Use picture books to inspire the engineers of tomorrow! These engineering books for kids are all about the concept of engineering, which is about designing, planning, and building things. Whether your kids are building structures in the block center, creating towers, or constructing bridges, these age-appropriate books are sure to have an impact!
Related: Engineering Activities for Kids
Engineering Books for Kids
Below you’ll find a treasure trove of engineering book ideas for the kids. I broke them down into categories so you can have an easier time finding what you’re looking for: preschool, early elementary, biographies, and books focused on engineering projects kids can do.
Hopefully, these book suggestions will have you running to the local library (or bookstore) this week! I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Preschool Engineering Books
Let’s kick things off with engineering books for kids that are in preschool.
Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall – Young inventor Jabari tries to invent a flying machine. He goes through lots of relatable emotions as he tries, fails, and tries again to make his dream a reality!
Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams – Kondi wants to make a galimoto (a push toy), and he’s not deterred by his brother’s laughter over the idea. He spends the day collecting items to make his toy.
Awesome Dawson by Chris Gall – Dawson loves giving old things a new purpose in his secret workshop. He invents something to help with cleaning up and things go a bit awry in the process.
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires – A “regular girl” and her dog assistant set out to make the “most magnificent thing”, but things don’t go as she’d like them to at first.
Magnolia Mudd and the Super Jumptastic Launcher Deluxe by Katey Howes – Magnolia is a serious inventor, preferring nuts and bolts to dresses. So it’s her worst nightmare when she’s asked to be a flower girl in her uncle’s wedding! Can she invent a contraption to save the day?
Gus’s Garage by Leo Timmers – Gus has a pile of discarded bits and bobs in his garage that he uses to help his friends fix their things, he finds that he has just the items he needs.
Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen – Violet makes amazing flying machines, and has to deal with teasing from other kids. She has an adventure on the way to the air show, helping some people along the way.
If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen – Jack happily tells his family all about what he would do if he was in charge of making a car.
Mary Had a Little Lab by Sue Fliess – Young inventor Mary has no friends, so she makes herself a sheep friend! But things get out of hand when her sheep draws lots of friends and attention!
Goldilocks and the Three Engineers by Sue Fliess – Goldilocks is an inventor and the 3 bears are engineers. After the bears enter Goldilocks’ house and tinker with her designs, can they find a way to work together?
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems – Oh, we can’t forget to include this book! I always have a blast reading this one to the kids because of how interactive it is.
Books about Engineering for Early Elementary
Next, we have engineering books for kids who are in early elementary school, from kindergarten to about second grade.
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty – The great, great niece of Rosie the Riveter, Rosie is an engineer-to-be. This story tells the tale of Rosie’s adventures – and misadventures – when her great great aunt comes for a visit! Don’t miss the whole continuing series, starting with Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters.
What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada – This simple book explores the concept of an idea and how a person feels and acts when they have one. Follow a young boy as he has an idea and goes on to change the world!
The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier – A brilliant retelling of the story The Little Red Hen! Ruby is building a fort and asks her brothers for help, but no one pitches in. When the fort is done, they all want to play inside! Ruby decides to play by herself until her brothers find some creative ways to make it up to her.
Abby Invents Unbreakable Crayons by Dr. Arlyne Simon – Abby is frustrated that her crayons keep breaking. She uses her frustration to invent the world’s first unbreakable crayons! Don’t miss the second book in the series, Abby Invents The Foldibot by Dr. Arlyne Simon.
What’s My Superpower: Discovering Your Unique Talents by by Delanda Coleman, and Terrence Coleman – Deshaun comes from a family of superheroes but doesn’t seem to have any special abilities of his own. When he does what comes naturally (reading, math, and building), he builds a mighty robot that just might save the world!
Emma Ren Robot Engineer: Fun and Educational STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Book for Kids by Jenny Lu – Emma loves building things and is excited to build a robot for her class battle, but her partner doesn’t believe she can do it.
The following books help children learn about real-life engineers!
Rube Goldberg’s Simple Normal Humdrum School Day by Jennifer George – This clever book was written by Rube Goldberg’s granddaughter. Meet Rube as a young boy and see all the complicated contraptions he makes!
Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming – A sweet story based on the life of Lodner Phillips, who invented early submarines. Virena’s Papa is an inventor, but none of his inventions ever work. One day she muses, “have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a fish?” Papa dashes off to his workshop, and the rest is history!
A Computer Called Katherine by Suzanna Slade – Another great biography that inspires young girls to pursue STEM fields. It’s the story of Katherine Johnson, a human “computer” who joined NASA and used math to help put a man on the moon!
The Crayon Man by Natascha Biebow – A beautiful book that tells the story of the real inventor of crayons. Edwin Binney loved the vibrant colors of nature and was sad that children couldn’t draw in color. So he found a way to get those colors into children’s hands!
When Sparks Fly by Kristen Fulton – The story of Robert Goddard will inspire young kids to follow their own dreams! This book is an approachable biography of the father of US rocketry.
Engineering Projects for Kids
Now that you’ve read tons of books to the kids, it’s time to try out some hands-on engineering projects! These books will inspires some amazing creations, I’m sure!
Boxitects by Kim Smith – Young Meg loves building structures out of boxes, and she’s the best at it! But one day a new boxitect arrives. Find out what happens when the two are forced to work together! Then enjoy the age-appropriate projects at the back of the book.
Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding by Linda Liukas – An introductory coding book that requires no computer! Ruby and her puzzle-solving skills walk us through some foundational concepts. It’s half picture book, half activity book.
Awesome Engineering Activities for Kids by Christina Schul – Your kids will love these simple activities they can actually build themselves. It’s a great introduction to engineering projects and uses mostly supplies you already have around the house.
Awesome Construction Activities for Kids by Akyiaa Morrison – This construction activities book helps engage young minds in fun and educational activities. It can help prepare for a lifetime of STEM thinking!
Architecture for Kids: Skill-Building Activities for Future Architects by Mark Moreno – Explore how ideas and drawings become real buildings and learn how architects see the world from new perspectives.
How To Build A Bridge by Square Root of Squid Publishing – Learn how bridges are designed and actually build them with paper! It includes model pieces to build with.
More Engineering Ideas for Kids
If your students love all things planning, building, and creating, I have some ideas for you:
- Book of World Structures for the Block Center
- LEGO Engineering Challenges
- Castle Activities for Preschoolers
- Pumpkin STEM Challenge
- Design a Zoo
- Build a Rainbow
Done-for-You Preschool Resources
Let Preschool Teacher 101 make your planning a whole lot easier! We’ve created countless fully-developed preschool lesson plans and supplemental resources for teachers just like you.
Our STEM challenges bundle is the perfect compliment to these engineering books for kids! Or check out our robot lesson plans for another easy tie-in. Just click on the pictures below!