Getting that first exposure to science and engineering early is one of the proven factors for encouraging young people to later pursue STEM fields. Adafruit has taken up this cause — and offers a number of new books selected to spark the imagination of young engineers. Special thanks to Betsy Bird, New York Public Library’s Youth Materials Specialist, who got back to me almost instantly with a list of top recommended books for young engineers making rounds in the New York Library system. (And check out her children’s literature blog called A Fuse #8 Production, one of the go-to resources for her field.)
Books Available Now at Adafruit for Young Engineers!
Coloring book – “Ladyada’s E is for electronics”: A coloring book adventure with electronic components and their inventors. Makers of all ages can learn, color, and share common parts and historical figures throughout history. Explore the world of electronics with Ladyada as your guide!
Here’s an excerpt:
“A diode lets electrons flow in only one direction. It works like a switch: when current is flowing one way, the switch is on, but when current tries to flow the other way, the switch turns off. Sir John Ambrose Fleming is best known for inventing the diode, originally called the kenotron.”
My Little Geek by Andrew & Sarah Spear: Imagine the joy of hearing your young one chatting away about holographic ninja or time-traveling joysticks. From Android to Zombie, this educational book will entertain children and parents alike. Suitable for children & l33t hackers 0-5+ (read more)
Welcome to your Awesome Robot by Viviane Schwarz: This is a early-learning activity book for Young Makers (sug. 5-7 years) with some cut-out/popsicle-stick/glue/rubber-band type projects. No electronics and soldering so its very simple and safe. We think it’s an adorable introduction to having robot friends. This is a large format, 32 page book with many big pictures and diagrams.
From the publisher:
Build your very own awesome automaton step by step from a base unit to the towering, terrifying, tremor-triggering robot of your dreams. This book provides everything you need to create a robot costume from objects you’d normally just throw out and have a fun day in! Designed to be enjoyed by children with an adult on hand – this book provides perfect material for a fun family activity day or a kids’ workshop. Viviane Schwarz has illustrated hilarious comics throughout the book to explain the blueprint instruction pages, so this is just as much a story as it is an activity book.
Goldie Blox and the Spinning Machine: Goldie Blox is a fun combination of storybook and engineering. Follow the leading lady, Goldie, in her quest to solve problems with engineering skills! In Goldie’s debut story, she decides to build a spinning machine to help her dog, Nacho, chase his tail. Soon, the whole gang wants in on the action. Help Goldie build a belt drive to spin everybody! Its a great introduction to mechanics and the joy of basic robotics for children and curious learners.
Age range: 6+ (read more)
Python for Kids – A Playful Introduction to Programming by Jason Briggs: Python is a powerful, expressive programming language that’s easy to learn and fun to use! But books about learning to program in Python can be kind of dull, gray, and boring, and that’s no fun for anyone. Featuring original artwork by Miran Lipovača. Python for Kids brings Python to life and brings you (and your parents) into the world of programming. The ever-patient Jason R. Briggs will guide you through the basics as you experiment with unique (and often hilarious) example programs that feature ravenous monsters, secret agents, thieving ravens, and more. New terms are defined; code is colored, dissected, and explained; and quirky, full-color illustrations keep things on the lighter side. (read more)
Super Scratch Programming Adventure!: Scratch is the wildly popular educational programming language used by millions of first-time learners in classrooms and homes worldwide. By dragging together colorful blocks of code, kids can learn computer programming concepts and make cool games and animations. The latest version, Scratch 2, brings the language right into your web browser, with no need to download software. In Super Scratch Programming Adventure!, kids learn programming fundamentals as they make their very own playable video games. They’ll create projects inspired by classic arcade games that can be programmed (and played!) in an afternoon. Patient, step-by-step explanations of the code and fun programming challenges will have kids creating their own games in no time. (read more)
More Great Books for Young Engineers from Beyond Adafruit!
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts (Abrams Books for Young Readers). Betsy: “I can’t even tell you how enormously popular this picture book is in my system. It’s a little crazy.”
