For STEAM class, we made bridges for elephants out of cardstock and read books about building and engineering. Here are some of the best.This week’s STE(A)M project was building a bridge for an elephant (a little toy elephant). The kids had a blast working with cardstock and index cards. They were surprised at what they could do! We also learned some engineering vocabulary to go along with our project.

To go along with our Reading STEM project tree, the kids will get additional  “STEM Bucks,” which is the currency of the classroom, when they read and report on a book. After we made our bridges in our STEAM class, I gave the students this list of the best bridges picture books (with building, engineering and architecture).


Fiction about Bridges & Building

*Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale. Children’s building creations are compared to real architecture in poems, photos, and illustrations.

*Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

*Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty

Pop’s Bridge by Eve Bunting. Fictional account from the perspective of a girl whose father helps build the Brooklyn Bridge.

*The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires. A girl is determined to create a solution for her problem.

*If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen. Delightfully imaginative!

*If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen. Lots of fun!

*Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming. A father is trying to create a marvelous invention.

*Building Our House by Jonathan Bean. A child helps his father build a house.

*The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale by Steven Guarnaccia

Historical Fiction and Nonfiction about Bridges and Building

*Bridges Are to Cross by Philemon Sturges. Simple text describing various uses for bridges and showing images of bridges around the world.

Twenty-one Elephants by Phil Bildner. How can a little girl convince her father the Brooklyn Bridge they watched be built is safe enough to cross? A Fictional tale based on a true story from 1884. (See also Twenty-One Elephants and Still Standing by April Jones Prince.)

Mr. Ferris and his Wheel by Kathryn Gibbs Davis. Story about George Ferris’ idea for a wheel to ride on and his construction of the first “Ferris Wheel” for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.

This Bridge Will Not Be Gray by Dave Eggers. The story of how the Golden Gate Bridge came to be built (and bright red).

The Brooklyn Bridge: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Bridge by Elizabeth Mann

Architecture According to Pigeons by Speck Lee Trailfeather. Information about world famous building as told by a pigeon narrator.

Bridges by Seymour Simon. Nonfiction early reader about bridges with photographs.

Fantastic Feats and Failures. Short accounts of amazing inventions and creations.

*How a House is Built by Gail Gibbons.

Look at that Building! by Scott Richie.

Mill by David Macauley . See also Cathedral, Castle, and Pyramid by the same author.

An asterisk* indicates either a shorter book or a book with an easier reading level.

If you liked this list, pin it!

For STEAM class, a list with 20+ books about bridges, building, and engineering, to go along with our "build a bridge for an elephant" project!

Which of these have you read? Which book(s) am I missing on this list?

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