This year’s top 10 has been expanded beyond crafts to include a broader range of projects or activities of interest to young
people. The titles listed have been reviewed since our last Spot-
light on Crafts and Gardening issue, on December 15, 2014.
Amazing Braids, Buns, and Twists. By Eric Mayost. Illus. by Roee
Fainburg. 2015. Imagine, $14.95 (9781623549661). Gr. 8–12.
The 34 hairstyles here are modeled by young women of different ethnicities and hair
types. Mayost offers information about styling tools and products, along with step-by-step instructions and color photographs.
Hacking Fashion: Fleece. By Kristin Fontichiaro. 2015. Cherry Lake, $29.93
(9781633623767). Gr. 4–8.
Kids who want to modify their attire will find good ideas here, along with instructions
on how, for example, to turn their old fleece clothing into something hip and happening.
Handmade Crafts for Children by Children. By Guadalupe Rodríguez. Illus. by Manu-ela Montero. Tr. by Catherine Bruzzone. 2014. IPG/B Small, $12.99 (9781908164971).
Written by a teacher in Chile, this appealing book, illustrated with cheerful drawings,
offers up kid-friendly creations like dolls, a puppet theater, and newspaper boats.
The LEGO Neighborhood Book. By Brian Lyles and Jason Lyles. 2014. No Starch,
$19.95 (9781593275716). Gr. 4–7.
Here’s a manual for both LEGO vets and ambitious beginners. Projects include a variety
of urban facades and smaller items, from sofas to fire hydrants.
Making History: Have a Blast with 15 Crafts. By Wendy Fresman and Kristin Jansson.
2014. Minnesota Historical Society, $17.95 (9780873519199). Gr. 4–7.
This handsomely illustrated book presents 15 projects reflecting the artistry and cultures represented in the Minnesota Historical Society’s collections, including a North
Woods troll and a Hmong rooster-comb hat.
Maker Projects for Kids Who Love Games. By Rebecca Sjonger. 2016. Crabtree, $27.60
(9780778722489). Gr. 4–7.
Libraries looking to add to their maker spaces will appreciate Sjonger’s ability to take
basic household items and show kids how to create their own board games—or even
video games. Practical and fun.
Mason Jar Crafts for Kids. By Linda Z. Braden. 2015. Skyhorse/Skypony, $14.99
(9781632204134). Gr. 2–5.
Mason jars have long since found new life as drinking glasses, candleholders, and
lamps. Here, 25 clever crafts are divided into themes such as summer, holidays, and
The Nitty-Gritty Gardening Book: Fun Projects for All Seasons. By Kari Cornell. Illus. by
Jennifer S. Larson. 2015. Lerner/Millbrook, $26.95 (9781467726474). Gr. 4–8.
Readers at different levels of experience are invited to give gardening a go. After the
basics, the book is divided by seasons, with fruits and flowers being the (hopeful) result
of all the work.
Super Simple Hanging Gardens: A Kid’s Guide to Gardening. By Alex Kuskowski. 2015.
ABDO/Sandcastle, $18.95 (9781624035234). Gr. 2–4.
This bright manual not only encourages kids to get their hands dirty but to look at
gardening as more than just sticking a plant in the ground. For newbies and more experienced green thumbs alike.
Thrift Shopping: Discovering Bargains and Hidden Treasures. By Sandy Donovan. 2015.
Lerner/Twenty-First Century, $33.32 (9781467757836). Gr. 5–8.
Along with how to get the most out of thrift shopping, this handy guide provides step-by-step instructions for "upcycling" projects, such as turning a sweater into a throw pillow
or an old book into a tablet cover. Suggestions on selling these items are included.
TOP 10 PROJECT BOOKS
By Stella Fields.
Sept. 2016. 128p. illus. Capstone, paper, $14.95
(9781623707514). 745. Gr. 5–8.
Need more cute projects for your craft-savvy teens? Crack open this book for an
afternoon of clever crafting. Targeted to tween
and teen girls, this brightly colored book provides instructions for more than 50 appealing
projects. The crafts are divided into categories
(“Accessories,” “Decorate,” “Study,” “
Celebrate,” and “Food”) and are preceded by tips
for hosting a “lazy crafternoon” and a supply
list, with basic instructions for select items’
use (i.e., decoupage glue and washi tape).
Projects have no more than 10 steps, and several provide variations. Readers can try their
hands at creating decorative iPhone cases,
yoga-mat straps, ribbon wreaths, and sun-tea
jars, though many crafts are not suitable for
novices. The lack of a glossary for unexplained
terms, such as prime, raw edge, backstitch, and
seam allowance, and an absence of step-by-step diagrams or photos could make some
crafts frustrating for beginners, particularly
for the sewing projects. With its color photos
and attractive, easy-to-navigate layout, this
would make a great additional purchase for
public libraries with large numbers of experienced crafters. —Amy Seto Forrester
Learn to Draw Military Machines: Step-
by-Step Instructions for More than 25
By Tom LaPadula.
2016. 64p. illus. Walter Foster Jr., paper, $8.95
(9781633220676). 743.89. Gr. 2–4.
The purpose of this book is twofold: it offers
a basic introduction to drawing alongside fun
trivia and appealing photographs of tanks,
aircraft, warships, and research and surveillance vehicles. A brief explanation of the
branches of the military provide context for
each machine’s main function. Twenty-five
different subjects are depicted in step-by-step
instructions that all utilize basic principles
of drawing. Each tutorial is accompanied by
dimensions, production details, and practical uses of the machine it depicts. If readers
can form basic shapes, no tutorial is too difficult even for beginning sketchers, and each
encourages artists to develop an eye for shape
and form, with plenty of photographs of the
vehicles in action. Mini-quiz questions reinforce key concepts, while interesting tidbits
in the margins are perfect for military trivia
buffs. All a reader needs is a pad, a sharp pencil, and a love of military history for this book
in the Learn to Draw series to provide hours
of engaging entertainment. —Erin Anderson
Origami Chic: A Guide to Foldable Fashion.
By Sok Song. Illus. by the author.
Sept. 2016. 240p. Capstone, paper, $14.95
(9781623707712). 736. Gr. 4–7.
Origami lovers who are hoping for something more hip than paper sailboats, animals,
Continued on p. 52