Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to building things. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about building things.
Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
We hope this list of kids books about building things can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!
A construction bunny learns a creative lesson in sharing and friendship when he meets the biggest carrot of his life. LaRue was very handy. His toolbox had everything and industrious bunny could ever need. Everything, that is, except carrots. But then LaRue stumbles onto a special seed. With proper tending, this seed quickly grows into an ENORMOUS CARROT! What’s a bunny to do with so much carrot? In a stroke of construction genius (and generosity), LaRue has the answer. This clever story celebrates just what it means to be a friend. A Christy Ottaviano Book
As their makerspace project the students in Yasmin’s second grade class are building a city: there are houses, a school, a church, even a castle, but Yasmin is not sure what to build–until inspiration strikes.
Fourteen poems compiled by award-winning poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins introduce readers to the various construction people who collaborate to create a high-rise hotel building, from architect to crane operator to glaziers and more.
This anthology begins with a busy construction site and an architect’s (and her daughter’s) dreams drawn on blueprint paper. Next, workers with huge machines–backhoes, dump trucks, cement mixers, etc.–roll in. Poems full of noise and action describe every step of the construction process. From welders and carpenters building the skeleton of the building to plumbers and electricians making its insides work, this book celebrates people and equipment working together to build something magnificent.
This is the story of Jane Addams, the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, who transformed a poor neighborhood in Chicago by opening up her house as a community center.
Lola is building her dream sandcastle—one with a tall, tall tower and sea glass that sends signals to mermaids. But the beach is crowded, and soon enough, a boy steps on her castle. Not to worry! Lola recruits him to build a wall. When a toddler with a bulldozer starts digging too close the walls, Lola decides he can be in charge of digging the moat. As the sandcastle grows, so does Lola’s friendly group of helpers. There’s only one thing that Lola doesn’t want near the sandcastle: a wave! Will the new friends be able to salvage the mermaids’ castle when their hard work is washed away?
Square - The beguiling second entry in the innovative shape trilogy by multi-award-winning, New York Times best-selling duo Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen. This book is about Square. Square spends every day taking blocks from a pile below the ground to a pile above the ground. This book is also about Square’s friend Circle. Circle thinks Square is an artistic genius. But is he really? With the second story in a trilogy of tales about Triangle, Square, and Circle, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen nudge readers toward a more well-rounded way of looking at things. Understated and striking in its simplicity, this funny, thoughtful offering from two of today’s most talented picture-book creators emphasizes the importance of keeping your eyes – and your mind – open to wonder where others see only rubble and rocks.
One House - Crabs with clipboards and bears who build are some of the animals who come together in One House to DIY a new home from start to finish for their friend. Plans are drafted, holes are dug, and construction begins! This board book will delight little ones with its quirky illustrations and rhyming countdown. With teamwork, generosity and some special skills, it’s amazing what these critters can accomplish!
Day at the Beach - A day at the beach becomes a lesson in sibling bonding for Gideon in this magical picture book. Every summer, Gideon and his younger sister Audrey build a sand castle—together. But this summer, everything changes. Gideon is going to build the most spectacular sandcastle anyone on the beach has ever seen. And he’s going to do it on his own—without any help from his sister. But much to his surprise, Gideon discovers that building together is more fun and that everyone has their own unique talent when it comes to creativity and imagination, even Audrey.
When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox - In this delightful story, by the same author who wrote When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree, a boy is disappointed with his grandfather’s gift—until he learns he can use it to build exactly what he wanted with his own two hands, and a little help from grandpa, of course! You asked for a special house for your dolls; but instead Grandpa gives you a toolbox! What do you do? Launching it into outer space is a bad idea. So is feeding it to a T. rex! Instead, be patient, pay attention, and you might find that you’re pretty handy. And just maybe, with grandpa’s help, you’ll get that dollhouse after all. This clever story celebrates kindness, hard work, and community, as well as variety in gender expression: the male main character proudly engages in activities that might be considered typically girl (playing with dolls) and typically boy (building with tools).
