Monday, November 19, 2012

Inventors and Inventions: It's Good to be Clever and Patient!

Ever wonder how something came to be? Toilets? Paper bags? X-rays? Bubble gum? Today I have books about inventors and inventions. Perhaps reading about these inventors and inventions will inspire you to invent something yourself. It's worth trying!

 Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum by Meghan McCarthy
This story is a perfect example of how cleverness, and especially patience, can lead to something brand new. Walter Diemer worked for a candy company in the early 1900s. He didn't make candy, he was their money person. But he was the one who figured out how to create bubble gum. As always, Meghan McCarty's illustrations are perfect.

 Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo daVinciby Gene Barretta
Leonardo daVinci lived in the 1400s and was a man way ahead of his time. This book shows some pages from daVinci's notebooks. They contained drawings of many inventions (hang glider, contact lenses...) that were never made in his time. But these same ideas were made by inventors hundreds of years later. Be sure to check out the words in his drawings - an explanation is in the author's note. Also by this author:
Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin
Timeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our Lives

 My Brothers' Flying Machine: Wilbur, Orville, and Me by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jim Burke
This is the story of  Orville and Wilbur Wright, as told by their younger sister, Katharine. She is the one who provided support and encouragement as they worked on their many inventions, including their famous flying machine. The story is told beautifully and the paintings are just right.

 Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor by Emily Arnold McCully
In the mid-1800s, women were not expected to know anything about anything mechanical. Margaret Knight not only knew about mechanical things, she worked to fix and improve them. This story follows her early life and goes on to show how she invented a machine that made the square-bottom paper bags we still use today. This book has made me want to learn more about Margaret Knight.

 How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning by Rosalyn Schanzer
Like Leonardo daVinci, Benjamin Franklin was a man of many talents and often ahead of his time. This book tells about how Franklin discovered important things about lightning and electricity. It also tells about lots of his other discoveries. The pictures and text are pretty funny.

 Household Inventions: From Toilet to Toaster by Natalie Lunis
I love how this book is set up. On one page it asks which of 2 inventions came first (Shower or toilet? Dishwasher or vacuum cleaner?) Turn the page and find out the answer, with an explanation. I hate to tell you how many times I guessed wrong!

 Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions by Don Wulffson, illustrations by Laurie Keller
Have you ever played with Play-Doh? Legos? A Slinky? Mr. Potato Had? Ever wondered who invented them? This book tells about the beginnings of 25 different toys and games. It's hard to put down once you get started.

 Thomas Edison: A Brilliant Inventor by the editors of Time for Kids and Lisa DeMauro
You may know that Thomas Edison developed the light bulb. But there is a lot more to know about Edison. I learned from this book that Edison: was a terrible student  in school, published a newspaper when he was 12, created a talking doll and lots more interesting things. I love this quote, "I have not failed. I've found 10,000 ways that won't work." Also about Thomas Edison:
Timeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our Lives by Gene Barretta (excellent picture book)

 Imaginative Inventions: The Who, What, Where, When, and Why of Roller Skates, Potato Chips, Marbles, and Pie by Charise Mericle Harper
Such outstanding illustrations! Each page is a riot of color and yet never seems cluttered or confusing. The text is in rhyme, making this a great read-aloud.

 10 Inventors Who Changed the World by Clive Gifford, illustrated by David Cousens
This book has a real graphic novel feel to it. Some of the inventors are familiar ones, like Benjamin Franklin, Marie Curie and Thomas Edison. But several of them are new to me, such as Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Sergei Korolev and Glenn Curtiss.

 So You Want to be an Inventor? by Judith St. George and David Small
I like how this book is set up. It starts with a statement about what an inventor should do and then tells about inventors who did it. If you want to be an inventor, be a dreamer. Alexander Graham Bell dreamed of people talking across distances, and then invented the telephone. Igor Sikorsky dreamed of flying up, down, forward, backway and sideways, and then invented a helocopter. It's an inspiring book.

Does reading about inventors and inventions get you psyched about trying inventing yourself? I hope so. What do you have in mind? Write your ideas in the Comments Box!

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