A beautifully-illustrated tale of a girl and her dream to become a great engineer. Where some people see rubbish, Rosie Revere sees inspiration. Alone in her room at night, shy Rosie constructs great inventions from odds and ends. Hot dog dispensers, helium pants, python-repelling cheese hats. Rosie’s gizmos would astound—if she ever let anyone see them. Afraid of failure, she hides them away under her bed. Until a fateful visit from her great-great-aunt Rose, who shows her that a first flop isn’t something to fear—it’s something to celebrate.
Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen. Note from Betsy: “Another female Maker (got a lot of those in children’s books, it seems) and a great one.”
By the time she’s two years old, Violet Van Winkle can fix nearly any appliance in the house. And by eight she’s building elaborate flying machines from scratch—mind-boggling contraptions such as the Tubbubbler, the Bicycopter, and the Wing-a-ma-jig. The kids at school tease her, but they have no idea what she’s capable of. Maybe she could earn their respect by winning the blue ribbon in the upcoming Air Show. Or maybe something even better will happen—something involving her best ever invention, a Boy Scout troop in peril, and even the mayor himself!
Awesome Dawson by Chris Gall (Little, Brown, and Co.):
EVERYTHING CAN BE USED AGAIN! That’s Dawson’s motto. He collects junk that people throw away and turns it into something STUPENDOUS. But when Dawson uses his skills to create a machine to do his chores for him, he discovers he might have invented something a little too… AWESOME. Can he stop the rampaging robot before it destroys the entire town?
Chris Gall inspires kids to reuse, repurpose, and recycle in this inventive adventure about a boy superhero who turns trash into treasures–and saves the world while he’s at it!
The Secret Science Alliance by Eleanor Davis: A graphic novel following the adventures of three kid inventors and all the wacky stuff they make.
Super-smart Julian Calendar thinks starting junior high at a new school will mean he can shed his nerdy image–but then he meets Ben and Greta, two secret scientists like himself! The three form a secret club, complete with a high-tech lair. There, they can work to their hearts content on projects like the Stink-O-Meter, the Kablovsky Copter, and the Nightsneak Goggles.
All that tinkering comes in handy when the trio discovers an evil scientist’s dastardly plan to rob a museum. Can three inventors, armed with their wacky creations, hope to defeat this criminal mastermind?
Howtoons: The Possibilities are Endless by Saul Griffiths – The ultimate do-it-yourself book done in a comic book format. If you’ve ever wanted to make a marshmallow gun, now’s the time. (read more)
Here are your 2013 shipping deadlines for ordering from Adafruit. Please review our shipping section if you have specific questions on how and where we ship worldwide for this holiday season.
UPS ground (USA orders): Place orders by Friday 11am ET – December 13, 2013 – There is no guarantee that UPS Ground packages will arrive in time for Christmas.
UPS 3-day (USA orders): Place orders by Thursday 11am ET – December 19, 2013 – Arrive on 12/24/2013.
UPS 2-day (USA orders): Place orders by Friday 11am ET – December 20, 2013 – Arrive on 12/24/2013.
UPS overnight (USA orders): Place orders by Monday 11am ET – December 23, 2013 – Arrive on 12/24/2013.
UPS International: Place orders by Monday 11am ET – December 16, 2013. Can take up extra time due to worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2013 or sooner.
Please note: We do not offer Saturday service for UPS.
Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013, Christmas, no UPS pickup or delivery service.
Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, New Year’s Day, no UPS pickup or delivery service.
United States Postal Service, First Class and Priority (USA orders): Place orders by Friday – December 13, 2013 – Arrive by 12/24/2013 or sooner.
USPS First class mail international (International orders): Place orders by Friday – November 22, 2013. Can take up to 30 days ore more with worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2013 or sooner, but not a trackable service cannot be guaranteed to arrive by 12/24/13.
USPS Express mail international(International orders): Place orders by Friday – December 13, 2013. Can take up to 15 days or more with worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2013 or sooner.
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