Kids love to dream about becoming inventors. After all, tinkering and creativity come naturally to them. These picture and chapter books revel in the magic of creations and innovation while illuminating the other processes that are critical for success: curiosity, imagination, problem solving, and most of all, persistence. Flip through the album below to discover 13 stories that’ll get their gears spinning.

The Junkyard Wonders

Age: 5-9

This exciting yet moving picture book from award-winning author and illustrator Patricia Polacco is about a class of “special” kids (one has diabetes, one doesn’t talk, one has Tourettes) whose teacher believe in them, calling their classroom The Junkyard—a place where everyone is different but unique and valuable. She brings them to a real junkyard and assigns them the task of creating something amazing from the odd bits they find. The author’s note, in which we learn that this story is autobiographical, ups the poignancy even more.

Available at powells.com, $17.99.

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Which book do you want to read with your kids? Share with us in a comment below!

—Emma Bland Smith