Children’s Books About Polar Habitats

Rather than focus on a certain kind of animal, sometimes children want to investigate the groups of living organisms found in a particular habitat. For this post, we are going to focus on animals found around the North and South Poles.

polar-habitats

Note: this post contains affiliate links to Amazon.

Beginning Reader

National Geographic Readers: Polar Bears by Laura Marsh

National Geographic Children’s books pair top quality photographs with clear, age -appropriate informational text. Polar bears are in the news today, and this book is a great introduction for the youngest reader.

Age Range: 4 – 6 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (April 9, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1426311044
ISBN-13: 978-1426311048

Amazing Arctic Animals (Penguin Young Readers, Level 3) by Jackie Glassman and illustrated by Lisa Bonforte

 

Grouped by whether they occur on the land, in the sea, or in the air, this book features many of the key animals found in the Arctic.

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers (September 16, 2002)
ISBN-10: 044842844X
ISBN-13: 978-0448428444

Picture Books

 

About Habitats: Polar Regions by Cathryn Sill and illustrated by John Sill

The Sills are a talented couple who have been collaborating on books in the About Habitats series. If you have seen their work before, you know what to expect. John Sill’s gorgeous watercolor illustrations catch the readers’ eyes. Then they turn to Cathryn Sill’s clear, uncomplicated language. In remarkably few words she explains the scene and draws readers into it.

Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (August 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1561458325
ISBN-13: 978-1561458325

 

Polar Bears by Mark Newman

The photographs in the book are the author, Mark Newman, who is a famous wildlife photographer. Need I say more?

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Square Fish; First Edition edition (November 17, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1250069556
ISBN-13: 978-1250069559

 

Where Do Polar Bears Live? (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Sarah L. Thomson and Illustrated by Jason Chin

The Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series books are always well-researched and informative. Add illustrations by award-winning author-illustrator Jason Chin and you have a treat.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (December 31, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0061575178
ISBN-13: 978-0061575174

 

Polar Bears by Gail Gibbons and Megan Lloyd

Gail Gibbons is the queen of children’s nonfiction. She always seems to know what questions children ask.This book covers the life of polar bears in detail.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Holiday House; Ill edition (September 1, 2002)
ISBN-10: 0823417689
ISBN-13: 978-0823417681

 

Polar Bears and Penguins: A Compare and Contrast Book by Katharine Hall

Ever see a picture or cartoon with penguins and polar bears in the same scene? This book carefully explains why that is incorrect and covers the life of each animal.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing (February 10, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1628552182
ISBN-13: 978-1628552188

Animal Planet Polar Animals (Animal Bites Series) by Laaren Brown

As you can see from the images on the cover, this books deals with animals in cold places from polar bears in the Arctic to penguins in the Antarctic. In fact, maps of the two poles are included, as well as a sidebar with the average summer and winter temperatures in both regions.

Do you know what a bergy bit or a growler are? Not only does the book cover animals, but also other unique aspects of the habitat. (Bergy bits and growlers are different types of ice that can be found floating in seawater.)

Polar Animals is an enjoyable introduction to the animals in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. It has something from everyone because it offers both a fast facts and breathtaking photographs for the casual reader, and sufficient in-depth information for the more serious reader.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Animal Planet (March 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 161893161X
ISBN-13: 978-1618931610

Ice Is Nice!: All About the North and South Poles (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library) by Bonnie Worth and illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu

The books in the Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library series use familiar characters and rhyming text to bring nonfiction to a wider audience. Excellent series!

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (August 10, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0375828850
ISBN-13: 978-0375828850

 

Little Penguin: The Emperor of Antarctica by Jonathan London and illustrated by Julie Olson

Young children will relate to this story about the first few months in a young penguin’s life.

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Publisher: Two Lions (October 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0761459545
ISBN-13: 978-0761459545

 

Middle Grade

Hopping Ahead of Climate Change by Sneed B. Collard III

Many people have heard about the plight of polar bears, having to swim farther and farther to find food because of the melting sea ice in the Arctic. This book discusses Professor Scott Mills’s research on the effects of climate change on a smaller, cuter animal: the snowshoe hare.

The book is illustrated with color photographs of hares and their habitats, as well as helpful graphs, charts, and maps. Although it may look superficially like a picture book, this is a solidly middle grade title for readers 10 years old and older.

Pick up Hopping Ahead of Climate Change for students interested in environmental issues, animals, or science. You will be glad you did.

Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Bucking Horse Books (November 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0984446087
ISBN-13: 978-0984446087

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Growing List of Children’s Books About Nocturnal Animals

Nocturnal animals are active at night. Many of them we never see during the day. Discover them by reading a great book.

nocturnal-animals-books-for-kids

Disclaimer: Just so you know, I am an affiliate with Amazon. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the image or title links, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you, the proceeds of which will help pay for maintaining this website.

Nonfiction

Beginning Reader

 

Nocturnal Animals by Abbie Dunne

An introduction to animals that are active a night. Features short sentences, controlled vocabulary, and big, enticing photographs. The back matter includes an activity suggestion.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1515709787
ISBN-13: 978-1515709787

Many beginning reader books focus on one particular type of nocturnal animal, such as the following:

Porcupines (Nocturnal Animals) by Mary R. Dunn

Did you know that one reason we rarely see porcupines is because they are nocturnal?

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Series: Nocturnal Animals
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Capstone Press (February 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1429661933
ISBN-13: 978-1429661935

 

Fireflies (Nocturnal Animals) by Mary R. Dunn

Fireflies are beetles that light up the night with their ability to glow.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Series: Nocturnal Animals
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1429671203
ISBN-13: 978-1429671200

 

Raccoons (Nocturnal Animals) by J. Angelique Johnson

Raccoons are nocturnal animals.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Capstone Press (February 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1429661941
ISBN-13: 978-1429661942

 

Picture Books

 

Night Creepers by Linda Stanek and illustrated by Shennen Bersani

 

The simple, lovely text makes it shine. The detailed sidebars and extensive back matter sends it to another level of usefulness for educators.

Direct link to extensive .pdf teaching guide

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing (September 10, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1607183234
ISBN-13: 978-1607183235

Nocturnal Animals (Learn about Animal Behavior) by Kelli L. Hicks and  Bernd Heinrich (Consultant Editor)

 

This title is an informational book for children in first and second grade.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1429693126
ISBN-13: 978-1429693127

In his newest picture book, The Bat Book illustrated by Nate Jensen and Tristan Jensen, Conrad Storad uses a story within a story format to engage young readers. He also throws lots of science into the mix.

In the book Little Boy Bat, the main character who lives under the famous Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas, decides to write a book to help humans learn bats are not frightening. The result is both enlightening and fun.