Amy Guglielmo, Jacqueline Tourville, and Giselle Potter come together to tell the inspiring story of autism advocate Dr. Temple Grandin and her brilliant invention: the hug machine. As a young girl, Temple Grandin loved folding paper kites, making obstacle courses, and building lean-tos. But she really didn’t like hugs. Temple wanted to be held—but to her, hugs felt like being stuffed inside the scratchiest sock in the world; like a tidal wave of dentist drills, sandpaper, and awful cologne, coming at her all at once. Would she ever get to enjoy the comfort of a hug? Then one day, Temple had an idea. If she couldn’t receive a hug, she would make one…she would build a hug machine!
David Macaulay, creator of the international bestseller The Way Things Work, brings his signature curiosity and detailing to the story of the steamship in this meticulously researched and stunningly illustrated book. Prior to the 1800s, ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean relied on the wind in their sails to make their journeys. But invention of steam power ushered in a new era of transportation that would change ocean travel forever: the steamship. Award-winning author-illustrator David Macaulay guides readers through the fascinating history that culminated in the building of the most advanced—and last—of these steamships: the SS United States. This book artfully explores the design and construction of the ship and the life of its designer and engineer, William Francis Gibbs. Framed around the author’s own experience steaming across the Atlantic on the very same SS United States, Crossing on Time is a tour de force of the art of explanation and a touching and surprising childhood story.
This beloved New York Times bestselling picture book is a fun-filled, inspiring story about the power of teamwork and the importance of celebrating individual gifts and self-expression.
And now you can follow Iggy’s further adventures—with his friends Rosie Revere and Ada Twist—in the instant New York Times bestseller Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters, an all-new chapter book starring The Questioneers!
Some kids sculpt sand castles. Some make mud pies. Some construct great block towers. But none are better at building than Iggy Peck, who once erected a life-size replica of the Great Sphinx on his front lawn! It’s too bad that few people appreciate Iggy’s talent—certainly not his second-grade teacher, Miss Lila Greer. It looks as if Iggy will have to trade in his T square for a box of crayons . . . until a fateful field trip proves just how useful a mast builder can be.
Building, baking, folding, drawing, shaping . . . making something with your own hands is a special, personal experience. Taking an idea from your imagination and turning it into something real is satisfying and makes the maker proud. With My Hands is an inspiring invitation to tap into creativity and enjoy the hands-on energy that comes from making things.
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ ChoiceWinner of the 2013 Boston Globe Horn Book Award for Best Picture BookA Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2013A New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2013In this unique construction book for kids who love tools and trucks, readers join a girl and her family as they pack up their old house in town and set out to build a new one in the country. Mom and Dad are going to make the new house themselves, from the ground up. From empty lot to finished home, every stage of their year-and-a-half-long building project is here. And at every step their lucky kids are watching and getting their hands dirty, in page after page brimming with machines, vehicles, and all kinds of house-making activities! As he imagines it through the eyes of his older sister, Building Our House is Jonathan Bean’s retelling of his own family’s true experience, and includes an afterword with photographs from the author’s collection.
Meet the House Kittens - All Marmalade wants to do is build things. She is, after all, a trained architect. She’s also a distractingly adorable kitten. Fed up with not being taken seriously because she’s so cute,Marmalade bands together with a handful of other aspiring builders—all of themkittens. But in a world where humans call the shots, can the KittenConstruction Company prove their worth . . . without giving up the very thingsthat make them kittens? (Don’t worry, dear reader, the answer is definitely”yes”!)
