Steampunk for Teens


Steampunk at the Library

First, a definition.  Steampunk is not only a fiction genre, it is a fashion trend, a type of crafting and a maker movement.  It is hard to pin down, but steampunk blends together science fiction and fantasy to create a world of advanced technology in a quasi-victorian setting.  I was asked, if you aren’t into steampunk, can you still put together a library program?  Yes!   I bet if you looked into your interests, you will find something you can apply to Steampunk.

Library program Ideas:

Altered books– Keep some of your weeded hardcovers and make purses, sculptures, book safes, journals or spellbooks.

Steampunk Tea party–  Host a fancy tea party, using the good china. Make cucumber sandwiches, scones and cookies.  Costumed characters make this event special.  This would blend well with a themed mystery party kit.

Costuming program-  Bring in a costuming expert- it could be someone who does historical re-enactments, a stage costumer or a hobbyist.  Have the expert talk about using sewing patterns, altering clothing and creating costume accessories.

Book-talks– Introduce a pile of new steampunk books to your audience with a brief introduction to each.  Invite your audience to share their favorites and start a discussion.  Spark a debate on what is and is not steampunk.

Steampunk crafts– create a gadget, an imaginary invention.  Ask your participants to come up with what it does.  Talk about movie props as you make something from plastic, foam, cardboard and paint that looks like it is made of metal or leather.

Jewelry making- make an unusual necklace or bracelet. Our group made pendants using resin and gears. (Caution: resin needs a well-ventilated area).

Rube Goldberg machine- challenge your teens to create a chain reaction machine using found objects, pulleys, string, dominoes and more, then film a succesful run for your website.


steampunk people

Teen Steampunk Movies: (Note: Chosen for fitting genre, not for excellence)

  • 20,000 Leagues under the Sea
  • Castle in the Sky
  • City of Ember
  • Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
  • League of Extrodinary Gentlemen
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
  • Steamboy
  • Three Musketeers (2011)
  • Wild Wild West
  • Young Sherlock Holmes
  • Tv shows: Warehouse 13, Sanctuary, Doctor Who


Teen steampunk Books:


1,000 Steampunk Creations, Grymm, Dr., Quarry Books, 2011, ISBN: 9781592536917.  An art gallery of visual art, sculpture and fashion.

Steampunk Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos, Willeford, Thomas, McGraw Hill, 2012, ISBN: 9780071762366  For highly advanced crafters or browsing.

Steampunk Style, Mizobata, Mitsugu, Titan Books, 2014 ISBN: 9781781168479 Japanese steampunk art and costuming.  The second half includes a highly advanced how-to guide.

Steampunk Tea Party, Hewitt, Jema,  FW Media, 2013, ISBN: 9781440232954  Includes alcoholic recipes and drinks, but it has a lot of inspirational photos.

The Steampunk Users Manual, Boskovich, Desirina and Vandermeer, Jeff Abrams Image, 2014, ISBN:9781419708985. Covers all aspects of steampunk- visual art, crafts, fashion, music and books.


Airborn, Kenneth Oppel

Airman, Eoin Colfer

All Men of Genius, Lev Rosen

Dead Reckoning, Mercedes Lackey

Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare

Etiquette  & Espionage , Gail Carriger

Girl Genius graphic novel series, Phil Foglio

Girl in the Steel Corset, Kady Cross

Hunchback Assignments, Arthur Slade

Incarceron, Catherine Fisher

Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld

Mark of the Dragonfly, Jaleigh Johnson

Worldshaker, Richard Harland

Kinda-sorta steampunk…

Alloy of Law, Brandon Sanderson

Dinotopia, James Gurney

Golden Compass, Phillip Pullman

Steampunk  ancestors

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne

The Time Machine, H.G. Wells


steampunk books

Let me know how your program goes!  Good luck!

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