Ready, Set, Read!

GAI supports the National Education Association’s (NEA) Read Across America program, which provides resources to encourage year-round reading in kids and students of all ages and backgrounds. GAI’s multidisciplinary staff is dedicated to using their expertise to give back to the communities where they live, work, play—particularly by educating future generations of leaders about opportunities in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) careers. In that same vein, we have compiled a list of some of our favorite children’s books that teach kids the importance (and fun!) of STEM and the AEC industry. Pick up one of the titles below and read to a child today!

  1. When I Build With Blocks (3 years +)

    Step into the block area of a Pre-K / Kindergarten classroom, through the eyes and imagination of a child. When I Build With Blocks, transports an everyday classroom into various imaginative scenes—from outer space to the ocean. Any young child who has ever built with blocks can identify with this book. Each block structure included originated from ideas in actual Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms. Find on Amazon+
  2. What Do You Do With an Idea? (3 years +)

    This is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps bring it into the world. As the child’s confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens. This is a story for anyone, at any age, who’s ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, too difficult. It’s a story to inspire you to welcome that idea, to give it some space to grow, and to see what happens next. Because your idea isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s just getting started. Find on Amazon+
  3. The Most Magnificent Thing (3 – 7 years)

    Award-winning author and illustrator Ashley Spires has created a charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea-she is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy! But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right. Find on Amazon+
  4. Look at That Building!: A First Book of Structures (4 – 7 years)

    Learning about buildings and how they are constructed has never been so much fun! This gem of a book introduces young readers to basic construction concepts through the eyes of five friends keen on building a doghouse for their pet pooch, Max. To find out more about the task, Yulee, Martin, Nick, Sally, and Pedro head to the library, where they learn about foundations, beams, frames, and other building fundamentals. Fun facts, bright illustrations, and comic-book-style discussions among the characters add to the mix. An activity at the end of the book invites readers to make their own mini doghouse out of marshmallows, paper, glue, and craft sticks. Find on Amazon+
  5. Papa’s Mechanical Fish (4 – 8 years)

    Clink! Clankety-bang! Thump-whirr!That’s the sound of Papa at work. Although he is an inventor, he has never made anything that works perfectly, and that’s because he hasn’t yet found a truly fantastic idea. But when he takes his family fishing on Lake Michigan, his daughter Virena asks, “Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a fish?”—and Papa is off to his workshop. With a lot of persistence and a little bit of help, Papa—who is based on the real-life inventor Lodner Phillips—creates a submarine that can take his family for a trip to the bottom of Lake Michigan. Find on Amazon+
  6. Engineering Elephants (4 – 8 years)

    As engineering professors, we have both been teaching at the university level and conducting research in nanotechnology and engineering education for several years. After having our families, we have discovered that there is a lack of children’s books on engineering geared toward young children ages 4-8. Engineering education is a growing issue in our nation, and all research points towards engaging children in engineering concepts when they are at these young, impressionable ages. We have developed this children’s book on engineering targeted for ages 4-8 based on experiences that we have had in engineering education and research. Our goal with this book is to show children some exciting things that engineers design and engage them through humor and their own creativity. Find on Amazon+
  7. Iggy Peck, Architect (4 – 8 years)

    Iggy has one passion: building. His parents are proud of his fabulous creations, although they’re sometimes surprised by his materials—who could forget the tower he built of dirty diapers? When his second-grade teacher declares her dislike of architecture, Iggy faces a challenge. He loves building too much to give it up! With Andrea Beaty’s irresistible rhyming text, and David Roberts’s puckish illustrations, this book will charm creative kids everywhere and amuse their sometimes-bewildered parents. Find on Amazon+
  8. Rosie Revere, Engineer (5 – 7 yrs)

    Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal-to fly-Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success. You can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit. Find on Amazon +
  9. Rocks, Jeans, and Busy Machines: An Engineering Kids Storybook (5 – 9 years)

    A trip to the park for Engineering Kids Pedro and Violet turns into a learning adventure when they come upon a construction site. Violet teaches Pedro about concrete and how engineers use it. Pedro also learns about an engineer’s responsibility to design buildings and bridges that are strong and safe for people to use. This book is the first in a unique series of books for children ages 5 to 9 and is the only series written by professional engineers specifically designed to incite an early understanding of and interest in the different fields of engineering. Future books will introduce children to other engineering fields such as geotechnical and electrical engineering. Find on Amazon+
  10. Bridges and Tunnels: Investigate Feats of Engineering with 25 Projects (9 – 12 years)

    Bridges and tunnels are lifelines. People have tackled seemingly insurmountable obstacles, including vast canyons and mountain ranges, to design and construct these amazing passageways. Bridges and Tunnels: Investigate Feats of Engineering invites children ages 9 and up to explore the innovation and physical science behind structures our world depends on. Trivia and fun facts illustrate engineering ingenuity and achievements. Activities and projects encourage children to learn about the engineering process and to embrace trial and error. Children will engage in a hands-on exploration of Newton’s Third Law of Motion and of forces that push and pull on structures. They’ll make an egg bungee jump and a soda pop can engine. They’ll experiment with a triangular toothpick dome, liquefaction, and corrosion. In Bridges and Tunnels: Investigate Feats of Engineering, children will explore their own engineering and building skills as they create several bridge models. Find on Amazon+
  11. Environmental Engineering and the Science of Sustainability (10 – 13 years)

    Human activities have a huge impact on the Earth. Environmental engineers apply traditional engineering practices to help improve and prevent damage from humans and the waste we create to ecosystems and our environment. Readers will learn about how environmental engineering began, and the many processes environmental engineers apply to find sustainable solutions to problems. Real-life examples help students understand key concepts related to this important profession. Find on Amazon+
  12. The New Way Things Work (12 years +)

    This sweepingly revised edition of David Macaulay’s worldwide bestseller, The New Way Things Work, captures the latest developments in the technology that most impacts our lives. Famously packed with information on the inner workings of everything from windmills to Wi-Fi—as well as an illustrated survey of significant inventions, glossary of technical terms, and an index—this extraordinary and humorous book both guides readers through the fundamental principles of machines, and shows how the developments of the past are building the world of tomorrow. What possible link could there be between zippers and plows, dentist drills and windmills? Parking meters and meat grinders, jumbo jets and jackhammers, remote control and rockets, electric guitars and egg beaters? These scientific principles and more are brilliantly explained—with the help of a charming, if rather slow-witted, woolly mammoth. Find on Amazon+

Read Across America is a signature program of the National Education Association, an employee organization committed to advancing the cause of public education. Visit the organization’s website to learn more about this and other educational programs.

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