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My daughter’s school just opened up a tinkering studio, which is completely awesome and I want to live there. It’s great because the school is really dedicated to STEAM education so there are circuits and a 3-D printer but also a sewing machine and yarn (my cast offs, of course).
They have some books around for the kids to look at, and one of them is Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, one of my favorite kids’ books about knitting ever. Which reminded me that we have several books we love that tell stories about maker kids or that encourage kids to get creative.
Extra Yarn is a super cute book about a little girl who lives in a cold, gray, wintry place and one day finds a magical box of yarn that never runs out. (I wish!)
She knits herself and her dog sweaters, then all the kids at school, the adults, the pets, until eventually she’s “knitting sweaters for things that don’t even wear sweaters.”
Word of the girl’s amazing yarn spreads, and a fancy archduke comes to town and tries to buy the box from her. It doesn’t end well for him.
I love the message that creativity is more important than money, and that throwing a little yarn around can change the world.
We’ve had this book for three years and the girl still loves it. Me, too.
Rosie Revere, Engineer
I had been seeing Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty online for a long time and picked it up at the library recently against the girl’s wishes. Usually when I pick kids’ books out she doesn’t want to read them, but in this case she made an exception and she loves this one, too.
Rosie is a little girl who loves to make wild inventions, like a machine that serves hot dogs and helium pants that allow the wearer to float like a balloon.
But when an uncle laughed at one of her inventions she started doing her tinkering in secret, until great-great aunt Rose came to visit and Rosie wanted to help her fulfill her dream of flying.
In the end Rosie learns that mistakes are good and “the only true failure can come if you quit.” She gets the rest of her class making, too.
Mix It Up
I’ve written about Mix It Up by Hervé Tullet before, but this was a book the girl really enjoyed and painted her way through, learning about color mixing all the way.
Because of reading that book (and other experiences) she knows what will happen when she mixes different colors of paint in different ways and she’s confident enough to mix different colors when she wants or needs something special.
This might be a good one for reluctant artists because it shows that art is all about experimenting and having fun (and probably getting a little messy, too).
Do you have favorite books for kids about making and creativity? I’d love to hear about them!