Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to machines. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about machines.
Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
When it comes to children’s stories about machines, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Unplugged to popular sellers like Locomotive to some of our favorite hidden gems like Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code.
We hope this list of kids books about machines 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.
My First Trucks and Diggers - Introduces trucks, diggers, and other construction and excavation vehicles, including dump trucks, bulldozers, logging trucks, and steamrollers.
Farm (Wheels at Work) - Collecting, lifting, transporting, and delivering! Lift the flap to see each vehicle busy at work. Perfect for guessing, prediction and memory skills - and simply joining in!
The Construction Crew - There are countless machines that help out on a construction site. Everything from a bulldozer to a crane has a very special job. Do you know what it is? Lift the page to learn about what each machine does and discover what happens when they all work together!
Building Machines - Building Machines explores the powerful mechanics of construction vehicles and includes everything needed to build nine machines with working parts! The construction vehicles introduced are a forklift, bulldozer, front loader, giant digger, dump truck, road roller, crane, and tractor. Each spread describes the vehicle in detail, including its parts and function. The spreads also include instructions for constructing the machine described using the included die-cut pieces. Children can follow the steps to make each vehicle, then use the pieces to invent their own. It’s the perfect introduction to simple mechanics for budding engineers everywhere.
Invent-a-Pet - Bunnies, pandas, and monkeys, oh my! For fans of Ada Twist, Scientist, this picture book about finding your perfect pet introduces basic STEAM and coding concepts—and some ridiculously adorable animals! Katie is an ordinary girl who longs for an extraordinary pet—something more spectacular than a simple goldfish. Then one day Katie comes home to find a gift from her mother: a mysterious machine designed to help her create that one-of-a-kind creature. Each time she feeds different items into the machine, out comes a marvelously colorful new animal—like a purple monkey, rainbow-spotted horse, and green bunny! But none of them is just right. Through trial and error, Katie figures out the formula for her absolutely perfect SURPRISE pet.
Mayday - In the tradition of Counting By 7s and The Thing About Jellyfish, a heartwarming coming-of-age story about grief, family, friendship, and the importance of finding your voice Wayne Kovok lives in a world of After. After his uncle in the army was killed overseas. After Wayne and his mother survived a plane crash while coming back from the funeral. After he lost his voice. Wayne has always used his love of facts to communicate (“Did you know more people die each year from shaking a vending machine than from shark attacks?”). Without his voice, how will he wow the prettiest girl in school? How will he stand up to his drill-sergeant grandfather? And how will he share his hopes with his deadbeat dad? It’s not until Wayne loses his voice completely that he realizes how much he doesn’t say. Filled with Karen Harrington’s signature heart and humor, Mayday tackles an unforgettable journey of family and friendship.
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.
Dig It! - The first in a new series of illustrated nonfiction board books, this durable title offers up fun, foundational introductions to construction vehicles that are sure to fascinate every early learner. Simple, rhythmical text introduces each machine or animal as its own character, highlighting the vehicles’ defining features. Detailed illustrations, meanwhile, provide colorful views of developing construction sites.
Robot - “From automata created by Leonardo Da Vinci to modern-day androids and animal robots, this book covers artificial intelligence (AI) throughout history. Discover the latest at the cutting edge of robotics, where science, technology, mechanical engineering, and computing meet as [the book] explains how robots work, how they are made, and how they help and sometimes hinder in modern society”—Publisher marketing.
Unplugged - -
My First Toolbox - My First Tool Box features a distressed design to give it a rough-and-tumble feel. Children will be delighted by the removable cardboard elements including: A wrench A screwdriver A hammer and four cardboard nails A saw My First Tool Box also features a tape measure to slide, and screws and nuts to turn. Plus, children can count from one to five! This oversized board book offers a robust introduction to everyday tools, perfect for encouraging lively, interactive play for children and adults!
