What is a Maker? What does a Maker look like, sound like, or feel like? These are all questions I would ask young students when introducing the concept of Makerspace to get them thinking about the process of making. There is a recent surge of Maker inspired literature for all ages that can be helpful in providing concrete examples of a Maker and the process. Beyond what a Maker is or does, I noticed a reoccurring theme in these titles that I can only describe as a Maker Mindset. Maker Mindset is a composition of many different characteristics. Some of the main characteristics of a Maker Mindset include: open mind, complex out of the box thinker, collaborator, and creator. In addition, a Maker Mindset compliments the idea of growth mindset as the process often leads to failure and trial and error. Most importantly, a Maker has the tenacity to persevere and find understanding through failure.

The Maker characteristics listed above are complex and deserve to be nurtured as a part of Makerspace in the library or classroom. The characters in each story listed below show different examples of a Maker Mindset through experiences with trial and error, communication, collaboration, design, prototype, stepping away and finding new solutions, and change or growth in thinking and perspective. These books highlight a common purpose of making that can open student’s minds, welcoming higher order thinking skills, collaboration, and comfort in the unknown. The stories below are highly engaging and give students a great example of different types of making and Maker Mindset. Pairing Makerspace activities with books is a great way to open the conversation with students about what it is like to be a maker and what to expect, as well as give a space of communication and understanding about the making process among student peers.

Below are a few of my favorite books about makers who identify problems and make solutions, happen upon brilliant ideas, and collaborate with unlikely friends:

WONKY : A ROBOTICS CLUB STORY by PATTISON, DARCY

IZZY GIZMO by JONES, PIP

MELIA AND JO by ARONSON, BILLY

DOLL-E 1.0 by MCCLOSKEY, SHANDA

CRAFTY LLAMA by KERR, MIKE

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER by BEATY, ANDREA

MOST MAGNIFICENT THING by SPIRES, ASHLEY

IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT by BEATY, ANDREA

A few more of my favorite Maker books below focus on Maker stories that highlight a diverse set of fictional and real life characters who create useful inventions to solve a problem.

PASS GO AND COLLECT $200 by STONE, TANYA LEE

CALLING ALL MINDS : HOW TO THINK AND CREATE LIKE AN INVENTOR by GRANDIN, TEMPLE

IQBAL AND HIS INGENIOUS IDEA : HOW A SCIENCE PROJECT HELPS O (CITIZENKID) by SUNEBY, ELIZABETH

MARVELOUS MATTIE : HOW MARGARET E. KNIGHT BECAME AN INVENTOR by MCCULLY, EMILY ARNOLD

WHOOSH! : LONNIE JOHNSON’S SUPER-SOAKING STREAM OF INVENTION by BARTON, CHRIS

WRIGHT BROTHERS : NOSE-DIVING INTO HISTORY (EPIC FAILS) by SLADER, ERIK

BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND by KAMKWAMBA, WILLIAM

HOW TO BUILD A HUG : TEMPLE GRANDIN AND HER AMAZING SQUEEZE by GUGLIELMO, AMY

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Wade and Cheryl Willis Hudson