30 Best Engineering Books for Kids

Have you ever found yourself having a hard time getting your kids interested in STEAM? Do you find it difficult to get them into engineering or apply yourself to art?​​​ No longer afraid! Here’s a list of the top 30 books to help your child get interested in engineering. We’ve divided the list by age group, but feel free to mix and match as you see fit.

Engineering Books for Young Learners (ages 4-8)

1. How the Machine Works: Zoo Break!David Macaulay

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This captivating tale tells the story of two animals named Sloth and Senti, and their feat of escaping the zoo. Not only can this story help your child learn about simple machines, it can also be used to discuss zoo conservation programs.

2. Miguel Tanco Believe Me

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Featuring many lovely illustrations, this book looks at applying mathematics to different aspects of our world and will teach your children how useful this subject can be.

3. Andrea Beaty Engineer Rosie Revere

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This inspiring story rhymes with a young girl aspiring to be an engineer, but things don’t go as she originally planned. A true faith story.

4. Grace Hopper: The Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark

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This picture-book biography tells the true story of Grace Hopper, a pioneering female engineer best known for helping develop the first electronic computer. Guaranteed to be inspiring!

5. Daddy’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming

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Another true story, Dad’s Mechanical Fish is a sweet story about the life of Lordna Phillips, a famous inventor best known for designing and testing very early submarines.

6. How to lift a lion?Robert E. Wells

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As the title says, young learners will discover how to use levers, wheels, pulleys and other basic machines to lift animals, including lions and zebras!

7. The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spiers

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One of the key lessons this book teaches us is not just about engineering, but that success is not guaranteed; failure and perseverance are an important part of invention.

8. When the Sparks Fly: The True Story of Robert Goddard, the Father of American Rocketry Kristen Fulton

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As part of a STEM book, this is a captivating story told through colorful illustrations by the “father” of the American rocket industry.

9. Hello Ruby: The Coding Adventures of Linda Liukas

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After raising over $10,000, the book became the most funded children’s book ever on Kickstarter — and it’s not hard to see why. It teaches basic coding to kids through fun illustrations.

10. If I built a car, Chris Van Dusen

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A young boy named Jack had the idea to build his dream car and thought of all the materials he would need. A good essay to encourage students to think about architecture and engineering.

11. Suzanna Slade and Veronica Miller’s computer named Katherine

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This is the fascinating story of NASA scientist Katherine Johnson and the challenges she overcame as one of the first African-American women scientists in the 1960s. This is without a doubt one of the best aerospace engineering books to inspire young learners.

Elementary School Engineering Books (ages 8-12)

12. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Reader’s Edition) (YR Edition) by William Kawkwamba and Bryan Mealer

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As a family struggles to make a living with crops running out of water, a young boy learns how to build a windmill to water the fields by reading books in the school library. A true story about perseverance and the importance of trying again after failure.

13. Nick and Tesla series by Steve Hockensmith and Bob Pflugfelder

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This book deals with many mysteries that your students can solve on their own using science and technology. Some projects can also be done at home!

14. The Girls Who Code series by Stacia Deutsch

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This series of stories about girls creating apps is a great way to introduce girls and boys to coding and the fundamental values ​​of friendship and teamwork. One of the must-have STEM books for girls who are science and math minded.

15. Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabrette

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The book is a critically acclaimed film story, winner of the 2008 Caldecott Award, and the inspiration for the 2011 film Hugo. It tells the story of a young orphan working on the clocks of a Paris train station, only to discover the mystery of his late father.

16. Janice VanCleave Engineering for Every Child: Simple Activities to Make Learning Science Fun Janice VanCleave

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Become a great inventor at home! The book contains a variety of engineering labs for hands-on learning, each detailing the process, purpose, and more. These inventions can also be made by school children.

17. The Crimson Five by Jackie Yeager

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Kia Krumpet, a brilliant inventor in 2071, is competing in the Piedmont Challenge, where she must succeed to get a spot at a prestigious school. This is a great article to help students think about future inventions.

18. Ashlee Vance’s Elon Musk and the Quest for a Better Future (Young Reader Edition)

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Elon Musk is the name everyone talks about right now, and this story of perseverance is a great way to expose young learners to this 21st-century inventor.

19. Secret Coders series by Gene Luen Yang

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This witty picture book series is all about coding and keeps readers engaged. They have a chance to solve the problem on their own before getting an answer.

20. The Hidden Figures of Margot Lee Shetterly (Young Reader Edition)

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This critically acclaimed picture book details the true story of four African-American NASA mathematicians who helped put rockets (and astronauts!) into space. It’s also a great text for talking about difficult ideas like racism and sexism.

21. David Eckold wrote the book

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A twisted invention book; you can really make them! The pages of this book can be turned into eight machines, teaching children key engineering principles while doing so.

Middle School Engineering Books (ages 12-16)

22. Amazing Paper Airplanes: The Craft and Science of Flying by Kyong Hwa Lee

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Everyone loves airplanes, and now your students can create them for education! This wonderful book helps students understand the theory behind paper airplanes, their creation, discussions of models like inclined planes, and more.

23. The Codebook: The Secret Behind Code Cracking by Simon Singer

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Throughout history, cryptography (the study of creating and solving ciphers) has become an important part of society, and this book will ensure that students are nurtured in innovation by teaching them everything from Julius Caesar’s ciphers to the enigma machines used during the World Wars 2.

24. STEM Career; Enhancement Project by Wendy Conklin

STEM Careers: Augmentation Engineering (Time for Children's Nonfiction Readers) by: [Wendy Conklin]

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One of many STEM books that focus on topics while also developing literacy skills. It conforms to national standards.

25. Learn to program Majed Marji from scratch

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This book teaches your middle school students how to use the beginner’s programming software Scratch to explain the basic concepts of solving real-world problems.

26. A Guide for Young STEM Innovators: 5 Steps to Problem Solving for Students, Educators and Parents, Gitanjali Rao

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Received rave reviews from NBC and ABC. CBS, NPR, This article details a step-by-step process for identifying problems and developing solutions through STEM practices.

27. Always Use Protection: Dan Appleman’s Guide to Safe Computing for Teens

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Commuting safely can be a difficult idea to discuss, but this article does the opposite of most, enabling students to protect themselves online without any adult help.

28. Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 for Teens by Jerry Lee Ford Jr.

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This book allows students to transfer knowledge from texts about programming and robotics development into LEGO creations, encouraging more practical application.

29. Jerry Lee Ford Jr. Scratch 2.0 Programming for Teens.

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By teaching students how to develop their own interactive games, web programs, and more, this book is essential for laying the foundation for more challenging programming languages.

30. Jennifer Swanson’s amazing feats of electrical engineering

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Combining history and engineering, this book aligns with Common Core and National Standards to explore what it takes to be an engineer.

These are just a few of the great books to help spark a child’s passion for engineering.

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