9 books that will inspire your kids to build, invent, and engineer
Toys that purport to teach STEM skills are all the rage, but plopping a box in front of a kid is just as likely to teach them how to lose a bunch of toy pieces as it is to get them building anything.
If you really want to encourage a builder’s mindset, start with books, where you control the message.
It may not guarantee that they get straight As in physics or finally design hoverboards, but it will ensure that when the subject arises they can say, “I read a book (or 9) about that once.”
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“The Invention Of Hugo Cabret”
This moving, cinematic story of a thieving orphan who tends the clocks in a Paris train station and unlocks the mystery his deceased father leaves behind won the 2008 Caldecott Medal, but it sounds familiar to you because it inspired Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning 2011 film, Hugo.
So you can introduce your kid to engineering and prestige filmmaking in one shot, without forcing them to sit through 3-plus hours of Jack Nicholson attempting a Boston accent.
“The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick ($ 14)
“Rosie Revere, Engineer”
The Godmother of maker women was World War 2’s Rosie “We Can Do It!” The Riveter, whom the title character of this book is lucky enough to have as a great-great aunt.
Rosie (the younger) is too shy to talk about her passion for inventing, but is motivated by a timely visit from Rosie (the elder) to pursue her dreams, attempt to build a flying machine, and start wearing a polka-dotted scarf around her head.
“Rosie Revere, Engineer” by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts ($ 11)
“Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became An Inventor”
Check that — Rosie has some company in the lesser known Knight, aka “The Lady Edison,” whose story reads like a real-life Rosie Revere. As a child she built her mother a foot warmer. At 12 she designed safer looms that saved textile workers’ lives.
After that went uncredited, she continued inventing as an adult and fought to become the first woman ever granted a U.S. patent. The only thing she didn’t do was get herself on an iconic World War 2 marketing campaign.
“Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became An Inventor” by Emily Arnold McCully ($ 14)
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