Basic resources—and professional development—for teachers and librarians interested in the maker movement are readily available. Maker Ed offers its own resource library as does ALA via its Make It @ Your Library partnership with Instructables. In addition, both Follett and Mackin (via its Mackin Maker website), the major distributors of materials and technology for K-12 students, offer age-appropriate bundles, starter kits, books, products, and webinars on making.
For those looking to add books to their maker library, here we highlight publishers’ most recent maker movement-related titles.
Ada Lace, Take Me to Your Leader by Emily Calandrelli with Tamson Weston, illus. by Renee Kurilla (S&S), is the third illustrated novel in the Ada Lace Adventures series starring an eight-year-old girl who has a passion and facility for science, math, and solving mysteries using technology. Ages 6–10.
Adventures in Makerspace by Blake Hoena and Shannon McClintock Miller, illus. by Alan Brown (Capstone, Aug.; Jan. 2019). In this graphic novel series, four friends embark on various problem-solving missions with help from the library makerspace and their librarian Ms. Gillian. Each title includes free access to a book-related activity and Capstone 4D, the publisher’s free augmented reality app. Ages 8–11.
Awesome STEM Science Experiments (Skyhorse/Racehorse) includes more than 50 experiments accompanied by step-by-step instructions and photos. Ages 7–12.
The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reefs by Kate Messner, illus. by Matthew Forsythe (Chronicle), explores the efforts of Ken Nedimyer, founder of the Coral Restoration Foundation, to save and rebuild the world’s disappearing coral reefs. Ages 6–9.
Cardboard Box Creations by Laura Baker (Lonely Planet Kids) serves up instructions for 20 travel-themed objects and famous landmarks. A starter kit of cardboard sheets with template guides is included. Ages 6–8.
Code This Game by Meg Ray (Macmillan/Odd Dot, Aug. 2019) teaches readers how to build a strategy action game, then modify it to make it their own. Ages 10–14.
Coding Games from Scratch: 4D an Augmented Reading Experience by Rachel Ziter (Capstone). This entry in the Code It Yourself 4D series teaches coding basics using Scratch programming. A free download of the Capstone 4D augmented reality app includes tips, bonus projects, and video tutorials. Ages 8–10.
Curious Constructions: A Peculiar Portfolio of Fifty Fascinating Structures by Michael Hearst, illus. by Matt Johnstone (Chronicle, 2017), profiles such human-made structures as a life-size X-Wing Fighter made of Legos and a treehouse community in Costa Rica. Ages 9–12.
Cyrus Field’s Big Dream: The Daring Effort to Lay the First Transatlantic Cable by Mary Morton Cowan (Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek) explores Field’s role in the 19th-century engineering feat that created instant communication between two continents and paved the way for today’s electronic communications. Ages 10–14.
Disney Coding Adventures (Lerner) is a no-tech coding series featuring activities that teach coding concepts using favorite Disney characters and stories. Sample titles include Conditionals with Incredibles 2 by Allyssa Loya and Looping with Finding Dory by Allysson Loya. Ages 6–9.
DIY Pet Shop by Martha Maker, illus. by Xindi Yan (S&S/Little Simon), is the newest Craftily Ever After title which showcases four eight-year-old girls who pool their creative talents to create things together. Ages 5–9.
The Dreamer by Il Sung Na (Chronicle). A pig who dreams of flying like a bird plans and builds contraptions using trial and error to achieve his goals.
Emma and Muse by Nancy Lemon (Albert Whitman). Accomplished artist Emma draws inspiration from her favorite model—her beloved dog Muse. But when Muse tries to add his flair to one of Emma’s creations, things go off the rails. Ages 4–8.
Explore Makerspace!: With 25 Great Projects by Alicia Z. Klepeis, illus. by Matt Aucoin (Nomad, 2017), encourages readers to think proactively and participate in the trial-and-error processes that lead to new discoveries and inventions. Ages 7–10.
Green STEAM (Lerner). The six inaugural titles in this series show readers how to fashion crafts by using (or reusing) readily available, recycled materials. In Earth Friendly Crafts by Veronica Thompson, for example, a recycled jar becomes a retro bird feeder. A QR code links readers to additional how-to photos. Ages 8–11.
How Airports Work by Clive Gifford, illus. by James Gulliver Hancock (Lonely Planet Kids). This lift-the-flap book provides readers with a behind-the-scenes look at all the activities at the airport and includes a history of airports and a peek inside the control tower, the baggage system, and the cockpit of a plane. Ages 6–8.
How to Build a Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville, illus. by Giselle Potter (S&S/Atheneum), presents the story of how, in her childhood, autism advocate Temple Grandin expanded her love of inventing and designing to create a hugging machine that suited her needs, inspired by the cattle squeezes used by ranchers to calm young cows. Ages 4–8.
Innovators: The Stories Behind the People Who Shaped the World with 25 Projects by Marcia Amidon Lusted, illus. by Tom Casteel (Nomad, 2017), introduces some lesser-known inventors who created new products or improved upon existing ones. Includes such projects as sending Morse Code messages and making homemade Silly Putty. Ages 9–12.
The Invention Hunters Discover How Electricity Works by Korwin Briggs (Little, Brown, July 2019). This title launches a series that its publisher describes as “The Magic School Bus meets The Way Things Work,” featuring “humorous nuts and bolts introductions” to STEM topics. Ages 4–8.
Kids Cooking by George Ancona (Candlewick) features photographs of kids preparing recipes from around the globe, step by step, as they also learn where the ingredients come from. Companion titles include It’s Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden. Ages 9–12.