What We'll Build: Plans for Our Together Future - “[Has] the offbeat, sweet style Jeffers’ fans know and love.” –Kirkus Reviews From internationally bestselling and world-renowned picture book creator Oliver Jeffers comes the companion to the #1 New York Times bestseller Here We Are! What shall we build, you and I? Let’s gather all our tools for a start. For putting together . . . and taking apart. A father and daughter set about laying the foundations for their life together. Using their own special tools, they get to work, building memories to cherish, a home to keep them safe, and love to keep them warm. A rare and enduring story about a parent’s boundless love, life’s endless opportunities, and all we need to build a together future. From celebrated author-illustrator and visual artist Oliver Jeffers comes a gorgeously told father-daughter story and perfect picture book companion to Here We Are. The perfect baby shower gift or gift for new parents! Praise for What We’ll Build “An intensely personal statement of intergenerational fellowship and an obvious pick for library shelves best explored at home.” –School Library Journal “Children will love his playbook for building a future of love and imagination, and they will delight in the special relationship the father and daughter share.” –Booklist “Stroked in generous swaths of warm color and Jeffers’s signature childlike scribbles . . . .. Jeffers’s benediction portrays a parent who surrounds his child with love and steadies her as she learns how to bring her dreams to fruition.” –Publishers Weekly
Ellie, Engineer - A charming, hilarious illustrated middle grade about a girl who is an engineer–perfect creative, STEM-powered fun for girls who have interests in how things work. “Look out, Junie B. Jones! Ellie the engineer is thinking, making, creating, and showing enthusiasm and brilliance with her creations!” –School Library Connection Ellie is an engineer. With a tool belt strapped over her favorite skirt (who says you can’t wear a dress and have two kinds of screwdrivers handy, just in case?), she invents and builds amazing creations in her backyard workshop. Together with her best friend Kit, Ellie can make anything. As Kit’s birthday nears, Ellie doesn’t know what gift to make until the girls overhear Kit’s mom talking about her present–the dog Kit always wanted! Ellie plans to make an amazing doghouse, but her plans grow so elaborate that she has to enlist help from the neighbor boys and crafty girls, even though the two groups don’t get along. Will Ellie be able to pull off her biggest project yet, all while keeping a secret from Kit? Illustrated with Ellie’s sketches and plans, and including a fun how-to guide to tools, this is a STEM- and friendship-powered story full of fun!
Little Excavator - From New York Times bestselling author-illustrator of the Llama Llama books comes a new character ready to dig his way into your heart! Here come the BIG RIGS rolling down the street. Thumpa-thumpa bumpa-bumpa BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! There’s Loader and Dump Truck, Backhoe and Crane. They’re ready to transform a vacant lot into a neighborhood park. And who wants to help most of all? Little Excavator! But are there any jobs for someone so small? Anna Dewdney’s signature rhyming text and inviting illustrations make this a perfect read aloud for for fans of things that go!
In John Patrick Green’s Kitten Construction Company: A Bridge Too Fur the feline builders return, this time, with dogs! Construction has never been cuter than in this graphic novel for very young readers! Marmalade and her crew of construction kittens are in high demand! Their latest assignment (and biggest job yet) is to build the new Mewburg bridge. But with the bridge comes the one thing that cats hate most of all–water! As the team struggles to face their fears and do their jobs, they are forced to get help from some unlikely allies. . . slobbery, car-chasing DOGS.
Fans of the New York Times bestseller All Are Welcome will love this a adorable and timely tale about opening a door to those in need, with clever peek-through holes and panoramic pages that beckon young readers inside. Poor Frog’s pond has dried up and he has nowhere to live. Luckily, he meets friendly Mouse, who is just starting to build a new house. “Everybody’s welcome, no matter who they are,” explains Mouse. “Wherever they may come from, whether near or far.” As Frog and Mouse build a house together, they meet more animals without a place to live. Soon, they all join in to build a big, beautiful home where everyone is welcome, safe, and warm. In this sweet forest setting, children will learn how important it is to extend a generous hand to those in need, whether neighbors in crisis, a friend with a problem, or a family immigrating to a new country. It’s a timely, vital, and comforting story that will inspire useful conversations about caring, charity, and empathy.
Discover the alphabet from a bird’s-eye view!
Geographer and designer duo Benedikt Gross and Joey Lee have taken the alphabet to new heights—literally! Using satellite imagery and computer technology, the pair has discovered “accidental letters” all over the world: in roads, rivers, buildings, lakes, and more. Take a journey around the Earth in 26 letters with this special book.
Who adds marble countertops, and sands the deck? Caution! Amelia Bedelia is in charge!
