CurriConnects Book List - Bridges and Structures

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Bridges and Structures
Learn how bridges and other structures are built, the people behind them, and the risks some people take in pioneering new ways of building, using new materials, or thinking outside the building box. You will even find some stories of structures that failed. Share this list with students during your study of physics of structures, design, or basic concepts such as gravity. Some fiction, and some non-fiction, all will inspire young designers and engineers. Have students choose a book they can connect to concepts you are studying in science class or have them choose a book of interest and generate a list of the questions they would like to learn about after reading the book. The non-fiction selections offer possible informational texts to practice Common Core science literacy skills. For more on text complexity and Lexiles®, see this information from the Lexile Framework.

Preschool and Picture Books

B is for Bulldozer - June Sobel, (978-0152057749) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2
A rollercoaster gradually goes up using machines and other equipment that begin with each letter of the alphabet.

Bang! Boom! Roar! - Nate Evans, (978-0060879600) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2
A team of dinosaur builders designs and puts up a new playground while teaching readers the alphabet.

Billy & Baxter Learn to Build - C.D. Stampley, (978-1580870993) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2
Billy and Baxter enjoy watching various construction projects around town.

The Bridge is Up! - Babs Bell, (978-0153650895) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-1, ESL level: 2
The drawbridge gets stuck in the up position, and the traffic builds while the passengers and drivers of many vehicles have to wait.

Building the Skyscraper - Justine Korman, (978-0439042871) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 660, ESL level: 3
Alex enjoys watching the complete process of the building of a skyscraper near his home.

Building with Dad - Carol Nevius, (978-0761459842) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, Lexile: 540, ESL level: 2 to 3
A young boy watches a new school go up with his dad.

The Construction Crew - Lynn Meltzer, (978-0805088847) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2
Before a building team can put up the new home, an old building gets taken down.

Froggy Builds a Treehouse - Jonathan London, (978-0670012220) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2
Froggy tries to ignore his little sister; he and his friends are intent on construction a playhouse in a tree.

The House that Max Built - Maxwell Newhouse, (978-0887767746) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 1
Max and his dog go through house building from making up plans to adding the finishing touches.

Jack's House - Karen Magnuson Beil, (978-0823422425) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, Lexile: 820, ESL level: 4
Who really built the house that the old nursery rhyme claims Jack built?

The Magic Fan - Keith Baker, (978-0152009830) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, Lexile: 590, ESL level: 2
Yoshi's inspiration for building is reenergized when a magic fan suggests many new ideas to him about creating a boat, a bridge, and a kite among other things.

Tower of Babel - A.S. Gadot, (978-0822599524) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2 to 3
In this somewhat irreverent retelling of the Bible story of the tower of Babel, Shinar citizens build such a high tower that, by the time, they finish, they no longer speak the same language.

Early Elementary Books

A Year at a Construction Site - Nicholas Harris, (978-1580137959) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-5, ESL level: 3
Watch a year go by as progress on a new school building continues, season by season.

Building a House - Byron Barton, (978-0688093563) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2 to 3
Learn about all the machines and people that go into building a house.

Building Our House - Jonathan Bean, (978-0374380236) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2 to 3
Follow the narrator's family as they move from the city and build their own house, step by step.

How a House is Built - Gail Gibbons , (978-0823412327) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-3, ESL level: 2 to 3
Watch all the people who take part in building a house from the planning to the time when a new family moves in.

Iggy Peck, Architect - Andrea Beaty, (978-0810911062) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2 to 3
Iggy Peck's experience building bridges and other structures saves his class from being stranded on an island during a school field trip.

Maya's World - Maya Angelou, (978-0375828348) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-4, ESL level: 2 to 3
When Ren'ee Marie's class goes to learn about the wonders of the Eiffel Tower, she is determined to overcome her phobia of heights.

Me and Momma and Big John - Mara Rockliff, (978-0763643591) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2 to 3
While his mother is helping cut stones to add to the construction of St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City, he struggles to understand her striving for perfectionism in the cutting.

Monsters on Machines - Deb Lund, (978-0152053659) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2
A group of building crazy monsters, complete with hard hats, machines, and tools, is hard at work building a new house.

Pop's Bridge - Eve Bunting, (152-047735) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 630, ESL level: 2 to 3
Robert's and Charlie's fathers are helping build the innovative Golden Gate Bridge in CA.

Sky Boys: How They Built The Empire State Building - Deborah Hopkinson, (978-0375836107) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-4, Lexile: 950, ESL level: 4
A father and son enjoy seeing the Empire State Building go up and up in 1931.

Thump, Quack, Moo: A Whacky Adventure - Doreen Cronin, (978-1416916307) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 590, ESL level: 2 to 3
Farmer Brown's entire menagerie is working to build a recreation of the Statue of Liberty as a corn maze.

Twenty-One Elephants and Still Standing - April Jones Prince, (978-0618448876) , Fiction
Interest level: 1-4, Lexile: 800, ESL level: 4
A twenty-one elephant circus parade tests the soundness of the newly completed Brooklyn Bridge

Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

All of the Above - Shelley Pearsall, (978-0316115261) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 1000, ESL level: 5
A school project to build the world's largest tetrahedron gets the entire community involved.

