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Machines: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about machines?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to machines. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about machines.

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 machines can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Z Is for Zoom: A Scientific Alphabet of How Things Go, from Alternator to Zerk Fitting
Written by Ashley Malec & illustrated by Teresa Bellon
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

From the experiences of a female NASCAR mechanic comes a book to teach kids (and grownups) the basics of cars, trucks, and things that go!

A is for Alternator
B is for Boost
C is for Combustion Engine

From automatic transmissions to drive lines and from suspension to Zerk fitting and everything in between, Z is for Zoom is a colorfully simple introduction for babies―and grownups―to automotive parts, mechanical terms, and what makes their favorite vehicles go vroom! Written by an expert, each page in this auto mechanics primer features multiple levels of learning so the book grows along with your little gear or motorhead!

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McToad Mows Tiny Island
Written by Tom Angleberger & illustrated by John Hendrix
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

McToad likes Thursdays. Why? Because on every other day of the week, McToad mows Big Island, but on Thursdays, McToad mows Tiny Island. To do so, he puts his mower on the back of a truck, which drives to a train, which goes to a helicopter, which flies to a boat, which uses a crane to put the lawn mower onto Tiny Island. There McToad mows and drinks some lemonade, and before you know it, it’s time to turn around and go back home. But first, the mower has to get lifted by a crane, to get put back on a boat, which is lifted by a helicopter, and . . . well . . . you get the idea.

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My First Trucks and Diggers
Written & illustrated by DK Publishing
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Introduces trucks, diggers, and other construction and excavation vehicles, including dump trucks, bulldozers, logging trucks, and steamrollers.

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Who Was Henry Ford?
Written by Michael Burgan and Who HQ
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Born on a small farm in rural Michigan, Henry Ford’s humble beginnings were no match for his ambition. Ford quickly created a manufacturing dynasty, bringing affordable cars to the masses and forever changing America and the American workplace. Who Was Henry Ford? details his meteoric rise, and explains how the genius behind the assembly line and the Model T shaped modern American industry.

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What Is the Panama Canal?
Written by Janet B. Pascal and Who HQ & illustrated by Tim Foley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Before 1914, traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast meant going by land across the entire United States. To go by sea involved a long journey around South America and north along the Pacific Coast. But then, in a dangerous and amazing feat of engineering, a 48-mile-long channel was dug through Panama, creating the world’s most famous shortcut: the Panama Canal!

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  • Lift - From the award-winning and bestselling creators of Drawn Together comes the fantastic tale of a magical elevator that will lift your spirits–and press all the right buttons!Iris loves to push the elevator buttons in her apartment building, but when it’s time to share the fun with a new member of the family, she’s pretty put out. That is, until the sudden appearance of a mysterious new button opens up entire realms of possibility, places where she can escape and explore on her own. But when she’s forced to choose between going at it alone or letting her little brother tag along, Iris finds that sharing a discovery with the people you love can be the most wonderful experience of all.Using their dynamic comics-inspired storytelling, acclaimed author Minh Lê and Caldecott Medal-winning artist Dan Santat carry readers on a journey of ups, downs, and twists and turns that will send hearts–and imaginations–soaring.“Beautiful” —School Library Journal, starred review“Dazzling”—Publishers Weekly, starred review“Delightful”—School Library Connection, starred review“Immersive”—Booklist, starred review*”Inspired”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

  • Firefighters' Handbook - Do you have what it takes to be a firefighter? From attending the Firefighter Academy to training with a team, there are many things you have to accomplish before becoming a firefighter! Learn the tools firefighters use, the kinds of trucks firefighters drive, and the dangerous situations they find themselves in as they put their lives on the line to help others in this charming picture book from the author of Pop: The Invention of Bubble Gum.

  • The Construction Crew - There are countless machines that help out on a construction site. Everything from a bulldozer to a crane has a very special job. Do you know what it is? Lift the page to learn about what each machine does and discover what happens when they all work together!

