The other day I picked up AnnMarie Thomas’s latest book Making Makers. This turned out to be one of those books I get so excited about I inadvertently read the whole thing in one sitting and suddenly it’s 3AM and I’ve done nothing useful all evening. Anyway, this book is about encouraging in kids curiosity, play, resourcefulness, and all the other things that make makers what we are. This is stuff that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, as I’m trying to transfer into the children’s department at the library. AnnMarie has done a fantastic job with this book, and it’s got me really, really excited to start working with kids again.
Part of what got me so excited about this book is that I’ve been thinking a lot about the same things lately. Since I started teaching electronics at the library, I realize that I really like teaching, although I’m not particularly good at it. I’ve been thinking about new ways to get kids interested in electronics, mostly because that’s what I do, but I realized that I need to get them interested in making, which– because of the funding we have at the library– I’m in a particularly good position to do. Learning has always been very important to me, so I’ve spent a good deal of time thinking about how to make it fun for kids.
It was very interesting to read these maker’s stories and seeing how they became interested, and what’s kept them interested for so long. I was very curious as a child, and was always taking things apart, though I never really got much encouragement from the adults in my life. Fortunately, I was stubborn enough to not listen to them, and kept taking apart, repairing (sometimes destroying), and just learning how things worked. I didn’t get serious about electronics until just a few years ago, but it’s all led to me pursuing an electronics engineering degree right now.
I got excited about this book because I like teaching kids about making. I like teaching because even though there will be some kids who just aren’t interested, there’s always one or two whose eyes light up when they really get it. It’s an incredible feeling to be that adult in a kid’s life who introduces them to making, and encourages exploring and curiosity. Maybe they’ll grow up to be a lifelong maker. I hope so.
Making makers is an excellent book, and I very highly recommend it, especially if you have kids, and especially if they’re curious about the world and how it works. If that involves taking apart their toys, or even animals (as one maker in this book had), we should encourage them. My coworker has a son who already wants to be an engineer, and I’m going to tell her to read this book, she won’t regret it.
AnnMarie has a pretty cool blog, and you should check it out.