recycling machine that mends broken tools. But with fearsome foe Abi von Lavish getting the best of her at every turn, can Izzy Gizmo and Fixer create the winning invention? Featuring the creative and much-loved heroine of color, this wonderfully exuberant story has serious points to make about the importance of make do and mend.
Honorable Mentions
Izzy Gizmo book
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Patricia's Vision: The Doctor Who Saved Sight book
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The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath (Amazing Scientists) book
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Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet book
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  1. Izzy Gizmo - Izzy Gizmo loves to invent but gets frustrated when her inventions fail to work properly, so when she finds a crow with a broken wing her grandfather urges her to persist until she finds a way to help.

  2. Patricia's Vision: The Doctor Who Saved Sight - The inspiring story of Dr. Patricia Bath, a groundbreaking ophthalmologist who pioneered laser surgery—and gave her patients the gift of sight. Born in the 1940s, Patricia Bath dreamed of being an ophthalmologist at a time when becoming a doctor wasn’t a career option for most women—especially African-American women. This empowering biography follows Dr. Bath in her quest to save and restore sight to the blind, and her decision to “choose miracles” when everyone else had given up hope. Along the way, she cofounded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, invented a specialized laser for removing cataracts, and became the first African-American woman doctor to receive a medical patent.

  3. The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath (Amazing Scientists) - If you like to think big, but some say you’re too small, or they say you’re too young or too slow or too tall… Meet Dr. Bath―the scientist who never lost sight of her dreams! As a girl coming of age during the Civil Rights Movement, Patricia Bath made it her mission to become a doctor. When obstacles like racism, poverty, and sexism threatened this goal, she persevered―brightening the world with a game-changing treatment for blindness! The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath is the second book in a brand new educational series about the inspirational 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 Dr. Bath herself!

  4. Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet - Ivy and Bean meets Aliens in my Pocket in this start to a brand-new chapter book series about Frankie Sparks, a third grader who uses her love for science and math to help her solve problems she comes across in her daily life. The best thing EVER is happening in Frankie Sparks’s third grade class: They are getting a class pet! Their teacher, Miss Cupid, tells them they will vote on their pet, but it has to meet some “parameters.” Their pet must: 1. Fit in aquarium. 2. Cost less than $50. 3. Be easily portable. 4. Be able to be left alone for the weekend. Frankie thinks that a rat—just like the rats in her beloved Aunt Gina’s lab—would be the perfect fit. But her best friend, Maya, doesn’t think a rat would be great at all. They are kind of gross and not as cool as a hermit crab, which is Maya’s top choice. Using her special workshop, can Frankie find a way to convince her teacher and her best friend that Team Rat is the way to go?

Books About Inventions and Superpowers

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The Star Thief
Written by Lindsey Becker
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
The constellations come to life in this imaginative fantasy adventure debut. Honorine's life as a maid at the Vidalia mansion is rather dull, dusting treasures from faraway places and daydreaming in front of maps of the world. But everything changes when she catches two brutish sailors ransacking Lord Vidalia's study, and then follows a mysterious girl with wings out into the night.... Suddenly, Honorine is whisked into the middle of a battle between the crew of a spectacular steamship and a band of mythical constellations. The stars in the sky have come to life to defend themselves against those who want to harness their powers. Much to her surprise, Honorine is the crux of it all, the center of an epic clash between magic and science, the old ways and the new. But can this spirited young girl bring both sides of a larger-than-life fight together before they unleash an evil power even older than the stars?
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The Runaway Robot
Written by Rachel Ruiz & illustrated by Steve May
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
Harry's latest invention--a Superhero Robot programmed to do chores--malfunctions, and the robot goes out of control, creating chaos at school.
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The Wild Field Trip
Written by Rachel Ruiz & illustrated by Steve May
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
While on a school field trip to the zoo, Harry accidentally allows the monkeys to escape their habitat, and he thinks he can fix the mess using one of his superhero inventions.
Honorable Mentions
Freddie Ramos Springs Into Action book
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The Superhero Project book
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Freddie Ramos Hears It All book
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The Recess Bully book
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  1. Freddie Ramos Springs Into Action - Freddie has shoes that give him super speed. It’s hard to be a superhero and a regular kid at the same time, especially when your shoes give you even more power! Freddie needs an on/off switch for his super speed, so Mr. Vaslov, who created the shoes, decides to invent a remote control, but he gets more than he planned. When his young neighbor’s ball goes missing, Freddie uses his new powers to find it…and Mr. Vaslov!

  2. The Superhero Project - Second-grader Harry, who loves superheroes and thinks he knows all about them, misunderstands a school assignment and presents a new a superhero invention to his class.

  3. Freddie Ramos Hears It All - Freddie Ramos loves his new Zapato Power—super hearing! He can listen in on conversations and find hero jobs. But soon Freddie realizes the temptation to eavesdrop on everyone is too great. Can Freddie find a way to use his super hearing without snooping?

  4. The Recess Bully - The new student in Harry’s second grade class is ruining recess by being a bully—can one of Harry’s superhero inventions help him befriend the bully and save recess?

Books About Inventions and Building Things

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Ellie, Engineer: In the Spotlight
Written by Jackson Pearce
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Ellie the Engineer is back in a third charming, hilarious, illustrated story filled with creative, STEM-powered fun! "Look out, Junie B. Jones! Ellie the engineer is thinking, making, creating, and showing enthusiasm and brilliance with her creations!" - School Library Connection on Ellie, Engineer Ellie enters a pageant with her best friend Kit, which means lots of glitter, hairspray, and chances to make new friends. After all, Ellie has lots of engineering ideas to help the other girls with their talents, like building a light-up skateboard ramp for Kit! But one contestant, Kit's not-so-nice pageant rival Melody, makes fun of Ellie's tool belt and thinks engineering is messy. And when Melody's rabbit--part of her magic act--goes missing, Ellie knows that she can build a contraption to catch him. But Melody's comments have made Ellie start to doubt herself--what if a pageant isn't a place for engineering? With Ellie's designs and sketches throughout, and her fun guide to electricity and circuits in the back, the continuation of this delightful series will leave young readers laughing and inspired to create.
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Little Leonardo's Fascinating World of Engineering
Written by Bob Cooper & illustrated by Greg Paprocki
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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.
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Crossing on Time
Written by David Macaulay
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11
David Macaulay, creator of the international bestseller The Way Things Work, brings his signature curiosity and detailing to the story of the steamship in this meticulously researched and stunningly illustrated book. Prior to the 1800s, ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean relied on the wind in their sails to make their journeys. But invention of steam power ushered in a new era of transportation that would change ocean travel forever: the steamship. Award-winning author-illustrator David Macaulay guides readers through the fascinating history that culminated in the building of the most advanced—and last—of these steamships: the SS United States. This book artfully explores the design and construction of the ship and the life of its designer and engineer, William Francis Gibbs. Framed around the author's own experience steaming across the Atlantic on the very same SS United States, Crossing on Time is a tour de force of the art of explanation and a touching and surprising childhood story.
Honorable Mentions
Ellie, Engineer book
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Professor McQuark and the Oojamaflip book
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Ellie, Engineer: The Next Level book
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  1. 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!

