The Ann Arbor District Library possesses several subjects of books that meet their maker movement needs of youth readers. There is a very large and diverse collection of volumes devoted to DIY children’s projects, programming books, and guides for cooking and gardening. However, the collection contains a less comprehensive collection of books aimed at younger children, traditional crafts, and science or technological experiments. The aim of this annotated bibliography is to address those shortcomings and include books that embrace the maker movement from a variety of angles from hacking to robotics to sewing. Besides making the collection of maker related books interdisciplinary, it hopes to include books that contain interdisciplinary material as well. This focus will allow children who love video games to learn coding and language, while science focused learners can integrate English into their studies through scientific themed poetry. This method allows for a dynamic collection that encourages children of all ages to learn through self-directed exploratory play and develop a philosophy of lifelong learning. These additional materials will allow young and older children to take charge, learning about the tools collection at the library, by checking out a sewing machine or a microprocessor kit. Each of the volumes listed in this annotated bibliography aims to tease out one of these themes to create both breadth and depth in the AADL children’s maker movement collection.
Bull, Jane. Get set, sew: the beginner’s sewing machine book. New York : DK Publishing, 2015. Print.
Jane Bull has an entire series of books with DK publishing that aim to inspire young makers. This particular book is about sewing on the machine. What is unique from other sewing books it that it takes the jargon – that some need a dictionary to unravel – out of the equation, all while displaying step by step photos to make everything clear. By focusing on crafts rather than fashion, this book appeals to a wide variety of users and is suitable for children as young as three.* Additionally, it fills a gap in the children’s AADL collection for traditional crafts. While STEM is very much encouraged today, the maker movement also includes these traditional crafts. By including this in a collection, it shows children that makers come in all shapes and sizes. With this book as a starting point, children (and their parents) can check out a sewing machine from AADL and get sewing.
*according to the Children’s Book Council
Burnett, Christie. Time to create: hands-on explorations in process art for young children. Beltsville: Gryphon House, 2014. Print.
Christie Burnett has years of experience working with young children in her private life as a mother and her professional life as an early childhood educator. Additionally, she writes a popular blog called Childhood 101 that she writes herself. This book is a compilation of freeform activities that encourage children to discover on their own, by discouraging structured craft activities. This more free form approach to creativity ties in well with the maker movements’ approach that encourages people to follow a self-directed journey. By adding this collection of activities, younger children will have the opportunity to take charge of their activities in a hands-on way that encourages creativity and the maker mindset from a young age.
Doorley, Rachelle. Tinkerlap: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors. Boulder: Roost, 2014. Print.
The founder of the very popular creativity blog Tinkerlab, Doorley leads workshops on both visual thinking and hands-on creativity. Concepts that she hopes to pass down to her two young children through tinkering. This book aims to make visual thinking and hands-on creativity accessible to young children, up to age 6. It encourages children to indulge in their natural tendency to learn by exploring, testing, and playing. The book also spreads this experimentation to all fields, from simple robotics to nature exploration. Besides the small number of books about scientific experimentation in the AADL children’s department, there are no books on this subject for very young children. With the STEM fields in vogue, it will be important for children to learn about these subjects in a stress free and fun way that allows them to build confidence from an early age. These ideas tie into the make movement’s idea of lifelong learning that hopes children learn to have the confidence and desire to explore from a young age. Why wait to teach children chemistry, when you can start them off in witches hats testing magic potions?
Doudna, Kelly. Kids’ Book of Simple Machines. Minneapolis: Mighty Media Kids, 2015. Print.
This book has won a wide variety of awards from the Gold Award for the 2015 Parents’ Choice Award, the 2016 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year (age 9-12), and the Midwest Book Award Winner for Children’s Nonfiction. The author brings her lifelong love of science and pours it into this book. Despite being kicked out of the meteorology program in graduate school and failing Calculus twice, she has never flagged in this innate love of science. With her own set-backs in mind, Doudna creates accessible guides that take the information out of intimidating textbooks and allows children to learn about simple machines in a fun and engaging way. The AADL currently has three books that relate to science experimentation. None of those in the current collection focus exclusively on machines. It is an opportunity to expand the children’s concept to science. With schools and the maker movement’s focus on STEM activities, it is important for the collection to provide information on these subjects. Instead of looking to a textbook, this book embraces the maker movement’s hand on approach to learning about STEM activities.
Iggulden, Conn, and Hal Iggulden. The dangerous book for boys. New York: William Morrow, 2013. Print.
While Conn mainly writes historical fiction and Hal a artistic theatre director, these brothers expertise as throwback mischievous boys won them the Time Person of the Year 2007 for this book. In a world where most DIY projects are straight out of the frilly, chevroned, and pastel world of Pinterest, boys may feel left out. This book bridges that gap, providing readers (both boys and girls, alike) with a combination of inspirational stories that teach them about famous battles and the solar system with creative activities, like making secret ink and making a periscope. The current content of the AADL DIY children’s project section is not only chevrons and pastels. What sets this book apart is the hands on learning, created by the stories and projects. This idea of hands on learning ties in well with the maker movement, which is not just about making origami. It is about making origami while learning about science or Japanese culture. It is a more well rounded experiences and that is just what this book offers. Additionally, there is The Daring Book for Girls that accomplishes the same unique blend of note passing skills and stories of historical female heroines.
