There are so many great books about scientific innovation, but I don't know what to do with them all.

Hmm... eureka! I've got it! I'll make a list!

These titles and more are available at the Barrington Area Library.


The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Written by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

Desperate to save his village after a devastating drought, Malawian teenager William Kamkwamba embarked on an amazing mission: using scrap metal and other junk, he constructed a functioning windmill, complete with running electricity, and prevented the local crops from failing. This inspiring story of innovation and perseverance gives weight to the old saying that necessity is the mother of invention.

Attention, grown ups: there is an adult version of this title available in the Adult Services biography collection.


Going Up! Elisha Otis's Trip to the Top
Written by Monica Kulling
Illustrated by David Parkins

Elisha Otis had always marveled at ropes and pulleys, at the way they hoisted machinery and cargo to and fro. But people were skeptical when he revealed his intention to create a machine that could do the same for people, until a spectacular showing at the 1854 World's Fair showed everyone it was possible.

This is part of a series, the Great Ideas Series, showcasing a variety of innovators and inventors. Children who enjoy this book should check out the rest of the series, available at the Barrington Area Library.


The House That Cleaned Itself: The True Story of Frances Gabe's (Mostly) Marvelous Invention
Written by Laura Dershewitz and Susan Romberg
Illustrated by Meghann Rader

Exhausted from the "nerve-twangling bore" of constant housework, Frances Gabe wished her house would just clean itself... so she tried her best to make that a reality. She installed a sprinkler that sprayed soap everywhere, air jets that could dry the bathtub, a special cabinet that could wash and dry clothes, and 67 other amazing inventions. While Gabe's home design never caught on, readers will still marvel at her ingenuity (and the fact that it all actually happened!).


Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions
Written by Chris Barton
Illustrated by Don Tate

Lonnie Johnson had a lot working against him: he was born in the segregated American South, an environment that actively tried to squash his dreams. Discouraged by school aptitude tests that dismissed his dream of being an engineer, subjected to racist abuse, Johnson had to rise above the cruel hand he'd been dealt. After graduating with two engineering degrees he joined the Air Force, and later NASA, where he worked on the Galileo mission... and that would be enough, a great story for any engineer.

Except Lonnie Johnson also created the Super Soaker.

Featuring dynamic artwork and fun narration, Whoosh! documents the life and times of an inventor who rose above the odds and gave joy to children everywhere.


Patricia's Vision: The Doctor Who Saved Sight
Written by Michelle Lord
Illustrated by Alleanna Harris

Born in the 1940s, Patricia Bath grew up at a time when the idea of an African-American woman doctor was considered little more than a fantasy. But she persevered, becoming a celebrated ophthalmologist, humanitarian, and patented inventor (in fact, she was the first African-American woman to receive a patent for a medical device). Dr. Bath's commitment to preventing blindness led her to create an improved eye laser, as well as found the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness.


Eager to discover more great books? Try a Browsing Bundle

  Youth Services Librarian Chris