  2. Professor McQuark and the Oojamaflip - One day a fantastic idea pops into Professor McQuark’s head to create an ‘Oojamaflip’ but what is one and will it win her first prize at the town science fair? A fast-paced, rhyming tale superbly written by first-time author Lou Treleaven and illustrated by the talented Julia Patton.

  3. Ellie, Engineer: The Next Level - Ellie the Engineer is back in another charming, hilarious, illustrated story filled with creative, STEM-powered fun! “Look out, Junie B. Jones! Ellie the engineer is thinking, making, creating, and showing enthusiasm and brilliance with her creations!” -School Library Connection on Ellie, Engineer After Ellie’s first elevator build goes terribly wrong, her parents decide her “punishment” is to assist an elderly neighbor, Mrs. Curran, around the house. Ellie and her friends Kit and Toby are really only supposed to help with little things, but Ellie can’t turn down the opportunity to use her engineering skills here and there where she sees a need—because that’s what engineers do! It’s no fun, though, when Mrs. Curran always gives Toby the credit for all the ingenious projects, and acts like Kit and Ellie were just helping him. . . . Can Ellie come up with another great build to elevate Mrs. Curran’s ideas about this girl engineer? With Ellie’s designs and sketches throughout, and her fun guide to simple machines in the back, the continuation of this delightful series will leave young readers laughing and inspired to create.

Books About Inventions and Action And Adventure

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The Mysterious Sea
Written by Hope Erica Schultz
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Prince Donal likes inventing things--the weirder the better. All of his inventions are practical, but some of them are a bit odd. Still, they come in handy when Donal and his three best friends set out to explore the area around the Waveborn Islands. Many centuries ago, someone built the fantastic machines that allows the Waveborn Islands to rise or fall back into the sea. Donal would give anything to study any records those people left behind. Fortunately, the first uncharted island they find seems to be filled with relics of that ancient people. Unfortunately, Donal and the other prince and princesses aren't the first ones to find the island. But if they trigger the island's booby traps, they just might be the last.
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Snared: Lair of the Beast
Written by Adam Jay Epstein
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thanks to a crew of misfit treasure-seekers, Wily Snare has assumed his rightful place as King of Panthasos. Wily knew how to be a great trapsmith—devising and building various contraptions to keep plunderers at bay—but he has no idea how to be a good king. And he hasn’t escaped his past. Stalag, the Cavern Mage who once kept him locked away, is amassing an army of stone soldiers to seize the kingdom. Wily’s only hope is to tame a lair beast—the one creature that stands a chance against Stalag’s army. But first, Wily and his friends will need to survive the journey to the fabled “Below”—where the lair beast dwells. This action-packed fantasy adventure is filled with snappy dialogue, dangerous creatures, spirited adventure, and inventive magic to appeal to readers 8–12.
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Freddie Ramos Stomps the Snow
Written by Jacqueline Jules & illustrated by Miguel Benitez
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
When a freak spring blizzard buries Starwood Park, Freddie works with Mr. Vaslov to clear the sidewalks using a new invention—Zapato Power snowshoes! But not even the snow can stop a thief from causing trouble in the neighborhood. Can Freddie solve the case, even if it means helping Erika, the Starwood Park bully?
Honorable Mentions
Freddie Ramos Rules New York book
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The Bone Snatcher book
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Science Comics: Flying Machines book
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Can You Find My Robot's Arm? book
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  1. Freddie Ramos Rules New York - Freddie and his mom are visiting Uncle Jorge in New York City! Just before they leave, Mr. Vaslov gives Freddie a new pair of zapatos to replace the ones that were getting too small. But Freddie worries if his new zapatos will work as well as his old ones. Will Freddie be able to save the day when Uncle Jorge misplaces an engagement ring in the middle of a New York City traffic jam?

  2. The Bone Snatcher - Sophie Seacove is a storyteller. She tells stories of what the world would be like if madness hadn’t taken over. If her parents hadn’t sold her off as a servant to pay for their passage out of London. If she wasn’t now trapped in a decaying mansion filled with creepy people and surrounded by ravenous sea monsters. The mansion has plenty of stories, too: About fantastical machines, and the tragic inventor who created them. About his highly suspicious death. And about the Monster Box, a mysterious object hidden in the house that just might hold the key to escaping this horrible place—and to reuniting Sophie with her family. But not everyone wants Sophie to have the Monster Box, and as she gets closer to finding it, she finds herself unspooling years-old secrets—and dodging dangerous attacks. Sophie needs to use her brains, her brawn, and her unbreakable nature if she wants to make it off this wretched island…and live to tell this story.

  3. Science Comics: Flying Machines - Take to the skies with Flying Machines! Follow the famous aviators from their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio, to the fields of North Carolina where they were to make their famous flights. In an era of dirigibles and hot air balloons, the Wright Brothers were among the first innovators of heavier than air flight. But in the hotly competitive international race toward flight, Orville and Wilbur were up against a lot more than bad weather. Mechanical failures, lack of information, and even other aviators complicated the Wright Brothers’ journey. Though they weren’t as wealthy as their European counterparts, their impressive achievements demanded attention on the international stage. Thanks to their carefully recorded experiments and a healthy dash of bravery, the Wright Brothers’ flying machines took off.

  4. Can You Find My Robot's Arm? - Robot has lost his arm — can you help him find a new one? Step into a charming mechanical world invented by a striking new picture book artist. One morning, a robot wakes up to find he is missing an arm. He and his robo buddy search inside and outside the house, through a garden, an amusement park, a library and even a candy shop, but it’s nowhere to be found. Where can the arm be, and what might make a suitable replacement? A lollipop? A fish bone? How about a fork? Can You Find My Robot’s Arm? humorously invites children to explore the beautiful and intricate hand-cut images of Chihiro Takeuchi.

