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

The Magic Fan - Keith Baker, (978-0152009830), Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, Lexile: 590
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.

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

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

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

Tower of Babel - A.S. Gadot, (978-0822599524), Fiction
Interest level: 0-2
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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early Elementary Books

Maya's World - Maya Angelou, (978-0375828348), Fiction
Interest level: 0-4
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.

Building a House - Byron Barton, (978-0688093563), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3
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
Follow the narrator's family as they move from the city and build their own house, step by step.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me and Momma and Big John - Mara Rockliff, (978-0763643591), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3
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.

Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

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

Egypt's Mysterious Pyramids - Agnieszka Biskup, (978-1429679923), Fiction
Interest level: 4-8
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."

Building the Great Wall of China - Terry Collins, (978-1429634113), Fiction
Interest level: 4-8
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.

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

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

Great Wonder: The Building of the Great Pyramid - Annabelle Howard, (978-1422362792), Fiction
Interest level: 3-6
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
This book celebrates a variety of monuments around the world with poems.

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

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

Mosque - David Macaulay, (978-0618240340), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12, Lexile: 1340
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
Learn all the tasks and planning that went into building one of the great pyramids of Ancient Egypt.

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

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

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

Middle School to Young Adult Books

Higher: A Historic Race to the Sky and the Making of a City - Neal Bascomb, (978-0767912686), Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12
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
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 Bridge over the River Kwai - Pierre Boulle, (978-0891419136), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12
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.

The Silver Bridge Disaster of 1967 - Stephan Bullard, (978-0738592787), Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12
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.

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

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

Eiffel's Tower - Jill Jonnes, (978-0143117292), Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12
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.

The Mothman Prophecies - John Keel , (978-0765334985), Fiction
Interest level: 9-12
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.

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

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

The Bridge of San Luis Rey - Thornton Wilder , (978-0060580612), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12
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.