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.

Mistakes that Worked

Age: 8-12

“It is easy to fail and then abandon the whole idea,” reads the introduction to this clever nonfiction book. “It’s more difficult to fail, but then recognize another use for the failure.” Cheese was invented when an Arabian crossing the desert with a camel let his milk separate. Silly Putty came out of a failed GE attempt to create a rubber substitute. When an adhesive researcher came up with a glue that was super weak instead of super strong, he decided to make it into—Post-Its! Nonfiction addicts will enjoy reading about these and many more flops that did a 180.

Available at, $12.99.

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

—Emma Bland Smith

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