While nothing can replace standing side-by-side with your son next to a hot rod, or the feeling of accomplishment after showing a little one how to calibrate a spark plug… the following is a list of a few books that might further inspire your younger motor heads. As a teacher and car enthusiast I totally recommend any of these books. Besides, you may even learn something new while sharing these with your hot rod wannabes.
by Cynthia Lord
Grade 1, Fiction
This is a cleverly written story about a tiny fellow who makes lots of choices with the reader’s help. It also includes real life situations. For example the junkyard owner insists that the main character wears a helmet while racing. Later the hamster is bullied because his car doesn’t look quite like the other racers. But the good guy wins in the end. The author interweaves important car terms such as: burn rubber, roar, and flames. Your six-year-old reader may even ask to visit a junkyard so the two of you can build a car of your own.
by Nancy Smiler Levinson
Grades 1-2, Non-fiction
With the use of lifelike watercolors this book illustrates cars from their beginning including their impact on society. You will also find a glossary, time-line, and illustrations of engines. This would be a great book report book for any primary student.
by Tony Mitton
Grades 1-2, Realistic fiction
As this book describes the general uses of cars and how to take care of them, it does so with the help of appealing illustrations and animals living in a busy and colorful city. This is any excellent book for your younger reader to learn sight words as it is written in poetry format.
by Jim Mezzanotte
Grades 3-4, Non-fiction
This is a chapter book with each chapter containing one easy-to-read page with a photograph on the facing page. It traces the history of the Mustang until 2005 and includes information on Lee Iacocca and Carroll Shelby. In each chapter there are boldface words that can be found later in the glossary. The book also offers several websites along with places to write and visit. This should be an easy read for most 3rd graders, but would be more meaningful when read together, especially if you’re a Mustang lover like I am.
by Molly Aloian
Grade 3, Non-fiction
This is a chapter book jam packed with labeled and captioned pictures. The reader will speed through the pages and at the same time gain an understanding of the different types of professional cars from the Indy 500 to solar cars. The pictures taken while the cars are in motion will definitely inspire your young reader to want to one day get behind the wheel of a fast moving machine.
by Katharine Bailey
Grade Level 4-6, Non-fiction
In this day and age of too many video games this fast paced, upper level chapter book will challenge your reader and motivate him to learn more about the world of cars. (We can all agree it is better to drive a real one than one on a screen.) The first chapter is certainly worth top mention. It shows and explains a diagram of a 426 Hemi. On the facing page there is an excellent diagram of the four-stroke cycle of a piston. Chargers, Chevelles, GTOs, and Roadrunners are just a few of the many cars included in this book of muscle madness. The final chapter highlights the lives of such greats as DeLorean, Hoover, France and Shelby. What I like most is the fact that the reader can pick it up, turn to any page, and find out something new and interesting.