Math Books for Pi Day and Every Day

Kids tend to get excited for Pi Day, which is observed on March 14 (3/14) as a nod to the fact that pi is 3.14… What a great opportunity to pull out some math books for kids to share.

pi-day-books

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.

And now we have a list of children’s books by and about women mathematicians.

Pi Day Books

The classic Pi Day book is Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi (A Math Adventure) by Cindy Neuschwander and illustrated by Wayne Geehan.

This is the second of a very popular series that turns common math concepts into memorable stories. When Sir Cumference turns into a dragon, can his family and friends use math to save him?

Although it looks a bit like a picture book, this is actually written for middle grades.

You can listen to the book in this video:

 

See some of the other titles in the series in the middle grade section below.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (February 1, 1999)
ISBN-10: 1570911649
ISBN-13: 978-1570911644

Why Pi? (Big Questions) by Johnny Ball

Why Pi? is not just about pi, but is a general history of all things math. It covers how humans have used numbers and measured things from the past all the way to the present. Pages are bright colors, some contrasted with black like the cover. This is a follow-up book to the award-winning title, Go Figure, by the same author (see middle grade level below), which contains information about why all the world’s phone numbers appear in pi.

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: DK Children; Revised edition (January 19, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1465443878
ISBN-13: 978-1465443878

 

Piece of Pi: Wit-Sharpening, Brain-bruising, Number-Crunching Activities with Pi (Grades 6-8) by Naila Bokhari and illustrated by S. O’Shaughnessy

Not only does this book explain what pi is and how it came about, it also has some great hands-on activities to help students learn how to apply it.

Grades 6–8
Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: Prufrock Press (January 1, 2005)
ISBN-10: 1593631200
ISBN-13: 978-1593631208

 

Popular Books About Math and Mathematicians:

Beginning Readers/Counting Books

Goodnight, Numbers by Danica McKellar and illustrated by Alicia Padron is for children who are learning their numbers.

Danica McKellar is not just another celebrity using their fame to hawk children’s books. She is a serious mathematician whose goal is to get kids excited about math through books and videos. Her first books were for middle and high school aged kids. Now she’s writing for the youngest set.

You can see what she has to say in this book trailer:

Age Range: 2 – 5 years
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers (March 7, 2017)
ISBN-10: 110193378X
ISBN-13: 978-1101933787

Mice Mischief: Math Facts in Action by Caroline Stills walks young readers through all the ways 1 through 9 can add up to 10.

Age: 3-6
Hardcover: 24 pages
Publisher: Holiday House (January 14, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0823429474
ISBN-13: 978-0823429479

Edible Numbers by Jennifer Vogel Bass combines counting, colors, and yummy fruits and vegetables into one delightful adventure.

Age Range: 2 – 5 years
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (May 26, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1626720037
ISBN-13: 978-1626720039

 

Taking Away with Tigers (Animal Math) by Tracey Steffora helps young readers learn how to subtract.

Illustrated with photographs of live tigers in various poses, the concepts are made concrete enough to help the curious child master them. Want to take the lesson to the next level? Obtain some tiger figurines, toy tigers and/or plush tigers to use as manipulatives. Count and move the tigers guided by the text. Then have some fun by playing hide and seek. Take turns hiding the figurines and then “hunting” for them like real tigers.

Full review at Wrapped in Foil

Age Range: 4 – 6 years
Publisher: Heinemann (July 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1432975706
ISBN-13: 978-1432975708

 

Picture Books/Early Elementary

Infinity and Me by Kate Hosford and illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska

Infinity and Me is an amazing nonfiction picture book that brings a difficult abstract concept into focus for young children. Hosford doesn’t tell the reader the definitive answer of what infinity is, but instead gently shows how each person can search for his or her own answer. Where they take it from there is, well, potentially infinite.

Reviewed at Wrapped in Foil.

Curriculum Guide available in pdf

Age Range: 5 – 10 years
Publisher: Carolrhoda Picture Books (August 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0761367268
ISBN-13: 978-0761367260

Equal Shmequal by Virginia Kroll

Mouse and her animal friends explore the concept of what it means to be equal.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (July 1, 2005)
ISBN-10: 1570918910
ISBN-13: 978-1570918919

 

Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late (Bedtime Math Series) by Laura Overdeck and illustrated by Jim Paillot

 

This is the first book in an innovative and fun series in which Laura Overdeck suggests number riddles and challenges that can easily be “added” to the bedtime routine. Over 100 riddles, each with three different levels for families with several children. Check the Fun Nightly Math section of the Daily Math website to see examples of the leveled challenges, including some for pi day.

