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Books About Design Technology (DT) and Engineering

Best Children’s Books About Design Technology (DT) and Engineering

Inspire young readers to innovate and create with this list of the best children’s books about STEM, Design Technology and Engineering.

Curious minds will find answers to questions like What’s Technology?, How Was That Built? and How Do Bridges Work? among the featured titles, which explore the big ideas behind everything from a spacesuit to a racing car.

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Non-Fiction Books about DT, Engineering and STEM

Dr. Shini Somara
 & Manual Sumberac,Adam Allsuch Boardman

Beginning with an introduction from the author, Dr Shini Somara, she explains how she was inspired to become an engineer and wants to inspire others to do the same. The information on types of engineers and how to become an engineer is really interesting – I didn’t realise how many types of engineers there were!

The book is then split into different sections depending on the purpose of the engineering. Everything from human needs to communication and entertainment is covered. Within the sections, we meet several engineers and find out all about why and how they became engineers, as well as what they have achieved. There are photos of the engineers as well as diagrams and illustrations to help you understand their inventions and work. There are also QR codes linking to YouTube videos for some of the engineers, and a comprehensive teacher guide available to download.

After learning about the 46 engineers, there is an illustrated timeline of engineering and a useful glossary of terms used in the book. I think this is an unusual and informative book suitable for UKS2 children and older, although extracts from the book could be used with younger children if supported. I will be using this book with my Y6 class to support our learning about climate change, as well as many other things, I’m sure!

Roman Belyaev
Why were bridges invented? What did the first bridges look like? How do they stay up and why are there so many different designs? From architecture to engineering (and other STEM subjects!), scale new heights on an enchanting journey with the school children in this book to discover answers to these questions along with other fascinating facts about bridges and how they work. Written and illustrated by Kate Greenaway Medal nominee and STEAM Children’s Book prize winner, Roman Belyaev.
Roma Agrawal
 & Katie Hickey
Join Roma Agrawal, the award-winning structural engineer who worked on The Shard, for an exciting behind-the-scenes look at some of the world's most amazing landmarks. Meet the extraordinary people who challenged our beliefs about what's possible, pioneering remarkable inventions that helped build the Brooklyn Bridge in the US, the Pantheon in Italy, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the Shard in England and the Sapporo Dome in Japan. Discover the ingenious methods engineers have come up with to enable us to build underground, underwater, on ice and even in space. And learn about the impact different forces and materials can have on a structure by carrying out your own engineering experiments from the 'Try it at Home' sections. Beautiful and detailed illustrations by Katie Hickey, including cross-sections, skylines and close-ups of engineering techniques in action, provide unique and illuminating perspectives of our most awe-inspiring constructions. Get ready to see the built world around you like never before!
Peter Goes
A visual history of the inventions, discoveries and technology that have shaped our world.In his signature playful style, Peter Goes brings together breakthroughs in science, IT, entertainment, medicine and everyday life. He shows us the earliest flute alongside tools and weapons, takes us from candle clocks to drones, from spectacles to genetic modification, from the toothpaste of Ancient Egypt to the clones of the future.These cross-sections of history highlight human ingenuity and hope, from the Stone Age to the world of tomorrow.
Dr Frances Durkin
 & The Boy Fitz Hammond

What’s Technology is a visually appealing and interesting non-fiction text with information which is bang up to date such as AI technology, detailing 13 major inventions that changed the world.

The text is well laid out and easy to access in bite-size chunks and includes fun facts, timelines and steps to take learning further. Each section includes fabulous cartoon-style illustrations as well as more accurate diagrams and drawings. Information is easy to find with a clear contents page, glossary and a page giving children ideas on how to take what they have learnt in the book further. The vocabulary and information are most suited for Key Stage Two pupils and could support STEM aspects of the curriculum, as well as some history topics. Timelines include a level of diversity, including women in STEM.

