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!
New, in the My First Little People, Big Dreams series: Introduce your littlest one to the world’s first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace. Told in simple sentences, this young reader edition of the best-selling series is perfect to read out loud to little dreamers. This empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world – and is now in available in a board format for little hands! These books make the lives of these role models accessible for the youngest children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!
Old MacDonald had a farm E-I-E-I-O. And on that farm he had a…TRUCK?! With a DIG, DIG here and a SCOOP, SCOOP there, this board book edition of the wildly popular picture book introduces favorite machines—like the excavator, dump truck, bulldozer, and more—and will have the vehicle-obsessed of all ages reading and singing along.
McToad likes Thursdays. Why? Because on every other day of the week, McToad mows Big Island, but on Thursdays, McToad mows Tiny Island. To do so, he puts his mower on the back of a truck, which drives to a train, which goes to a helicopter, which flies to a boat, which uses a crane to put the lawn mower onto Tiny Island. There McToad mows and drinks some lemonade, and before you know it, it’s time to turn around and go back home. But first, the mower has to get lifted by a crane, to get put back on a boat, which is lifted by a helicopter, and . . . well . . . you get the idea.
Who was Grace Hopper? A software tester, workplace jester, cherished mentor, ace inventor, avid reader, naval leader—AND rule breaker, chance taker, and troublemaker. Acclaimed picture book author Laurie Wallmark (Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine) once again tells the riveting story of a trailblazing woman. Grace Hopper coined the term “computer bug” and taught computers to “speak English.” Throughout her life, Hopper succeeded in doing what no one had ever done before. Delighting in difficult ideas and in defying expectations, the insatiably curious Hopper truly was “Amazing Grace” . . . and a role model for science- and math-minded girls and boys. With a wealth of witty quotes, and richly detailed illustrations, this book brings Hopper’s incredible accomplishments to life.
Charlie McButton likes computer games so much, he never plays with anything else. When a thunderstorm knocks out the electricity, his tech empire comes tumbling down, and his whole world loses power. Charlie needs batteries?FAST! But the only triple- A?s he can find are in his little sister?s talking doll. Will he resort to desperate measures and cause his sister to have a meltdown of her own? Or will he snap out of his computer craze long enough to realize his sister might be fun, even if she doesn?t come with batteries? Collins and Lester team up for a hilarious and timely tale that will crack up young computer addicts and those who love them!
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!
My First Trucks and Diggers - Introduces trucks, diggers, and other construction and excavation vehicles, including dump trucks, bulldozers, logging trucks, and steamrollers.
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!
Whose Tools? - An ode to building a house from the ground up profiles six kinds of craftsmen and the 24 tools they use, with the answer to each question about “whose tools” being revealed under seven gatefolds designed to promote curiosity and learning. By the Caldecott Honor-winning author of One Cool Friend. 30,000 first printing.
Today is Olive’s birthday party, and Sophie and her dad have baked cookies. Sophie’s dad holds the platter so Sophie can push the elevator button for the tenth floor. But on the way up, the elevator stops to let the Santucci brothers get on. Then on the next floor, Vicky, Babs and their dog, Norman, get in. And as the elevator ascends, it keeps stopping, and more neighbors squeeze in to the crowded space: the Habibs, the Flores family, Mr. Kwan, Vi Tweedle with her Chihuahua, Minx. Everyone is going to the party!
Playfully combining the excitement and anticipation of a party with children’s universal love of riding in elevators, Sherry J. Lee’s picture book story is ultimately about community and a sense of belonging. With characters from many cultural backgrounds, it showcases the everyday diversity that many urban children experience. Charlene Chua’s illustrations provide loads of funny details and visual narratives that aren’t in the text, making for a multilayered reading experience. The book’s tall, narrow trim size adds to the effect of the rising elevator.
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.
Do you have what it takes to be a firefighter? From attending the Firefighter Academy to training with a team, there are many things you have to accomplish before becoming a firefighter! Learn the tools firefighters use, the kinds of trucks firefighters drive, and the dangerous situations they find themselves in as they put their lives on the line to help others in this charming picture book from the author of Pop: The Invention of Bubble Gum.