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (June 25, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1250035856
ISBN-13: 978-1250035851

 

 

Bedtime Math: This Time It’s Personal (Bedtime Math Series) by Laura Overdeck and illustrated by Jim Paillot

In this second book from the Bedtime Math series, Overdeck shows children how to use math to investigate how their bodies work, personal habits, etc.

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Series: Bedtime Math Series
Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (March 11, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1250040965
ISBN-13: 978-1250040961

 

Bedtime Math: The Truth Comes Out (Bedtime Math Series) by Laura Overdeck and illustrated by Jim Paillot

In the third book in the series, Overdeck has assembled math challenges relating to the wild questions that children love to investigate. Example: how many eyelids does a camel have? See more at the Bedtime Math website.

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Series: Bedtime Math Series
Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (March 3, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1250047757
ISBN-13: 978-1250047755

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Heiligman’s book explores the life of a boy who thinks about math all day.

Messages I love from this book:

  • Math can be exciting and interesting
  • It is okay to be different from everyone else

The Boy Who Loved Math is as special, lovable, and one-of-a-kind as its subject. “Added plus”: the illustrator has incorporated a great deal of math in the illustrations.

Age Range: 3 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 2
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (June 25, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1596433078
ISBN-13: 978-1596433076

 

Lemonade for Sale (MathStart 3) by Stuart J. Murphy and illustrated by Tricia Tusa

Love using reading to explain math? Using a story of four children and a parrot running a lemonade stand to set the stage, this book shows children how to understand bar graphs.

Be sure to look for other titles in the MathStart series by Stuart J. Murphy that explain many different early math concepts.

Age Range: 6 – 10 years
Grade Level: 2 and up
Publisher: HarperCollins; MathStart 3 edition (December 18, 1997)
ISBN-10: 0064467155
ISBN-13: 978-0064467155

 

Math Curse by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith

This is wildly popular introduction to math by the genius pair of Scieszka and Smith. Although it is included in the picture book category, it may also be appropriate for older kids.

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers; Library Binding edition (October 1, 1995)
ISBN-10: 0670861944
ISBN-13: 978-0670861941

How Much Is a Million? 20th Anniversary Edition (Reading Rainbow Books) by David M. Schwartz and illustrated by Steven Kellogg

Some adults may question whether young children are interested in big numbers, but often they are. This book makes big numbers understandable and relatible.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; Reissue edition (December 28, 2004)
ISBN-10: 0688099335
ISBN-13: 978-0688099336

 

“Quirky Math”

 

What do I mean by quirky math? These are unique books that introduce math concepts in ways that don’t always align with school standards and aren’t easy to assign age categories. Because of that, they may not be a good fit for everyone. On the other hand, for the right reader, they can open doors to a whole new way of thinking about the world.

 

Anno’s Math Games by Mitsumasa Anno

The brilliance of Anno’s books can be really hard to explain, but I will try. They are use imaginative, creative, and unusual illustrations and stories to encourage children to explore math concepts ranging from basic to highly advanced. These are books that children will want to return to again and again as their understanding increases.

Age Range: 5 and up
Hardcover: 104 pages
Publisher: Philomel; 1st edition (September 21, 1987)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399211519
ISBN-13: 978-0399211515

Anno’s Math Games 2 by Mitsumasa Anno

In the first section of this book, Anno introduces concepts children will use in algebra with a “magic machine.” The characters put things into the machine and they change when they come out. For example, a chicken becomes a chick. The children are challenged to figure out what is happening in various scenarios and to make up their own examples.

Hardcover: 103 pages
Publisher: Philomel (September 6, 1989)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399216154
ISBN-13: 978-0399216152

Anno’s Math Games III by Mitsumasa Anno

Exploring the most advanced concepts yet, Anno takes on topology, mazes, and Euclidean geometry. It is literally about thinking outside the box.

Hardcover: 103 pages
Publisher: Philomel (March 28, 1991)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 039922274X
ISBN-13: 978-0399222740

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and math. This is Not Another Math Book by Anna Weltman and ilustrated by‎ Charlotte Milner is a perfect choice for older kids who want to explore art as a way to understand math.

