Children's Bookshelf - April 2016
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Engineers and Builders
By Pat Pierce

With the focus on a stronger STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum in the schools, books celebrating the genius and creativity of building and creating have flooded the market. There has been a huge rise in both fiction and nonfiction books with beautiful, kid-friendly pictures and simple, understandable text that tell us about builders, buildings and engineers — both well-known and the largely unknown. Here are some fascinating titles to look for in your local library.

We all know who the best woodland builders are — beavers! In A House in the Woods written and illustrated by Inga Moore, the four friends, Moose, Bear and the two Little Pigs decide to build a big house where they could all live together. Naturally, they hire the Beaver Team to build it. From felling the timber to building
the chimney, we watch as the house is built and the friends move in. What a cozy story!

A great book to read on Earth Day is Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts. Rosie uses trash and recyclable items to create and invent gadgets and gizmos we didn’t even know we needed. But, when her heli-o-cheese-copter falls to the ground, Rosie believes she is a failure. You’ll never guess who builds Rosie back up and helps her to try again.

What kid wouldn’t love to spend their time and creativity in the Invent-o-Drome! In Marveltown by Bruce McCall, creative kids and tech savvy adults, living in a town that’s a marvel of inventions, find themselves overcome by marauding robots. The kids’ inventions manage to save the day and build towards a friendlier future!

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel by Kathryn Gibbs Davis and illustrated by Gilbert Ford, tells the amazing story of the invention of the Ferris Wheel by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. In an effort to amaze the world during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Ferris built an enormous perfect circle: 834 feet in circumference and rising 265 feet above the ground. Few believed it could safely turn without falling down. It took George Ferris’ perseverance and engineering brilliance to awe the world!

The Empire State Building was the tallest skyscraper in the world from 1931 until the completion of the North Tower of the World Trade Center in 1970. Two recent books detail the challenges and excitement of building the Empire State Building. You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Skyscraper Builder! A Hazardous Job You’d Rather Not Take by John Malam and illustrated by David Antram is a fact-filled, humorous account of the dangers of working on the structure. Text boxes surround the colorful illustrations to point out the timeline and various statistics of the building process. Witty “Handy Hints” on each spread and a light-hearted tone make the book enjoyable to even the most reluctant reader.

Presenting the same subject matter in a different format is Building the Empire State Building: An Interactive Engineering Adventure by Allison Lassieur. In this book, there are three main characters you can choose to follow: an architect working for the firm designing the building, a construction worker, or a water boy assisting the construction workers. You choose the actions of your character and his ending, as you read along. Real events and actual photographs follow the reader from one scenario to another as the building goes up. When you finish one story go back to the beginning to choose another adventure. What a fun series!

Events at the Lucy Robbins Welles Library
There are opportunities at every public library to indulge a child’s creativity and curiosity — from Makerspaces to programs that use LEGO® bricks, to board games, to Chess Clubs and the ever popular Cooking Clubs. At the Lucy Robbins Welles Library in Newington, we are lucky enough to offer these children’s programs and more! Our teen and adult programs will also capture your interest and need to learn with tech classes, health workshops, craft sessions and our famous Made in Connecticut series featuring companies making products right here in Connecticut. Check them out on our website or stop in and pick up a newsletter!

The Lucy Robbins Welles Library is located at 95 Cedar Street. For more information, call 860-665-8783 or visit

Pat Pierce is Head of Children’s Services at the Lucy Robbins Welles Library.





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