  • Horrible Harry and the Drop of Doom - It’s the last day of second grade and Song Lee’s having a party at the amusement park to celebrate. Harry can’t wait to go on all the rides, except for one – The Drop of Doom. In the end, Harry overcomes his fear with a little help from Song Lee, who knows what it’s like to be fearful of new experiences.

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Tractor Mac: Colors on the Farm
Written & illustrated by Billy Steers
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

This new edition to the Tractor Mac series is a board book that teaches children about the different colors of the rainbow. Tractor Mac and his vehicle and animal friends, including Sibley the horse, Pete the pig, and Goat Walter, show kids around Stony Meadow Farm in order to observe the colors of various objects found on the farm.

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Whose Tools?
Written by Toni Buzzeo & illustrated by Jim Datz
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

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.

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Oscar and the Bird: A Book about Electricity
Written & illustrated by Geoff Waring
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Start with Science books introduce kids to core science concepts through engaging stories, fresh illustrations, and supplemental activities. When Oscar the kitten finds a tractor in a field and accidentally turns on the windshield wipers, he is full of questions about electricity. Luckily, Bird knows the answers! With the help of his friend, Oscar finds out how electricity is made and stored, which machines need electricity to work, and why we always need to be careful around wires, batteries, plugs, and sockets. Back matter includes an index and supplemental activities.

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Lucy the Diamond Fairy
Written by Daisy Meadows
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Seven jewels have been stolen from the Fairy Queen’s crown! Without them, the Jewel Fairies’ magical powers are fading. Read all seven books to find the jewels and save the fairies! Jack Frost is causing trouble in Fairyland again! This time, he’s stolen the seven jewels from Queen Titania’s crown. Without them, all the fairy magic in Fairyland is fading fast! Can Rachel and Kirsty help Lucy the Diamond Fairy find the final jewel? Or will Fairyland’s special magic be lost forever?

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Dig It!
Written by Kate Riggs & illustrated by Laszlo Kubinyi
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

The first in a new series of illustrated nonfiction board books, this durable title offers up fun, foundational introductions to construction vehicles that are sure to fascinate every early learner. Simple, rhythmical text introduces each machine or animal as its own character, highlighting the vehicles’ defining features. Detailed illustrations, meanwhile, provide colorful views of developing construction sites.

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  • 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.

  • Locomotive - All aboard! From the creator of the “stunning” (Booklist) Moonshot, a rich and detailed sensory exploration of America’s early railroads. It is the summer of 1869, and trains, crews, and family are traveling together, riding America’s brand-new transcontinental railroad. These pages come alive with the details of the trip and the sounds, speed, and strength of the mighty locomotives; the work that keeps them moving; and the thrill of travel from plains to mountain to ocean. Come hear the hiss of the steam, feel the heat of the engine, watch the landscape race by. Come ride the rails, come cross the young country!

  • The Sinister Signpost - In one of the most dangerous and intriguing cases of their careers, Frank and Joe Hardy help their father investigate a series of mysterious car accidents. Each of the drivers had seen a signpost marked DANGER shortly before his accident. The young detectives investigate, only to discover that the signposts have vanished. The attempted theft of a secret experimental motor and the kidnapping of a famous race horse are part of this thrilling case, which proves to be as sinister as the signposts themselves. From the Hardcover edition.

  • The Elevator Family - The four members of the Wilson family decide to spend their holiday in one of the elevators at the San Francisco Hotel.

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The Boy and the Wild Blue Girl
Written & illustrated by Keith Negley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Inspired by the work of wind pioneer Poul la Cour, The Boy and the Wild Blue Girl is the imagined story of the invention of wind turbines, featuring themes perfect for Earth Day.

Everyone thought the wild blue girl was a nuisance.

Everyone, that is, but Poul.

This is a clever and inspiring story of how curiosity and observation can bring about change in the world.

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Wheels at Work: Farm
Written & illustrated by Cocoretto
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Collecting, lifting, transporting, and delivering! Lift the flap to see each vehicle busy at work. Perfect for guessing, prediction and memory skills - and simply joining in!