Author Anna Weltman has created an imaginative series of hands-on projects that include exploring symmetry by drawing kaleidoscopic patterns, growing a forest of fractal trees, and assembling five-square pentomino shapes into pictures.

Ages: 9+
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Kane Miller Books / EDC Publishing; First American edition (2018)
ISBN-10: 1610675975
ISBN-13: 978-1610675970

 

Life of Fred: Apples, Elementary Math Book, Math As Serious As It Needs to Be (Life of Fred, Volume 1) (Life of Fred, Volume 1) by Stanley F. Schmidt, Ph.D.

Life a Fred is a series of math books ranging from elementary to high school levels. Some people absolutely love their quirky uniqueness, and others find it off-putting. I have to say that underlying the stories (and frankly somewhat odd illustrations) is carefully-thought-out math presented in such a way to make it understandable and memorable.

See the Life of Fred website and check this .pdf sample to get an better idea of what it is like.

 

Middle Grade

Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell and photographs by Richard P. Campbell

This gorgeous book is at the interface between picture book and middle grade level. It starts simply, with common shapes found in the environment, giving the impression of a picture book for youngsters. Step-by-step the shapes become more complex, until we are seeing the repeating patterns called fractals, revealing exciting concepts for older students. Then readers are taken through examples of fractals that range in scale from Queen Anne’s lace flowers to mountain ranges. Amazing!

In the back is an activity to make a type of fractal called a Sierpinski triangle, perfect to reinforce learning. The afterword by Michael Frame summarizes the life of Benoit Mandelbrot, who named fractals, as well as proposing some practical and potential uses for fractals.

Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature is a great introduction to complex patterns and is sure to inspire students, particularly reluctant ones, to investigate math in greater depth.

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press; SEW edition (April 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1620916274
ISBN-13: 978-1620916278

The expert team of Hilary Koll and Steve Mills have developed a unique series of math books illustrated by Vladimir Aleksic. Each feature gritty, real world applications of math with problems to solve embedded within the story. The challenges vary in difficulty and math skills needed.

In Solve a Crime (You Do the Math) Alex, an undercover police detective, shows how math can help catch a criminal. For example, on one page the reader is asked to use co-ordinates to map the evidence and then look on a grid to calculate the distance between certain items. These problems will require a pencil and piece of paper to do the work.

The graphic-style illustrations are bold and serious, adding to the true-to-life feel.

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Publisher: QEB Publishing (April 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 160992732X
ISBN-13: 978-1609927325

Fly a Jet Fighter (You Do the Math) follows pilot Katie as she handles data, interprets tables, and reads dials and scales. The goal is to create a squadron of jet fighter aces and complete the mission.

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Publisher: QEB Publishing (April 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1609927311
ISBN-13: 978-1609927318

Launch a Rocket into Space (You Do the Math) follows each stage of the space mission to make sure the rocket blasts clear of the atmosphere and returns safely. It features astronaut Michael who helps the reader compete the math exercises and learn about everything from fractions to timelines. A few problems will require a protractor to measure angles.

Each of the books has a glossary and the answers for all the questions are in the back matter.

Although recommended for ages 6-8, these books could also be useful for older children who are struggling with math concepts or don’t quite see how the math they are learning might be useful.

The entire You Do the Math series would be perfect for homeschoolers and after school math clubs because it can be entirely child-directed reading.

Sir Cumference and the First Round Table (A Math Adventure) by Cindy Neuschwander and Wayne Geehan

In this first of the series, we are introduced to the main characters (and some hilarious puns.) Sir Cumference, his wife Lady Di of Ameter, their son Radius, and the carpenter, Geo of Metry, help King Arthur deal with a neighbor who is threatening war by finding the perfect table. Again, although this may look like a picture book, it is meant for middle grades.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge; First Paperback Edition edition (July 1, 1997)
ISBN-10: 1570911525
ISBN-13: 978-1570911521

Here’s the newest title in the series:

Sir Cumference and the Fracton Faire (A Math Adventures) by Cindy Neuschwander and illustrated by Wayne Geehan

Even though the title says “Fracton,” it’s a sneaky tale to learn about fractions. This one would be best for grades 2 -5.