Picturebooks about DT, Engineering and STEM

Dr Shini Somara
 & Nadja Sarell
Inventive illustrations and an empowering story combine to introduce young readers to the world of engineering, creative thinking and problem-solving.Zara is curious about everything! Travelling around the city with her gran, she sees all kinds of fascinating things. How do roller coasters do loop-the-loops? How do planes stay up? As she marvels about how they work, Zara learns about some of the brilliant engineers who have shaped the world around her. Soon she can't wait to start creating her own amazing inventions and become an engineer too!With pages encouraging kids to try out their very own engineering experiments such as constructing the perfect paper aeroplane and safely dropping an egg from a height, this brilliant picture book written by engineer and TV presenter Dr Shini Somara unlocks a love of engineering and celebrates women in STEM.
Robin Jacobs
 & Nik Neves

The Mellons are a family of five who live in a small flat and have had enough of not having enough space so decide that they need a bigger family home. They look around some different houses but none of them are quite right so they decide to build their own house. Each family member has a request for something that the new home should have: a study, a big kitchen and even a pool. With the help of architect Masha, they set off creating their dream home, but with a bigger picture in mind – their impact on the environment.

This book follows the journey of designing and building a new house and how this can be done in a more ecological way thinking about each step and its impact on the environment – making it stand out from the array of books about more traditional houses and homes. A range of tradespeople are introduced, who are represented by a range of men and women. At each step, the green way is discussed and how this is better for the environment than the traditional building method – for example using solar panels and a green roof. Every aspect of the building process is examined and made more friendly for the planet.

The book was enjoyable to discover and included interesting facts and lots of technical vocabulary – with enough science to capture older children as well as younger primary pupils who will enjoy the visual information and narrative frame. New topic words are either explained in the text or included in the glossary at the back.

Leo Timmers

Elephant Island is a peculiar tale!  At the heart of the book is the theme of community. When Elephant’s ship capsizes, he has to resort to inventiveness to fix it. Children will love his quirky approach to problem-solving solving and wild engineering attempts, and the illustrations will be pored over as, with each look, there is something new to spot. Arnold the elephant has a very positive outlook on life and no matter what, he believes that he can fix things. His perseverance and determination result in a home for all where everyone is welcome.

Seemingly aimed at a younger audience but really well suited to the whole primary range, this picture book makes references to The Rime of the Ancient Mariner poem with the line “Alone, alone, all all alone, Alone on a wide wide sea!” The vocabulary used within the story is ambitious ‘salvage’, ‘seafaring’, ‘catastrophic’ and ‘expanding’ for example and so this will lend itself to discussion about the meaning of new words. For these reasons, it is a picture book that would be better placed in an older classroom or, if to be shared with younger children, to be read alongside an adult.

Readers will laugh at Arnold’s unusual approaches to fixing problems – his solutions are never the easy, obvious ones! The pictures contain things to find, things to count and each character is full of expression. This is a great book for sharing and for chatting about. Children will delight in Arnold’s creative contraptions and Leo Timmers’ detailed illustrations.

Gaia Cornwall

A gorgeous story book for younger children with themes of perseverance and learning not to give up, as well as STEM and engineering. Jabari wishes to make a flying machine that can really soar through the air in the garden. Just like many of the best inventions, it doesn’t work properly on the first attempt and a little trial and error is needed to tweak the design. Jabari is disappointed, but with a bit of encouragement from his family to keep on trying, he soon begins to see success.

Young children will be able to relate to the frustration of models and designs not working properly and the challenge of not giving up. Jabari’s father and sister offer fantastic encouragement and we also see familiar family dynamics as Jabari is not sure that he wants to include his sister in his game, but the teamwork pays off in the end. Jabari becomes a good role model when he adapts the attitude to keep trying to reach his goal, and readers celebrate with him when his success is the fruit of his tenacity.

The book could inspire some STEM-themed projects, research into some of the scientific figures mentioned to simply discussions on the topic of perseverance.

Andrea Beaty
 & David Roberts

We love this story featuring a girl called Rosie who has a passion for inventing and a dream of becoming a famous engineer. Along the way Rosie must learn how to respond to mistakes. When one of her inventions crashes to the ground, Rosie must choose between giving up on her dreams or listening to her Great-Great-Aunt’s wise advice about embracing mistakes positively and using them to learn something new.

Alison Donald
 & Ariel Landy

This picture book was inspired by Eleanor ‘Ellie’ Foraker, a talented seamstress who created the spacesuit worn during the memorable Apollo 11 1969 Moon Landing. There is a lovely dedication to her on the very first page, and as you read through, it is clear to see what an inspirational woman Ellie Foraker really was.