Available as a board book for our youngest readers, this step-by-step journey will delight little ones as a construction worker goes about her day on the job. With compelling details, vibrant color, and a driving rhythm, This Is the Construction Worker builds up excitement as the high rise project in the illustrations grows taller and taller. Emphasizing teamwork and camaraderie, this story is perfect for vehicle lovers and all young fans of busy activity!
Demolition - Illustrations and rhyming text show the enormous and powerful machines that are used to demolish a building so that a playground can be built.
Dump Truck's Colors - Join Dump Truck on his colorfully busy day at the construction site! Little construction fans will love the colors that fill the world of the bestselling Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, from the BLUE sky in the morning to the WHITE moon at night!
The Road That Trucks Built - Join the ride as a team of adorable vehicles work together to build a new road in this fresh, cement-mixing spin on the classic nursery rhyme, “The House That Jack Built.” This is the traffic that’s moving too slow. Cars and buses have nowhere to go. What is the answer? I’m guessing you know. The trucks need to build a new road! Bulldozers, scrapers, graders, and more are hard at work making sure that every car, truck, and motorcycle can get where they’re going fast! With smooth writing by Susanna Leonard Hill and heavy-duty illustrations by Erica Sirotich, The Road That Trucks Built shows the importance and effectiveness of teamwork in a picture book that’s perfect for on the road readers.
Whose Tools? - An ode to building a house from the ground up profiles six kinds of craftsmen and the 24 tools they use, with the answer to each question about “whose tools” being revealed under seven gatefolds designed to promote curiosity and learning. By the Caldecott Honor-winning author of One Cool Friend. 30,000 first printing.
“If this book were a house, the rooms would be filled with warmth, family, and friendship.” –Erin Entrada Kelly, author of the Newbery Medal winner Hello, Universe; The Land of Forgotten Girls; and Blackbird Fly A coming-of-age story that explores culture and family, forgiveness and friendship, and what makes a true home. Perfect for fans of Wendy Mass and Joan Bauer. Lou Bulosan-Nelson has the ultimate summer DIY project. She’s going to build her own “tiny house,” 100 square feet all her own. She shares a room with her mom in her grandmother’s house, and longs for a place where she can escape her crazy but lovable extended Filipino family. Lou enjoys her woodshop class and creating projects, and she plans to build the house on land she inherited from her dad, who died before she was born. But then she finds out that the land may not be hers for much longer. Lou discovers it’s not easy to save her land, or to build a house. But she won’t give up; with the help of friends and relatives, her dream begins to take shape, and she learns the deeper meaning of home and family. AN NPR BEST BOOK OF THE YEARA KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR “Equal parts girl-heart, muscle and know-how for today’s reader. Endearing to the end.” –Rita Williams-Garcia, Newbery-Honor-and-Coretta-Scott King -Award-winning author of the National Book Award Finalist Clayton Byrd Goes Underground “Warm, funny and affirming. As we get to know Lou, her extended Filipino family, and friends, the door opens into her life and, ultimately, her home.” –Lisa Yee, author of the Millicent Min trilogy, The Kidney Hypothetical, the DC Super Hero Girls series, and other books “There couldn’t be a hero more determined, resourceful or lovable than Lucinda Bulosan-Nelson. Her big dream of a tiny house is irresistible.” –Tricia Springstubb, author of Every Single Second, What Happened on Fox Street, Moonpenny Island, and the Cody series “I fell in love with Lou and her wonderful extended family. This story may be about a tiny house, but it has an enormous heart.” –Kate Messner, author of The Exact Location of Home
A striking debut celebrating the warm bond between a little boy and his dad as they work hard to achieve their dreams
Papi is a bricklayer, and he works hard every day to help build the city, brick by brick. His son, Luis, works hard too–in school, book by book. Papi climbs scaffolds, makes mortar, and shovels sand. Luis climbs on the playground and molds clay into tiny bricks to make buildings, just like Papi. Together, they dream big about their future as they work to make those dreams come true. And then one Saturday, Papi surprises Luis with something special he’s built for their family, brick by brick.