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (March 7, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1570917728
ISBN-13: 978-1570917721

 

Go Figure!: A Totally Cool Book About Numbers (Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards)) by Johnny Ball (Author)

An award-winning title packed with math history and concepts, as well as math puzzles, tricks and challenges sure to get kids using math.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: DK (August 15, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0756613744
ISBN-13: 978-0756613747

 

 

Mathemagic!: Number Tricks by Lynda Colgan and illustrated by Jane Kurisu

Mathemagic shows kids how to entertain their friends with number tricks and then explains the math behind the magic. Certain children of the target age are likely to really enjoy activities like “mind reading” and “calculator magic.”

Educators will also want to put this book into their trick toolbox. It will appeal to the math whizzes who play math games anyway, but it might also be useful to those who are struggling math because it makes many aspects of math more concrete, allows children to see math computations from a new angle, lets them see math in everyday life, and may help motivate them to practice the skills that they need for standardized tests.

Full review at Wrapped in Foil

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Publisher: Kids Can Press, Ltd. (March 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1554534259
ISBN-13: 978-1554534258

 

Math Talk: Mathematical Ideas in Poems for Two Voices by Theoni Pappas

Each subject has its own vocabulary to be mastered. This small book introduces children to math via well-written poetry. Particularly useful for those looking for novel ways to introduce math topics.

Age Range: 7 and up
Publisher: Wide World Publishing, Tetra (January 25, 1993)
ISBN-10: 0933174748
ISBN-13: 978-0933174740

 

Theoni Pappas also offers a yearly mathematical calendar with math problems to solve for every day.

The Mathematics Calendar 2018

High School

Looking for a way to keep teenagers engaged in STEM? Chaos Theory Uncovered: How chaos and fractals shape our world by E L Strauss might be just the ticket. It reveals how math can be used to help us understand and make predictions about large, complex events in a beautiful way.

When you first open the book the computer-generated illustrations might just give you chills, particularly the swirling brightly-colored lines against a black background that are visual representations of chaos. The images of fractals are stunning as well, particularly the Mandelbrot set. Magic happens when art meets math.

The best part about the book is it is not watered down for kids. To get the most out of it, the reader should probably have a working understanding of at least algebra, and an inkling of beginning calculus would be helpful.

Chaos Theory Uncovered: How Chaos and Fractals Shape Our World is sure to help young adults and adults to understand complex math. It might also help some to discover an astonishing new passion.

 

Mathematics: The Science of Patterns: The Search for Order in Life, Mind and the Universe (Scientific American Paperback Library) by Keith Devlin

Meant to appeal as a popular math book, Keith Devlin’s text reveals that math is about much more than numbers. Many people rave about the illustrations as well as the text.

Series: Scientific American Paperback Library
Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: Scientific American Library; 1st edition (1997)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0716760223
ISBN-13: 978-0716760221

Elementary Algebra by Harold R. Jacobs

Excellent title for homeschooling or self-study, the explanations by Jacobs are especially easy to follow and helpful. Although this title is out of print, it is well worth trying to dig up a copy if you are interested in learning algebra.

Hardcover: 876 pages
Publisher: W. H. Freeman (1979)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0716710471
ISBN-13: 978-0716710479

 

Hot X: Algebra Exposed! by Danica McKellar

Don’t let the suggestive title fool you, this is a serious guide to algebra and more. It’s also a hip call for young people to work hard, particularly at math, in order to attain their dreams. McKellar wants her readers to feel smart and confident, and develop the skills to be successful. It is a very positive message repeated throughout the book.

Although clearly written as a resource to supplement a math course, the tips and exercises could be a useful for instructors or for tutors looking for yet another way to get a point across. There are are additional solutions to problems on McKellar’s Hot X website.

The bottom line is that Hot X is much more than just a pretty face and a clever title. If you are studying or teaching algebra, you should take a look at it.

Hardcover: 876 pages
Publisher: W. H. Freeman (1979)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0716710471
ISBN-13: 978-0716710479

Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape by Danica McKellar

Once again, the cover may give a suggestive message, but it is only designed to get reluctant mathematicians to look inside. There they’ll find ways to master the core concepts of high school geometry, including congruent triangles, quadrilaterals, circles, proofs, theorems, etc.

Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Plume; 6.2.2013 edition (July 2, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0452298741
ISBN-13: 978-0452298743

 

Desert Books for Kids

Desert habitats are unique and fascinating. Time to find out more through some great books.

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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.

_________________________

 

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Get to Know Gila Monsters (Get To Know Reptiles) by Flora Brett

In this book Brett has done a good job of finding facts that will be interesting to children, such as how big are Gila monsters, what do they eat, what is their life cycle, and whether or not Gila monsters are venomous. She also separates the facts (Gila monsters are venomous) from the myths (their bite is not fatal to humans).

The book is illustrated with color photographs. Just a note, there is one photograph of a Gila monster eating a deer mouse that might be too graphic for sensitive youngsters.

Get to Know Gila Monsters is a perfect introduction to a desert creature is unfamiliar to many people. This is a must have for units on deserts and would also be useful for lessons about life cycles.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Capstone Press (January 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1491422459
ISBN-13: 978-1491422458

 

 

A Day and Night in the Desert (Caroline Arnold’s Habitats) by Caroline Arnold

As the words “day” and “night” suggest, this story reveals which Sonoran desert creatures are active through a 24-hour cycle from 6:00 a.m. one morning until 6:00 a.m. the following day. With the distinctive cut-paper collage illustrations and narrative style, Arnold has created a nonfiction book that will appeal to young readers who prefer fiction.

A Day and Night in the Desert is a wonderful book to introduce the concept of time (for youngest readers), the terms diurnal and nocturnal, and also how different desert animals respond to desert habitats.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Picture Window Books (February 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1479560847
ISBN-13: 978-1479560844

 

 

Cactus Hotel (An Owlet Book) by Brenda Z. Guiberson and illustrated by Megan Lloyd

This classic picture book follows all the desert creatures that use the giant saguaro cactus as a home.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Square Fish; 1 edition (October 15, 1993)
ISBN-10: 0805029605
ISBN-13: 978-0805029604

 

Deserts by Gail Gibbons

Gail Gibbons is really the queen of picture book nonfiction. Her books are always impeccably researched. She also creates the illustrations.

Age Range: 6 and up
Publisher: Holiday House (October 1, 1999)
ISBN-10: 0823415198
ISBN-13: 978-0823415199

 

 

Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry?: All About Deserts (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library) by Tish Rabe and illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu

The Cat in the Hat books bring rhyming text to serious science nonfiction. Learn about desert animals from around the world, as well as desert phenomenon such as mirages. Highly recommended.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (January 11, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0375858687
ISBN-13: 978-0375858680

 

 

Desert Giant: The World of the Saguaro Cactus (Tree Tales)
by Barbara Bash

Age Range: 6 – 10 years
Publisher: Sierra Club Books for Children (September 6, 2002)
ISBN-10: 1578050855
ISBN-13: 978-1578050857

 

Southwestern author Conrad Storad has written quite a few books about the plants and animals of the Sonoran desert. Here are just two examples:

Saguaro Cactus (Early Bird Nature) by Conrad J. Storad and photographs by Paula Jansen

Age Range: 7 and up
Publisher: Lerner Publications (September 1994)
ISBN-10: 0822530023
ISBN-13: 978-0822530022

Lizards for Lunch: A Roadrunner’s Tale by Conrad J. Storad and illustrated by Beth Neely and Don Rantz

Age Range: 4 and up
Grade Level: Preschool and up
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Sunbelt Publications (March 1, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1891795007
ISBN-13: 978-1891795008

 

 

Cactus Desert (One Small Square) by Donald Silver and Patricia Wynne

Another older title that is well worth getting your hands on. What I like about this book is that it includes all the living creatures of the desert, including fungi, protists and plants. Cactus Desert has excellent suggestions for hands-on activities. Although it says 6 and up and it looks a bit like a picture book, I would say the density of text and level of vocabulary would make it perfect for middle grades.

Age Range: 6 and up
Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (September 22, 1997)
ISBN-10: 0070579342
ISBN-13: 978-0070579347

Desert Discoveries by Ginger Wadsworth

This title focuses on the animals found in deserts. The illustrations have hide-and-seek questions to encourage children to observe closely, as well as analog clock images to helps children learn how to tell time using hands. The first page says, “…animals, birds, and insects.” Of course, this is an error because birds and insects are also considered animals (members of the animal kingdom).

