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Abby invents unbreakable crayons

Author: Dr. Arlyne Simon
Lower Age: 4
Upper Age: 9
Year Added: 2019

Abby Invents Unbreakable Crayons, written by Dr. Arlyne Simon, is a short picture book for children ages 3 and up. This book guides the reader into thinking like a problem solver like Abby, the main character. She finds herself struggling to create unbreakable crayons, however she goes through a process of identifying the problem, watch for patterns, find and design a solution, test the solution and persevere at times of failure to ultimately create her final product.


In addition to guiding the reader through the process of problem solving and engineering thinking, this book provides a significant degree of racial representation as the main character herself is a person of color and all of her classmates are underrepresented minorities in the STEM field. While this may not improve the quality of the book’s engineering education, it’s definitely inspiring for children from all kinds of backgrounds to have role models like themselves!


This book primarily promotes the values of perseverance, tenacity and dedication to become an inventor. It guides the reader through the steps of problem solving and engineering thinking that the main character followed to create unbreakable crayons. Additionally, it promotes an environment of diversity. 


Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about: Learn about the problem, recognize patterns, plan a solution


Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift: A user


Additional practices and skills needed by engineers that were addressed by the gift: Perseverance


Overall ratings:

  • Children Reviews

    • Rating:  4.7 out of 5.0

    • Feedback: 

      • "Very inspirational" 

  • Parents Reviews

    • Rating:  5.0 out of 5.0

    • Feedback: 

      • "Great book to show how young kids can observe the world around them to solve problems! Great art, diversity."

  • Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews

    • Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

    • Feedback:

      • "This book guides the reader on how to think like a problem solver."

      • Great book to show how young kids can observe the world around them to solve problems!”