Books About Inventions and Culture

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Manfish
Written by Jennifer Berne & illustrated by Eric Puybaret
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Poetic text and full color paintings combine to create a portrait of the internationally known oceanographer as a curious little boy whose love of the ocean inspired him to grow up to become a champion of the seas.
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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8
Japanese edition of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. True story of a boy growing up in an improvised, desolate central Africa. The 14 year old William Kamkwamba learned about electrical windmills at a small library, and after weeks of foraging for junk parts, he did the incredible. In Japanese. Distributed by Tsai Fong Books, Inc.
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The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Written by Brian Selznick
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.
Honorable Mentions
A Royal Ride book
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A Dream of Flight book
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The Story of Chopsticks: Amazing Chinese Inventions book
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The Story of Kites book
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  1. A Royal Ride - Join Catherine the Great on a fun-filled ride as she schemes to invent the roller coaster in this inventive, STEM-based nonfiction picture book! Empress Catherine the Great, Queen of Russia loved her country, especially the snowy winters. Giant ice slides meant daring drops and thrilling rides for all! But every spring, warm weather melted the snow and the slides. What could Catherine the Great do to ensure fun all year round? With some ingenuity and some royal thinking, Catherine the Great would create her greatest invention!

  2. 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.

  3. The Story of Chopsticks: Amazing Chinese Inventions - Enjoy the first adventure in this colorful series of how the Kang brothers discovered some of China’s most amazing inventions! Poor Kùai! The youngest boy in the Kang family never gets enough to eat. One day he comes up with a brilliant plan: he will use sticks to grab the food when it’s too hot to touch. What will his family think? Then comes a big wedding the entire village will attend… with a delicious feast to mark the occasion. Along with presents, Kùai sneaks in his sticks. Now will Kùai be in the biggest trouble of his life?

  4. The Story of Kites - Ting, Pan, and Kùai are tired of working in the rice fields, protecting the harvest from the birds. They try everything — they bang pots, blow whistles, and wave their arms. If only they could fly, they’d drive those birds away forever! Then the boys get an idea: if they made wings, they could fly! Using paper, straw, and feathers, the boys try to launch themselves into the sky from the hilltop above the rice fields. Kersplash! What else can the Kang boys come up with to keep those naughty birds away from their rice? Enjoy the third adventure of the Kang brothers who discovered some of China’s most amazing inventions — now with a new bilingual Chinese translation!

Want to see books about culture?

Books About Inventions and Famous People

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Neo Leo
Written & illustrated by Gene Barretta
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Cleverly shows how Leonardo's ideas foreshadowed modern inventions. At once an artist, inventor, engineer, and scientist, Leonardo da Vinci wrote and drew detailed descriptions of what would later become hang gliders, automobiles, robots, and much more.
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The Boy who Invented TV
Written by Kathleen Krull & illustrated by Greg Couch
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
This picture-book biography explains how Farnsworth held on to his dream to develop television and the scientific concepts behind it.
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Hedy Lamarr's Double Life
Written by Laurie Wallmark & illustrated by Katy Wu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10
To her adoring public, Hedy Lamarr was a glamorous movie star. But in private, she was something more: a brilliant inventor. Now Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu, who collaborated on Sterling's critically acclaimed picture-book biography Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code, tell the inspiring story of how, during World War Two, Lamarr developed a groundbreaking communications system that still remains essential to the security of today's technology.
Honorable Mentions
Guitar Genius book
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Fantastic Failures book
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  1. Guitar Genius - This is the story of how Les Paul created the world’s first solid- body electric guitar, countless other inventions that changed modern music, and one truly epic career in rock and roll. How to make a microphone? A broomstick, a cinderblock, a telephone, a radio. How to make an electric guitar? A record player’s arm, a speaker, some tape. How to make a legendary inventor? A few tools, a lot of curiosity, and an endless faith in what is possible. Featuring richly detailed, dynamic illustrations by Brett Helquist, this unforgettable biography will resonate with inventive readers young and old.

  2. Fantastic Failures - Even the most well-known people have struggled to succeed! Find out what they learned and how they turned their failures into triumphs with this engaging and youthful guide on how to succeed long term. There is a lot of pressure in today’s society to succeed, but failing is a part of learning how to be a successful person. In his teaching career, Luke Reynolds saw the stress and anxiety his students suffered over grades, fitting in, and getting things right the first time. Fantastic Failures helps students learn that their mistakes and failures do not define their whole lives, but help them grow into their potential. Kids will love learning about some of the well-known people who failed before succeeding and will come to understand that failure is a large component of success. With stories from people like J. K. Rowling, Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, Sonia Sotomayor, Vincent Van Gogh, Julia Child, Steven Spielberg, and Betsy Johnson, each profile proves that the greatest mistakes and flops can turn into something amazing. Intermixed throughout the fun profiles, Reynolds spotlights great inventors and scientists who discovered and created some of the most important medicines, devices, and concepts of all time, including lifesaving vaccines and medicines that were stumbled upon by mistake.

Books About Inventions and Robots

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The Robot Book
Written & illustrated by Heather Brown
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Richly illustrated, interactive book answers the question: “What makes a robot tick?†This robot has two eyes, two arms, and two legs, but what really makes him tick? Inside The Robot Book, Heather Brown answers that question within an interactive story that features actual working--and moving--parts. Gears and cogs are mounted on each illustration to keep little fingers and imaginations engaged. While the junior engineer is tinkering away, parents will also be charmed by the story's warm text, which reveals the true secret behind what makes our robot tick. Here's a little hint: It isn't a gear, or bolt, or some other mechanical part, it's what's in his heart that counts the most. Perfect for year-round gift-giving, the book will be packaged inside a protective poly-bag.
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Frank Einstein and the BrainTurbo (Frank Einstein Series #3)
Written by Jon Scieszka & illustrated by Brian Biggs
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Science fiction meets science fact! Frank Einstein (kid genius, scientist, and inventor) and his best friend, Watson, team up with Klink (a self-assembled artificial intelligence entity) to create the BrainTurbo to power-boost the human body and help their baseball-pitching pal Janegoodall make the team. But when Klank (a mostly self-assembled and artificial almost intelligence entity) goes missing, they must first rescue their robot pal and stop T. Edison--Frank's classmate and archrival--from stealing their latest invention and using it against them!
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Frank Einstein and the BrainTurbo
Written by Jon Scieszka & illustrated by Brian Biggs
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
"Frank Einstein (kid-genius, scientist, and inventor) and his best friend Watson, along with Klink (a self-assembled artificial-intelligence entity), and Klank (a mostly self-assembled and artificial almost intelligence entity), once again find themselves in competition with T. Edison, their classmate and archrival--this time in the quest to unlock the power behind the science of the human body"--
Honorable Mentions
Frank Einstein and the Bio-Action Gizmo book
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Frank Einstein and the EvoBlaster Belt book
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Frank Einstein and the EvoBlaster Belt (Frank Einstein Series #4) book
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Frank Einstein and the Space-time Zipper book
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  1. Frank Einstein and the Bio-Action Gizmo - In the fifth book of the New York Times bestselling Frank Einstein series, Frank Einstein (kid genius, scientist, and inventor) and his best friend, Watson, pair up with Klink (a self-assembled artificial-intelligence entity) and Klank (a mostly self-assembled and artificial almost intelligence entity) to compete with T. Edison, their classmate and archrival. This time they’re studying the science and mysteries of our very own home planet: Earth!