Ages: 5-10
Publisher: Sunbelt Publications (March 25, 2015)
ISBN-10: 189179566X
ISBN-13: 978-1891795664

 

Where Are the Night Animals? (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) by Mary Ann Fraser

Although older, the books in this series are uniformly excellent.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (December 12, 1998)
ISBN-10: 0064451763
ISBN-13: 978-0064451765

 

Sounds of the Wild: Nighttime (Pledger Sounds) by Maurice Pledger

What could be more fun than a pop-up book that also makes the sounds of nocturnal animals around the world?

Nightime emphasizes how many animals that are active at night communicate via sound.

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books; Pop edition (October 28, 2007)
ISBN-10: 1592234712
ISBN-13: 978-1592234714

 

Out of Sight Till Tonight!: All About Nocturnal Animals (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library)
by Tish Rabe

Told in romping rhyme, the books in the Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library series reveal serious, well-researched facts.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (March 24, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0375870768
ISBN-13: 978-0375870767

 

Moonlight Animals (Lightbeam Books) by Elizabeth Golding and illustrated by Ali Lodge

Another interactive picture book, Moonlight Animals allows children to “light up” nighttime animals, no battery required. (No “magic” required either).

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Running Press Kids; Nov edition (August 30, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0762443162
ISBN-13: 978-0762443161

Middle Grade

The Bat Scientists by Mary Kay Carson and photographs by her husband, Tom Uhlman

 

Author Carson accompanies bat scientist Merlin Tuttle into a cave in Texas to find out what studying bats in like. Immediately the reader learns that this field is not for the squeamish. Why would anyone wade through bat guano teeming with insects while breathing through a respirator in a smelly cave at temperatures of 100° F? They do it because it turns out that bats are pretty important in the scheme of things. By learning more about them, hopefully we can protect these fragile and misunderstood little creatures before it is too late.

Reviewed at Wrapped in Foil

Age Range: 10 and up
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (September 28, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0547199562
ISBN-13: 978-0547199566

Fiction

 

Night Animals by Gianna Marino

Preschoolers will enjoy this book that is likely to soothe those anxious about the dark and at the same time teach about nocturnal animals.

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (July 14, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0451469542
ISBN-13: 978-0451469540

Do you have any suggestions for our list of children’s books about nocturnal animals? We’d love to hear them.

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Books about Beaches and Tide Pools for Kids

Summer is a great time to go to the beach. While you are there, learn some science by exploring the creatures that live on the beach and in tide pools.

Disclaimer: Just so you know, I am an affiliate with Amazon. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the image or title links, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you, the proceeds of which will help pay for maintaining this website.

Nonfiction

Beginning Reader

Life in a Tide Pool (Rookie Read-About Science) by Allan Fowler

Simple, straightforward informational nonfiction that covers the tide pool habitat.

Age Range: 6 and up
Series: Rookie Read-About Science
Library Binding: 32 pages
Publisher: Children’s Press (CT) (September 1996)
ISBN-10: 0516200313
ISBN-13: 978-0516200316

Picture Books

Seashells: More Than a Home by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen

This title really stands out because it does so much more than describe or identify shells a child might find on the beach. Instead, it breathes life into the creatures that inhabit different seashells by showing how all the various sizes, shapes, and colors help the members of the Phylum Mollusca — or mollusks — survive.

Seashells: More Than a Home is a wonderful resource for studies on ocean or beach habitats. It would also make a great gift for nature lovers, especially before a trip to the beach. Discover a copy today!

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (April 2, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1580898106
ISBN-13: 978-1580898102

The Crab Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta and illustrated by Tom Leonard

Jerry Pallotta’s books combine humor with amazingly detailed information. Although organized alphabetically, these texts are way beyond simple ABC concept books. Always be prepared for surprises, too.

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (February 12, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1570911444
ISBN-13: 978-1570911446

How to Hide an Octopus and Other Sea Creatures (Reading Railroad) by Ruth Heller

Ruth Heller’s books about camouflage are delightful, with rhyming text and colorful illustration. Highly recommended!

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap (April 29, 1992)
ISBN-10: 0448404788
ISBN-13: 978-0448404783

Seashells, Crabs and Sea Stars: Take-Along Guide (Take Along Guides) by Christiane Kump Tibbitts and illustrated by Linda Garrow

Introduces children to common tide pool animals, with tips for identifying 15 different kinds of seashells, 5 kinds of crabs and 7 kinds of sea stars. Suggestions for activities included.

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Cooper Square Publishing Llc (January 1, 1999)
ISBN-10: 1559716754
ISBN-13: 978-1559716758

What Lives in a Shell? (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld and illustrated by Helen K. Davie

Learn about how snails, turtles, crabs, and clams have shells that act as their homes and protect them from harm. An older title, but the books in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series are always high quality.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (April 22, 1994)
ISBN-10: 0064451240
ISBN-13: 978-0064451246

What’s in the Tide Pool? by Anne Hunter

The books in this series are small (approximately 5 inches x 5 inches). Each describe a few common animals in a given habitat.

Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (August 28, 2000)
ISBN-10: 0618015108
ISBN-13: 978-0618015108

In One Tidepool: Crabs, Snails, and Salty Tails by Anthony D. Fredericks and illustrated by Jennifer Dirubbio

This book includes rhyming text of the “house-that-Jack-built” format.

Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Dawn Pubns; 1 edition (August 1, 2002)
ISBN-10: 1584690380
ISBN-13: 978-1584690382

 

 

There are a number of books about a single group of invertebrates for young children:

Crab (Welcome Books: Ocean Life) by Lloyd G. Douglas

Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Children’s Press(CT) (September 2005)
ISBN-10: 0516237403
ISBN-13: 978-0516237404

Sea Stars (Ocean Life) by Lola M. Schaefer

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Capstone Press (July 1, 1998)
ISBN-10: 0736882219
ISBN-13: 978-0736882217

 

Fiction

A House for Hermit Crab (The World of Eric Carle) by Eric Carle

Growing and having to move are themes in this classic book about a hermit crab looking for a new shell to live in.

Age Range: 5 – 7 years
Publisher: Simon Spotlight; Reissue edition (May 13, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1481409158
ISBN-13: 978-1481409155

Do you have any suggestions for our list of children’s books about beaches and tide pools? We’d love to hear them.

 

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Growing List of Children’s Books About Fish

Summer means trips to the beach and time near the water. What better time to study fish?

science-books-for-kids-fishDisclaimer: Just so you know, I am an affiliate with Amazon. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the image or title links, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you, the proceeds of which will help pay for maintaining this website.

Nonfiction

Beginning Readers

 

Fish Body Parts by Clare Lewis

Learning body parts is important for identification and for understanding function. This series emphasizes what different parts look like and what they are for.

Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: Heinemann (August 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1484625633

National Geographic Readers: Swim Fish!: Explore the Coral Reef by Susan B. Neuman

Straightforward sentences help readers learn about ocean creatures, not just fish.

