Books for Budding Engineers

The Year of Engineering is a government campaign which celebrates the world and wonder of engineering. From spaceships to ice skates, the bubbles in chocolate bars to lifesaving cancer treatment, engineering touches every part of our lives.

The 2014 Thinking Like An Engineer report from the Royal Academy of Engineering suggests that young children are natural engineers.   “Young children exhibit engineering habits of mind in the raw”, the report explains. “When the cardboard structure they have built is strong enough to support the weight of other toys and becomes a medieval castle, there is the thrill of persistent and successful experimentation.”

As well as building engineering tasks into Design Technology, Science and Maths lessons, a great way of promoting engineering to primary school aged pupils is through access to fiction and non-fiction that depict the work of engineers and inventors.  We’ve collated a range of high quality texts that will help children to develop the idea of what an engineer is and the personal traits that are often needed and displayed by engineers.

my mummy is an engineer

My Mummy Is An Engineer- Kerrine Bryan, Jason Bryan, Marissa Peguinho

Statistics released by the Women’s Engineering Society suggest that only 11% of the engineering workforce in the UK are female.  This lovely picture book helps to combat gender stereotypes around engineering and show young children that women can be both mummies and engineers.

most magnificent

The Most Magnificent Thing- Ashley Spires

The Most Magnificent Thing is a great way to show that engineers/inventors often don’t get it right the first time and that resilience and flexibility are needed to in order to succeed.


rosie revere engineer

Rosie Revere, Engineer- Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

Rosie Revere, Engineer also shows how inventors and engineers need to develop resilience.  However, it also has a great connection to history- depicting the work of many female engineers and referring back to the American wartime icon of female strength- Rosie The Riveter.

if i built a car

If I Built A Car- Chris Van Dusen

If I Built A Car is a lovely book that helps to depict engineering/inventing as a creative pursuit.  Engineering is not only about mathematical and scientific knowledge but also about having the creativity to try new designs and work in different ways.


electrical wizard

Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up The World- Elizabeth Rusch and Oliver Dominguez

A beautiful picture book that tells the fascinating story of Nikola Tesla- from his early years in Serbia where he first encountered static electricity to his later inventions involving electricity.


The Invention of Hugo Cabret- Brian Selznick

Partly told through prose and partly through illustrations, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a highly engaging text with an almost cinematic feel that follows a young boy’s quest to fix a mechanical man left to him by his late father.

To find out more about the Year of Engineering, visit or search #YoE  on Twitter.