  2. Frank Einstein and the EvoBlaster Belt - More clever science experiments, funny jokes, and robot hijinks await readers in book four of the New York Times bestselling Frank Einstein chapter book series from the mad scientist team of Jon Scieszka and Brian Biggs. The perfect combination to engage and entertain readers, the series features real science facts with adventure and humor, making these books ideal for STEM education. This latest installment examines the quest to unlock the power behind the science of “all connected life.” Kid-genius and inventor Frank Einstein loves figuring out how the world works by creating household contraptions that are part science, part imagination, and definitely unusual. In the series opener, an uneventful experiment in his garage-lab, a lightning storm, and a flash of electricity bring Frank’s inventions—the robots Klink and Klank—to life! Not exactly the ideal lab partners, the wisecracking Klink and the overly expressive Klank nonetheless help Frank attempt to perfect his inventions. In the fourth book in the series, Frank—along with his best friend, Watson, and Klink and Klank—once again finds himself in competition with his classmate and archrival T. Edison and his sign-language-speaking sidekick, Mr. Chimp, over Frank’s newest invention: the EvoBlaster Belt, which allows the user to evolve and devolve into other forms of life, blasting from one species to another. Integrating real science facts with wacky humor, a silly cast of characters, and science fiction, this uniquely engaging series is an irresistible chemical reaction for middle-grade readers. With easy-to-read language and graphic illustrations on almost every page, this chapter book series is a must for reluctant readers. The Frank Einstein series encourages middle-grade readers to question the way things work and to discover how they, too, can experiment with science. In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews raves, “This buoyant, tongue-in-cheek celebration of the impulse to ‘keep asking questions and finding your own answers’ fires on all cylinders,” while Publishers Weekly says that the series “proves that science can be as fun as it is important and useful.”

  3. Frank Einstein and the EvoBlaster Belt (Frank Einstein Series #4) - In the fourth book in the New York Times bestselling Frank Einstein series, kid genius, scientist, and inventor Frank Einstein, along with his best friend, Watson, team up with robots Klink and Klank to compete with T. Edison. This time, they go on a quest to unlock the power behind the science of life with Frank’s newest invention—the EvoBelt—which allows the user to evolve (and devolve) into other life forms, blasting from one species to another.

  4. Frank Einstein and the Space-time Zipper - In the sixth and final book of the New York Times bestselling Frank Einstein series, Frank Einstein (kid-genius, scientist, and inventor) and his best friend, Watson, along with Klink (a self-assembled artificial-intelligence entity) and Klank (a mostly self-assembled and artificial almost intelligence entity), once again find themselves in competition with T. Edison, their classmate and archrival, this time studying the science and mysteries of the universe!

Books About Inventions and Friendship

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Melia and Jo
Written & illustrated by Billy Aronson and Jennifer Oxley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Melia is scientific and loves to create things in her backyard laboratory, but something is missing. Her inventions just aren’t quite right. Enter Jo, her new friend with an artistic spirit. When you add the arts to sciences, something magical happens! This whimsically illustrated picture book is the perfect introduction to the benefits of STEAM-focused curriculum.
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Mr. Biddles
Written & illustrated by Kristine A Lombardi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
A funny picture book about friendship, in the tradition of Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad. Mr. Biddles is a cat inventor, and Hobson is a lobster that is left on his front porch. An odd pair indeed, but when Hobson joins Biddles in the lab (where he invented not only his catnip diffuser but also his automatic mail retriever!), they discover that Hobson has a gift: two super-useful claws. Mr. Biddles always needed help in the lab, but he hadn’t known how much until Hobson came along. The two enjoy one another’s company and work well side by side, but one day, Hobson begins to miss home. Biddles badly wants to invent a way to get his friend home safely. But how? Hobson is from the faraway coast, and can travel only in five gallons of water! Kristine A. Lombardi meticulously created convincing worlds for both Mr. Biddles and Hobson using collaged ephemera from years of collecting old receipts, postcards, photos, diner bills, business cards, blueprints, and everything else you can think of!
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Snazzy Cat Capers
Written by Deanna Kent & illustrated by Neil Hooson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
"I want to be Ophelia when I grow up!! And I want Oscar to be my BFF—Best Fishy Friend! Snazzy Cat Capers is fabulous, funny and fin-tastic fun with illustrations that pounce off the page.” —Mo O’Hara, New York Times bestselling author of the My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish series Life is short. Diamonds are fur-ever. Internationally famous cat burglar Ophelia von Hairball V adores jewels—the only thing she loves more is a challenge. She's never met a safe she couldn't crack. Now the Furry Feline Burglary Institute (FFBI) offers her the ultimate caper: steal the giant Himalayan diamond and win their top award! There's a catch! The FFBI sends an enthusiastic inventor to help Ophelia...but this cat works alone, and Oscar Fishgerald Gold smells fishy. Can the smartest, stealthiest, and snazziest of cats learn to work with a fintastic sidekick and prove she's still the world's most purr-fect burglar? Adventure, heists, and teamwork abound in this fun, witty middle grade read brimming with cat-tastic black-and-white illustrations. Includes graphic novel-style pages! An Imprint Book “Classy bad girl Ophelia is as funny as she is furry...she’s the pussycat love child of James Bond and Zsa Zsa Gabor, and who can’t love that?" —Kirkus Reviews
Honorable Mentions
Wendel and the Robots book
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Ada Lace, on the Case book
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Pursued book
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Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator book
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  1. Wendel and the Robots - Wendel is a very clever mouse—but not a very tidy one. If his inventions go wrong, Wendel just throws them away and starts again. So when Clunk, his robot assistant, fills the sock drawer with cups and saucers and makes tea in a boot, Wendel throws him on the scrapheap and makes himself a new assistant: the Wendelbot. But he gets more than he bargained for, and soon Wendel finds himself on the scrapheap. Can he win back his workshop from the mighty Wendelbot? Let the robot battle commence! Wendel and the Robots is a wonderfully funny, action-packed story full of surprises and extraordinary inventions, and with a subtle environmental message.