Age Range: 2 – 5 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (May 13, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1426315104
ISBN-13: 978-1426315107

Picture Books

What’s It Like to Be a Fish? (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) by Wendy Pfeffer and illustrated by Holly Keller

Award-winning book discusses the life of fish, including how they eat and breathe underwater.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; Revised edition (August 4, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0062381997
ISBN-13: 978-0062381996

About Fish: A Guide For Children by Cathryn P. Sill and illustrated by John Sill

Simple introduction to fish with lovely watercolor illustrations

Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (March 1, 2005)
ISBN-10: 1561453358
ISBN-13: 978-1561453351

Sea Horse: Read and Wonder: The Shyest Fish in the Sea by Chris Butterworth and illustrated by John Lawrence

Learn all about the life cycle of seahorses.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (March 24, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0763641405
ISBN-13: 978-0763641405

Wandering Whale Sharks written and illustrated by Susumu Shingu is a gentle book for younger children that follows the largest fish in the world, the whale shark. It was originally published in Japan in 1991, and has recently be translated and republished by Owlkids Books Inc.

The illustrations largely feature black and blue, giving the feeling of being completely under water. The images are incredibly peaceful and the text lyrical, making the book a lovely choice for reading aloud to a group of children.

Wandering Whale Sharks is the type of informational picture book that is likely to appeal to a variety of audiences. Highly recommended!

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Owlkids Books (March 17, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1771471301
ISBN-13: 978-1771471305

Middle Grade

Amazon Adventure: How Tiny Fish Are Saving the World’s Largest Rainforest by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Keith Ellenbogen

Go on a trip to the Amazon with conservation biologist Scott Dowd to learn about how fish like tiny cardinal tetras are important to the ecosystem.

Age Range: 10 – 12 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (July 4, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0544352998
ISBN-13: 978-0544352995

DK Eyewitness Books: Fish by Steve Parker

Although written at the middle grade level, the brightly-colored photographs can hold the attention of readers of a range of ages.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: DK Children; Rev ed. edition (April 11, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0756610737
ISBN-13: 978-0756610739

 

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands 
by Katherine Roy


Great white sharks are fierce predators and this book reflects reality. Right up front, the cover sets the tone for this book, showing a shark with something in its mouth and a suggestion of red blood in the water. Some of the illustrations within the book show the sharks grabbing and eating seals. Certain children are going to find this thrilling and others are probably not. As with any book with potentially disturbing images, it is a good idea to prepare young readers in advance and let them choose whether they want to continue.

That is not to say that this book is about gratuitous violence. In fact, it contains a number of fascinating scientific illustrations detailing the body of the shark, how its blood circulates to help heat up this cold-blooded fish, how its eyes work, how its teeth work, and what makes its jaws unique. Learning facts about any animal definitely helps make it less fearsome.

Neighborhood Sharks has won many awards and honors, including:

Age Range: 7 – 11 years
Publisher: David Macaulay Studio (September 30, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1596438746
ISBN-13: 978-1596438743

Picture Book Fiction

The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen and illustrated by Dan Hanna

Written in rhyme, this is a wildly-popular book for preschoolers. Look for others in the series, too.

Age Range: 3 – 6 years
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (August 6, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0374360979
ISBN-13: 978-0374360979

Swimmy by Leo Leoni

A classic book about facing fears and overcoming danger by working together.

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Dragonfly Books; Reissue edition (April 12, 1973)
ISBN-10: 0394826205
ISBN-13: 978-0394826202

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister and translated by J Alison James

Follow Rainbow Fish as he learns about making friends. Try any of the Rainbow Fish books.

Age Range: 3 – 10 years
Publisher: North-South Books; First Edition edition (January 27, 1999)
ISBN-10: 1558580093
ISBN-13: 978-1558580091

Do you have any suggestions for this list? Please let us know.

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List of Children’s Books About Decomposition and Composting

Help your children understand the process of decomposition and the nutrient cycle by starting with a good book.

compost-booksNote: this post contains affiliate links to Amazon.

 

Board Books

The Little Composter (Teenie Greenies) by Jan Gerardi

A lift-the-flap book that teaches preschoolers about composting with age-appropriate rhyming text. Would be appropriate for young beginning readers, as well.

Age Range: 2 – 3 years
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; Ltf Brdbk edition (March 8, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0375854126
ISBN-13: 978-0375854125

 

Picture Books

 

Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals and illustrated by Ashley Wolff

This unique alphabet book is actually a rousing call to compost written in rhyming text. The collage illustrations are also made from recycled materials.

Books in Bloom has a 16-page lesson plan to accompany this book (link to .pdf download)

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Dragonfly Books; Reprint edition (October 14, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0385755384
ISBN-13: 978-0385755382

Garbage Helps Our Garden Grow: A Compost Story by Linda Glaser with photographs by Shelley Rotner

Table scraps that normally go into the garbage can be used to make compost for the garden. Linda Glaser describes how and Shelley Rotner inspires us to go out and compost.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Millbrook Press (January 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0761349111
ISBN-13: 978-0761349112

 

Composting: Nature’s Recyclers (Amazing Science) by Robin Koontz and illustrated by Matthew Harrad

This picture book introduces children to the bacteria, fungi and critters that help turn plant materials into compost.

Age Range: 5 – 10 years
Publisher: Picture Window Books (September 1, 2006)
ISBN-10: 1404822003
ISBN-13: 978-1404822009

Grubs, Bugs, and Worms: Invertebrates of the Underground (Underground Safari) by Jody S. Rake

Each two-page spread contains information about a different group of animals that live in the soil and potentially compost, such as earthworms and cicada grubs. A “Dig-in” sidebar gives a memorial fact or two. A glossary is also included in each spread. The text is clear and succinct.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1491450614
ISBN-13: 978-1491450611

 

A Pill Bug’s Life (Nature Upclose) by John Himmelman

Himmelman both writes and illustrates this lovely book that introduce children to the lives of “rolypolies.”

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Children’s Press(CT) (March 1, 2000)
ISBN-10: 0516267981
ISBN-13: 978-0516267982

An Earthworm’s Life (Nature Upclose) by John Himmelman

Once again, John Himmelman’s watercolor illustrations make this book about earthworms special.

 

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Childrens Pr (April 2001)
ISBN-10: 0516265350
ISBN-13: 978-0516265353

 

Wiggling Worms at Work (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Wendy Pfeffer and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

You can’t go wrong with any of the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science books. The collage illustrations are Steve Jenkins’s trademark. They may or may not work for a science book.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (December 23, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0064451992
ISBN-13: 978-0064451994

Rotten-pumpkin
Rotten Pumpkin: A Rotten Tale in 15 Voices by David M. Schwartz and with photographs by Dwight Kuhn

I’ll let you know right up front that this book is not for the highly squeamish. If the thought of fly vomit makes you quiver, then you might not find the book as delightful as I did. Photographer Kuhn spares nothing as he follows the decomposition meltdown of a carved Halloween pumpkin. takes you down and dirty with close-ups of molds, slime molds and yeasts, as well as other organisms, to show how nutrients get recycled and organic matter added to the soil. Remember that kids, however, might enjoy all that goo and ooze. Plus, the team of David M. Schwartz and Dwight Kuhn have worked on a number of projects together and their expertise shows.

