The Children’s Book Review | February 27, 2019
Written by Jennifer Swanson
Illustrated by Bryan Stone
Age Range: 7-10
Publisher: Nomad Press (2018)
What to Expect: History, Science, Interactive Projects.
The need for more young people to be engaged in and interested in the STEM fields is a hot topic in children’s literature at the moment, so Jennifer Swanson and Bryan Stone’s Bridges! is a welcome addition to the range of non-fiction elementary school level books available. Part of a set of four engineering-focused books for young readers, Bridges! Specifically encourages young readers to interest themselves in bridges not just as amazing landmarks or historical artefacts, but as puzzles in critical thinking and problems to be solved. This is a challenging, hands-on approach to learning which is highly refreshing.
The volume is packed with hands-on activities that help readers to get a real-life feel for how engineering problems are assessed and solved. For example, one experiment asks readers to form a team to tackle the problem of negotiating a (pretend) stream of hot lava marked out on the floor (p. 15); another has readers investigate the merits of different building materials by conducting their own soil-sample tests in the garden, to determine which types of soil will best support a hand-made wooden bridge (p. 60). Such activities not only encourage learning through experience and hands-on practice, but also – importantly – remind young STEM practitioners that the best human inventions happen not in the mind and the isolation of the drawing board, but in collaboration with the community and the environment. This book is a fun read, and a wonderful role-model: a great new addition to children’s non-fiction.
About the Author
Jennifer is an award-winning author of more than 30 nonfiction and fiction books for children. Her books in the “How Things Work” series by The Child’s World were named to the 2012 Booklist’s Top 10 Books for Youth: Series Nonfiction. She is also the author of Explore Forces and Motion and Zoology: Cool Women Who Work With Animals from Nomad Press. Jennifer resides in Jacksonville, Florida, with her family and her two dogs.
About the Illustrator
Bryan Stone is a cartoonist and the illustrator of several books for Nomad Press including Explore Night Science!, Explore Flight!, Explore Rivers and Ponds!, Explore Rocks and Minerals!, Explore Electricity!, and Explore Honey Bees!. He lives in West Fairlee, Vermont.
Bridges!: With 25 Science Projects for Kids, written by Jennifer Swanson and illustrated by Bryan Stone, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like Bridges!: With 25 Science Projects for Kids by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Engineering Books, History, Jennifer Swanson, Non-Fiction, Problem Solving, Science, and STEM.