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Inventions and innovations

inventions_abramovitz_amazing-feats-of-biological-engineeringAbramovitz, Melissa Amazing Feats of Biological Engineering
Middle school, high school    112 pp.     ABDO/Essential Library    2014

Carmichael, L. E. Amazing Feats of Civil Engineering
Middle school, high school
   112 pp.     ABDO/Essential Library    2014

Smibert, Angie Amazing Feats of Aerospace Engineering
Middle school, high school    112 pp.     ABDO/Essential Library    2014

Swanson, Jennifer Amazing Feats of Electrical Engineering
Middle school, high school    112 pp.     ABDO/Essential Library    2014

Great Achievements in Engineering series. These substantial books begin with a brief introduction and history, then validate the “Amazing Feats” label with remarkable projects including the International Space Station, a thought-controlled bionic leg, the Canadian Confederation Bridge, and the driverless car; challenges and problem-solving are emphasized. Illustrations include both color photos and diagrams. Career advice, facts, and a hands-on project are appended. Reading list. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Machines and Technology; Engineering; Flight; Electronics

inventions_barretta_timeless-thomasBarretta, Gene Timeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our Lives
Gr. K–3
   32 pp.     Holt/Ottaviano    2012

Thomas Edison’s ingenuity is celebrated in this accessible look at his prolific inventions. Spreads with quirky cartoon illustrations pair a page of “present day” items with an “Edison’s lab” page introducing his original versions. Simple explanations demonstrate how Edison’s experiments, many of which initially failed, were ultimately groundbreaking. End material includes brief bios of Edison’s employees and additional “Thomas Trivia.” Bib.
Subjects: Machines and Technology; Edison, Thomas A.; Inventions and inventors

inventions_colson_get-inventingColson, Mary Get Inventing!
Gr. K–3
   32 pp.     Raintree    2014

Dream It, Do It! series. With the suggestion of keeping an invention journal for inspiration and collecting thoughts and pictures, this is a simple guide to the process of taking an idea through to an innovation. Full-color photographs complement the well-organized text, which uses appropriately challenging words and concepts and offers journaling prompts throughout. Back matter includes a guided board game–creating activity. Reading list. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Machines and Technology; Inventions and inventors

kamkwamba_boy who harnessed the windKamkwamba, William and Mealer, Bryan The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Gr. 4–6, middle school
   293 pp.     Dial    2015

When heavy rains, then drought, hit Malawi, young William Kamkwamba used his scientific ingenuity to make a windmill and help people in need. Soon he dreamed of fighting hunger and bringing electricity and running water to the villages. This young readers’ edition of the same-titled adult memoir (there’s also a picture book version) offers an inspiring, well-told true tale of one young man’s passion for science making his world better.
Subjects: Individual Biographies; Power (Mechanics); Weather—Wind; Weather—Droughts; Malawi; Engineering; Autobiographies; Kamkwamba, William; Electricity

rusch_next waveRusch, Elizabeth The Next Wave: The Quest to Harness the Power of the Oceans
Gr. 4–6, middle school
   79 pp.     Houghton    2014

Scientists in the Field series. Transferring ocean wave action into electricity (without damaging collection equipment or harming marine life) is a significant engineering challenge with a potentially big financial payoff. Rusch captures the determined, entrepreneurial spirit of the profiled engineers as well as the need for creative problem-solving and ingenuity. Photographs and illustrations feature prototypes in both small-scale laboratory and full-ocean tests. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Machines and Technology; Engineering; Oceans; Energy

From the September 2015 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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