Age Range: 4 – 12 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 7
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Creston Books (July 23, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1939547032
ISBN-13: 978-1939547033

 

Wonderful Worms by Linda Glaser

A classic, this older book has stood the test of time. The illustrations are lovely. The back matter is a two-page spread with facts about earthworms in a question-and-answer format.

Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Millbrook Press; Reprint edition (March 1, 1994)
ISBN-10: 1562947303
ISBN-13: 978-1562947309

Magic School Bus Meets the Rot Squad : A Book about Decomposition by Joanna Cole  and illustrated by Carolyn Bracken and Bruce Degen

Truly unique, it is also worth picking up this older book. It delves into decomposition like no other children’s book.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Scholastic (January 1, 1995)
ISBN-10: 0590400231
ISBN-13: 978-0590400237

Middle Grade

 

Leaf Litter Critters by Leslie Bulion and illustrated by Robert Meganck

Written as a series of poems and with cartoon-like illustrations, this serious text might just entice some readers who prefer fiction to explore a less-than-glamorous ecosystem.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (March 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 156145950X
ISBN-13: 978-1561459506

Compost Critters by Bianca Lavies

Although this book is older, it is really worth trying to get your hands on it. The photographs lead the reader into the miniature life of the compost heap. The author also shows her passion for compost in the detailed text.

Age Range: 9 and up
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1st edition (May 1, 1993)
ISBN-10: 0525447636
ISBN-13: 978-0525447634

Michael Elsohn Ross has a wonderful “-ology” series of science books for middle grade children that cover critters found in compost heaps. Gives life cycles and simple kid-friendly experiments to do.

Age Range: 7 and up
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (February 1996)
ISBN-10: 0876149379
ISBN-13: 978-0876149379

Children’s Books about Water

Let’s start a growing list of children’s books about water science and the water cycle.

Children's-Books-About-Water

Note: this post contains affiliate links to Amazon.

Beginning Reader

Picture Books

Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Beach Lane Books; 1 edition (January 6, 2015)
ISBN-10: 148142064X
ISBN-13: 978-1481420648

Water Can Be . . . (Millbrook Picture Books) by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Violeta Dabija

Water Can Be… Very Important

Ages 5-8
Series: Millbrook Picture Books
Publisher: Millbrook Pr Trade (April 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1467705918
ISBN-13: 978-1467705912

Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin

Age Range: 6 – 10 years
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (May 26, 2015)
ISBN-10: 159643984X
ISBN-13: 978-1596439849

All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon and illustrated by Katherine Tillotson

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books (March 22, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1416971300

A Drop Around the World by Barbara McKinney and illustrated by Michael S. Maydak

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Dawn Pubns (April 1, 1998)
ISBN-10: 1883220726
ISBN-13: 978-1883220723

Middle Grade

Water Runs Through This Book by Nancy Bo Flood

 

WaterRuns

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing (August 25, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1936218135
ISBN-13: 978-1936218134

Weather Books for Kids

Children often become interested in different aspects of weather as they grow older or as they experience different weather extremes.
Science Books for Kids- Weather
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Beginning Reader

Thunder and Lightning (Weather Wise) by Helen Cox Cannons

Amazing, vibrant color photographs of lightning storms accompany simple text in this book for the youngest reader. Also has illustrations to explain how lightning happens.

Be sure to check the “Notes for Parents and Teachers” in the back matter for pre-reading and post-reading activity suggestions.

Age Range: 4 – 6 years
Publisher: Heinemann; Nov edition (July 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1484605586
ISBN-13: 978-1484605585
National Geographic Readers: Weather by Kristin Baird Rattini

This level one reader is packed with information to explain basic weather, such as wind, clouds, thunderstorms, etc. Text accompanied with amazing color photographs.

Age Range: 4 – 6 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (July 9, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1426313489
ISBN-13: 978-1426313486

 

DK Readers: Whatever The Weather (Level 1: Beginning to Read) by Karen Wallace

Illustrations engage the reader by showing a young child observing the weather through a window.

Age Range: 5 – 7 years
Publisher: DK Children; 1 edition (September 6, 1999)
ISBN-10: 0789447509
ISBN-13: 978-0789447500

 

Nonfiction Picture Books

Clouds: A Compare and Contrast Book by Katharine Hall

Young readers explore the concept of comparing and contrasting, while at the same time learning about different kinds of clouds and how to describe them. “For Creative Minds” in the back matter has four pages of interactive activities to reinforce learning. Examples include experiments with evaporation, a cloud match exercise, and information about how clouds are connected to weather prediction.

Ages: 4-8
Lexile Measure: 230L (What’s this?)
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing (September 10, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1628554576
ISBN-13: 978-1628554571

Oh Say Can You Say What’s the Weather Today?: All About Weather (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library) by Tish Rabe and illustrated by Aristides Ruiz

What better way to learn about weather phenomena and vocabulary than through bouncy rhymes with the Cat in the Hat? This unique series encourages children to explore complex concepts in a painless way. The best part is, in spite of the cartoon illustrations, they are well-researched and informative.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; English Language edition (May 25, 2004)
ISBN-10: 0375822763
ISBN-13: 978-0375822766

It’s Raining! by Gail Gibbons

Covers not only the water cycle and common weather events, but also has information about how to stay safe during severe weather events. Gail Gibbons is a prolific and award-winning author of children’s nonfiction.

Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Holiday House (January 30, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 082343303X
ISBN-13: 978-0823433032

Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre

Riding the line between beginning reader and picture book, this gorgeous title has only a few words or short sentences per two-page spread. The words, however, are beautifully chosen and the photographs tell much more. In the back matter are more detailed explanations of each spread, to help educators field questions or engage readers more fully. Excellent!

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Publisher: Beach Lane Books; 1 edition (January 6, 2015)
ISBN-10: 148142064X
ISBN-13: 978-1481420648

Hurricanes! by Gail Gibbons

Leave it to Gail Gibbons to be able to explain big weather is a way that is both clear and highly informative.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Holiday House; Reprint edition (June 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0823422976
ISBN-13: 978-0823422975

Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll by Dr. Franklyn M. Branley and illustrated by True Kelley

Learn what happens during thunderstorms and what causes them.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Series: Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2
Publisher: HarperCollins; Revised edition (April 9, 1999)
ISBN-10: 0064451798
ISBN-13: 978-0064451796

Weather Words and What They Mean by Gail Gibbons

Great resource for a unit on weather.

