EngiNerds is a series of fun, funny, fast-paced Middle Grade novels crafted with Jarrett’s trademark combination of humor and heart. There are three books in the series, and all of them are currently available wherever books are sold. However, there are still a couple of exciting dates to be aware of: (1) the paperback version of the third book in the EngiNerds series, The EngiNerds Strike Back, will publish on February 22nd, 2022, and (2) the paperback version of the series boxed set, The Rogue Robot Collection, will publish on June 7th, 2022. Paperback versions of books are, of course, cheaper than the hardcovers, meaning they will be more affordable for readers and those who curate collections for them.
Below, you can learn a bit more about each of the three books in the EngiNerds series, and check out some discussion questions and activity ideas that were created for the first book in the series, EngiNerds.
WARNING: The book descriptions below contain SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the EngiNerds books yet, or are in the process of reading them, and do not want them spoiled for you, STOP HERE!
EngiNerds, the first book in the EngiNerds series, is about a group of crafty, clever, creative kids who almost destroy their town and then have to save it. It’s a book about friendship, responsibility – and, of course, farting robots! (Best for Grades 3 and up, but often used as a read-aloud for younger kids.)
EngiNerds Discussion Questions
1. Ken is not a big fan of John Henry Knox. Why do you think that is? Do you think his dislike of him is sincere, understandable, and/or reasonable? Think about any people in your life that you dislike. Is your dislike of them sincere, understandable, and/or reasonable? How do you treat them and why?
2. Ken believes Dan to be his best friend, and occasionally has trouble “sharing” him with their other friends. Have you ever been in such a situation? How did you feel about it? How did you resolve it? Is it possible to have multiple best friends?
3. Dan asks Ken, Jerry, and John Henry Knox for help solving a problem that he caused. Have you ever found yourself in such a situation? Did you help your friend? Did your friend help you? Why or why not? To what extent, if any, are you responsible for the problems of your friends?
4. Do you think Ken is a good leader? Why or why not? What are some qualities a good leader possesses? What are some qualities a bad leader might show? Are leaders born, or can they be made? Can a group of people be led by more than one leader? What would be the benefit of such a scenario? What sort of difficulties might arise? Consider some ways you might be able to solve these difficulties.
— Design a robot of your very own! Describe it in detail and/or draw a picture. What would it be used for? Who would use it? List the pros and cons of having it in one’s life and the world at large. Would there be any downsides or potential dangers of having the robot around?
— Gather objects from your junk drawer or just around your classroom, library, or house (rubber bands, rulers, pieces of paper or cardboard, toothpicks, chopsticks, etc.). Write down each item and its usual, common purpose. Now think like an EngiNerd and make a list of other, less-common, less-usual uses for each item.
— Use all or some of the objects from the activity above to make something brand new. For instance: use a rubber band to attach a square of cardboard to the end of a ruler to make . . . a fly swatter! Is there something else you could make with the same handful of objects? What could you make if you added another object, or two others?
Revenge of the EngiNerds
Revenge of the EngiNerds, the sequel to EngiNerds, finds the crew in search of one last, particularly hard-to-find robot. It also features a brand-new character – Mikaela, a girl who’s got a gazillion gadgets and proof, she claims, that there are aliens in the EngiNerds’ town. (Best for Grades 3 and up, but often used as a read-aloud for younger kids.)
The EngiNerds Strike Back
In the third and final installment of the EngiNerds trilogy, the gang meets an extraterrestrial, who tells the kids that Earth is in danger of being reduced to dust and replaced by a ginormous, intergalactic billboard. The EngiNerds – along with some help from a brilliant dog – have to work together against the clock to save their planet. (Best for Grades 3 and up, but often used as a read-aloud for younger kids.)