It’s time for Bird to build her nest! Follow her as she pulls a worm out of the ground, lifts some twigs that are just the right size, and pushes the twigs into place. Uh-oh! One of the twigs falls to the ground! But after a day of hard work, Bird’s nest is ready and waiting. Can you guess what it’s waiting for? Using simple, clear language and beautiful illustrations, this engaging story is the perfect introduction to physical forces for very young readers. A final spread with some simple questions promotes discussion with parents, teachers, or caregivers and encourages readers to think about the concepts introduced.
A gentle, sweetly illustrated concept book takes on physical forces as young children learn about pushing and pulling.
A sandhill crane lifts a stick. A construction crane lifts a log. The two cranes grab, stretch, and stack, working through bad weather and difficult obstacles toward their end goal: building a home for a new family. Told in a simple sequence of verbs, this colorful picture book demonstrates how the mechanical world mirrors the natural world.
“A warm and wacky story that feels both fresh and familiar. This enchanting, quirky quartet will entertain children with what are sure to be repeat readings.” – Booklist Uh-oh! Here comes Rex! Every time Gizmo, Sprinkles, and Wild build something with their blocks, Rex wrecks it! That’s just the way Rex plays. Is there a way to make playtime fun for everyone?
Ready, Set, Build! - Grab your hard hat and get ready for a day of construction fun with a busy builder and his friend! Grab your hard hat, tie your boots. Pack your lunch. Ready? Scoot! Sketch a dream. Post a chart. Hatch the plan before you start. Get ready for a day full of construction fun! Children can follow a busy dog builder as he sketches and plans his dream, clears rubble to make space, and gets to work digging, lifting, and sawing. He builds a house for himself and his bird friend, and satisfied after a hard day’s work, they takes in all they’ve done and look forward to the next day of building!
Everything You Need for a Treehouse - Featuring beautiful images and a lyrical text with an exquisitely readable cadence, this book gives life and meaning to all the requisite elements of a treehouse, from time, timber, and rafters to ropes of twisted twine that invite visitors to sprawl out on a limb and slide back down again. For anyone who’s ever wanted to escape real life and live in a nostalgic dream come true, this poignant picture book captures the universal timelessness of treehouses and celebrates all the creativity and adventure they spark.
Construction Alphabet - For fans of all things that go this noisy alphabet book explores construction equipment from A to Z. Find out about these construction machines and more, from a huge saw that cuts through roads to a massive vacuum that sucks up boulders. You’ll even learn a quick and easy recipe for concrete. Rock crushers, jackhammers, and wrecking balls will delight the youngest of readers learning their ABCs. Jerry Pallotta’s trademark humor punctuates the informative text. Vibrant oil paintings bring to life a busy construction site.
Up! Up! Up! Skyscraper - Snappy rhymes invite young readers to watch workers dig, pour, pound, and bolt a skyscraper into existence. Simple yet satis-fying sidebars provide further information about each step in the construction process. Perfect for preschoolers and all those who dig diggers. Quirky, colorful art enhance the appeal of a construction site with all the equipment and sounds of building. The 2017 Summer Reading Theme: Build a Better World!
Dinosaurs from one to ten use construction equipment to dig, shovel, roll, and scrape as they build a fun surprise. On board pages.
Ever wonder how a road is built? Come along with Caldecott Medalist Simms Taback and find out! First you’ll meet the crew. Then you’ll see all the trucks up close—cement mixers, bulldozers, dump trucks, graders, pavers—and learn what each one does. And finally, you’ll watch a bustling new road come to life!
One, two, here comes the crew!
Three, four, here come more… With three dump trucks, an itsy-bitsy skid steer, and a host of other equipment, there’s a whole lot of building going on here! Amusing construction-themed nursery rhymes–each based on a Mother Goose favorite–feature diggers, graders, crushers, cranes, jackhammers, forklifts, and wrecking balls. With bright, bold illustrations, this fun read-aloud should be a big hit with kids.
