In many parts of the world, this time of year starts getting colder and darker … but that doesn’t mean the spark of your imagination needs to grow dim! Whether you love building model robots, preparing a meal for the family, or dreaming up changes to our government, these books for “makers” of all sorts have you covered!

Real Life

  • If you want to create something but aren’t sure where to start, check out Spark: A Guide to Ignite the Creativity Inside You from American Girl. It busts through the myth that creativity is only about being artistic to show how science, sports, architecture and more all use your creativity. Then it will guide you through the idea, creation, and revision phases of the creative project that interests YOU.
  • Still looking for inspiration? Read about how women around the world have made everything from HIV tests to movie costumes to the earliest rock-and-roll songs in Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison.
  • And when you’re ready to put that inspiration into action, pick up a copy of Chelsea Clinton’s book, Start Now! You Can Make a Difference. It explores health, hunger, climate change, endangered species and bullying, pointing you toward how you can make a difference in the areas that matter most to you. It also includes lots of stories of real kids who are already making a difference.
  • If you’re looking for something a little more “hands on,” check out Math Lab for Kids: Fun, Hands-on Activities for Learning With Shapes, Puzzles, and Games by Rebecca Rapoport and J.A. Yoder. Whether you’re a bona-fide math geek or cringe at the sight of your math book, you’ll probably find something to spark your interest here … like building pyramids with gumdrops and toothpicks, or drawing giant, perfect circles and other shapes.
  • Once the “maker” bug has bit you, you might want to try DK’s Star Wars Maker Lab: 20 Craft and Science Projects. Even if you’re not a fan of the Star Wars movies, you have to admit that making your own hologram projectors, slime, crystals, and model rockets sounds pretty cool!
  • And speaking of movies … why not make your own? With DK’s Video Ideas book, you can pick up tips for every aspect of the movie-making process, from writing the script to getting the best sound effects to choosing locations and costumes. Not ready to go full-length? No problem — start with making the perfect time-lapse short video or shooting some great footage of your pet!
  • Don’t forget that you don’t need expensive or fancy equipment to be a “maker.” Fiona Hayes “51 Things to Make” series includes ideas for re-using cardboard boxes, egg cartons, toilet paper and paper towel tubes, and paper plates to build animals, rocket ships, dolls, and more!
  • All this “making” is bound to work up an appetite! Head to the kitchen with a copy of The Healthy Teen Cookbook: Around the World in 80 Fantastic Recipes by Remmi Smith to make yourself something delicious! While most cookbooks are organized by type of food (breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snacks), this one is organized by continent — so you can take your tastebuds around the world without ever leaving your kitchen!


If all that activity has you ready to curl up and relax with a good book, try one of these novels about girl “makers.”

  • Elara is excited to be enrolled at the Seven Systems School of Terraforming Sciences and Arts, where she hopes to learn to be a top designer … of planets! The science behind the story in Project Terra: Crash Course by Landry Q. Walker is real, but that doesn’t keep it from going into some fun and hilarious territory that includes a sponge for a roommate and a planet so far out in the boonies it’s named “Nowhere.”
  • In The Inventors at No. 8 by A.M. Morgen, 12-year-old Ada Lovelace has invented a flying machine, which she uses to help her new friend George to hunt down a treasure map so his family won’t lose their house … hoping she’ll find her own father along the way. While the fantastical events in this book are made up, Ada Lovelace WAS a real person, who is often referred to as the “first computer programmer” even though she lived in the 1800s!

What about you? Do you have favorite “maker” books, whether how-to, inspirational, or just a good story about someone who made cool things? Share your thoughts and recommendations of your own in the comments!

Lacey Louwagie is an adult writer and editor who got her first editing job with New Moon Girls in 2002. She is currently a freelance writer and editor and stay-at-home parent of 2 little boys. She has been a teen services librarian and coordinates book-related goodies for New Moon Girls. She is the author...

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