From a young girl, Ellie enjoyed sewing and creating items with neatness and detail. As an adult, a passing engineer who noticed Ellie’s talents encouraged her to go up against military designers in a Space Competition with the opportunity to create a spacesuit worthy for a moon expedition. With the help of other seamstresses, Ellie and her group of women would help to change the world of exploration forever.

This book not only has beautiful, bright illustrations created by Ariel Landy, which really bring the story to life, but it also contains interesting facts about space and the moon landing that will hook younger and older readers and guarantee lots of discussions around the subject. It also has a glossary of key terminology and a QR code if any reader – or teacher – wanted to access more facts. What a great touch!

Roger McGough
 & Chris Riddell
From the minds of the former Children's Laureate Chris Ridell, and award-winning fellow of the Royal Society of Literature Roger McGough, comes a fun-filled book about how things work. Have you ever wondered how a toaster works? Or a fridge-freezer, or a washing-up machine? In this fun-filled book of how things work, Dudley, the techno-wizard dog, provides the answers. Roger McGough's delightfully ingenious text and Chris Riddell's striking illustrations take children from the furthest realms of fantasy into the fascinating world of technology to discover the workings of familiar machines, making it an exciting book which will delight again and again. At first, it describes how a child thinks things work... (gnomes in the toaster) and then Dudley tells you how the various household appliances really work. Includes all the appliances a curious child would be interested in: the dishwasher, the fridge-freezer and more.

Children's Books about Inventors and Inventions

Lucy Brandt
 & Gladys Jose
Chapter book

Leonora Bolt Secret Inventor is an entertaining STEM-themed narrative and a great story choice for Year 3 and above. The book follows a young female scientist named Leonora, who is passionate about creating new and ingenious inventions to solve the problems of those around her.  Gladys Jose’s illustrations enhance the storytelling experience, as does the good dose of humour woven through the narrative.

Leonora’s secret workshop serves as the backdrop for her endeavours, which become critical in her confrontations with her invention-stealing uncle. What follows is an imaginative adventure with quick-thinking Leonora using her STEM skills and natural wit to triumph.  Readers who love science and innovation will find this an engaging and entertaining storytime choice.

Pip Jones
 & Sara Ogilvie
Izzy Gizmo, a girl who LOVED to invent , carried her tool bag wherever she went in case she discovered a thing to be mended, or a gadget to tweak to make to make it more splendid. Izabelle Gizmo just loves to invent, but her inventions never seem to work the way she wants them to. And that makes her really CROSS! When she finds a crow with a broken wing she just has to help. But will she be able to put her frustrations to one side and help her new friend to fly again?
James Carter
 & Margaux Carpentier

This book showcases a James Carter poem about inventions. The rhyming text takes the reader through the range of inventions we now have in our modern world. It is the colourful and vibrant illustrations that jump out at the reader in this book. They complement the rhyming text which focuses on the range and types of inventions from the start of time.

The end pages of this book should not be ignored and could provide an interesting discussion point for predictions about what this book will be about and for trying to make connections between the different items shown.  The font size and text layout guide the reader as it moves in and around the colourful illustrations. Teachers who are focusing on the topic of materials will find lots to explore in the text, particularly thinking about which everyday objects and items are made from – children may not be aware that glass is made from sand for example.

The end of the book has a nod towards the need for recycling the many things we create, and this may be a useful jumping-off point to talk about sustainability. The book also encourages children to be inventive and to create something new out of something old.

Adam Kay
 & Henry Paker
Do you ever wonder where the stuff around you all came from? No, not from the shops. I mean, who had the amazing idea of making video games or the annoying idea of building a school?In the latest laugh-out-loud book from the record-breaking and extremely handsome Adam Kay and Henry Paker, you’ll learn about everything ever invented, from the daft to the disgusting to the downright dangerous.You’ll discover all about:- The queen who pooed on the first ever toilet - How velcro was invented by a dog - Why the Ancient Greeks wiped their bums on dinner platesAs well as 48,762,851,208 other facts. (Approximately.)
Robert Winston
 & Jessamy Hawke
Meet the masterminds behind the greatest inventions in history with this nonfiction book for kids aged 7 to 9.Step into Leonardo da Vinci's workshop, relax on board Hideo Shima's speedy bullet train, and join movie star Hedy Lamarr to bounce ideas around in between takes. Inventors looks at the towering achievements of more than 50 inventors in great detail. The stories are as unusual as they are unique. From Mr. Kellogg, who accidentally created cornflakes after leaving grains boiling for too long, to the ancient Turkish polymath Ismail al-Jazari, who decided the best way to power a clock was with a model elephant, to Sarah E. Goode's fold-up bed space-saving solution--the inventors of this book have all used tons of creativity to find ways to improve our world. These groundbreaking inventions include the very earliest discoveries to modern-day breakthroughs in science, food, transportation, technology, toys, and more.Each page is packed with jaw-dropping facts, with every inventor's achievements written as a story. Beautiful illustrations by Jessamy Hawke bring the inventor's stories to life, and fantastic photography highlights the detail of their designs. With incredible hand-painted cross-sections revealing the intricacies of a robotic arm, the first plane, and the printing press, young readers will marvel at being able to see close-up how these amazing machines work. The inventors come from all walks of life and parts of the world, making this the perfect book for every budding inventor.

