Here are two titles in Nomad’s Press BUILD IT YOURSELF series that are unique in their approach and presentation.

INNOVATORS: THE STORIES BEHIND THE PEOPLE WHO SHAPED THE WORLD is about the products, processes, and improvements people created and implemented. This is not a tired recap of all the male inventors. Many famous men do find their way to the pages, but you will also marvel at the unheard of women and the job they did to make our world function the way it does today.

Organized into six chapters, each begins with an important essential question that challenges young readers to become innovators themselves. The chapter titles give a good hint at what to expect:

  1. The Medical World
  2. Solving Problems With Science
  3. Happiest at Home
  4. Engineering New Solutions
  5. Hands-on Technology
  6. Innovative Accidents

Within the pages you will learn fascinating stories of innovators like Dr. Virginia Apgar who developed a system to evaluate a baby’s health at birth, America’s first female astronomer—Maria Mitchell, and naturalist Rachel Carson. Not all is serious though as you also meet Mary Anderson (windshield wipers), Marion Donovan (disposable diapers), and Ruth Graves Wakefield (Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies) among others.

Also included are QR codes that will take you off to the World Wide Web to learn more. Each chapter ends with a series of projects that are sure to peak the interest and challenge budding engineers and scientists.

This title is the perfect book for tweens who are already wondering what they’ll do with their careers. Innovation is within reach for anyone with a creative idea… and INNOVATORS demonstrates that the journey is doable.


THE OREGON TRAIL is an in-depth account of the iconic wagon wheel emigration trail that stretched for 2,170 miles from Missouri to Oregon. A two-page timeline sets up what is to come and the last entry even includes the popular Oregon Trail video game from the 1970s.

The chapters begin with a look at the land deal, opening up the western half of the United States that was originally British, French, and Spanish Territory. France sold the Louisiana territory to the United States for just three cents an acre!

Next the explorers are covered with an emphasis on Lewis and Clark and how they enlisted the help of Sacagawea. Two and a half years and 7,680 miles later they returned to Missouri as heroes.

Traveling west was now in the sights of many and the emigration push began. You’ll find fascinating stories of life on the trail and the people who made it a reality. It was a tough journey by wagon train as there were dangerous encounters with rivers and Native Americans. Even babies were born on the trail.

The Oregon Trail doesn’t stop at the journey but delves into chapters on what kind of life was at the end of the trail for families. You also get a look at how the transcontinental railroad was built, making travel much easier to the west (Unless you ran into Butch Cassidy along the way!).

Fun and immersive projects are presented at the end of each of the six chapters. They are great extensions in the classroom or for the independent explorer at home. As with every BUILD IT YOURSELF title in this Nomad Press series, you’ll find a glossary in the final pages with a summary of the important words. And I love those QR codes to extend understanding beyond the pages.

THE OREGON TRAIL is a superb addition to anyone’s historical non-fiction library shelf. Never boring and always fascinating, jump on board the next wagon and enjoy the ride.


Coming up next Monday is another:
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com
(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and for spreading the middle grade love!
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in non fiction, Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. I will be looking for The Oregon Trail. I just love books like that. The other, not so much, but it’s good to know about it. Thanks for the post.

  2. The Oregon Trail captures my attention too. I read “The Doctor’s Lady,” a piece of historical fiction about the women who crossed the Continental Divide. Rugged determination! I’m a wimp and could not have endure the hardships. But, I can enjoy their stories.

    Always wondered who came up with the disposable diaper. Fun book.

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