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (February 1, 1997)
ISBN-10: 0881068179
ISBN-13: 978-0881068177

Deserts: An Activity Guide for Ages 6 to 9 by Nancy F. Castaldo

One of the few books to cover deserts found throughout the world, this book also contains hands-on activities such as making a didgeridoo (to celebrate Australian deserts) and growing your own date palm. Fun!

Popular Chemistry Books for Young Adults

Most of us learn about chemistry from a textbook, but that doesn’t have to be the only way. There are a number of popular science books about chemistry. Many are written for adults, but may be appropriate for young adults as well. If you have any question as to how appropriate a given title might be for your child(ren), be sure to read it yourself first.

popular chemistry books for young adults

Rust: The Longest War by Jonathan Waldman

Breaking into a topic that has gotten very little attention, Jonathan Waldman explores how rust quietly changes our lives.

Like rusty metal, the book is somewhat tarnished by uneven text, although with some skimming it is possible to find bits that will be interesting to young chemists. For example, the story of the Statue of Liberty shows how very little we know about the chemistry of corrosion and is tightly constructed. On the other hand, the author goes on a walkabout by over-describing a visit with rust photographer, Alyssha Eve Csük (that is not to say that Csük’s abstract photographs are flawed, because they are very beautiful and intriguing. They are simply better seen than described.)  Rust also lacks a bibliography and an index, making it less useful as a research tool. Too bad, because with a bit of polish, this could have been an excellent book and those who are deeply interested in chemistry, history, and human culture will find it worthwhile.

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1St Edition edition (March 10, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1451691599
ISBN-13: 978-1451691597

 

Your Atomic Self: The Invisible Elements That Connect You to Everything Else in the Universe by Curt Stager

Although all matter in the universe is made up of atoms, Dr. Stager has chosen to use the human body as his point of reference, which provides general readers with both a way to relate to the information and a sense of scale.

Rather than an in-depth exploration of human biology, however, it is more like a wandering walk using our basic knowledge of ourselves as a trail marker for exploring the world of elements. The “walk” covers topics from why the sky is blue to how the nitrogen atoms from salmon end up in spruce trees in the Pacific Northwest. The text is roughly organized by sections on the most common elements:  carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, etc.

(Note:  The book does contain references to what happens to bodies after death, which may not be appropriate for some younger teens.)

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (October 14, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1250018846
ISBN-13: 978-1250018847

 

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean

This title is also about elements, but is covers the groups in the periodic table as units. How was an element discovered and who discovered it? Why is it useful and what properties does it have? Interesting tidbits, such as the use of gallium by practical jokers to create “disappearing spoons,” keeps the reader engaged and enthralled.

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (June 6, 2011)
ISBN-10: 9780316051637
ISBN-13: 978-0316051637
ASIN: 0316051632

Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc by Hugh Aldersey-Williams

As suggested by the title, this book is not so much scientific as a cultural history of how we humans have discovered and use the chemical elements.

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (February 28, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061824739
ISBN-13: 978-0061824739

The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray, with photographs by Nick Mann

Really a photographic wonder, this book is a series of two-page spreads for each of the first 100 elements. The author has found concrete examples of every element in its pure form, giving the reader a visual understanding of their properties. It is intriguing, unique and entirely appropriate for children.

To get an idea what the book and cards below are like, Theodore Gray has his periodic table of element photographs at http://periodictable.com. To look at each element, click on the photograph.

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers; Reprint edition (April 3, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1579128955
ISBN-13: 978-1579128951

The Photographic Card Deck of The Elements: With Big Beautiful Photographs of All 118 Elements in the Periodic Table
by Theodore Gray

 

Same author and photographer as the above book, but in a card format.

Cards: 126 pages
Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers; Crds edition (October 27, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603761985
ISBN-13: 978-1603761987

Napoleon’s Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson

This title probably contains the most “adult” themes of any in this list, but it also differs from the others because it concentrates on molecules rather than elements.The 17 molecules were chosen for their historical importance.

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Jeremy P Tarcher; Reprint edition (May 24, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1585423319
ISBN-13: 978-1585423316

 

The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry by Larry Gonick and Craig Criddle

 

Cartoon guides like this one are a great way for visual learners to grasp complicated material. Might also draw in older reluctant readers who are intimidated by textbooks.