See for yourself:

 

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Holiday House; Reprint edition (January 1, 1990)
ISBN-10: 082340952X
ISBN-13: 978-0823409525

 

Nonfiction Middle Grade

How Could We Harness a Hurricane? by Vicki Cobb.

A2018 Best STEM Book K-12 (National Science Teachers Association and the Children’s Book Council)

Hurricanes have certainly been in the news. This middle grade title is for kids who are looking for a deeper understanding of extreme weather. It not only explains what a hurricane is, but also offers discussions about whether we can stop hurricanes from forming, whether we can harness their energy, and whether we should we even try to “mess with Mother Nature.”

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Publisher: Seagrass Press (August 1, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1633222462
ISBN-13: 978-1633222465

National Geographic Kids Everything Weather: Facts, Photos, and Fun that Will Blow You Away by Kathy Furgang

Illustrated with the high-quality photographs you have come to expect from National Geographic, this weather book is likely to “blow you away.”

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (March 27, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1426310587
ISBN-13: 978-1426310584

Tornado: Perspectives on Tornado Disasters (Disaster Dossiers) by Ben Hubbard

With timelines, maps, and numerous photographs and illustrations, Tornado documents the aftermath of actual tornadoes to help readers learn about these extreme weather events.

Age Range: 11 – 16 years
Publisher: Heinemann (July 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1484601890
ISBN-13: 978-1484601891

Inside Hurricanes (Inside Series) by Mary Kay Carson

With hurricane season well under way, children are likely to be curious about these enormous weather systems. Readers soon learn that as Carson says, “Hurricanes are disasters that have called ahead to say they’re coming.”

Publisher: Sterling (October 2010)
ISBN: 1-4027-7780-9
ISBN13: 9781402777806

 

Navigators: Extreme Weatherby Margaret Hynes

When you think of extreme weather, an image of tornadoes or hurricanes usually comes to mind. Many more aspects of weather can be extreme, however, from temperature (both hot and cold) to rainfall (drought versus the extreme rains of monsoons). Hynes tells the story of all these kinds of weather, rightfully pointing out that all our weather is powered by the sun.

With a very modern look, this book has large color photographs overlaid with smaller glimpses of particular events, along with sidebars and keys to explain some aspects in more detail.

One thing I really like about this book is that the last section describes some things that are being done to mitigate the effects of extreme weather. In the back are suggestions for ways to investigate weather defenses, as well. From building hurricane shelters to planting trees on hillsides, the fact that a few things can be done to make things better gives children some sense of control. Who knows, maybe someday one of the children who read the book will come up with an even better way to help protect us from natural disasters due to extreme weather.

Related hands on activity: Build a weather station

Reading level: Ages 9 and up
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Kingfisher; First Edition (June 21, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0753465787
ISBN-13: 978-0753465783

Young Adult Nonfiction

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Weather by David Ludlum

Although published a number of years ago, this interesting field guide is still pertinent.

Vinyl Bound: 656 pages
Publisher: Knopf (October 15, 1991)
ISBN-10: 0679408517
ISBN-13: 978-0679408512

 

Fiction Picture Books

 

Bartholomew and the Oobleck: (Caldecott Honor Book) (Classic Seuss) by Dr. Seuss

When the king gets bored with regular weather, trouble ensues.

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (October 12, 1949)
ISBN-10: 0394800753
ISBN-13: 978-0394800752

Do you have any suggestions for this list? We would love to hear from you!

 

Ant Books for Kids

Children of a certain age are often fascinated by insects. Given that ants can be found almost anywhere, they are good subjects to study. Do you know some children who are interested in ants? This list of books is just for them!

 

The list is organized by reading level and genre.

Disclaimer: Just so you know, I am an affiliate with Amazon. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the image or title links, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you, the proceeds of which will help pay for maintaining this website.

 

Nonfiction

Beginning Readers

National Geographic Readers: Ants by Melissa Stewart

This informational book is packed with facts about ants, such as what they look like, where they live and what they eat. Illustrated with the quality photographs you would expect from National Geographic.

Age Range: 4 – 6 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (January 12, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1426306083
ISBN-13: 978-1426306082

Busy Ants (Pull Ahead Books) by by Kristin L. Nelson

“These two insects are working together.
What kind of insects are they?
These insects are busy ants.
They are moving leaves to make a nest.”

This small book, with controlled vocabulary and short sentences, introduces beginning readers to basic ant facts.

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group (February 1, 2004)
ISBN-10: 082259885X
ISBN-13: 978-0822598855

Time For Kids: Ants! (Time for Kids Science Scoops)by Editors of TIME For Kids

Falling in the easy reader category, this title gives the basics of ant biology.

Age Range: 6 – 10 years
Publisher: HarperCollins (July 26, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0060576405
ISBN-13: 978-0060576400

DK Readers L3: Ant Antics by Deborah Lock

Designed for beginning readers who are now reading on their own, expect longer sentences and more complex vocabulary.

((As an entomologist, I can tell the photograph on pp. 32-33 was staged. Can you figure out why?))

Age Range: 7 – 9 years
Publisher: DK CHILDREN (August 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 9780756689339
ISBN-13: 978-0756689339

Look Inside an Ant Nest (Look Inside Animal Homes) by Megan Nicole Cooley Peterson

Look Inside an Ant Nest is a straightforward nonfiction book that explores the unseen world of an ant nest. Laid out with large color photographs on the right side page and simple sentences with controlled, subject-specific vocabulary on the left, it is perfect for the beginning reader (first grade reading level). The large size also makes it easy to hold up and read in front of a group of young children.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Capstone Press (July 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1429660783
ISBN-13: 978-1429660785

Picture Books

Just Like Us! Ants by Bridget Heos and illustrated by‎ David Clark

The book is set up as a series of two-page spreads on different topics such as “Sister Cities” and “Bug Eat Bug Job.” You might not be able to see from the image of the cover above, but each spread features a photograph or two of real ants (photographs by Alex Wild) surrounded by cartoons.

Although the cartoon illustrations may make it look like this isn’t a serious book, don’t be fooled. Serious facts and concepts are discussed, but in a lighthearted way that will attract the most reluctant of readers. Throughout the author compares what ants can do to what humans do, making them more relatable.

Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (October 3, 2017)
ISBN-10: 054457043X
ISBN-13: 978-0544570436

Are You an Ant? (Backyard Books) by Judy Allen and illustrated by Tudor Humphries

The Are you a…? books are always wonderful because the author brings the child into the story by comparing the insects, in this case ants, to humans. You feel like you are inside an ant colony.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Kingfisher; Reprint edition (May 13, 2004)
ISBN-10: 0753458039
ISBN-13: 978-0753458037

Thinking About Ants by Barbara Brenner and illustrated by Carol Schwartz

This older book (1996) is well worth a second look. The illustrations are gorgeous, bringing the reader up close to ants. The text is simple and lyrical, but also packs in all the information needed.