  2. Ada Lace, on the Case - Ada Lace—third-grade scientist and inventor extraordinaire—has discovered something awful: her neighbor’s beloved Yorkie has been dognapped! With the assistance of a quirky neighbor named Nina (who is convinced an alien took the doggie) and her ever-growing collection of gadgets, Ada sets out to find the wrongdoer. As their investigation becomes more and more mysterious, Ada and Nina grow closer, proving that opposites do, in fact, attract.

  3. Pursued - Axel Jack and Daisha Tandala are two thirteen-year-old friends running from a billionaire madman who killed their scientist parents and now wants what the kids have—a GeoPort (Geographical Transportation System.) The GeoPort, invented by their parents, has the ability to transport a person to any place on Earth within seconds. Knowing the power they had created, their parents’ dying wish was for the kids to destroy the GeoPort before it lands in the wrong hands. But when the teens are separated by their pursuers, they must make a life or death attempt to find each other and get the GeoPort to a mysterious Indian Temple where the chase becomes more than just a high-tech game of hide-and-seek, but a war for control of everything—money, culture, politics, and power.

  4. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator - From the bestselling author of Matilda and The BFG! Last seen flying through the sky in a giant elevator in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie Bucket’s back for another adventure. When the giant elevator picks up speed, Charlie, Willy Wonka, and the gang are sent hurtling through space and time. Visiting the world’’ first space hotel, battling the dreaded Vermicious Knids, and saving the world are only a few stops along this remarkable, intergalactic joyride.

Books About Inventions and Imagination And Play

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How to Catch the Easter Bunny
Written by Adam Wallace & illustrated by Andy Elkerton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Is this the year you'll be able to catch the Easter bunny in action? Start an Easter tradition with this fun and funny children's book, from the New York Times bestselling creators of How to Catch a Leprechaun! "I've been working long and hard with all my peeps and crew. We've made the eggs, and now I'm here to bring them all to you!"
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Magnolia Mudd and the Super Jumptastic Launcher Deluxe
Written by Katey Howes & illustrated by Valerio Fabbretti
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-10
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 . . .
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Made by Maxine
Written by Ruth Spiro & illustrated by Holly Hatam
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
When Maxine's school puts on a pet parade, she creates a unique contraption to allow her very special pet fish, Milton, to participate.
Honorable Mentions
Coppernickel, The Invention book
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The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell book
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Bogo, the Fox Who Wanted Everything book
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My Teacher Is a Robot book
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  1. Coppernickel, The Invention - “A timeless tale of imagination and friendship that children will be drawn to and enjoy again and again.”—School Library Journal “Pure magic! This is one of those books that I want to buy for every child I know! It is all here: imagination, humor, just a bit of danger, quirky illustrations, and a story line that gives children credit for being bright enough to understand multiple levels of graphic representation.”—Leah van Belle, Of Cabbages and Kings.

  2. The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell - Joey Cornell collected everything — anything that sparked his imagination or delighted his eye. His collection grew and grew until he realized that certain pieces just looked right together. He assembled his doodads to create wonderful, magical creations out of once ordinary objects. Perfect for introducing art to kids, here’s an imaginative and engaging book based on the childhood of great American artist Joseph Cornell, told by master picture book author Candace Fleming and lauded illustrator Gérard DuBois.

  3. Bogo, the Fox Who Wanted Everything - Bogo the fox lived in the branches of a great, big tree. One day he decided to invent amazing things so that he could have everything he wanted. Can a fox fly, breathe under water or see at night like an owl? A book to help us realize that our own characteristics are unique.

  4. My Teacher Is a Robot - From the author of the New York Times bestselling Jedi Academy books comes an imaginative picture book about a kid whose creative outlook has everyone at school seeing the world through new eyes. Perfect for fans of The Adventures of Beekle and The Most Magnificent Thing. Fred does not want to go to school because it’s boring. Especially since he thinks his teacher is a robot. If only Fred could imagine a way for his day to be more exciting… An inventively funny picture book that celebrates the boundlessness of a child’s imagination and celebrates the teachers, families, and friends who get wrapped up in their fantastic worlds.

Books About Inventions and Science

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Rube Goldberg's Simple Normal Humdrum School Day
Written by Jennifer George & 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.
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Leonardo Da Vinci
Written by Isabel Muñoz & illustrated by Jane Kent
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10
Why could Leonardo da Vinci paint the human form so accurately, in all its beauty? How was he educated and trained as an artist? What inspired his most famous work, including The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa? And what fun machine did he invent? Find out about this unique artist and the many areas, from architecture to flight, he drew on and influenced.
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Albert Einstein
Written by Jane Kent & illustrated by Isabel Muñoz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10
Join Albert Einstein on his journey of scientific discovery and see how the Nobel Prize winner forever changed how we think about energy, gravity, and the world around us. Kids will learn about Einstein's training, his struggle to find a teaching job, and how he developed his theory of relativity. The book also looks at his personal life, including his family, emigration to America, and love of music.
Honorable Mentions
Gobbled by Ghorks book
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Never Insult a Killer Zucchini book
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  1. Gobbled by Ghorks - When Jean-Remy receives a singing telegram from his long-lost sister, Eloise Yvette, the Creature Department is once again thrown into an invention frenzy. Rumor has it that the Ghorks have taken Heppleworth’s Food Factory hostage. And worse, they are threatening to make tasty treats of the creatures inside.”