Series: Cartoon Guide To…
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Collins Reference; 1 edition (May 3, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060936770
ISBN-13: 978-0060936778

Nature’s Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements by John Emsley

The serious chemistry student may enjoy reading this book from cover to cover, but it also serves as an excellent handy reference to the elements.

Paperback: 720 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press; New Rev Up edition (October 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0199605637
ISBN-13: 978-0199605637

 

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any suggestions for this list.

 

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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.

Popular Chemistry Books for Kids

Most of us learn about chemistry in high school and usually from a textbook, but that doesn’t have to be the only way. Children will enjoy learning about chemistry from these popular books.

popular-chemistry-books-for-kids

 

Beginning Readers

 

What Are Atoms? (Rookie Read-About Science) by Lisa Trumbauer

With short sentences and controlled vocabulary, this is an introduction to atoms for the youngest reader.

Age Range: 6 and up
Publisher: Childrens Pr (March 2005)
ISBN-10: 0516246658
ISBN-13: 978-0516246659

What Is Density? (Rookie Read-About Science) by Joanne Barkan

What does a baseball and a birthday party balloon have in common? Although they are the same because they are both made of matter and take up space, young readers will also find out that they don’t have the same density.

Age Range: 6 and up
Publisher: Children’s Press(CT) (September 1, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0516246607
ISBN-13: 978-0516246604

 

 

All about Matter (Science Builders) by Mari Schuh

With only 151 words, this beginning reader book still manages define matter and explore the three states of matter:  solids, liquids, and gases. As you can see from the cover, it is illustrated with big, colorful photographs.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Pebble Plus (August 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 142967105X
ISBN-13: 978-1429671057

 

Elementary/Picture Books

 

What Is the World Made Of? All About Solids, Liquids, and Gases (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2) by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld and Paul Meisel

In a gently humorous way, this book introduces children to the idea the world is made of matter and that matter occurs in three states:  solid, liquid, or gas. You can never go wrong with any of the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series books.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Series: Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2 (Book 1)
Publisher: HarperCollins (August 8, 1998)
ISBN-10: 0064451631
ISBN-13: 978-0064451635


The Solid Truth about Matter (LOL Physical Science) by Mark Weakland and illustrated by Bernice Lum

Humor is also the target of the books in the LOL Physical Science series, but that doesn’t mean the science is not serious. For example, you can find out all about more advanced concepts such as friction and viscosity on page 16 in the book.

Age Range: 8 – 10 years
Grade Level: 3 – 4
Publisher: Fact Finders (August 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1429693029
ISBN-13: 978-1429693028

Molecule Mayhem Pop-Up Chemistry Chaos by Tom Adams and illustrated by Thomas Flintham.

The winner of the 2013 ALCS Educational Writers’ Award, this title from the UK combines the interactivity of pop-ups, pull tabs and booklets with the answers to some chemistry mysteries (“Why do onions make us cry?”) and suggestions for hands-on activities.

Age: 7+
Hardcover: 18 pages
Publisher: Templar (August 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1848772920
ISBN-13: 978-1848772922

 

Solids, Liquids and Gases (Starting with Science) by Ontario Science Centre, illustrated by Ray Boudreau

Tested at the Ontario Science Centre, these 13 experiments exploring solids, liquids, and gases are sure to be hits with younger scientists. Illustrated throughout with bright, lively photographs.

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Publisher: Kids Can Press (August 12, 1995)
ISBN-10: 1550744011
ISBN-13: 978-1550744019

make-it-change-book

Make It Change! (Whiz Kid Science) by Anna Claybourne, and illustrated by Kimberly Scott and Venetia Dean introduces some easy-to-do hands-on chemistry activities that are sure to intrigue and inspire kids. Are these unique, groundbreaking experiments? No, you can probably find instructions for the twelve experiments that are included throughout the Internet. The difference is the instructions are clear, there are suggestions for troubleshooting, the science behind the experiment is revealed in a concise and accurate way, and suggestions for extending the activities are included.

Grade Level: 2 – 4
Publisher: Raintree (July 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1410967468
ISBN-13: 978-1410967466

 

Middle Grade

Your Guide to the Periodic Table by Gill Arbuthnott and illustrated by Marc Mones

After a brief introduction to the periodic table, Arbuthnott delves into over 70 of the 92 elements.Common elements warrant a two page spread, whereas less common are covered in a page or less. Lively illustrations and photographs add interest. It is a good first introduction/overview.