“Food!
What do ants eat?
Some eat meat.
A snack of dead bug.
A hunk of worm…”

A fabulous book for kids!

Age Range: 6 and up
Publisher: Mondo Pub (November 1, 1996)
ISBN-10: 1572552093
ISBN-13: 978-1572552098

 

Ant Cities (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)by Arthur Dorros

Part of the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series, this title is probably one of the more informative books about ants for this age group. It follows the busy ants of an “ant city” or colony.

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (June 23, 1988)
ISBN-10: 0064450791
ISBN-13: 978-0064450799

The Life and Times of the Ant by Charles Micucci

An excellent introduction to ants, with lively cartoon illustrations to keep the reader interested

Grade Level: Kindergarten – 3
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 17, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0618689494
ISBN-13: 978-0618689491

The Life Cycle of an Ant by Hadley Dyer and Bobbie Kalman

The Life Cycle of an Ant has denser text and more complicated vocabulary than some of the previous titles. It is for the student who is interested in delving deeper into ant biology.

Age Range: 6 and up
Publisher: Crabtree Pub Co (November 1, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0778707008
ISBN-13: 978-0778707004

Little Black Ant on Park Street – a Smithsonian’s Backyard Book by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by Kathleen Rietz,

As you would expect with a book labeled with the venerable Smithsonian name, Little Black Ant on Park Street is a quality nonfiction picture book. As with the other books in this series, it also has a fictional flavor. What do I mean by fictional flavor? The author has created a main character, the little black ant, who experiences rising levels of conflict and finally resolution. Overlaying this rich story is amazingly accurate and up-to-date information about the biology of ants.

More extensive review at Wrapped in Foil

Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Soundprint; 1 edition (December 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 160727003X
ISBN-13: 978-1607270034

Picture Book Fiction

Gets Ants in It’s Pants: A Book about Ants (Magic School Bus) by Joanna Cole, and illustrated by John Speirs and Bruce Degen

Follow Ms. Frizzle’s class once more, as this time they make a movie about ants. Walking the line between fiction and nonfiction, this imaginative older book is filled with facts about ants and very bad puns!

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Scholastic (January 1, 1996)
ISBN-10: 059040024X
ISBN-13: 978-0590400244

The Little Red Ant and the Great Big Crumb by Shirley Climo and illustrated by Francisco Mora

In this lively take on a Mexican tale, the ant finds out more about its world as it tries to carry home a crumb that is too large. The text contains some Spanish vocabulary words. The illustrations are vibrant, fun watercolors.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (March 22, 1999)
ISBN-10: 0395720974
ISBN-13: 978-0395720974

Antics! (Paperstar) by Cathi Hepworth

If you liked the puns in the Magic School House book, you’ll love these. There are ant puns galore in this imaginative alphabet book.

Age Range: 2 – 6 years
Publisher: Puffin (April 16, 1996)
ISBN-10: 0698113500
ISBN-13: 978-0698113503

Hey, Little Ant by Phillip M. Hoose, Hannah Hoose and Debbie Tilley

A tale about a boy deciding whether or not to step on an ant, which also gives the ant’s point of view. A Reading Rainbow selection…

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Tricycle Press (July 1, 1998)
ISBN-10: 1883672546
ISBN-13: 978-1883672546

Ma Jiang and the Orange Ants by Barbara Ann Porte and illustrated by Annie Cannon

The orange ants in this story are named for the fact they are used to protect orange trees from pests. Ma Jiang and her family experience turbulent times as the men are pressed into service in the emperor’s army. Will the orange ants help those left behind to survive?

Age Range: 6 and up
Publisher: Orchard Books; First Edition edition (September 2000)
ISBN-10: 0531332411
ISBN-13: 978-0531332412

Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg

Two Bad Ants is told from the perspective of two very small and confused ants who have a wild adventure in what turns out to be a standard kitchen.

The illustrations have a bold, graphic look that is unique and intriguing.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (October 24, 1988)
ISBN-10: 0395486688
ISBN-13: 978-0395486689

Crickwing by Janell Cannon

Ants figure prominently in this book with a cockroach as a main character.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (May 1, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0152050612
ISBN-13: 978-0152050610

Middle Grade Fiction

The Nora Notebooks, Book 1: The Trouble with Ants by Claudia Mills and illustrated by Katie Kath

Fourth grader Nora keeps an ant farm. She also records fascinating facts about ants in a journal, with quotes sprinkled throughout the book. She even does a simple experiment with ants and writes a paper about it. If that was all the book was about it would be good, but author Claudia Mills takes it to the next level by including many layers of story. For more details and a full review, see our sister blog, Wrapped in Foil.

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (September 22, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0385391617
ISBN-13: 978-0385391610

Children’s Books about Galaxies and Stars

What is more inspiring than gazing at the stars? How about the amazing photographs of nebulae taken by the Hubble telescope?

stars-books-buttonIn this list of books, we have flown beyond the planets in our solar system and are now exploring the stars, galaxies and other features of the universe. The titles are organized by genre and reading level.

This list is still under construction and we’d love your suggestions!

You might also be interested in our list of space and astronomy poetry books for kids, and our list of children’s books about the solar system and planets.

(Note:  Linked titles go to Amazon for more information. Please see the disclaimer below).

Nonfiction

Beginning Readers- Informational Texts

 

show-me-space
Show Me Space: My First Picture Encyclopedia (My First Picture Encyclopedias) by Steve Kortenkamp is a visually-stimulating way to learn about our sun, the planets, moons and even far away galaxies.

Reading level: 1-2
Ages 4-8
Series: My First Picture Encyclopedias
Publisher: Capstone Press (February 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1620659220
ISBN-13: 978-1620659229

stars and constellations

Stars and Constellations (Heinemann First Library: The Night Sky: And Other Amazing Sights in Space) by Nick Hunter explores what stars are, where they come from, what makes them shine, what people thought of them in the past, and how we study stars today, starting with the nearest star, the Sun. A fun activity is provided along with advice on viewing stars.

Reading Level:  Grades 1-3
Publisher: Heinemann (August 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 143297517X
ISBN-13: 978-1432975173

 

Picture Books

 

Stars by Seymour Simon

Seymour Simon is known for his science books for kids. This text gives an introduction to stars and star cycles. Note: as one reviewer pointed out, the color of a star is related to mass rather than age.

