Read on for a brilliant post from author Jane Wilsher about books that will encourage young readers to learn about the world around them and how things work! Thank you Jane for such a superb piece with plenty of new books to read and recommend!

Best books for children to learn how things work

The Way things Work
David Macaulay
(DK)

This is very much at the top end of the age-group, but it’s a book to dip into for a school topic. The funny illustrations of mammoths and machines help to make complicated ideas make sense.

Eureka – The most amazing scientific discoveries of all time
Mike Goldsmith
(Thames & Hudson)

Genius – The most astonishing inventions of all time

Deborah Kespert

(Thames & Hudson)

I commissioned both of these titles when I worked at Thames & Hudson. Both look behind the scenes of science and describe the real-life stories behind scientific enquiry and inventions. Packed with plenty of experiments, blunders and lucky escapes.

See Inside How things work
Conrad Mason

(Usborne)

See Inside Things that go
Rob Lloyd Jones

(Usborne)

An Usborne Flap Book See inside science
Alix Frith and Colin King

(Usborne)

Usborne’s lift-the-flap books on how things work and machines are always appealing, clear and thorough. Children lift the many flaps to reveal interesting facts about how machines work and to discover the principles of science and technology.

Make this book disappear

Barbara Taylor

Scholastic

I also commissioned this book, which was published by Scholastic. The idea is to interact with the pages, often cutting them up to make scientific things happen. Children can turn the pages into a car, a paper jet, a boat powered by soap, a megaphone-sound catcher, a clock …

Titles for younger children

How things work
OKIDO

Thames & Hudson

I commissioned this book for Thames & Hudson from the hugely creative team at OKIDO. It’s a real mix of facts and fun. Beautifully designed with a range of illustration styles. There are things to do on and off the page. Plenty of questions kick-start scientific enquiry, such as How is a house built? and What powers a rocket to reach the moon?

Ada Twist Scientist
Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

(Abrams)

A fiction title for the pot. This charming picture book is about a young girl, called Ada, who is endlessly curious and destined to be a brilliant scientist. Playful rhyming text and wonderful illustrations celebrate the power of asking questions.

MARVELLOUS MACHINES by Jane Wilsher, illustrated by Andrés Lozano is out now in hardback (£14.99, What on Earth Books)

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