Great Reads for the Girl Builder

While we don’t normally like to differentiate between girl books and boy books . . . or clothes, activities, or anything else for that matter, unfortunately the rest of the world hasn’t necessarily caught on.  So when there’s the opportunity to share something that might keep a child with a progressive personality from feeling like an outcast, we’re on it.

That’s not to say these picture books wouldn’t be great for the boy builder.  Strong, female heroines would do a bit of good for any child!  In fact, girl, boy, builder, or not – pick up one of these books (or all!) and inspire your kids with engineering goodness and great storytelling!

The Most Magnificent Thing

by Ashley Spires

Ever had a good idea but didn’t know how to execute it?  Maybe it came out less than perfect or worse, completely wrong!  Well, learning to deal with the disappointing results is what makes the difference between a great inventor/designer/engineer and someone with just a good idea.

The Most Magnificent Thing is a beautiful story about not giving up.  A little girl with no name is armed with a bunch of materials and an amazing idea.  But making a magnificent thing isn’t easy.  Every single attempt ends up in failure until finally a complete and utter meltdown is in order.  She quits.

Thankfully she just needs a long walk with her dog for newfound inspiration and a solution that just might work.  Perfect for budding engineers or inventors, the delightful story shows the importance of planning, sourcing materials, and building – not to mention perseverance.

Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor

by Emily Arnold McCully 

Does your little princess reject all that’s pink and sparkly, dreaming to own her very own toolbox instead?  Or perhaps you wish she would?  Spark the desire to invent with this kid-friendly biography of the first woman to ever receive a U.S. patent.

Mattie wasn’t like the other girls.  She had a sketchbook filled to the brim with inventions.  And with her father’s toolbox, she could make almost anything.  She made toys for her brother, foot warmers for her mom.  She even saved the lives of countless textile workers with a simple design for a safer loom.  That was when she was only 12 years old!

As an adult, she designed the square-bottom grocery bags we still use today.  But a man tried to steal her invention, saying that she “couldn’t possibly understand the mechanical complexities of the machine.”  While gender discrimination tried to hold her back, Mattie stood up in court and fought for her patents – as well as for all women across the country.

The invention may not be the sexiest out there but the determination of the inventor is perhaps unequaled.  Kids will love the illustrative sketches of some of Knight’s own creations throughout the book and they will start looking at everyday objects with heightened curiosity.  Best of all, they’ll gain an important lesson in standing up against all gender odds in this kid-friendly biography!

Rosie Revere, Engineer

by Andrea Beaty

Hot dog dispensers, helium pants, and python-repelling cheese hats!  Rosie Revere is a brilliant engineer.  She has gizmos and gadgets for all sorts of problems.  But she won’t ever let anyone see them.  She’s too afraid they’ll laugh.  She’s too afraid of failure.

Enter great-great-great Aunt Rose, aka Rosie the Riveter.  She’s built planes during WWII but still has yet to fly.  That’s just the creative spark little Rosie needs and she sets out to build a flying machine for her aunt.  It hovers then crashes.  Her great-great-great aunt laughs.  She’s failed!  Or has she?

Well, if you ask Aunt Rose, it was a raging success.  After all, you can only truly fail if you quit. 

Kids will pore over the whimsical illustrations overflowing with some of the wildest gadgets imaginable.  And the rhyming text makes for a great read aloud.  A wonderful inspirational story for any young builder!

Violet the Pilot

by Steve Breen

Sometimes real genius can have you feeling alienated from the crowd.  But sometimes, it can make you their hero.  That’s the case with Violet – a little girl who can fix just about any appliance in the house at the ripe old age of two.  She can also build incredible flying contraptions like the Bicycopter, the Tubbubbler, and the Wing-a-ma-jig – and fly!

So what’s the problem?  The town bullies, of course.  Maybe if Violet can just win the blue ribbon at the local air show, she’ll also be able to win everyone’s respect.  But Violet never makes it to the air show, despite all her hard work and her fabulous aircraft.  Instead, she stops along the way to save a troop of Boy Scouts, bullies included, and becomes the town’s unexpected heroine.

A fun story that deals with important issues like bullying, Violet the Pilot is sure to get your little one’s creative juices flowing.

What is your favorite inspirational heroine in a children’s book?  Share your top reads with us!

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Tags : picture books   girl power   

Nikki M
Just got our girl Cleonardo, The Little Inventor for Christmas! Another good one.