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Inventions: Picture Books For Kids

This list of the best picture books about inventions is sure to include a new favorite for the voracious young reader in your life! From Rosie Revere, Engineer to If You Had a Jetpack there's something here for everyone's tastes. Do you have a favorite book about inventions? Let us know!

Rosie Revere, Engineer book
#1
Rosie Revere, Engineer
Written by Andrea Beaty and 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.

Albie Newton book
#2
Albie Newton
Written by Josh Funk and 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?

Hedy Lamarr's Double Life book
#3
Hedy Lamarr's Double Life
Written by Laurie Wallmark and 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.

The Dreamer book
#4
The Dreamer
Written and 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.

Norton and Alpha book
#5
Norton and Alpha
Written and 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!"

  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. Just Like Rube Goldberg - 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.

  3. Henry's Bright Idea - 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.

  4. Melia and Jo - 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.

Guitar Genius book
#10
Guitar Genius
Written by Kim Tomsic and illustrated by Brett Helquist
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

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.

Manfish book
#11
Manfish
Written by Jennifer Berne and 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.

How to Catch the Easter Bunny book
#12
How to Catch the Easter Bunny
Written by Adam Wallace and 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!"

Magnolia Mudd and the Super Jumptastic Launcher Deluxe book
#13
Magnolia Mudd and the Super Jumptastic Launcher Deluxe
Written by Katey Howes and 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 . . .

I Am Albert Einstein book
#14
I Am Albert Einstein
Written by Brad Meltzer and 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.

  1. Mr. Biddles - 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!

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

  3. 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?

  4. Leonardo Da Vinci - 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.

Samuel Morse, That's Who! book
#19
Samuel Morse, That's Who!
Written by Tracy Nelson Maurer and 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.

The Runaway Robot book
#20
The Runaway Robot
Written by Rachel Ruiz and 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.

The Wild Field Trip book
#21
The Wild Field Trip
Written by Rachel Ruiz and 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.

When Bill Gates Memorized an Encyclopedia book
#22
When Bill Gates Memorized an Encyclopedia
Written by Mark Andrew Weakland and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

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.

Albert Einstein book
#23
Albert Einstein
Written by Jane Kent and 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.

  1. 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.

  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. 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.

  4. 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!

How the Cookie Crumbled book
#28
How the Cookie Crumbled
Written and illustrated by Gilbert Ford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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...

50 Wacky Inventions Throughout History book
#29
50 Wacky Inventions Throughout History
Written by Joe Rhatigan and 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.

Made by Maxine book
#30
Made by Maxine
Written by Ruth Spiro and 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.

Electric Ben book
#31
Electric Ben
Written and illustrated by Robert Byrd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

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.

The Marvelous Thing That Came from a Spring book
#32
The Marvelous Thing That Came from a Spring
Written and 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.

  1. 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.

  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. 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.

  4. 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?

The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell book
#37
The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell
Written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Gerard DuBois
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Mary Had a Little Lab book
#38
Mary Had a Little Lab
Written by Sue Fliess and 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?

Steampunk Alphabet book
#39
Steampunk Alphabet
Written and 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.

The Superhero Project book
#40
The Superhero Project
Written by Rachel Ruiz and illustrated by Steve May
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

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.

My Teacher Is a Robot book
#41
My Teacher Is a Robot
Written and illustrated by Jeffrey Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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.

  1. 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!

  2. 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?

  3. If You Had a Jetpack - 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!

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