Explore PAPA’S WORKSHOP and discover delights and surprises around every corner. When papa and his grandson spend the afternoon in his wood-smelling shed, they scan the shelves and organize the workshop, sorting nails, screws, and other trinkets. And, no workshop is complete without a sparkly, sticky spider web to marvel. Larissa Juliano’s joyful word play begs to be read aloud to toddlers sitting on laps… and dreaming of busy days in Papa’s workshop.
Can you be the first to catch an elf? Catching elves is no easy task-you need more than candy canes and ribbons! You’ll need the perfect trap with precise calculations and proper engineering– and How to Build an Elf Trapcan help! What’s inside? 12 traps with step-by-step instructions sure to lure in your elf STEAM Connections exploring the science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics behind each activity Yummy elf recipes Exciting bonus activities * Plus space to design your very own trap! How to Build an Elf Trapgives you all the tools you’ll need to create the perfect trap and put you in a elf-catching mood!
Tractor Mac Colors on the Farm - This new edition to the Tractor Mac series is a board book that teaches children about the different colors of the rainbow. Tractor Mac and his vehicle and animal friends, including Sibley the horse, Pete the pig, and Goat Walter, show kids around Stony Meadow Farm in order to observe the colors of various objects found on the farm.
Adi Sorts with Variables - It’s time to clean Adi’s room! If only a computer could do it for her! That gives Adi and her best friend Gabi an idea-think like a coder! These scientific thinkers put on their computer coding caps and make cleaning up a snap by sorting with variables!
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.
All aboard! From the creator of the “stunning” (Booklist) Moonshot, a rich and detailed sensory exploration of America’s early railroads. It is the summer of 1869, and trains, crews, and family are traveling together, riding America’s brand-new transcontinental railroad. These pages come alive with the details of the trip and the sounds, speed, and strength of the mighty locomotives; the work that keeps them moving; and the thrill of travel from plains to mountain to ocean. Come hear the hiss of the steam, feel the heat of the engine, watch the landscape race by. Come ride the rails, come cross the young country!
For fans of all things that go this noisy alphabet book explores construction equipment from A to Z. Find out about these construction machines and more, from a huge saw that cuts through roads to a massive vacuum that sucks up boulders. You’ll even learn a quick and easy recipe for concrete. Rock crushers, jackhammers, and wrecking balls will delight the youngest of readers learning their ABCs. Jerry Pallotta’s trademark humor punctuates the informative text. Vibrant oil paintings bring to life a busy construction site.
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.
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.
Machines in Motion: The Amazing History of Transportation - A detailed history of how many of the world’s most recognizable modes of transportation came to be. Every day, all over the world, people travel: short trips or great voyages, moving slowly and steadily or racing along at super-fast speeds. They make their trips in cars, trains, planes, ships and on bikes—and some people have even blasted off in rockets! But how did these vehicles become what we know now? With intricately illustrated timelines, this book takes readers on a journey through the developmental history of various modes of transportation—from chariots to electric cars, dugout canoes to ocean liners, cable cars to bullet trains, and the many iterations in between. The fascinating stories behind each of these machines join together to reveal a comprehensive history of how new and inventive forms of transportation have built off one another to change our world.
Farm - 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!
Lift - From the award-winning and bestselling creators of Drawn Together comes the fantastic tale of a magical elevator that will lift your spirits--and press all the right buttons!
“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.
Meet Blip. Blip loves being plugged into her computer. When a blackout occurs, Blip trips over her wire and tumbles outside. Suddenly, Blip’s gray world is filled with color and excitement. She plays with her new friends and has adventures all day long. When Blip finally returns home, she realizes that the world can be even brighter once you unplug.
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!
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.
I Am a Zamboni Machine - Young hockey and ice sports fans will love seeing this big machine in action! Featuring simple facts and colorful illustrations, the text follows a Zamboni machine as it does its honest job of clearing and resurfacing the rink. Readers will cheer along with the fans when the hockey players can jump back on the smooth, shiny ice. Bright artwork and clear text will help all little truck and ice enthusiasts see what a Zamboni machine does! I Am a Zamboni Machine is a perfect, compelling new addition to the bestselling I Am a Truck series. A book and truck in one!