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Farmer John's Tractor
Written by Sally Sutton & illustrated by Robyn Belton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When the river floods and a family is trapped in their car, will Farmer John’s rusty, trusty tractor save the day?

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I Am a Zamboni Machine
Written by & illustrated by Paola Migliari
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Young hockey and ice sports fans will love seeing this big machine in action! Featuring simple facts and colorful illustrations, the text follows a Zamboni machine as it does its honest job of clearing and resurfacing the rink.

Readers will cheer along with the fans when the hockey players can jump back on the smooth, shiny ice. Bright artwork and clear text will help all little truck and ice enthusiasts see what a Zamboni machine does!

I Am a Zamboni Machine is a perfect, compelling new addition to the bestselling I Am a Truck series. A book and truck in one!

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Skyscraper
Written & illustrated by Jorey Hurley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Acclaimed picture book creator Jorey Hurley whose work has been called “stunning” and “dramatic” tells the story perfect for the youngest reader of all the different and mighty trucks it takes to build a city skyscraper!

What once was a vacant lot, watch as truck by truck, a towering skyscraper is built in this beautifully illustrated picture book about trucks and construction. This beautiful picture book includes a glossary of fourteen truck images and their names.

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  • Magnificent Machines That Move - Discover some magnificent machines and learn about how they work in this in-depth title featuring machines that work on the land, in the air, and on the high seas. Readers will dive into the world of machinery to discover unique and interesting facts about human-operated machines, machines that can fly, machines that help us do jobs, and even machines that are built just for fun! About the Do You Know About series: The Do You Know About series is a nonfiction educational series that covers a variety of disciplines including science, technology, history, and more. Each book uses informative text, bright photographs, and clear diagrams to discuss and explain the topic at hand. A special “do you know about…” feature is included throughout the text offering interesting facts and defining key words. Additional back matter includes a glossary of key terms and an index, resulting in a well-rounded reading experience that introduces young readers to the concept of research and encourages them to study and explore further.

  • I Dig Bathtime - When the dust has settled and the day is done, Excavator is ready for bathtime. It’s so much fun! Trucks dig bathtime! Join Excavator and the other construction trucks as they scrub-a-dub-dub away the dust of the day with a well-earned bath. Adorable yet accurate illustrations will have kids peeking through the bubbles to identify Crane, Backhoe, Bulldozer, and more! You’ll dig bathtime too!

  • Trucks - Tiny readers can trace bumpy, shiny, glittery trails in this board book perfect for little hands, with activities that teach them about shapes, matching, and sorting, and help develop hand-eye coordination and pre-writing motor skills. As they follow the trails, whether straight, wavy, or loopy, toddlers will lead their favorite trucks to their destination–from the tiny fire truck rushing to rescue a kitten in a tree to the tiny dump truck looking for the construction site. Peepholes on each spread show which little truck will need help next, and a mix-and-match game at the end of the book with four glittery trails puts all the learned skills together, prompting toddlers to match each truck to its correct destination.

  • How Machines Work: Zoo Break! - Award-winning artist David Macaulay introduces readers to his hilarious new creations, Sloth and Sengi, in How Machines Work: Zoo Break! Complete with a unique jacket with an interactive compound machine incorporating several of the simple mechanisms featured in the book, How Machines Work: Zoo Break! uses models and illustrations to demonstrate the technology of six simple machines: levers, pulleys, screws, inclined planes, wedges, and wheels. Follow the mad antics of Sloth and his sidekick Sengi as they try to find their way out of the zoo with the help of machines. Their efforts are brought to life through novelty elements including pop-ups, pull-outs, and lift-the-flaps, allowing readers to explore in greater depth how and why machines work. Spreads highlight the use of simple machines in everyday objects, such as scissors and clocks, mixers and whisks, bikes and brakes, while the story contains clear and simple text to engage the reader.

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Machines in Motion: The Amazing History of Transportation
Written & illustrated by Tom Jackson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

A detailed history of how many of the world’s most recognizable modes of transportation came to be.

