Young Engineers – Projects by Andrew King & Sue Lewin Illustrated by Benjamin Johnston

I have a song stuck in my head. It goes like this:

If you can dream it you can draw it. If you can design it you can make it. A robot or a cake it’s all the same.

Sue Lewin – Young Engineers – Projects Dream It – Steam It  

This catchy tune entered my head on Saturday afternoon when we attended our very first book launch, one that we will remember fondly for a long time. Andrew King and Benjamin Johnston’s new books in collaboration with Sue Lewin (Early Childhood Consultant) were introduced to the world by the delightful Megan Daley (teacher-librarian, author, literary & library expert). The event was hosted by the Lady Gowrie Early Childhood Centre, a beautiful place which has its trees in all the right places!

  • Young Engineers‘ – Picture Book
  • Young Engineers – Projects’ &
  • Young Engineers songs -CD

Ever since we found the Engibear books – Engibear’s Dream, Engilina’s Train and Engibear’s Bridge – at the library, we have been huge fans of this series.  So, we were excited to attend the book launch but nervous too as we’ve never been to one before! We needn’t have been worried. 

As soon as we entered the centre we were greeted with three colourful tables of engineering related activities. And a drill – Yes!! a REAL life drill! All the kids were getting into the activities like drilling into craft sticks (supervised of course), sticking things together, making things that GO using beads, magnets, balloons, string, pegs, rubber bands and sticky tape. 

Make a robot hand with large paddle pop sticks. 

Another version that works by pulling on a string. 

We sat at the edge of a small rock garden and enjoyed Sue Lewin and her band sing some songs. While Mr 6 was trying out the robotic arm on rocks in the garden, I listened to Meghan Daley interview Andrew and Sue. 

When Megan asked Andrew why he wrote these books he replied that it was the opposite reason of why you would climb a mountain – which is ‘because it is there.’ Andrew gave life to Engibear and books featuring engineering because such books were not there. With this new book and songs, he and his team have opened the world of engineering – dreaming and designing – to a very young audience. Just imagine growing up listening to and believing these lines ~ ? If you can dream it you can draw it. If you can design it you can make it …? 

The book – YOUNG ENGINEERS – PROJECT – is full of songs, projects and useful information. 12 disciplines of engineering are covered in this book, each with its own project e.g.

  • Aerospace Engineering – balloon rockets
  • Structural Engineering – paper bridges &
  • Mechanical Engineering – go-carts

Each project is accompanied by song lyrics that you can sing along to by downloading using the code in the book or buy the CD. The catchy tunes will definitely have kids and adults bopping along. At the launch, Sue showed us some actions to go with one of the songs. I think all the tunes naturally animate the arms to do actions anyway. Try and resist the urge to walk around the room like Noni Hazelhurst on playschool while listening to this playlist!

On the front of the book note that it says DREAM IT . STEAM IT

I didn’t realise till Megan Daley pointed out that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) had changed to STEAM by adding ART to STEM. That is so wonderful because creativity is the driving force behind all inventions be it artwork or a bridge. A bridge is a work of art too, right?

The dinosaur bridge from Engibear’s Bridge

     I watched Mr 6 enthusiastically engaged in the activities provided at the launch and realised that reading leads to making and creating. I’m not talking about textbooks.  I mean the inspiration and seeds of a dream sown while reading for fun. You might want to make a bridge maybe, after reading ‘Engibear’s Bridge.’ Or the dream to create a garden that originates from reading  Frances Hodges Burnett’s ‘The Secret Garden’ or wanting to help animals like Juliet in ‘Juliet Nearly A Vet’ by Rebecca Johnson. 

This underlines the importance of reading good books for pleasure.  I spell this out because, when I was young, leisurely reading was frowned upon as a waste of time by the bigger people around me. But, these days, as the importance of reading is well recognised, most parents I talk to would like their kids to be good readers. Reading opens up endless dreams of possibilities.

Andrew King signing our copy of Young Engineers – Projects

‘Young Engineers Projects’ is a great book. The projects use inexpensive items found around the house. We are currently gathering materials to make the elastic powered go-cart, which we had heaps of fun playing with at the launch. The new picture book is a great rhyming read too with colourful illustrations perfect to introduce kindy kids to engineering disciplines.

To the parents and children out there, just as Andrew found a gap and created something so special with the help of his friends Benjamin and Sue, there’s stuff that’s not there yet, waiting to be discovered. Your unique situation will lead you to create something that only you can. That gap is waiting for you, somewhere between the clouds. And if books can be a vehicle to take you on a journey to find your dream, how great is that! So keep on reading young ones or engineers!

Recommended for: All Ages

Published by Little Steps Publishing & Bearly Engineering.

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