Science, Now + Beyond

Your kids will love science after reading these

Science is all about the crazy and the exciting and the strange and the weird in the universe.

The biggest fans of science should be, and usually are, kids. Science is all about the crazy and the exciting and the strange and the weird in the universe, and kids are all about that. Unfortunately, a lot of schools tend to make science a very dry and difficult subject (as they tend to do with all subjects, but I won’t get into that here).

Even more, I think the power of literature combined with science is like feeding two birds with one seed (yes, I don’t use the “kill two birds with one stone” idiom #veganism #savetheanimals #imkidding #butreally). By combining science with literature, kids can engage their comprehension skills while simultaneously falling in love with science. So here are some of the best science books out there to get your kid staying up late at night passionately reading about everything this universe has to offer.

1. Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It by Sundee T. Frazier

“Winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award, the story of a biracial boy who is into science and discovers that he shares this passion with a grandfather he never knew.”

Recommended for ages 10 and up. 

2. Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill

“Winner of the 2015 Kate Greenaway Medal, A New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2014, Best Children’s Book of 2014, Wall Street Journal, Best Children’s Book of 2014, Brain Pickings.

Young, up-and-coming illustrator William Grill weaves a detailed visual narrative of Shackleton’s journey to Antarctica. Grill’s beautiful use of colored pencils and vibrant hues effortlessly evokes the adventure and excitement that surrounded the expedition. His impeccably researched drawings, rich with detail, fastidiously reproduce the minutiae of the expedition.

Children will love examining the diagrams of the peculiar provisions and the individual drawings of each sled dog and packhorse. This book takes the academic and historical information behind the expedition and reinterprets it for a young audience.

 Recommended for ages 4 to 9. 

3. Actual Size by Steve Jenkins

“Just how big is a crocodile? What about a tiger, or the world’s largest spider? Can you imagine a tongue that is two feet long or an eye that is bigger than your head? Sometimes facts and figures don’t tell the whole story. In this visually stunning book, seeing is believing as Steve Jenkins illustrates animals both large and small at ACTUAL SIZE.”

Recommended for ages 6 to 9. 

4. Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late by Laura Overdeck

“Inside this book, families will find fun, mischief-making math problems to tackle―math that isn’t just kid-friendly, but actually kid-appealing. With over 100 math riddles on topics from jalapeños and submarines to roller coasters and flamingos, this book bursts with math that looks nothing like school. And with three different levels of challenge (wee ones, little kids, and big kids), there’s something for everyone. We can make numbers fun, and change the world, one Bedtime Math puzzle at a time.”

Recommended for ages 3 to 6. 

5. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

“Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal–to fly–Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success. You can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit.”

Recommended for ages 5 to 7. 

6. Big Questions from Little People: And Simple Answers from Great Minds by Gemma Elwin Harris

“Author Gemma Elwin Harris has lovingly compiled weighty questions from precocious grade school children—queries that have long dumbfounded even intelligent adults—and she’s gathered together a notable crew of scientists, specialists, philosophers, and writers to answer them.

Authors Mary Roach and Phillip Pullman, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, chef Gordon Ramsay, adventurist Bear Gryllis, and linguist Noam Chomsky are among the top experts responding to the Big Questions from Little People, (“Do animals have feelings?”, “Why can’t I tickle myself?”, “Who is God?”) with well-known comedians, columnists, and raconteurs offering hilarious alternative answers. Miles above your average general knowledge and trivia collections, this charming compendium is a book fans of the E.H. Gombrich classic, A Little History of the World, will adore.”

Recommended for ages 8 to 12. 

7. Infinity and Me by Kate Hosford

“When I looked up, I shivered. How many stars were in the sky? A million? A billion? Maybe the number was as big as infinity. I started to feel very, very small. How could I even think about something as big as infinity? Uma can’t help feeling small when she peers up at the night sky. She begins to wonder about infinity. Is infinity a number that grows forever? Is it an endless racetrack? Could infinity be in an ice cream cone? Uma soon finds that the ways to think about this big idea may just be…infinite.”

Recommended for ages 6 to 9. 

8. Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet by Buzz Aldrin

“Space is still the final frontier and Mars continues to make news and attract generations of young people. In this fascinating book, hero-astronaut Buzz Aldrin challenges curious kids to think about Mars as not just a faraway red planet but as a possible future home for Earthlings!

What will your new home be like? How will you get there? What will you eat for breakfast? Find out what life might be like far, far from Earth as you navigate your way through this fun and fascinating book. What kid wouldn’t want to blast off with him on this (literary) journey!”

Recommended for ages 8 to 12. 

9. On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne

“A boy rides a bicycle down a dusty road. But in his mind, he envisions himself traveling at a speed beyond imagining, on a beam of light. This brilliant mind will one day offer up some of the most revolutionary ideas ever conceived. From a boy endlessly fascinated by the wonders around him, Albert Einstein ultimately grows into a man of genius recognized the world over for profoundly illuminating our understanding of the universe. Jennifer Berne and Vladimir Radunsky invite the reader to travel along with Einstein on a journey full of curiosity, laughter, and scientific discovery. Parents and children alike will appreciate this moving story of the powerful difference imagination can make in any life.”

Recommended for ages 6 to 9. 

10. You Are Stardust by Elin Kelsey & Soyeon Kim

You Are Stardust begins by introducing the idea that every tiny atom in our bodies came from a star that exploded long before we were born. From its opening pages, the book suggests that we are intimately connected to the natural world; it compares the way we learn to speak to the way baby birds learn to sing, and the growth of human bodies to the growth of forests. Award-winning author Elin Kelsey — along with a number of concerned parents and educators around the world — believes children are losing touch with nature. This innovative picture book aims to reintroduce children to their innate relationship with the world around them by sharing many of the surprising ways that we are all connected to the natural world.

Grounded in current science, this extraordinary picture book provides opportunities for children to use their imaginations and wonder about some big ideas. Soyeon Kim’s incredible diorama art enhances the poetic text, and her creative process is explored in full on the reverse side of the book’s jacket, which features comments from the artist. Young readers will want to pore over each page of this book, exploring the detailed artwork and pondering the message of the text, excited to find out just how connected to the Earth they really are.

Recommended for ages 4 and up.