Grab your blankets and pillows! From the creators of Finding Wild, a new picture book that follows the changing of the seasons and is as cozy as a fort. Winter, spring, summer, fall. Each season brings new materials to make the perfect fort. From leaves to snow, from mud to sand, there is a different fort throughout the year. As a group of friends explore and build through the seasons, they find that every fort they make is a perfect fort. From the team behind Finding Wild, which Publishers Weekly called “a sparkling debut” and a “whimsical meditation on the idea of wildness,” Megan Wagner Lloyd and Abigail Halpin are together again for a portrayal of a classic childhood endeavor that is perfect all year long.
Cree craw with the saw, bang bang with the hammer, and twizzle, twist, twirl, and spin with the screwdriver, bolts, and nuts. What fun! Its tool time for children as they delight in colorful chisels, clamps, drills, pliers, and mallets at work. What could they be making? Kids will love finding out–and creating sound effects to go with this action-packed board book. Perfect for little builders!
I'm a Truck Driver - Now in board book—a charming story about a little boy and girl adventuring from one driver’s seat to the next featuring 12 exciting trucks! There are many different kinds of trucks to drive. You can dig up dirt with a power shovel, lift steel beams with a giant crane, flatten tar with a steamroller, and push away snow with a snowplow. Preschoolers will love watching the little boy and girl in the story as they sit in the driver’s seat of twelve big trucks that rumble and tumble and go clinka-vroom vroom! A Christy Ottaviano Book
Baby Loves Structural Engineering! - Big, brainy science for the littlest listeners. Accurate enough to satisfy an expert, yet simple enough for baby, this clever board book explores the basics of building–from foundation to rooftop–and ties it all to baby’s world. Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby’s sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two, as well!
Old MacDonald Had a Boat - Old Mac and Mrs. Mac are at it again! This time, these DIY-happy farmers wield a host of noisy tools—from hammers to sanders, and even a blowtorch—to soup up their rusty old fishing boat. With a BANG BANG here and a BUZZ BUZZ there, this silly, summery sequel to the wildly popular Old MacDonald Had a Truck is sure to make a splash—and have the whole family singing along.
The Little Dump Truck - A happy little dump truck, driven by Hard Hat Pete, hauls stones, rocks, and debris from a construction site to a landfill.
How did Central Park become a vibrant gem in the heart of New York City? Follow the visionaries behind the plan as it springs to green life. In 1858, New York City was growing so fast that new roads and tall buildings threatened to swallow up the remaining open space. The people needed a green place to be – a park with ponds to row on and paths for wandering through trees and over bridges. When a citywide contest solicited plans for creating a park out of barren swampland, Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted put their heads together to create the winning design, and the hard work of making their plans a reality began. By winter, the lake opened for skating. By the next summer, the waterside woodland known as the Ramble opened for all to enjoy. Meanwhile, sculptors, stone masons, and master gardeners joined in to construct thirty-four unique bridges, along with fountains, pagodas, and band shells, making New York’s Central Park a green gift to everyone. Included in the end matter are bios of Vaux and Olmsted, a bibliography, and engaging factual snippets.
Sing along with these construction ABCs! Cement Mixer churns out a rollicking alphabet rhyme that makes work light and teaches little readers the words of the construction site, from A to Z.
Daddy is making a special project. Help him find the tools he needs by looking under the oversized flaps. Working with Daddy is so much fun!
The star of Faster! Faster! and Higher! Higher! dons a construction hat for another soaring (and slightly interrupted) exercise in imagination. A box of blocks. A budding builder. Should she build a doghouse? A bridge? A skyscraper? Yes, all of these and more! Bigger, bigger! BIGGEST! But then . . . Boom! Boom! What’s that? Uh-oh . . . After one little girl’s architectural masterpieces grow exponentially, the arrival of an assistant presents a bit of a challenge in this ode to creativity masterfully constructed by Leslie Patricelli.
This new adventure with Red Knit Cap Girl and her friends uses simple prose and radiant illustrations to shine a light on the joy of reading and the importance of working together. One day Red Knit Cap Girl and her friends discover a hollow tree in the middle of the forest. What can be done with one ordinary tree? “I will keep my book in this nook so everyone can read it,” Red Knit Cap Girl says. But the tree isn’t only for books. Little by little, one by one, the animals share their unique gifts and turn the ordinary tree into a special spot for everyone to enjoy!
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