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Patrick McBriarty being interviewed by Frank Mathie of ABC 7 Chicago.

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Patrick is currently working on the PTM Werks Series of childern's books with illustrator Johanna Kim.  The series is designed to introduce kids, in a fun way, to STEM topics by answering the "why" questions they often have about how the machines all around us work, that most adults struggle to completely answer.  The PTM Werks Series is published by CurlyQ Press and distributed by Ingram (IPS), Baker & Taylor, and Applewood Books.  ​

It is hoped these books will inspire children to pursue their dreams, explore, and gain a better understanding of how machines all around us work.

The book captures the engineering and architectural significance of the bridges and presents the people, stories, and legends of Chicago's fantastic bridge history.  Chicago River Bridges was published by the University of Illinois Press in October 2013 and received the 2013 Henry N. Barkhausen Award for original research on Great Lakes Maritime History.  Chicago River Bridges was published by the University of Illinois Press in October 2013 and received the 2013 Henry N. Barkhausen Award for original research on Great Lakes Maritime History.  It also received and Honorable Mention in the Chicago Writer's Association 2014 Book Awards in the traditional non-fiction category.  With more than 200 images and beautifully laid out, this 344-page, full-color, hardback, coffee table book makes a great gift.  For a review check out The Chicago Book Review.

Patrick also recently completed with Chicago filmmaker Stephen Hatch the documentary, Chicago Drawbridges, which they independently produced and first aired on Chicago and Milwaukee public television in 2013.  It chronicles the importance of the bridges in the making of the Windy City from the first wood footbridge, built by a tavern owner in 1832, to the iconic structures of today crossing the Chicago River.  This partnership created Hatch Werks LLC and the trademark Hatch Werks Films to independently produce Chicago Drawbridges and any future projects.

Patrick's first children's picture book  Bridges of All Kinds is about big, red, small, steel, railroad, and many other kinds of bridges from around the world. This full-color children’s picture book presents over 50 photographs that amaze and delight children and adults alike. It shows the great variety of types, shapes, colors, materials, uses, and life cycle of bridges. The prominent feature of each bridge from 22 different countries is described with its geographic location.  It provides a great cross-section of the many and varied bridges and bridge types all over the world.  This is an eBook on Apples iBookstore and printed copies may be purchased above.

the clover.  Still ran anyway with the twinge of fear spurring me on with quick inspecting glances at the ground ahead.  Yet still running an at times with pure abandon as fast as I could because it felt so good to fly across the grassy yards.  The excitement was simply too great to contain.  Running seemed to be the best way to express and enjoy this perfect summer morning that held so much possibility and promise. I am sure at the time I could not have described this feeling as well, but the joy of bare feet on grass, the crisp clean air, and sense of freedom was too good to ignore.  Hopefully that feeling will never leave me.  The energy, like uncorking a bottle as the foam rushes out, after I stepped out the back door of our house the endless possibilities and energy of that summer day compelled me to run, just for fun.

I sometimes have similar feelings while writing about bridges or other things, when all the pieces seem to fit together (after a lot of work), and an idea, project, or book comes together.  That feeling of excitement bubbling up inside like a shaken soda can is a thrill we should all keep in our hearts.  The thrill of pure joy, success, and that anything is possible excites the good little kid in all of us, no matter what age.  The fun, energy, and assurance what you are doing right then and there is just what you were meant to be doing just now feels right.  AND you are the best and only person to express it--whatever that is.  For it is just so right and so strong you must seize the chance and paint or write, build, hug someone, or run through the grass just to feel the air rush by.

It is my hope kids everywhere will find and keep this feeling to always remember that excitement, thrill, and joy of being alive.  As we grow up, change, and learn it is hoped that feeling is never lost.

We should all find activities, friends, and pursuits that create a feeling of self worth, strength, and joy!  Some people say it is following your passions -- whatever that is.  To me it is just this feeling inside wanting to discover, to ask what if and then find out despite the challenges.  What if I can make this happen?  What if I try and build this idea?  Why not make this work?  Ignore the fears, thoughts that the work will be too hard -- because in the process of working it out and along the way new things will be discovered.  And even if it doesn't turn out as expected, the hard work is always worth it -- not for the end result, although that too can be amazing -- but for the journey of learning and seeing what will happen, created, or built and that may uncover an even better purpose, idea, or project.

Chase the ideas that thrill you, despite what other people think or say. Try something new and different.  Exploring is just plain good to do, and it helps create a better, stronger, and smarter you.  What does the happy little kid inside you feel is cool, fun, or exciting to do next?  You never know what you will learn and become along the way.

At times being a little kid does not seem so long ago.  I was curious, loved to play, and lucky to make friends easily.

One of my earliest memories is of running through the backyards of my neighborhood in Normal, Illinois (really that was the name of the town). It was early morning and I decided to run as fast as I could from one backyard to another and another just because I could.  It was the beginning of a beautiful summer day that seemed to hold endless opportunities.  School was out, sunny, and warm I could feel the grass and the cool morning dew under my bare feet as I dashed along, both excited and afraid of stepping on a bee in

Patrick...As A Young Boy

The second book in the PTM Werks Series is Airplanes Take off and Land, which introduces Harry (a lamb), who is on his first flight learns all about how airplanes take off and land.  His Aunt Stacey, a pilot, takes Harry into the cockpit of Crow-Flies Air Flight 6 to see the step-by-step process of flying an airplane.  The story is full of animal characters, who all take part in the flight from Crosstown Field to Bayside Landing.  What does Harry think about flying?  Find out in this wonderful book sure to be a favorite, especially with young airplane fans and the pilots of tomorrow.  Airplanes Take off and Land was  released in April 2015.

The first book in the PTM Werks Series is Drawbridges Open and Close, which introduces Bridge Tender Todd (a fox) and his sidekick Ponticat to learn about the inner workings and individual steps of opening and closing a drawbridge.  As the animal characters go about their day, see how the Narrows Drawbridge of the busy town is shared by a variety of fanciful characters, watercraft, and vehicles.  Will the impatient Terry Turtle ever get across the bridge?  Find out in this wonderful book sure to be a favorite, especially with the bridge builders of tomorrow.  Drawbridges Open and Close was released in October 2014.

Over a decade ago Patrick McBriarty discovered a new focus and fascination for Chicago’s bridges.  His first book Chicago River Bridges , presents the untold history and evolution of Chicago's bridges, from the first humble footbridge to the iconic moveable steel and concrete structures of today. It reveals a city, that at its heart is the world center for drawbridge design and innovation.  Chicago without its bridges to connect and reconnect the people, culture, industry, and neighborhoods would not be what it is today. 

A Little About Patrick T. McBriarty


Bring author and bridge historian

Patrick McBriarty to your organization -OR- take one of his tours!!

Bridge Talks - learn about Chicago's fantastic bridges that made the Windy City what it is today -- The Drawbridge Capital of the World.

School Visits - bring an award-winning author to your classroom to get students excited about how things work like bridges, airplanes, trains, and more.

Screening of the Documentary - Bring the 57-minute documentary Chicago Drawbridges to your organization.  The film, which has been shown on Chicago and Milwaukee Public Television chronicles the development of Chicago's bridges. 

Boat Tours - Catch author and Chicago bridge historian Patrick McBriarty on Wendella's Chicago River Bridges Tours to spend a delightful 2-hours cruising the Chicago River.

Specialty Tours - McBriarty regularly provides custom tours for groups, conferences, and training and can cater a bridge tour to you needs. 

To bring any of these presentations to your organization email to schedule your event.