Engineer's Playground
Bridging the Gaps in STEM Preparation


Bridging the STEM Gap Through Books

A story is a way to say something that can't be said any other way — Flannery O'Connor

Engineering for the Uninitiated

GAP: Parents and teachers unfamiliar with engineering aren’t sure if it’s right for their kids—and what they can do to help

Gentle introduction to engineering. Covers what engineering is, how to recognize traits of engineers in children, possible majors for prospective engineers, what a day in the life of an engineer looks like, and so on. Readers are often surprised at what engineering includes, and that they have a little engineering in them, too. Complete with examples, tips, and stories.


Expected But Not Taught

Book 1: Technical Presentations

GAP: Engineering and computer science college education does not always prepare students for technical presentations in industry

For new engineering or computer science/IT graduates or ambitious college students. Gives engineering and computer-specific examples and stories of how to present in a professional setting. Designed and tested with college Millennial students.


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The Mighty Steam Engine

GAP: There are few early childhood resources that develop reverse engineering skills

After becoming a mother four years ago, Yvonne realized how powerful books for toddlers and preschoolers can be in developing fundamental STEM concepts. Children are naturally curious about how the world works so they are ripe for learning skills required for reverse engineering. The idea for this story came to her after seeing the popularity of a Thomas the Tank Engine’s video on the same topic on Engineer’s Playground’s Pinterest board.

Leveraging this interest, Yvonne used the story structure of The House That Jack Built to show how train parts and people work together to make the train move down the track. Available Aug 6, 2019 from Amicus Ink,

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They’re Tearing Up Mulberry Street

GAP: Vocabulary and engineering design concepts aren’t introduced early on even though many children express interest in construction machines as early as 18 months

Yvonne spent two summers as a civil engineering intern drafting, reviewing proposals, and creating bill of materials for roads in Pittsburgh. When she had a child obsessed with construction machines, she wrote the first draft, inspired by Dr. Suess’ And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. Her young critic made two comments: 1) why was the road being torn up and 2) where was the front loader?

After more detailed consultation with friends in civil engineering and construction about various material and design considerations, she finalized the final book which was quoted frequently by her backseat critic throughout the summer when a local road was being constructed. Available by Amicus Ink in Fall 2020,