Every day, all over the world, people travel: short trips or great voyages, moving slowly and steadily or racing along at super-fast speeds. They make their trips in cars, trains, planes, ships and on bikes—and some people have even blasted off in rockets! But how did these vehicles become what we know now?

With intricately illustrated timelines, this book takes readers on a journey through the developmental history of various modes of transportation—from chariots to electric cars, dugout canoes to ocean liners, cable cars to bullet trains, and the many iterations in between. The fascinating stories behind each of these machines join together to reveal a comprehensive history of how new and inventive forms of transportation have built off one another to change our world.

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Cupcake Fix
Written by Vicky Fang & illustrated by Christine Nishiyama
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Layla and the Bots are building a SWEET new invention!Pick a book. Grow a Reader!This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line Branches, aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!Blossom Valley is opening a new community center! But they need to generate buzz for the grand opening. Layla and the Bots know how to help: they will build a cupcake machine for the party! But will their invention be a piece of cake… or a recipe for disaster? With full-color artwork on every page, speech bubbles throughout, and a fun DIY activity that readers can try at home, this early chapter book series brings kid-friendly STEAM topics to young readers!

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Let's Build a Highway
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

From the publisher that brought you the bestselling Baby University books comes a brand new board book series of construction books for kids. Join the construction team and help build a highway!Let’s build a highway! Follow along step-by-step as big trucks and machines construct a busy road, from surveying the roadway, to using a bulldozer to clear the path, and so much more. With a simple format and the introduction of new engineering concepts and words, tiny truck lovers will enjoy being a part of the construction crew.The Let’s Build series introduces young readers to engineering, construction, and architecture, helping them imagine what they can build!

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Building Machines
Written by Ian Graham & illustrated by Carles Ballesteros
board book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Building Machines explores the powerful mechanics of construction vehicles and includes everything needed to build nine machines with working parts! The construction vehicles introduced are a forklift, bulldozer, front loader, giant digger, dump truck, road roller, crane, and tractor. Each spread describes the vehicle in detail, including its parts and function. The spreads also include instructions for constructing the machine described using the included die-cut pieces. Children can follow the steps to make each vehicle, then use the pieces to invent their own. It’s the perfect introduction to simple mechanics for budding engineers everywhere.

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My First Toolbox
Written & illustrated by Jessie Ford
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

My First Tool Box features a distressed design to give it a rough-and-tumble feel. Children will be delighted by the removable cardboard elements including: A wrench A screwdriver A hammer and four cardboard nails A saw My First Tool Box also features a tape measure to slide, and screws and nuts to turn. Plus, children can count from one to five! This oversized board book offers a robust introduction to everyday tools, perfect for encouraging lively, interactive play for children and adults!

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  • Construction Site - Learn from home and explore the world with these fun and easy board books!Fans of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site will love this vehicle-filled adventure in the hit Hello, World! board book series. Toddlers can learn all about the busy world of a construction site, with easy-to-understand facts about all the huge, noisy machines that captivate little ones’ imaginations. Hello, World! is a series designed to introduce first nonfiction concepts to babies and toddlers. Told in clear and easy terms (Clank! A crane is used to lift heavy things and move them to the right spot.) and featuring bright, cheerful illustrations, Hello, World! makes learning fun for young children. And each page offers helpful prompts for engaging with your child. It’s a perfect way to bring science and nature into the busy world of a toddler, where learning never stops. Look for all the books in the Hello, World! series: -Solar System-Weather-Backyard Bugs-Birds-Dinosaurs-My Body-How Do Apples Grow?-Ocean Life-Moon Landing-Pets-Arctic Animals-Construction Site-Rainforest Animals-Planet Earth -Reptiles-Cars and Trucks -Music-Baby Animals-On the Farm

  • Let's Build a Playground - From the publisher that brought you the bestselling Baby University books comes a brand new board book series of construction books for kids. Join the construction team and help build a playground!Let’s build a playground! Follow along step-by-step as we construct a fun neighborhood playground, from digging holes for the support poles to assembling the slide and more! With a simple format and the introduction of new engineering concepts and words, tiny tool lovers will enjoy being a part of the construction crew.The Let’s Build series introduces young readers to engineering, construction, and architecture, helping them imagine what they can build!