The Broken Lands - Kate Milford, (978-0547739663) , Fiction
Interest level: 5-12, ESL level: 4
A pair of orphans try to thwart evil during the building of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Building Big - David Macaulay, (978-0618465279) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12, Lexile: 1260, ESL level: 5
This non-fiction approach to bridge and building design focuses on planning, design, and solutions to problems that come up during the building process.

Building the Great Wall of China - Terry Collins, (978-1429634113) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-8, ESL level: 3 to 4
Archeologist/time traveler Dr. Soto jumps back to the past to defeat a rebelling army and help with the building of the Great Wall of China in this graphic novel.

Castle - David Macaulay, (978-0395329207) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-8, ESL level: 5
Macauley carefully documents each step in the building of a castle and accurately describes the uses of each of the parts.

Egypt's Mysterious Pyramids - Agnieszka Biskup, (978-1429679923) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-8, ESL level: 3 to 4
While Dr. Soto is checking out facts about an Egyptian pharaoh, she finds information about the building of some of Egypt's famous triangular structures including hypotheses about what types of "machines"" were used to aid in their construction."

Great Wonder: The Building of the Great Pyramid - Annabelle Howard, (978-1422362792) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-6, ESL level: 4
Kevin is inspired to imagine himself as one of the Great Pyramid of Egypt builders while he is visiting the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Monumental Verses - Patrick Lewis, (978-0792271352) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-9, ESL level: 3 to 4
This book celebrates a variety of monuments around the world with poems.

Mosque - David Macaulay, (978-0618240340) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12, Lexile: 1340, ESL level: 5
This book takes apart the building of an Islamic mosque in Turkey from the 1660's

Pyramid - David Macaulay, (978-0395321218) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-8, ESL level: 5
Learn all the tasks and planning that went into building one of the great pyramids of Ancient Egypt.

Reuben and the Fire - Merle Good, (978-1561480913) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 3
After a barn fire, a young Amish boy is excited about helping with the raising (building) of a new barn.

Sydney Harbor Bridge - Vashti Farrer, (978-1741699531) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-8, ESL level: 4
This historical fiction account of the building of the Sydney Harbor bridge includes interesting information about the effects of the depression on Australia.

The Barn - Avi, (978-0380725625) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-8, Lexile: 670, ESL level: 3
Ben and his brother and sister work to build a barn for their dying father.

Unbuilding - David Macaulay, (978-0395294574) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-8, Lexile: 1250, ESL level: 4
This book takes readers on an imaginery journey through the destruction and dismantling of New York's famous skyscraper, step by step.

Middle School to Young Adult Books

Batman: Death by Design - Chip Kidd, (978-1401234539) , Fiction
Interest level: 8-12, ESL level: 4
Gotham City's construction boom experiences unexplainable explosions and other damaging accidents and Batman comes to the rescue.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey - Thornton Wilder , (978-0060580612) , Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, ESL level: 4
A Catholic brother investigates the cause of a Peruvian bridge collapse and looks into the lives of the five people who died as a result of the accident; the book questions the roles of fate and love in life's outcome.

The Bridge over the River Kwai - Pierre Boulle, (978-0891419136) , Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, ESL level: 4
The leader of a group of English POWS forced by Japan to build a bridge to Burma must struggle with his sense of doing things right and/or aiding the enemy at the same time.

Covered Bridges: A Close Up Look - Alan Giagnocavo, ed., (978-1565235618) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 4 to 5
This book provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of the building and use of covered bridges, unique American structures.

Eiffel's Tower - Jill Jonnes, (978-0143117292) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 4 to 5
This book details the construction and background of the building of the Eiffel Tower and includes portraits of famous personalities of the era including Thomas Edison, Annie Oakley, Whistler, Gauguin, and Van Gogh.

Empire State Building: The Making of a Landmark - John Tauranac, (978-1451698503) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 5
Learn about the history, the conception, and the building of the great Empire State Building and its role in New York City.

Higher: A Historic Race to the Sky and the Making of a City - Neal Bascomb, (978-0767912686) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 5
Two architects competed to succeed in building the highest building in the world in New York City.

The Lighthouse Stevensons - Bella Bathhurst, (978-0060932268) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 5
The ancestors of Robert Louis Stevenson managed the construction of Scottish lighthouses and invented an interlocking series of granite to withstand battering waves, and developed improved lighthouse lighting in the 1800's.

The Mothman Prophecies - John Keel , (978-0765334985) , Fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 4
This book's fictional approach to the real Silver Bridge disaster includes the folk belief that an alien creature's power played a part in the eerie events surrounding the time of the bridge collapse.

Panama - Shelby Hiatt, (547-196008) , Fiction
Interest level: 8-12, ESL level: 4
Against the backdrop of the building of the Panama Canal, a young teen finds romance with a canal digger.

The Silver Bridge Disaster of 1967 - Stephan Bullard, (978-0738592787) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12, ESL level: 4
The United States' first suspension bridge collapsed after forty years of providing the link between Ohio and West Virginia; its collapse was due to its then revolutionary construction.