Age Range: 6 – 10 years
Publisher: HarperCollins (May 23, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0060890010
ISBN-13: 978-0060890018

 

Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2 has a whole series of titles about space and space exploration:

 

 

Floating in Space (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Franklyn M. Branley and illustrated by True Kelley

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins (January 3, 1998)
ISBN-10: 0064451429
ISBN-13: 978-0064451420

 

The Sky Is Full of Stars (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)
 by Franklyn M. Branley and illustrated by Felicia Bond

This title is about the constellations you can see in the night sky. Because it is illustrated by Felicia Bond (Give a Mouse a Cookie), it has a different look than some of the others that come later in the series.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (March 9, 1983)
ISBN-10: 0064450023
ISBN-13: 978-0064450027

 

The Big Dipper (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1)
 by Franklyn M. Branley and illustrated by Molly Coxe

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; Revised edition (April 15, 1991)
ISBN-10: 0064451003
ISBN-13: 978-0064451000

 

 

Middle Grade

Inside Stars (Inside Series) by Andra Serlin Abramson and Mordecai-Mark Mac Low

The illustrations in Inside Stars are just amazing, as you can tell from the cover image.  Author Mordecai-Mark Mac Low is a curator at the American Museum of Natural History in the department of Astrophysics, so you know the information is accurate.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Sterling (July 5, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1402781628
ISBN-13: 978-1402781629

Planets, Stars, and Galaxies: A Visual Encyclopedia of Our Universeby David A. Aguilar

Lovely illustrations. Just be aware that although author David A. Aguilar has a good reputation, at least one reviewer found a number of errors in this book. If you are using it as a resource for a report, be sure to double-check your facts with other sources.

Age Range: 10 and up
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books; Reprint edition (October 9, 2007)
ISBN-10: 1426301707
ISBN-13: 978-1426301704

Space, Stars, and the Beginning of Time: What the Hubble Telescope Saw by Elaine Scott

A history of the Hubble Telescope and overview of how the images it has captured have added to the field of astronomy. Although written for middle grades, it is also useful for adults wishing to brush up on the topic.

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Grade Level: 4 – 7
Publisher: Clarion Books (January 24, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0547241895
ISBN-13: 978-0547241890

 

Beyond the Solar System: Exploring Galaxies, Black Holes, Alien Planets, and More; A History with 21 Activities (For Kids series) by Mary Kay Carson

Just as it says in the subtitle, Beyond the Solar System is an amazing history lesson, capturing mini-biographies of many of the key players in the development of our current understanding of space. The reader learns about the contributions of astronomers such as al-Sufi, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Einstein, Caroline Herschel, and Annie Jump Cannon. Each piece builds on the previous sections. It also is a thought-provoking overview of the science of astronomy, moving from early observations of constellations to dark energy and dark matter, and beyond. Seeing the discoveries and concepts unfurl against the backdrop of history really helps put them in perspective and makes it easy to understand and remember.

Add in 21 hands-on activities to reinforce learning and you have a truly stellar book!

Age Range: 9 and up
Publisher: Chicago Review Press (June 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1613745443
ISBN-13: 978-1613745441

 

A Black Hole Is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano

Using analogies and straightforward language intermixed with more light, conversational tone, Carolyn DeCristofano does a wonderful job of explaining what a black hole is and what it is not. The author’s note in the back matter about fact-checking should be required reading for everyone, not just children.

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (February 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1570917833
ISBN-13: 978-1570917837

Universe: Journey Into Deep Space by Mike Goldsmith and illustrated by Mark A. Garlick

Imagine you were on a space ship traveling past the moon, out of solar system and through our galaxy to 55,000 light years away, while taking photographs of things you would see on the way. This is the unique premise of this book that delves not only deeply into space, but also into a deep explanation of many space phenomena. Be prepared to learn vocabulary like pulsars, nebulae, supernovas and supermassive black holes, etc.

Age Range: 8 – 14 years
Publisher: Kingfisher; Har/Pstr edition (September 18, 2012)
ISBN-10: 075346876X
ISBN-13: 978-0753468760

 

Young Adult

It is often difficult to find good nonfiction science books for young adults. By the time readers reach their teen years, if they are interested in science they are often forced to resort to reading books written for adults. That is why we were excited to find Our Universe Revealed: A Cosmic Exploration by E. L. Strauss, which targets this under-served age group.

The illustrations in the book are amazing. They include a selection of photographs and artist’s renditions of that are wondrous to behold, as well as numerous detailed charts and tables. Instead of a simple illustration of the Scientific Method, Strauss gives a much more complex and realistic “Process of Investigation” flow chart. What scientist hasn’t wandered “down a few dark alleys” as Strauss explains?

Although – as the book summary states – Our Universe Revealed is “aimed at bright, gifted, curious and creative teens,” it is also likely to appeal to adults who want a clear understanding of some of the most cutting-edge concepts in astronomy today. Nothing expands your mind like exploring the cosmos and this book is a wonderful way to start.

Disclaimer: Just so you know, I am an affiliate with Amazon. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the title links, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you, the proceeds of which will help pay for maintaining this website.

Children’s Books about Planets and the Solar System

If you are doing a science theme about planets or the solar system and are looking for books for children, you’ve come to the right place. (Note:  Linked titles go to Amazon for more information. Please see the disclaimer below).

The titles are organized by genre and reading level.

planet-books-button

You might also be interested in:

 

Nonfiction

Beginning Readers- Informational Texts

space

Space (Smithsonian Little Explorer) by Martha E. H. Rustad is a quick introduction to topics ranging from the moon and planets to the Big Bang. Colorful photographs and eye-catching illustrations help keep interest and put things in perspective. See how many Earths placed on top of each other would equal the height of the sun. Fascinating!

Reading Level grades 1-2
Publisher: Capstone Press (November 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1476535515
ISBN-13: 978-1476535517

comets

Comets (Heinemann First Library: the Night Sky and Other Amazing Sights in Space) by Nick Hunter explains how these bits of dust and ice orbit the sun in our solar system. Starting with ancient records of comets, Hunter describes some of the most famous comets and how they were discovered, He concludes with an activity using balls and a playing field to help children conceptualize the vastness of space.

Reading Level:  Grades 1-3
Publisher: Heinemann (August 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1432975196
ISBN-13: 978-1432975197

show-me-space
Show Me Space: My First Picture Encyclopedia (My First Picture Encyclopedias) by Steve Kortenkamp is a visually-stimulating way to learn about our sun, the planets, moons and even far away galaxies.

Reading level: 1-2
Ages 4-8
Series: My First Picture Encyclopedias
Publisher: Capstone Press (February 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1620659220
ISBN-13: 978-1620659229

 

eclipses

Eclipses (Heinemann First Library: The Night Sky: And Other Amazing Sights in Space) by Nick Hunter (Author) examines both solar and lunar eclipses, as well as eclipses on other planets. The book covers what an eclipse is, what eclipses can look like, how they happen, what people thought of eclipses in the past, and how they are studied today. He concludes with an activity, along with advice on viewing eclipses.

Reading Level:  Grades 1-3
Publisher: Heinemann (August 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1432975153
ISBN-13: 978-1432975159

Northen Lights

Northern Lights (Heinemann First Library) by Nick Hunter covers some of the coolest phenomena we can see without a telescope: the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.  He explains what they are, what they look like, where they can be seen, and how they are caused. Readers also learn about the significance of solar storms, the Southern Lights, what people thought about auroras in the past, and how they are explored today. As with the others in this series, he concludes with a fun activity.