Jake Williams
Immerse yourself in the world of the spellbinding genius Leonardo da Vinci, master of art, architecture, engineering, mathematics and more. From his futuristic inventions to the breadth of his artistic skill, discover the fascinating life and legacy of the Renaissance man.The award-winning author and illustrator behind Darwin’s Voyage of Discovery and Really Remarkable Reptiles turns his attention to the Renaissance man: Leonardo da Vinci.Leonardo da Vinci was a master of art, architecture, engineering, mathematics and more. Discover his relationship with the natural world, his futuristic inventions and the breadth of his artistic skill in this spellbinding celebration of his genius.Follow his early years – born to a poor mother and receiving no formal education, it is amazing that an innate fire of curiosity and imagination fuelled this man to achieve extraordinary success and a place amongst history’s elite. Learn about his legacy today – the bewitching power of the world’s most famous portrait, the Mona Lisa – as well as the influence of his inventions in modern daily life.This gorgeous hardback is filled with Jake Williams' characteristically stylish illustrations.

Children's books about Robotics and Bionics

Nick Arnold
Stuck at home and looking for fun, educational activities to keep your Key Stage 2 children entertained? With over 30 easy and fun experiments to do at home, extraordinary facts and stats and cool illustrations, this amazing STEM book will inspire children aged 8 and over to become top tech wizards!Are you ready to come up with the next big thing? Make your own stethoscope, build a speedy jet boat, concoct your own plastic, create a bio-tech yummy yoghurt, and much more!The STEM editorial consultant is Georgette Yakman, founding researcher and creator of the integrative STEAM framework.
Patrick Kane
 & Sam Rodriguez

Human 2.0: A Celebration of Human Bionics is an engaging and informative exploration of the fascinating world of human bionics for young readers. Authored by Patrick Kane and Samuel Rodriguez, this children’s non-fiction book seamlessly blends education and entertainment, making it an excellent resource for curious minds.

The book’s narrative is centred around medical engineering presenting complex concepts in a way that is generally accessible and captivating for children for older children in KS2. Kane employs a clear, friendly but formal writing style, ensuring that young readers can easily grasp the concepts of human bionics but still appropriate for an explanation text.

One of the book’s strengths is its use of vibrant illustrations and visuals. The colourful and dynamic images effectively complement the text, helping to explain intricate details about technology that mimics biology. These visuals not only enhance the learning experience but also keep young readers engaged throughout the book. The author does a commendable job of introducing young readers to the history of human bionics, starting with the first prosthesis, almost 3,500 years ago. The book also covers recent advancements in the field, such as neural implants and electronic chips, sparking curiosity and encouraging readers to envision the exciting possibilities of the future.

The organization of the book is well thought out, with sections logically arranged to build upon each other. Furthermore, the book successfully balances scientific information with real-world examples and stories of individuals benefiting from bionic technologies. These personal anecdotes add a human touch to the subject matter, making it relatable for young readers.

Human 2.0 is a great addition to children’s non-fiction literature, offering an accessible and captivating introduction to the world of human bionics. Whether used as a classroom resource or enjoyed at home, this book has the potential to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and innovators. Recommended for young minds eager to explore the wonders of technology and the human body. A must-have for Year 6 book collections.

Sue Hendra,Paul Linnet
Bernard the Robot loses his bottom on the park swing, and sets off to find it. Every time he gets close, it disappears again! Bird was using it as a nest, but it was too heavy; Bear used it in his drum kit, but it was too tinny; the Squirrels built sandcastles with it...and now it looks as if they're sailing away in it. Will Bernard EVER get his bottom back?

