Books Can Help Nurture Young Inventors

by | Apr 9, 2022 | Creativity, News Updates, Resources

Several years ago, while I was leading innovation work at my healthcare organization, I helped judge projects entered in a college incubator competition. The students were vying for funds to further develop their innovative ideas about public health interventions and disease treatments. It filled my heart with joy to see the creativity and passion of these students.

I’m a bit fascinated with inventors and their processes. And better still when it involves youth. I’ll take the click bait to read social media posts or news articles about children pursuing their creative ideas.

Children’s publishing is an important channel to nurture young inventors. I published an article in Boys’ Quest magazine titled Let’s Invent Something that focused on combining ideas or objects into something new. I have other related story ideas I hope to develop and I’ve started keeping a list of relevant children’s books (more below).

The good news? This topic has both fiction and non-fiction options for young readers. And the subject matter is getting more diverse. 

Why it’s important to nurture young inventors

I am not addressing the pursuit of revenue or the business side of innovation here. I want to focus on nurturing young inventors for these reasons:

  • Learning to experiment and try their ideas helps children learn to solve problems when usual approaches aren’t enough
  • Creative problem-solving and innovation develop critical thinking skills that will serve them throughout their lives in school, work and home
  • Innovation involves trying many ideas that won’t work; kids benefit from dissecting why an idea fails and how they can adjust to keep trying (or when to shift to the next idea)
  • Seeing an idea pan out builds confidence and a sense of contribution
  • The world is fueled by innovation and we practically need a cadre of career innovators to emerge in every generation

Also, traditionally many inventors in the past were white men with the means to fund their work. One academic paper I’ve read explores the impact of “lost Einsteins” due to disparities. We need to encourage more equitable invention training and funding within diverse communities. This provides more personal opportunities and better serves diverse community needs.

Young inventor examples

I encourage you to keyword search “young inventors” to boost your spirits and your own creativity. I especially love this 11-minute video featuring kid inventors.

There are great stories from history, of course, such as teenager Louis Braille perfecting the system for the visually impaired that still carries his name.

Here are just a few modern-day examples:

Children’s books

Luckily, various lists can get you started on books for the young readers in your lives. Here are some with fiction and non-fiction focused on creative problem-solving, inventing processes or real/fictional kid inventors:

I’d love to hear from you if I’m missing a good list, especially if it includes books aimed at underrepresented groups. Please pass along the links or the titles.


In addition to children’s books and articles, the good news is there are many ways to nurture the young inventors in your lives. A few resources to highlight:

Please share anything you’d add to this topic about nurturing young inventors. Good creative problem-solving books for kids? Inspirational kid inventions? Programs or other resources? I’d love to learn more!