  2. Never Insult a Killer Zucchini - This is one science fair you’ll never forget! When Mr. Farnsworth, the science-fair judge, declares that he loves zucchinis, the Killer Zucchini is smitten. As the judge makes his way through the exhibits alphabetically—A (antimatter), B (bionic limb), C (cloning)—the Killer Zucchini tries to show his affection. But when Mr. F gets to K and admits he likes to eat zucchini with ranch dressing, the Killer Zucchini gets steamed and attempts to exact his revenge on the snack-loving judge using the other science-fair projects as his means to an end. Hilarious havoc ensues as the entire science fair is destroyed by his wrath. Engaging backmatter provides the science behind the science fair entries created by the characters in the story.

Books About Inventions and History

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Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science
Written by Diane Stanley & illustrated by Jessie Hartland
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
From nonfiction stars Diane Stanley and Jessie Hartland comes a beautifully illustrated biography of Ada Lovelace, who is known as the first computer programmer. Two hundred years ago, a daughter was born to the famous poet, Lord Byron, and his mathematical wife, Annabella. Like her father, Ada had a vivid imagination and a creative gift for connecting ideas in original ways. Like her mother, she had a passion for science, math, and machines. It was a very good combination. Ada hoped that one day she could do something important with her creative and nimble mind. A hundred years before the dawn of the digital age, Ada Lovelace envisioned the computer-driven world we know today. And in demonstrating how the machine would be coded, she wrote the first computer program. She would go down in history as Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer. Diane Stanley’s lyrical writing and Jessie Hartland’s vibrant illustrations capture the spirit of Ada Lovelace and bring her fascinating story vividly to life.
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50 Wacky Inventions Throughout History
Written by Joe Rhatigan & illustrated by Celeste Aires
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-11
With 50 Wacky Inventions Throughout History, history has never been so fun--or wacky! Have you ever heard of a bike TV? Or a bird diaper? 50 Wacky Inventions Throughout History describes 50 inventions that seem too crazy to be true--but are! Whether useful, entertaining, or just plain silly, these mind-boggling inventions and gadgets from yesterday, today, and tomorrow will surprise and delight fun-fact lovers of all ages.
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Steampunk Alphabet
Written & illustrated by Nat Iwata
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Presents a Steampunk-themed, rhyming alphabet book that augments familiar alphabetized words with Steampunk details.
Honorable Mentions
Cheer Up, Ben Franklin! book
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Up & Down book
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  1. Cheer Up, Ben Franklin! - Can this Founding Father find a friend? Introducing a new board-book series perfect for even the youngest historian! Ben Franklin is sad.No one has time to fly kites with him today.Betsy Ross is busy sewing a flag.Alexander Hamilton is busy counting money…Will things change for Ben when he reaches Independence Hall?The first volume of this new board-book series takes a tongue-in-cheek look at American history to introduce the youngest historians to some of the most prominent characters during our nation’s exciting beginning. Readers will love the amusing story, and biographies in the back of the book will ensure they’ll learn even more along the way.

  2. Up & Down - Swept up by the European ballooning craze of the 1780s, Dr. John Jeffries longed to become the first person to fly across the English Channel. But first he had to outwit a rascally co-pilot, keep the balloon from bursting, and avoid crashing into the sea. The good doctor’s quick-thinking solutions will surprise young readers—and keep them giggling when “lightening the load” is a relief in more ways than one. Don Brown tells this quirky true story with his usual accuracy and heart.

Books About Inventions and Family

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Mrs. Master Is a Disaster!
Written by Dan Gutman & illustrated by Jim Paillot
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10
**With more than 11 million books sold, the My Weird School series really gets kids reading!** In this eighth book in the new My Weirdest School series, it's Grandparents Day at Ella Mentry School! Alexia's grandmother Mrs. Master makes weird inventions for a living, but A.J. and the gang come up with the weirdest invention of all. And they're going to make a bazillion dollars from it! Will they succeed? Or will their great big idea be flushed down the drain? Perfect for reluctant readers and word lovers alike, Dan Gutman's hugely popular My Weird School chapter book series has something for everyone. Don't miss the hilarious adventures of A.J. and the gang!
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Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters
Written & illustrated by Andrea Beaty
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Rosie Revere is no stranger to flops and fails, kerfuffles and catastrophes. After all, she’s an engineer, and engineering is all about perseverance! But sometimes, Rosie has a really important project to tackle—one that feels much bigger than herself. When Rosie’s beloved Aunt Rose and her pals the Raucous Riveters—a gaggle of fun-loving gals who built airplanes during World War II—need her help, it’s up to Rosie to save the day. Will Rosie be able to invent a contraption to help one of the Riveters paint in the annual mural competition? After one flop . . . then another . . . and another . . . Rosie starts to lose hope. But thanks to some help from her classmates Iggy Peck and Ada Twist, Rosie creates the Paintapolooza! and, along with the Riveters, rediscovers the meaning of Home.
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Remarkable Inventions Of Walter Mortinson
Written & illustrated by Quinn Sosna-Spear
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
In this sweeping and inventive debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman, and Tim Burton, a prodigal inventor flees his home to find his destiny. In the humdrum town of Moormouth, Walter Mortinson’s unusual inventions cause nothing but trouble. After one of his contraptions throws the town into chaos, Walter’s mother demands he cut the nonsense and join the family mortuary business. Far off on Flaster Isle, famed inventor Horace Flasterborn plans to take Walter under his wing, just as he did Walter’s genius father decades ago. When a letter arrives by unusual means offering Walter an apprenticeship, it isn’t long before Walter decides to flee Moormouth to meet his destiny. Walter runs away in the family hearse along with Cordelia, the moody girl next door with one eye and plenty of secrets. Together they journey through a strange landscape of fish-people, giantess miners, and hypnotized honeybees in an adventure that will not only reveal the truth about Walter’s past, but direct his future.
Honorable Mentions
How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens book
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Cleonardo, the Little Inventor book
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Sleepy Time Olie book
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  1. How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens - This is an out-of-this-world funny first book in a madcap, illustrated adventure series from New Yorker cartoonist Paul Noth. Happy Conklin Jr. is the only 10-year-old who has to shave three times a day. Hap’s dad is a brilliant inventor of screwball products, and being a Conklin kid means sometimes being experimented on. So Hap has his beard, and his five sisters each have their own unique—and often problematic—qualities too. And although Hap’s dad has made a fortune with his wacky inventions sold via nonstop TV infomercials, all of that money has gone to Hap’s tyrannical Grandma. While she lives in an enormous mansion, the rest of the family lives in two rooms in the basement. All Hap has ever wanted is to have a normal life, so when he sees a chance to get rid of Grandma, he takes it! He only means to swap out Grandma, but when he—oops!—sells his whole family to the aliens, he wants nothing more than to get them back. He just has to figure out . . . how?