Children's Books about Vehicles and Machines

Tom Schamp

This incredibly visual book is partly a history of the development of all things wheels around the world, and partly a guide to all types of vehicles from bikes to emergency vehicles.

It starts with the Stone Age and ends with predictions for future travel and in between, each and every way a human has moved with the aid of a wheel is described. Each double spread focuses on one aspect of travel, for example, ‘taxis’, and is full of drawings, surrounded by short facts, many puns, comments, questions and even instructions. Any reader young or old will revisit pages and discover something new each time such as when the first motorcycle was built or what spoilers do.

This book is certainly fun: there are drawings of animals as users of the vehicles with many different expressions and quotes and jokes, and the author has fun with the visuals – a chicken being chased by a snake which means the chicken tows a cart more quickly, for example! Although this book could be enjoyed independently by any age, it lends itself beautifully as a book to share and dip into and it is likely that plenty of discussion will arise.

There is so much to look at that this transport-themed book will most likely remain on a favourite browsing choice for some time.

Jenny Jacoby
 & Robbie Cathro
Discover how machines are part of our daily lives with Everyday STEM Technology – Machines.Explore a world full of technological innovation, from the first tools used in the Stone Age to the machines of the future. Learn about telescopes and rovers in space, see how modern machines can protect our planet, and meet the innovators and scientists who invented the machines that have improved our lives, including Dr Gladys West, Olafur Eliasson and Fei-Fei Li. Readers can also carry out cool machine experiments at home.With easy-to-understand text written by STEM expert Jenny Jacoby, and lots of colourful artworks, photos and diagrams, readers can explore where we encounter machines and why they are even important at all.The Everyday STEM series makes science relevant to tweens. Instead of telling kids STEM is important and is the key to their future success, these books show readers how we use science, technology, engineering and maths in our everyday lives. While the topics sound high-level and complex, this series makes these concepts age-appropriate and accessible. So, while we can’t promise to teach 9 to 11-year-olds quantum physics, we can explain in the simplest terms the practical applications of STEM.
Fran Scott
 & Paul Boston
Build your own moving race car from household objects in this step-by-step guide based on the science behind Formula One. Take your place at the starting gate and fire up your engine: it’s time to build your very own racing car! Join presenter and maker Fran Scott for a crash course in racing engineering, then use your new-found skills to build your own awesome air-powered machine using household objects. From the chassis to the engine, discover the science behind Formula One in this perfect project for budding young engineers. So what are you waiting for? 3, 2, 1 … let’s race!
Liz Lennon
 & Ellie O'Shea
Explore the science of pulleys, which is a key physical science concept. Young children will enjoy the fun illustrations and learn from the simple diagrams. The book encourages the reader to see science in action in their everyday lives. It is perfect for budding scientists who are curious about machines and how they work, and allows readers to encounter this STEM topic in an approachable way. For children following Book Bands, it is suitable for children reading at band 7, turquoise.
Liz Lennon
 & Ellie O'Shea
Explore the science of wheels and cogs, which are key physical science concepts. Young children will enjoy the fun illustrations and learn from the simple diagrams. The book encourages the reader to see science in action in their everyday lives. It is perfect for budding scientists who are curious about machines and how they work, and allows readers to encounter this STEM topic in an approachable way. For children progressing through book bands, it is suitable for children at Book Band 7: Turquoise.

Jane Wilsher
 & Andres Lozano
In this eye-catching book, readers can explore the hidden inner workings of machines and inventions, from mundane objects such as toasters and bicycles to cutting edge technologies such as pill-sized medical robots and super-fast maglev trains. Readers use the see-through magic lens to reveal how things work and the elements hidden within machines - everything from wires and pipes to the magnetic and gravitational forces machines rely on to function. Accompanying text explains how these machines function, how they affect our daily lives, and the physical and chemical phenomena that enable them to work.
Harriet Evans
Scientists often take a leaf from nature when devising inventions. Find out more and let your imagination soar: Discover how nature has inspired some great creations, from the Wright Brothers' first aeroplane to Eiji Nakatsu's bullet train. Meet brilliant birds, boisterous bats, and family trees as we celebrate the creatures of the sky. Explore the human and natural world, from bee discos to the design of outer-space cameras.

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