How Machines Work: Zoo Break! - Award-winning artist David Macaulay introduces readers to his hilarious new creations, Sloth and Sengi, in How Machines Work: Zoo Break! Complete with a unique jacket with an interactive compound machine incorporating several of the simple mechanisms featured in the book, How Machines Work: Zoo Break! uses models and illustrations to demonstrate the technology of six simple machines: levers, pulleys, screws, inclined planes, wedges, and wheels. Follow the mad antics of Sloth and his sidekick Sengi as they try to find their way out of the zoo with the help of machines. Their efforts are brought to life through novelty elements including pop-ups, pull-outs, and lift-the-flaps, allowing readers to explore in greater depth how and why machines work. Spreads highlight the use of simple machines in everyday objects, such as scissors and clocks, mixers and whisks, bikes and brakes, while the story contains clear and simple text to engage the reader.
Nerdy Birdy Tweets - Nerdy Birdy and his best friend, Vulture, are very different. Nerdy Birdy loves video games, but Vulture finds them BORING. Vulture loves snacking on dead things, but Nerdy Birdy finds that GROSS. Luckily, you don’t have to agree on everything to still be friends. One day, Nerdy Birdy joins Tweetster, and the friend requests start flying in. Vulture watches as Nerdy Birdy gets swept up in his new friendships, but when she finally gets angry, Nerdy Birdy knows just what to do to make things right.
Gabi's If/Then Garden - Gabi’s garden needs some help. Where to begin? Gabi and her best friend Adi use if/then statements to decide what to plant, what to water, and what to pick! These scientific thinkers find ways every day to use computer coding concepts to make work and play more fun!
The Friendship Code - Loops, variables, input/output – Lucy can’t wait to get started with the new coding club at school. Finally, an after school activity that she’s really interested in. But Lucy’s excitement turns to disappointment when she’s put into a work group with girls she barely knows. All she wanted to do was make an app that she believes will help someone very special to her. Suddenly, Lucy begins to get cryptic coding messages and needs some help translating them. She soon discovers that coding – and friendship – takes time, dedication, and some laughs!
Skyscraper - Acclaimed picture book creator Jorey Hurley whose work has been called “stunning” and “dramatic” tells the story perfect for the youngest reader of all the different and mighty trucks it takes to build a city skyscraper! What once was a vacant lot, watch as truck by truck, a towering skyscraper is built in this beautifully illustrated picture book about trucks and construction. This beautiful picture book includes a glossary of fourteen truck images and their names.
I Dig Bathtime - When the dust has settled and the day is done, Excavator is ready for bathtime. It’s so much fun! Trucks dig bathtime! Join Excavator and the other construction trucks as they scrub-a-dub-dub away the dust of the day with a well-earned bath. Adorable yet accurate illustrations will have kids peeking through the bubbles to identify Crane, Backhoe, Bulldozer, and more! You’ll dig bathtime too!
Farmer John's Tractor - When the river floods and a family is trapped in their car, will Farmer John’s rusty, trusty tractor save the day?
ABCs of the Web - This alphabet primer for the new technology generation—and its parents—brings essential coding words and concepts to young developers-in-training. Featuring beautiful modern tech illustrations and introducing the rich vocabulary of the web-design world through whimsical, geeky rhyme, this unique ABC picture book doubles as a fun and fascinating foray into the World Wide Web. Certain to amuse, inspire, and educate, it is the perfect fit for any web-creative parent or gift giver.
Hello Ruby: Expedition to the Internet - Welcome back to the world’s most whimsical way to learn about technology and coding in Hello Ruby: Expedition to the Internet, as Linda Liukas, a programming superstar, teaches kids all about the internet through storytelling and imaginative activities. What exactly is the Internet? Is it a cloud? A network of wires? How does the information travel online? Learn all this and more with Ruby! In Ruby’s world anything is possible if you put your mind to it—even building the Internet out of snow! But before you can build something, you need to understand what it is and how it works. Join Ruby and her friends in their quest to build the most amazing Snow Internet ever, while learning real life facts along the way. Then, future kid coders can put their knowledge and imaginations to the test with the fun and creative exercises included in the activity book section.
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