  2. Cleonardo, the Little Inventor - Cleonardo’s father is an inventor. So was her grandfather, her great-grandfather, and all the great-greats before them. Cleo wants to be an inventor too. She tries to help her father in his workshop, but he never uses her great ideas. Can Cleo invent something big and important and perfect all by herself? This imaginative story of a father and his daughter brings the magic of creativity to little inventors everywhere.

  3. Sleepy Time Olie - Olie must find a way to turn Pappy’s frown upside down—all before bedtime—in this classic picture book-turned-beloved-TV-show from the brilliant mind that brought you The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. It’s bedtime in the Rolie Polie world, but where oh where is Pappy? He’s fallen down and bonked his head and can’t unfrown! Olie can’t go to sleep without a bedtime story from Pappy, but can Olie cheer him up in time? Olie’s super silly ray should do the trick! A most unusual bedtime book and a lovely ode to the importance of grandparents.

Books About Inventions and Siblings

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House of Robots: Robot Revolution
Written by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein & illustrated by Juliana Neufeld
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Robots on strike! Sammy's underappreciated mechanical helpers are causing chaos in book 3 of the bestselling House of Robots series. After a few early glitches in their relationship, Sammy and his "bro-bot" E are now fast friends. In fact, E is such a valued member of the family that the other electronic occupants of the House of Robots are feeling sorely unappreciated. And when Sammy's inventor mom becomes distracted by a top-secret project, the robots soon begin to fall into disrepair. Cue a robot revolt, with the droids wreaking harmless havoc in the house! Armed with pranks like glue in the shampoo bottles and flying toast missiles, the robots demand to be cared for. It's up to Sammy and his disabled sister Maddie to keep the peace until his mom reveals her secret project...and why it was worth the wait.
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Gastronauts
Written & illustrated by James Foley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Sally Tinker, the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve, has an extraordinary new challenge. The brain-enhancing nanobots she is testing have been accidentally swallowed by her baby brother Joe. The only way to stop Joe turning into a superbaby and wreaking super havoc is to shrink herself and travel inside Joe’s body on a journey to tackle the problem head-on. What could possibly go wrong? As it turns out, this is only the beginning ...
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Almost Famous
Written by David Getz
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Ten-year-old Maxine is determined to become a famous inventor so she can take care of her younger brother's heart condition, and she convinces a troubled classmate to help her.
Honorable Mentions
Ethan Marcus Stands Up book
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If You Had a Jetpack book
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  1. Ethan Marcus Stands Up - Multiple points of view lead to multiple theories about what really happened after one kid turns a punishment into a protest in this hilarious novel from Michele Weber Hurwitz. Perennial good kid Ethan Marcus has just done the unthinkable: refuse to stay seated during class. He’s not causing a riot; he’s not wandering around; he’s just sick of sitting. But the rules aren’t designed for Ethan, and so he is sent to the principal’s office. When Ethan’s sentence results in a Reflection Day—McNutt Middle School’s answer to detention—his faculty advisor suggests that Ethan channel the energy that caused his “transgression” by entering the school’s Invention Day Competition. Ethan is not exactly Mark Zuckerberg, so he doubts his ability to make anything competition-worthy. That’s the department of his slightly older sister Erin. But as Ethan and his buddy Brian get into the assignment, they realize they might actually have something. Enter Romanov, the resident tech whiz, who refuses to give them tips. But Erin is furious at her formally slacker—now traitor—brother. Meanwhile, Erin’s friend Zoe is steering clear of Erin’s drama after realizing that she may be crushing on Ethan. Then there’s Brian who has bigger things to worry about, and finally loner kid Wesley, who may know more than others realize… Told in the perspectives of multiple students, discover what really happened on the day that one kid decided to take a stand against sitting down.

  2. If You Had a Jetpack - A fun and creative answer to the question “what would YOU do if you had a jetpack?” perfect for fans of Boy and Bot and How to Train a Train. Having a jetpack is fun—if you know what to do with one. If you had a jetpack, you could: • Teach your brother how to build one too. • Demonstrate its usefulness at Show and Share Time at school. • Give your principal a ride home. • Fly south to visit your nana. • Visit the astronauts on the space station and help with anything that needed fixing. Join one inventive little rabbit as he and his brother put their new jetpack to good use! “An energetic, crowd-pleasing read-aloud that can be revisited again and again.”—SLJ “This vivid picture book will leave kids longing for jetpacks, while taking off on their own flights of fancy.”—Booklist

Want to see books about siblings?

Books About Inventions and Adventure And Adventurers

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Edison
Written by Torben Kuhlmann
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Award-winning illustrator Torben Kuhlmann’s stunning new book transports readers to new depths where imagination lights the way! A long time ago, one mouse learned to fly, another landed on the moon...what will happen in the next Mouse adventure? From the creator of Lindbergh—The Tale of a Flying Mouse and Armstrong, comes Edison—The Mystery of the Missing Mouse Treasure. When two unlikely friends build a vessel capable of taking them to the bottom of the ocean find a missing treasure—the truth turns out to be far more amazing.
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Microsaurs: Tiny-Stego Stampede
Written & illustrated by Dustin Hansen
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
Get ready for more microsaur mayhem (and a bit of babysitting!) in the fourth installment of Hansen's action-packed illustrated chapter book series. Illustrations.
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Escaped
Written by Gary Urey
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
After destroying the permanent X-Point and thwarting the Doctor’s plans for world domination, Daisha and Axel have a new problem: without a permanent X-Point, Earth’s magnetic poles are flipping, causing massive climactic changes around the world. Now they must find a way to expose a new X-Point to stabilize Earth’s magnetic field, all while evading a doomsday cult that would have the world end. Can Axel and Daisha figure out how to find each other and save the world?
Honorable Mentions
The Unsinkable Walker Bean book
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Roxie  and  the  Hooligans  at  Buzzard's  Roost book
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Snared: Escape to the Above book
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Microsaurs: That's MY Tiny-Saurus Rex book
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  1. The Unsinkable Walker Bean - In order to save his ailing grandfather from a curse, boy inventor Walker Bean must return an accursed pearl skull to the witches who created it, and face pirates, magical machines, and deadly peril along the way.

