There has been a big push to introduce children to STEM or STEAM in the past 10 years or so, and the initiative is highly warranted. In 2008, a survey conducted by Harris Interactive showed a staggering 85 percent of children answered that they were not interested in a future engineering career. This means that becoming an engineer is not on kids' lists of dream jobs.
But there is good news! The survey also showed that 44% of the children surveyed were not interested in an engineering career because they just do not know about it. In the words of my six-year-old son Andrew, "An engineer? What's that?" There are a plethora of children's books and child friendly activities to educate and spark any child's interest in engineering.
Here are just a few books that can do the job! (Bonus ➡ Some of the books come with free extension activities!)
1. Think Like A Computer by Terysa Ridgeway
Looking for an engaging book to teach girls about Computer Science? This is it!
Eight-year-old Terysa loves to solve problems. Give her some time and she'll figure out how to solve anything.
So when Terysa is given an older computer for her birthday, she faces her biggest challenge yet:
Can she make it talk?
Terysa is full of good ideas, but will any of them work, or does she need to change her approach and think less like a human and think more like a computer?
This fun and interactive story introduces children to the basics of coding through an engaging narrative based on the true story of a little girl who loves to solve problems!
By the end of the book, parents and teachers will have a guide for nurturing early problem solving skills and encouraging healthy curiosity all while simultaneously introducing young girls to Computer Science.
2. What Can I Be? Stem Careers from A-Z by Tiffani Teachey
What Can I Be? STEM Careers from A to Z is an inspiring and easy-to-read alphabet picture book that teaches our next generation about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers. This book provides colorful illustrations of six diverse children representing various STEM careers (i.e. astronauts, doctors, scientists, and engineers, etc.), helping children (5 to 8 years old) see themselves in one of the STEM careers, and motivates them to shape their future through STEM!
Book also comes as a Teacher's Edition, and in multiple languages.
3. Andrew Learns about Engineers by Tiffany Obeng
Looking for a wonderfully engaging STEM children's book that will inspire STEM in your child? Andrew Learns about Engineers is it!
When Andrew imagines a new toy to help young kids beat boredom, Daddy congratulates him, "You're like an engineer, kid." So begins the fun and easy to read exploration of engineers and their impact on our daily lives and the world!
Andrew Learns about Engineers, the fourth book in the Andrew's Career Day book series, is a great book and beginner career resource to introduce young children to the career of an engineer. Complete with phonetic assistance, an easy reader glossary, and diverse and inclusive images and images of engineering pioneers (think Garrett Morgan, Mae Jemison, Katherine Johnson!), your child will begin thinking of a possible career as an engineer and be in awe of engineers. This is the book to inspire STEM!
Andrew Learns about Engineers shows how special and important being an engineer is, which makes it a must have book for National Engineers Week (E-week), World Engineering Day and any day that celebrates engineers' contributions to society and exposes children to the profession.
Want to take learning even further? Check out the book companion learning activities and supplemental lesson plans (for grades K, 1, and 2) at the Sugar Cookie Books Teachers Pay Teachers store, here!
Check out Andrew Learns about Actors, Andrew Learns about Teachers, and Andrew Learns about Lawyers to complete your career day collection!
4. Have You Thanked an Inventor Today? by Patrice McClaurin
Have You Thanked an Inventor Today? is a journey into the often forgotten contributions of African-American inventors, that contributed to the American landscape. It chronicles the school day of a little boy, highlighting different inventions that he uses throughout the day, all of which were invented by African-Americans. The book comes complete with brief biographies about each inventor as well as fun activities to promote and encourage reading comprehension. "Have You Thanked an Inventor Today?" was selected by Microsoft as a book that inspires STEM and also received a 5 Star Rating from Reader's Favorite!
5. Girls Can Be Engineers by Jamila H. Lindo
Are you looking for an empowering book for girls?
How about a book to remind both girls AND boys that gender does not matter?
Girls Can Be Engineers stars a young girl named Hannah who is in search of a career for her school's upcoming Career Day. Each time she chooses a career, such as a veterinarian, pilot, and archeologist, she becomes discouraged because her chosen careers seem to be only for boys. With the help of her mother, a structural engineer, she learns she can do anything despite her gender.
Did you know women of color earn the smallest share of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) degrees?
It is important to address the absence of women of color in STEM by beginning with early childhood experiences and children's literature. The stereotype that STEM fields are reserved for men only prevents girls, especially those of color, to see themselves in the position of a STEM professional. In the book, "Girls Can Be Engineers,” young readers can picture themselves in various careers through the eyes of Hannah, a Black / African American girl.
Girls Can Be Engineers is a beautifully illustrated children’s book created to encourage girls to explore male-dominated fields, including Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM), and to remind boys and girls they can pursue each one of their dreams. The book is written by Jamila H. Lindo, a civil engineer of Jamaican Sephardic background.
Girls Can Be Engineers makes the perfect gift for girls and boys of all races and ages!
All books are available on Amazon. Have you read any of these books? Do you have any books to recommend? Let us know in the comments!
STEM inspired, book inspired crafts anyone? Get crafty with Andrew Learns about Engineers book inspired easy-to-make crafts, color changing traffic light AND roller coasters, YouTube video tutorials here.