Another theme I’m seeing in Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction in the 2021 Cybils nominees is compliations of stories of not-so-famous people whose inventions changed the world. I’m here for it!
FROM THERE TO HERE: Inventions That Changed the Way the World Moves by Vivian Kirkfield tells the story of unsung physicist greats, and is illustrated beautifully by Gilbert Ford.
At 96 pages, this book is recommended for ages 8-12 (I’ll take Amazon’s word for it, I’m not a teacher). However, there is visual interest on every page – from sidebars, to pictures, to diagrams – that will encourage a reluctant reader to check this book out.
And speaking as the mother of a ten-year-old aspiring inventor – they seem to be a demographic of smart kids who still are picky about books.
My favorite was the story of Bertha Benz, who snuck around her husband’s arrogant mansplaining (my read as an adult woman married to a man who knows everything) to bring the automobile to life – with a little help from her hatpin.
Hint: Karl Benz is usually credited as the mastermind behind the iconic brand, so this backstory is amusing and gratifying.
- The stories of the trial-and-failure that is characteristic of innovation is told in a relatable and often humorous way. (Robert Goddard’s boyhood antics in Chapter Six, anyone?)
- Backmatter has resources to encourage young inventors to develop their own ideas and win awards.
- It’s rare to see a science book for children this age that talks about the socio-political implications of inventions, but Kirkfield nails it.
- One more plug for the brilliant design and pictures:
This is just a fun, informative book that will inspire any aspiring scientist.