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.

Papa’s Mechanical Fish

Age: 4-8

This richly-illustrated and highly-entertaining yarn is based on the true story of an eccentric inventor living on the shores of Lake Michigan in the mid-1800s (The author’s note provide more details and a wonderful photo.). In the fictionalized account, Papa attempts to create a submarine. Each time he fails, a comment from his daughter inspires him to make a change and try again.

Available at amazon.com, $11.31.

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

—Emma Bland Smith