Inspiring Picture Books About Inventors, Scientists and Perseverance

Posted on October 19, 2018

by cindy vanderbrink

Rosie, Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

Rosie Revere, engineer / by Andrea Beaty ; illustrated by David Roberts

“Your brilliant first flop was a raging success! Come on, let’s get busy and on to the next!” – Great-great – aunt Rose.

I love that bit of text from “Rosie Revere, Engineer” and wish I could incorporate that philosophy in my daily life. That said, I’m not a super big fan of message heavy titles. But will make an exception for this failure-is-a-part-of-life-perseverance-is where-it’s-at title.

So, Rosie Revere is a budding engineer. She shares her creations with her family until one of her quirky inventions fails and her favorite uncle laughs at her. Mortified, she now creates in secret and hides her constructions under her bed. When her great-great aunt Rose (g-a-a Rose), who is clearly modeled on “Rosie the Riveter,” arrives for a visit, she shares with young Rosie that she has accomplished everything she wanted to do except fly a plane. Young Rosie decides to help g-a-a Rose realize her dream. The spectacular craft flies for a moment and then crashes. Which of course leads to a bunch of try, try again coaching from g-a-a Rose.

This silly and endearing story is a good one to encourage readers and listeners alike.

“Rosie Revere, Engineer” by Angela Beaty is just one of the many great books on the 101 Picture Book Challenge list.

Borrow it from the Library:

Book | eBook | eAudio | DVD

Audience: Ages: 4-8 | Grades: K-2

Reading Beyond the List

Books About Dealing with Invention Failure

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashely Spires

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashely Spires

A little girl and her canine assistant set out to make the most magnificent thing, but despite their hard work, the end result is not what the girl had envisioned and she must develop a new strategy for success.

Ages: 3-7 | Grades: PreK-2

Additional formats: eBook

Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming

Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming

In the summer of 1851, with encouragement and ideas provided by his family, an inventor builds a working submarine and takes his family for a ride. Includes notes about Lodner Phillips, the real inventor on whom the story is based.

Ages: 4-8 | Grades: 1-2

Izzy Gizmo by Pip Jones

Izzy Gizmo by Pip Jones

Izzy Gizmo loves to invent but gets frustrated when her inventions fail to work properly, so when she finds a crow with a broken wing her grandfather urges her to persist until she finds a way to help.

Ages: 4-8 | Grades: 1-3

Books about Girls and Women Pursuing STEAM Dreams

Mary Had a Little Lab by Sue Fliess

Mary had a little lab / Sue Fliess ; pictures by Petros Bouloubasis

Wanting a pet as a friend, enterprising inventor Mary builds a machine to make a sheep, but when she starts making sheep for her new school friends, chaos abounds.

Ages: 3-5 | Grades: PreK-1

The Dinosaur Expert by Margaret McNamara

The dinosaur expert / by Margaret McNamara ; illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Future scientist Kimmy eagerly shares information about dinosaurs during a school field trip until classmate Jake tells her “girls aren’t scientists,” but Mr. Tiffin sets her straight.

Ages: 4-8 | Grades: PreK – 3

Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing by Dean Robbins

Margaret and the Moon : how Margaret Hamilton saved the first lunar landing / by Dean Robbins ; illustrated by Lucy Knisley

An introduction to the pioneering woman mathematician who saved the first lunar landing describes the childhood love of numbers that led to her prestigious education and pivotal contributions at NASA, explaining how her handwritten codes proved essential throughout numerous space missions. By the author of Miss Paul and the President.

Ages: 4-8 | Grades: PreK-3

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beatty

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty ; illustrated by David Roberts

Ada Twist is a very curious girl who shows perseverance by asking questions and performing experiments to find things out and understand the world.

Ages: 5-7 | Grades: K-2

Additional formats: eBook | Audiobook | DVD

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark

Ada Byron Lovelace and the thinking machine / by Laurie Wallmark ; illustrated by April Chu

The daughter of famous romantic poet Lord Byron develops her creativity through science and math and writes the world’s first computer program to demonstrate the capabilities of inventor Charles Babbage’s pioneering mechanical innovation.

Ages: 5-6 | Grades K-2

The World is Not a Rectangle : A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid by Jeanette Winter

The world is not a rectangle : a portrait of architect Zaha Hadid / Jeanette Winter

A biography of architect Zaha Hadid, who grew up in Baghdad and went on to design buildings all over the world.

Ages: 5-10 | Grades: K-5

The Doctor With an Eye for Eyes : The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath by Julia Finley Mosca

The doctor with an eye for eyes : the story of Dr. Patricia Bath / written by Julia Finley Mosca ; illustrated by Daniel Rieley

As a girl coming of age during the Civil Rights Movement, Patricia Bath made it her mission to become a doctor. When obstacles like racism, poverty, and sexism threatened this goal, she persevered—brightening the world with a game-changing treatment for blindness!

Ages: 5-10 | Grades: K-5

Caroline’s Comets : A True Story by Emily Arnold McCully

Caroline's comets : a true story / Emily Arnold McCully

Traces the early years of Caroline Hershel, the first woman ever to be officially employed as a scientist, describing how she and her brother built the greatest telescope of their age and made remarkable discoveries that are still being referenced today.

Ages: 6-9 | Grades: 1-4

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies : How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman

The girl who drew butterflies : how Maria Merian's art changed science / written by Joyce Sidman

Explores the life and scientific discoveries of Maria Merian, a naturalist and illustrator who uncovered the truth about metamorphosis and documented the science behind the mystery.

Ages: 10-12 | Grades: 5-7

What is the 101 Picture Book Challenge?

“Rosie, Revere Engineer” by Andrea Beaty is one of the books from the 101 Picture Book Challenge.

The 101 Picture Book Challenge is for anyone at any age. Librarians hand picked the titles on the list which includes classics, new titles and everything in between.

The 101 Picture Book Challenge - Toledo Lucas County Public Library

To get started, register online. You can track your progress online or if you prefer a paper log booklet, pick one up at your neighborhood Library. The books are organized into categories, but you can read the books in any order and at your own pace. When you read all 101 titles, you earn a free picture book (while supplies last).

This is the latest in a series of blog posts exploring some of the things we love about these books.

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