The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier, illus. by Sonia Sánchez (Scholastic), is a feminist-flavored adaptation of “The Little Red Hen,” in which Ruby can’t get any takers to help her build a fort, but then everyone wants to play in her cool creation. Ages 4–8.
Look I’m an Engineer (DK) is an activity book that encourages preschoolers to use their senses to navigate through step-by-step, hands-on STEM activities. Ages 3–6.
Made by Hand series by Patricia Lakin (S&S/Aladdin, Dec.). These books give readers a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process of carefully crafting objects by hand. The latest entry is Steel Drums, featuring drum craftsman Glenn Rowsey.
Maker Comics: Fix a Car! by Chris Schweizer and Maker Comics: Bake Like a Pro! by Fallyn Koch (First Second, Feb. 2019) kick off the Maker Comics series of graphic novel DIY guides. These books contain illustrated instructions for 10 car repair activities and eight tasty treats, respectively.
Maker Lab: Outdoors by Jack Challoner (DK) presents 25 projects and experiments to do outside that focus on Earth and the environment, weather, plants, animals, and physics. Ages 8–12.
Makers Make It Work series (Kane Press). STEM-based stories for easy readers spotlight hands-on action, creative problem solving, and an activity for readers to try. Launch titles include Robot to the Rescue by Kay Lawrence, illus. by Sergio de Georgi. Ages 5–8.
Mary Had a Little Lab by Sue Fliess, illus. by Petros Bouloubasis (Albert Whitman). Young inventor Mary creates her very own pet with a device she calls the Sheepinator. Ages 4–8.
Mason Jar Science: 40 Slimy, Squishy, Super-Cool Experiments by Jonathan Adolph (Storey). With a jar and ordinary household items, kids can make everything from a lava lamp to a compass to miniature clouds. Ages 8–up.
Max Einstein: The Genius Experiment by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, illus. by Beverly Johnson (Little, Brown/Patterson). This series starter, approved by the Albert Einstein Archives, introduces 12-year-old homeless girl genius Max Einstein who idolizes—and emulates—Albert Einstein. Adventure takes hold when Max is kidnapped by a mysterious corporation and later lands a position at the Change Makers Institute trying to solve the world’s pressing problems with science. Ages 9–12.
Melia and Jo by Billy Aronson, illus. by Jennifer Oxley (HMH). Science aficionado and tinkerer Melia initially clashes with her artistically inclined new neighbor Jo until the pair find common ground via one of Melia’s inventions. Backmatter includes instructions for how to make a paper airplane, and offers notes about STEM and STEAM. Ages 5–8.
Min Makes a Machine by Emily Arnold McCully (Holiday House). On a very hot day, spirited young elephant Min impresses cranky older elephants when she figures out how to create a cooling pool using water from a well and an apparatus akin to an Archimedes Screw. Ages 4–8.
Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain by Cheryl Bardoe, illus. by Barbara McClintock (Little, Brown), introduces a girl in 18th-century French girl who adores studying math and persists in her pursuit of it until she becomes the first woman to win the prestigious grand prize from the Paris Academy of Sciences for her work in elasticity theory. Ages 4–8.
Say Zoop by Hervé Tullet (Chronicle/Handprint, 2017) is a participatory book encouraging readers to use their imaginations and interact with the sounds, shapes, and colors in its pages. Ages 4–6.
Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating, illus. by Marta Alvarez Miguens, is a picture book biography of a woman who devoted her life to studying sharks. Ages 4–8. (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2017)
STEAM in a Jar by Garth Sundem (Free Spirit). A plastic jar comes packaged with 101 cards that provide prompts for DIY activities, inspiring quotes, trivia, and relevant facts. Ages 11–up. Companion titles include Creative Thinking in a Jar (ages 6–12) and Imagination Boosters in a Jar by Ann Saylor and Susan Ragsdale (ages 10–15).
The Sun Is Kind of a Big Deal by Nick Seluk (Scholastic/Orchard) employs comic-style art, sidebars, and anthropomorphic planets to deliver facts about all the hugely important work the sun does in our universe. Ages 4–8.
TinkerActive workbook series (Macmillan/Odd Dot, May 2019). These books combine traditional curriculum-based exercises with hands-on tinkering, making, and engineering projects. The first titles—part of the launch of the Odd Dot imprint—include math and science workbooks for grades K–2. Ages 4–8.
Turn This Book into a Beehive!: And 19 Other Experiments and Activities That Explore the Amazing World of Bees by Lynn Brunelle (Workman) contains information about different bees and their behaviors and detailed instructions for turning the pages and cover of this book into a home for backyard bees. Ages 8–12.
The Turtle Ship by Helena Ku Rhee, illus. by Colleen Kong-Savage (Lee & Low/Shen’s Books). With his creation made from a few found items, young Sun-sin enters the king’s contest soliciting the best design for a battleship. Ages 6–9.
Unofficial STEM Challenges for Minecrafters: Grades 3-4, illus. by Amanda Brack (Skyhorse/Sky Pony), is a problem-solving workbook that challenges gamers to crack codes and engineer solutions. Ages 8–10.
Where Did My Clothes Come From? by Chris Butterworth, illus. by Lucia Gaggiotti (Candlewick, 2017), takes readers on a visit to farms, factories, and forests all over the world to discover facts about the origin of the clothes we wear. Similar titles in the authors’ Exploring the Everyday series include How Does My Home Work? Ages 5–8.
With My Hands: Poems About Making Things by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illus. by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson (HMH/Clarion), offers more than 24 poems that celebrate the joy of crafting things by hand. Examples include baking cookies, building a snowman, and making a piñata. Ages 4–10.