Tek - -
A Computer Called Katherine - The inspiring true story of mathematician Katherine Johnson–made famous by the award-winning film Hidden Figures–who counted and computed her way to NASA and helped put a man on the moon! Katherine knew it was wrong that African Americans didn’t have the same rights as others–as wrong as 5+5=12. She knew it was wrong that people thought women could only be teachers or nurses–as wrong as 10-5=3. And she proved everyone wrong by zooming ahead of her classmates, starting college at fifteen, and eventually joining NASA, where her calculations helped pioneer America’s first manned flight into space, its first manned orbit of Earth, and the world’s first trip to the moon! Award-winning author Suzanne Slade and debut artist Veronica Miller Jamison tell the story of a NASA “computer” in this smartly written, charmingly illustrated biography.
Dig! Peek-a-Flap - Peek-a-DIG! Each hardworking construction scene will engage your little one with a pair of lift-a-flaps with peek-a-boo surprises. Talk about how roads, houses, and skyscrapers are built. Look at the machines that help construct them. Inside the flaps, you’ll find fun facts about items in the artwork.
Meet Ada Lovelace, the British mathematician and daughter of poet Lord Byron. New in the Little People, Big Dreams series, this inspiring and informative little biography follows the colourful life of Lord Byron’s daughter, from her early love of logic, to her plans for the world’s first computer program. With stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world. From designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. These books make the lives of these role models accessible for children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!
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 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!
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!
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.
Adi's Perfect Patterns and Loops - Best friends Adi and Gabi love to play with Adi’s toy train. Round and round it goes-choo choo! Watching it loop the track gives the girls an idea. These scientific thinkers use their computer coding knowledge to put the train to work!
Fuzzy - At Vanguard One Middle School (aka Vainglorious), the halls are crawling with robots, but Fuzzy isn’t your run-of-the-mill android. When Fuzzy enrolls at Vainglorious as part of the Robot Integration Program, he is quickly befriended by Max, who is determined to help him learn everything he needs to know. The middle school of the future is just as fraught with crazy kids, tricky teachers, and bad smells as the middle school of today. Add in some evil schemers, and you have real trouble. Together, Max and Fuzzy reveal the super-secret, nefarious purpose behind the Robot Integration Program. They must fight to save the school before it’s too late. Fuzzy is one girl’s quest to befriend a robot, survive middle school, and save the world.
Hello Ruby: Journey Inside the Computer - What exactly is a computer? How does it work? What is it made of? Learn all this and more with Ruby! In Ruby’s world anything is possible if you put your mind to it—even fixing her father’s broken computer! Join Ruby and her new friend, Mouse, on an imaginative journey through the insides of a computer in search of the missing Cursor. From bits and logic gates to computer hardware, in Journey Inside the Computer, Ruby (and her readers!) will learn the basic elements of the machines that power our world. Then future kid coders can put their knowledge and imaginations to work with fun activities. Praise for Linda Liukas and the Hello Ruby series: “[Linda Liukas] wants kids to understand and embrace basic computer logic, so that they later formulate code in the same effortless and creative way they build structures with LEGO.” —The Wall Street Journal “Hello Ruby by Linda Liukas is half picture book and half activity book rolled into one adorable package. What I love about it is that it introduces programming without requiring a computer at all.” —GeekMom.com
Hardy Boys 15: The Sinister Signpost - In one of the most dangerous and intriguing cases of their careers, Frank and Joe Hardy help their father investigate a series of mysterious car accidents. Each of the drivers had seen a signpost marked DANGER shortly before his accident. The young detectives investigate, only to discover that the signposts have vanished. The attempted theft of a secret experimental motor and the kidnapping of a famous race horse are part of this thrilling case, which proves to be as sinister as the signposts themselves. From the Hardcover edition.
The four members of the Wilson family decide to spend their holiday in one of the elevators at the San Francisco Hotel.
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!
When the river floods and a family is trapped in their car, will Farmer John’s rusty, trusty tractor save the day?
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.
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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