  • Big Board First 100 Trucks and Things That Go - First 100 Trucks and Things That Go is a large board book for young children, full of 100 photographs of all kinds of vehicles. Each colorful photograph is accompanied by the word, and the book is separated into themes–rescue vehicles, construction vehicles, on the farm, on the road, on the water, cars, and flying machines. This is a great way to build vocabulary for little ones fascinated by trucks, cars, diggers, tractors, and other things that go.

  • How to Build an Elf Trap - Can you be the first to catch an elf? Catching elves is no easy task-you need more than candy canes and ribbons! You’ll need the perfect trap with precise calculations and proper engineering– and How to Build an Elf Trapcan help! What’s inside? 12 traps with step-by-step instructions sure to lure in your elf STEAM Connections exploring the science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics behind each activity Yummy elf recipes Exciting bonus activities * Plus space to design your very own trap! How to Build an Elf Trapgives you all the tools you’ll need to create the perfect trap and put you in a elf-catching mood!

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Papa's Workshop
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-18

Explore PAPA’S WORKSHOP and discover delights and surprises around every corner. When papa and his grandson spend the afternoon in his wood-smelling shed, they scan the shelves and organize the workshop, sorting nails, screws, and other trinkets. And, no workshop is complete without a sparkly, sticky spider web to marvel. Larissa Juliano’s joyful word play begs to be read aloud to toddlers sitting on laps… and dreaming of busy days in Papa’s workshop.

Lively text appeals to children and the person reading it to them.

Sturdy format is ideal for little hands.

Combines counting and color recognition while encouraging movement and play.

A perfect gift for Father’s Day.

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Robot
Written & illustrated by DK Publishing
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

“From automata created by Leonardo Da Vinci to modern-day androids and animal robots, this book covers artificial intelligence (AI) throughout history. Discover the latest at the cutting edge of robotics, where science, technology, mechanical engineering, and computing meet as [the book] explains how robots work, how they are made, and how they help and sometimes hinder in modern society”–Publisher marketing.

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Dig!
Written by Jaye Garnett & illustrated by Mattia Cerato
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Peek-a-DIG! Each hardworking construction scene will engage your little one with a pair of lift-a-flaps with peek-a-boo surprises. Talk about how roads, houses, and skyscrapers are built. Look at the machines that help construct them. Inside the flaps, you’ll find fun facts about items in the artwork.

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Farm Fleet
Written by Finn Coyle & illustrated by Srimalie Bassani
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Sandy the farmer introduces the machines that help him on the farm. Children will discover an assortment of machines, including a tractor, baler, spreader, harvester and plow. As children are asked if they know what each machine does, the answer is revealed under a sturdy full-page flap. About the Finn’s Fun Trucks series: Written by teen truck enthusiast Finn Coyle, the Finn’s Fun Trucks series provides a vocabulary-rich introduction to transportation for truck-loving children with the help of a diverse range of vehicle operators and community helpers. Each spread has a full page lift-the-flap feature providing a wealth of learning and discovery in each book.

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Machines Go To Work
Written & illustrated by William Low
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Toddlers love machines and things that go, and this colorful picture book by William Low gives them everything they want, from a cement mixer to a helicopter to a backhoe. Six interactive gatefolds extend the original pictures to three pages, revealing something new about each situation. The final double gatefold opens into a very long train and shows all the machines at work!

The last spread provides additional information about each machine for young readers to pore over again and again.

William Low’s classically trained artist’s eye adds a new layer to this genre—both parents and children will appreciate the beautiful illustrations, the attention to detail, and the clever situational twists revealed by lifting the flaps of Machines Go to Work. The sequel, Machines Go to Work in the City, continues the interactive fun with more amazing illustrations, details, and information for everyone to enjoy.

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