LEAD Project. Super scratch programming adventure!: learn to program by making cool games. San Francisco, CA: No Starch Press, 2014. Print.
A project that connects the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups and MIT Media lab, LEAD has been tasked with promoting creative educational tools since 2005. This particular volume connects programming with a favored childhood pastime since Atari, video games. To create these games, children drag color-coded blocks of code together, making the fundamentals concepts easily absorbable. Scratch is a visual programming language that offers a simple way to approach more advanced computer programming and can easily be used to create animations and games. It is currently not a part of the AADL’s children’s programing collection. It is a great stepping-stone to the other books in the collection that deal with more widely used programming languages. One of the main tenants of the maker movement has been constructed around making technology accessible. This book is a way to continue that tradition. It allows children to learn about variables and subroutines that they can carry with them into the next steps of their programming journey.
Peppler, Kylie, Katie Salen Tekinbaş, Melissa Gresalfi, and Rafi Santo. Short Circuits: Crafting ePuppets with DIY Electronics Short Circuits. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2014. Print.
What happens when an Assistant Professor in the Learning Sciences Program and Director of Creativity Labs from Indiana University Bloomington connects with a Professor in the School of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University, who is also Chief Designer and Researcher at the Institute of Play, get together and write a book with another Professor of Mathematics Education and a doctoral student. The answer: circuit magic. This book is all about very cool, cutting edge, and tech-based maker projects in wearable technology. It is the physical side of the programming books currently in the AADL children’s collection- a physical side that does not currently exist. It is one thing to make video games on a computer and another to create tangible things. Part of the maker movement is about filling individual needs. One great way to do this is wearable technology, which this book demonstrates through projects that explore solar powered backpacks. It also ties into the interdisciplinary nature of the movement with projects that create shadow puppets and bring in language and writing skills. This book offers a great opportunity for children to explore microprocessors in a tangible
Scheunemann, Pam. Trash to treasure: a kid’s upcycling guide to crafts: fun, easy projects with paper, plastic, glass & ceramics, fabric, metal, and odds & ends. United States: Paw Prints, 2013. Print.
Scheunemann has a lifelong passion for making stuff that she has shared with young readers through over 100 books. In short, she is a maker who enjoys the hacking aspect of the movement; she finds inspiration in the most unlikely of places. This book is the optimum of that passion, which is why it was a Booklist 2014 Top 10 Craft and Gardening Book for Youth. It teaches children that anything can be used in a wide variety of ways. It encourages readers to bring their creativity and discover what they can make with everything from paper to odds & ends. This book is aimed at older children, who are currently well represented in the AADL children’s DIY projects collection. What is unique about this volume is that it embraces the maker movement’s passion for finding inspiration from everything. It also highlights the movement’s trend towards using found objects to make unique and useful projects. The AADL has a great many DIY books, but they lack is this “something from nothing” (where nothing is junk) philosophy that pushes children challenge their conceptions of what can be used and shows them endless opportunities to create.
Vardell, Sylvia M., Janet S. Wong, Frank Ramspott, and Bug Wang. The poetry of science: the poetry Friday anthology for science: for kids. Princeton, NJ: Pomelo , 2015. Print.
Three Newbery and Newbery Honor winners, a National Book Award Winner, and two Children’s Poet Laureates wrote and compiled 248 poems from 78 award winning children’s poets that take themes various sciences and make them accessible to children through a unique and amusing medium. With emphasis on STEM in the maker movement, there is likely to be increased demand for science themed materials. This is evidenced by the large collection of books pertaining to science experiments currently in the AADL’s collection. By presenting these concepts through poetry the complicated and intimidating textbook formats are removed. Additionally, this volume ties into the interdisciplinary themes from the maker movement by tying science to English and language. In doing so, it shows that science can be creative. Picture books are one of the best ways to teach children about the world around them in a fun and engaging way. The AADL currently lacks such books that tie to the maker mindset, which is why this compilation of poetry is recommended.
Yamada, Kobi, and Mae Besom. What do you do with an idea? Seattle, WA: Compendium Inc., 2014. Print.
An Independent Publisher Gold Award and Moonbeam Children’s Book Award recipient, this first time author delivers his message simply through the eyes of a child. In doing so, the lesson of welcoming ideas, no matter how odd or big, comes through in a way that directly connects the young reader to a peer. This book features great illustrations where you see black and white illustrations become full of color and complexity all because of an idea. As the protagonist learns and grows in confidence, the reader gains confidence to act on their ideas and bring them into the world. Picture books are one of the best ways to teach children about opportunities and lessons, just look at The Boy Who Cried Wolf and telling lies. This phenomenon is equally applicable when the goal is to educate kids about the maker movement. The core of the maker movement is ideas, specifically learning the skills to see your ideas become reality and then sharing those ideas with your community. To do those things, it is important to understand the power of the idea and that is what children will learn through this book.