Reading level:  Grades 1-3
Publisher: Heinemann (August 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1432975161
ISBN-13: 978-1432975166

 

Picture Books

Mission to Mars by Mary Kay Carson

With interest in travel to Mars expanding, Carson makes a detailed comparison between Mars and the Earth while describing the history of Mars exploration, right up to the recent Mars rovers.

Age Range: 6 and up
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books (February 6, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1454923512
ISBN-13: 978-1454923510

Exoplanets by Seymour Simon

What are exoplanets? Exoplanets are planets found outside our solar system. The first confirmed exoplanet was discovered in 1992, but many, many are now known.

Seymour Simon talks about his inspiration for the book in this video:

Age Range: 6 – 10 years
Publisher: HarperCollins (March 27, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0062470574
ISBN-13: 978-0062470577

Saturn Could Sail (Did You Know?) by Laura Lyn DiSiena and Hannah Eliot, with illustrations by Pete Oswald and Aaron Spurgeon

Do you know what the title Saturn Could Sail refers to? It turns out Saturn is less dense than water and could float in it if one could find a container of water large enough. Given our experience has mostly been with our own rocky planet, which is much denser than water, the fact a something as huge as a planet could float is very surprising to think about.

This books is full of the kind of thought-provoking facts that a certain type of child is going to soak up like a sponge and then bring up every chance he or she gets, usually prefaced with the words, “Did you know…?”

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Little Simon (December 16, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1481414283
ISBN-13: 978-1481414289
meteorite-to-museum

How the Meteorite Got to the Museum by Jessie Hartland

In her usual lightly humorous style Hartland reveals how a piece of the Peekskill meteorite ended up on display at the American Museum of Natural History. This book is the third in a series in which Hartland uses a cumulative story technique borrowed from “The House that Jack Built.” Here she explains where the meteorite came from, who saw it, and what the owner of the car did when she discovered the damage, etc.

Reviewed at Wrapped in Foil

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Grade Level: 1 – 4
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Blue Apple Books (October 8, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1609052528
ISBN-13: 978-1609052522

Destined for Space: Our Story of Exploration (Smithsonian) by Don Nardo

Don Nardo is foremost a historian and he brings a historical perspective to the human exploration of space. Starting with the observations of the earliest humans, he gives a fast-paced overview of what we have learned and accomplished in our quest to figure out, “What’s out there?”

Ages: 7-11
Publisher: Capstone Press (January 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1429680245
ISBN-13: 978-1429680240

 

 Pluto’s Secret: An Icy World’s Tale of Discovery by Margaret Weitekamp and David DeVorkin, illustrated by Diane Kidd

With the the change in 2006 from having nine planets in the solar system to only eight, children may be wondering what happened to Pluto. Why isn’t it a planet any longer?  Pluto’s Secret: An Icy World’s Tale of Discovery by Margaret Weitekamp, with David DeVorkin, and illustrated by Diane Kidd uses a whimsical approach to explain the discovery of Pluto, its history and how scientific classifications change as we uncover more information about the world around us.

Reviewed at Growing with Science

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 4
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (March 12, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1419704230
ISBN-13: 978-1419704239

 

13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System by David A. Aguilar

Explains the most recent view (2011) of the planets in our solar system, with eight planets in the classical sense and five dwarf planets.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (March 8, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1426307705
ISBN-13: 978-1426307706

 

National Geographic Kids First Big Book of Space by Catherine D. Hughes and illustrated by David A. Aguilar

At 128 pages, this is a big book! Even though it exceeds the usual length, let’s keep it in the picture book section because of the fabulous illustrations and the reading age level.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (October 9, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1426310145
ISBN-13: 978-1426310140

 

Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2 has a whole series of titles about space and space exploration:

The International Space Station (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)
 by Franklyn M. Branley and illustrated by True Kelley

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins (September 19, 2000)
ISBN-10: 0064452093
ISBN-13: 978-0064452090

 

 

Mission to Mars (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)
by Franklyn M. Branley and illustrated by True Kelley

Explores the premise that someday people may visit, and even live on, Mars.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins (September 3, 2002)
ISBN-10: 0064452336
ISBN-13: 978-0064452335

 

Middle Grade

 

The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity (Scientists in the Field Series) by Elizabeth Rusch

As with other in the excellent Scientists in the Field series, The Mighty Mars Rovers focuses on the work of Steven Squyres, professor of astronomy at Cornell University and lead scientist on the mission.

Age Range: 10 and up
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (June 19, 2012)
ISBN-10: 054747881X
ISBN-13: 978-0547478814

 

Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet by Alexandra Siy

Follow the twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, as they explore Mars. Learn how scientists determined that there was once water on Mars and how the NASA team resolved problems with the rovers from afar in order to prolong the mission.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge; New edition (July 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1570914621
ISBN-13: 978-1570914621

 

Planet Hunter: Geoff Marcy and the Search for Other Earths
by Vicki Oransky Wittenstein

Have you ever wanted to visit the laboratory of a ground-breaking research scientist? Now you can, because Planet Hunter: Geoff Marcy and the Search for Other Earths by Vicki Oransky Wittenstein will allow you to feel like you are standing right next to Dr. Geoff Marcy in his quest to find extrasolar planets (planets that revolve around stars other than our sun).

Full review at Wrapped in Foil

Related activities at Growing with Science

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (March 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1590785924
ISBN-13: 978-1590785928

 

Is There Life on Other Planets?: And Other Questions About Space (Is That a Fact?)
by Gregory L. Vogt and illustrated by Colin W. Thompson

Another in the Is That a Fact? series, this one investigates some silly myths as well as serious, such as, “Is the moon made of green cheese? and “Do astronauts wear diapers?”

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Library Binding: 40 pages
Publisher: Lerner Publications (March 2010)
ISBN-10: 0822590824
ISBN-13: 978-0822590828

Spacecraft (Machines Close-Up) by Daniel Gilpin and illustrated by Alex Pang

Full color cut-away illustrations show the ins and outs of space vehicles past, present and future.

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Publisher: Benchmark Books; 1 edition (September 2010)
ISBN-10: 1608701123
ISBN-13: 978-1608701124

 

 

 

Fiction

 

You Are the First Kid on Mars by Patrick O’Brien

Illustrator/author O’Brien takes the reader on an imaginary trip to a colony on Mars in the future. Scientific details and photorealistic illustrations, as well as second person narration, draw the reader into the story. It is not 100% accurate, but is a 100% thrilling ride.

Age Range: 5 and up
Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (May 14, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399246347
ISBN-13: 978-0399246340

 

Related activity: Exploring Space Without a Spacesuit.

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