  2. Roxie and the Hooligans at Buzzard's Roost - Roxie and the Hooligans are back and this time, Smoky Jo is swiped by a kidnapper who is as blunder-prone as Roxie, Uncle Dangerfoot, and Lord Thistlebottom are clever.

  3. Snared: Escape to the Above - In the first book of a new action-packed middle-grade trilogy by the bestselling author of The Familiars series, a young inventor and a group of treasure seekers plunder dungeons across a kingdom under threat.

  4. Microsaurs: That's MY Tiny-Saurus Rex - Danny and Lin are determined to be the best Microsaur sitters ever! Sure, things got a little out of control with the tiny-raptors and the Professor’s lab might have gotten a bit… destroyed. BUT it’s all going to be absolutely fine. After all, they have a plan!

Books About Inventions and Technology

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Frank Einstein and the Electro-Finger
Written by Jon Scieszka & illustrated by Brian Biggs
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
More clever science experiments, funny jokes, and robot hijinks await readers in book two of the New York Times bestselling Frank Einstein chapter book series from the mad scientist team of Jon Scieszka and Brian Biggs. The perfect combination to engage and entertain readers, the series features real science facts with adventure and humor, making these books ideal for STEM education. This second installment examines the quest to unlock the power behind the science of "energy." Kid-genius and inventor Frank Einstein loves figuring out how the world works by creating household contraptions that are part science, part imagination, and definitely unusual. In the series opener, an uneventful experiment in his garage-lab, a lightning storm, and a flash of electricity bring Frank’s inventions—the robots Klink and Klank—to life! Not exactly the ideal lab partners, the wisecracking Klink and the overly expressive Klank nonetheless help Frank attempt to perfect his inventions. In the second book in the series, Frank is working on a revamped version of one of Nikola Tesla’s inventions, the “Electro-Finger,” a device that can tap into energy anywhere and allow all of Midville to live off the grid, with free wireless and solar energy. But this puts Frank in direct conflict with Edison’s quest to control all the power and light in Midville, monopolize its energy resources, and get “rich rich rich.” Time is running out, and only Frank, Watson, Klink, and Klank can stop Edison and his sentient ape, Mr. Chimp! Integrating real science facts with wacky humor, a silly cast of characters, and science fiction, this uniquely engaging series is an irresistible chemical reaction for middle-grade readers. With easy-to-read language and graphic illustrations on almost every page, this chapter book series is a must for reluctant readers. The Frank Einstein series encourages middle-grade readers to question the way things work and to discover how they, too, can experiment with science. In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews raves, “This buoyant, tongue-in-cheek celebration of the impulse to ‘keep asking questions and finding your own answers’ fires on all cylinders,” while Publishers Weekly says that the series “proves that science can be as fun as it is important and useful.”
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The Marvelous Thing That Came from a Spring
Written & illustrated by Gilbert Ford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
With magnificent dioramic illustrations, Gilbert Ford captures the joy, creativity, and determination behind the invention of an iconic, one-of-a-kind toy: the Slinky! One day, a spring fell from the desk of Richard James, an engineer and a dreamer. Its coils took a walk…and so did Richard’s imagination. He knew right away that he had stumbled onto something marvelous. With the help of his wife, Betty, Richard took this ordinary spring and turned it into a plaything. But it wasn’t just any old trinket—it was a Slinky, and it would become one of the most popular toys in American history.
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A Picture Book of Louis Braille
Written by David A. Adler & illustrated by John Wallner, Alexandra Wallner, and David A. Adler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
As a child, Louis Braille lost his sight in a tragic accident--but he was determined not to let that limit him. The young Frenchman sought every opportunity to learn, and by the time he was a teenager, began experimenting with a new form of writing. Today, his system of raised dots is used by people with visual difficulties across the world. Backmatter includes a timeline and author's note, as well as a page of letters and numerals in braille printing. For almost thirty years, David Adler's Picture Book Biography series has profiled famous people who changed the world. Colorful, kid-friendly illustrations combine with Adler's "expert mixtures of facts and personality" (Booklist) to introduce young readers to history through compelling biographies of presidents, heroes, inventors, explorers, and adventurers. These books are ideal for first and second graders interested in history, or who need reliable sources for school book reports.
Honorable Mentions
Billy Sure Kid Entrepreneur book
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Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor book
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Geraldine and the Most Spectacular Science Project (Gizmo Girl) book
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Chilly da Vinci book
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  1. Billy Sure Kid Entrepreneur - Twelve-year-old genius inventor and budding businessman Billy Sure hosts an online contest for fellow kid innovators to share their own inventions and the winning submission will be produced by his company, Sure Things, Inc., but with so many fascinating entries, Billy wonders how he will ever choose a winner while helping other kids achieve their dreams at the same time. Simultaneous and eBook.

  2. Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor - Clever science experiments, funny jokes, and robot hijinks await readers in the first of six books in the New York Times bestselling Frank Einstein chapter book series from the mad scientist team of Jon Scieszka and Brian Biggs. The perfect combination to engage and entertain readers, the series features real science facts with adventure and humor, making these books ideal for STEM education. This first installment examines the science of “matter.” Kid-genius and inventor Frank Einstein loves figuring out how the world works by creating household contraptions that are part science, part imagination, and definitely unusual. In the series opener, an uneventful experiment in his garage-lab, a lightning storm, and a flash of electricity bring Frank’s inventions—the robots Klink and Klank—to life! Not exactly the ideal lab partners, the wisecracking Klink and the overly expressive Klank nonetheless help Frank attempt to perfect his inventions.. . . until Frank’s archnemesis, T. Edison, steals Klink and Klank for his evil doomsday plan!

  3. Geraldine and the Most Spectacular Science Project (Gizmo Girl) - Geraldine is an energetic, spirited second-grader with dreams of becoming an astronaut. She knows that she’s clever and inventive, but can she create the winning entry in her class science contest? Armed with nothing but her strong will and the broken parts of her parents’ old gadgets and gizmos, she sets out to invent an amazing contraption. Will her invention wow her classmates and transform her from class troublemaker to creative scientist?

  4. Chilly da Vinci - While others do “penguin” things, Chilly da Vinci—self-declared inventor penguin, builds machines that don’t work…yet! Chilly ties into the popular “maker” movement with humor and imagination. While others do “penguin” things, Chilly da Vinci—self-declared inventor penguin, builds machines that don’t work…yet!

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