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Publisher: Crabtree Publishing Company (April 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0778722538
ISBN-13: 978-0778722533

 

Fizz, Bubble & Flash!: Element Explorations & Atom Adventures for Hands-On Science Fun! (Williamson Kids Can! Series) by Anita Brandolini and illustrated by Michael Kline

Don’t be fooled by the cover, this book really is written for older kids. Organized by chemical families, it introduces the everyday elements, such as boron, bismuth, and calcium and gives instructions for hands-on activities to explore them. There is some serious science hiding behind the less-than-serious cartoon illustrations.

Age Range: 9 and up
Series: Williamson Kids Can! Series
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Williamson Pub; First Edition edition (May 2003)
ISBN-10: 188559383X
ISBN-13: 978-1885593832

Cool Chemistry Concoctions: 50 Formulas that Fizz, Foam, Splatter & Ooze
by Joe Rhatigan and Veronika Gunter, with illustrations by Tom La Baff

This book gives the instructions for 50 experiments kids can do with materials generally found around the house. In addition to explaining “What You Do,” each experiment is accompanied by a “Why It Works” section explaining the science behind it. Most of the experiments are classics, but there are a few fresh ones.

Age Range: 8 and up
Paperback: 80 pages
Publisher: Lark Books (March 1, 2007)
ISBN-10: 1579908829
ISBN-13: 978-1579908829

How to Make a Universe with 92 Ingredients: An Electrifying Guide to the Elements by Adrian Dingle

Once readers have a good idea that everything is made up of the same 92 elements, they can flip through and find the elements that intrigue them the most. Wacky illustrations and blasts of humor make it easy to read.

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Publisher: Owlkids Books (October 15, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1771470089
ISBN-13: 978-1771470087

 

 

Why Is Milk White?: & 200 Other Curious Chemistry Questions by Alexa Coelho and Simon Quellen Field

In this interesting project, 11-year-old Alexa Coelho came up with the questions and science writer Simon Field answered them. Readers can skip to questions that interest them, which is an added plus for reluctant readers. Those fascinated by chemistry, however, won’t be able to put it down.

Age Range: 9 and up
Grade Level: 4 and up
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Chicago Review Press; 1 edition (January 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1613744528
ISBN-13: 978-1613744529

 

Chemical Chaos (Horrible Science) by Nick Arnold and illustrated by Tony De Saulles

The books of the Horrible Science series try to be gross and irreverent, but many, like this one, turn out to be much more educational than crass. Chemical Chaos has history, facts and hands-on activity suggestions all rolled into one. The cartoon illustrations and sidebars are great for visual learners. Members of our family read it again and again.

Age Range: 10 and up
Publisher: Scholastic (September 1998)
ISBN-10: 0590108859
ISBN-13: 978-0590108850

Chemical Chaos (Horrible Science) is also available in Kindle format.

Chemistry (Experimenting With Science) by Antonella Meiani

The layout of the text is clean and serious, with specific instructions for experiments and clear explanations of what is happening. Could be used with a range of ages.

Age Range: 9 and up
Publisher: Lerner Pub Group (L) (September 2002)
ISBN-10: 0822500876
ISBN-13: 978-0822500872

 

Science Fair Projects: Chemistry by Bob Bonnet and Dan Keen, illustrated by Frances Zweifel

Starting with instructions for 47 interesting hands-on experiments and activities, the reader is then invited to expand them into science fair projects. Best for the beginner who needs to learn the scientific method. Although the cover has a gorgeous full-color photograph, the illustrations inside are black and white drawings.


Age Range: 9 and up
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Sterling (June 30, 2001)
ISBN-10: 080697799X
ISBN-13: 978-0806977997

 

 


Basher Science: Chemistry: Getting a Big Reaction by Simon Basher and Dan Green

Do you know a child who is interested in science but finds the traditional nonfiction books a bit too tame and lame? Looking for something a little edgy with a bite of humor (“You have to keep your ‘Ion’ this bunch…”)? Then you might want to take a look at the Basher series science books. Each concept is illustrated in Basher’s unique style.

Full review at Wrapped in Foil

Age Range: 10 – 15 years
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Kingfisher; Pap/Pstr edition (July 6, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0753464136
ISBN-13: 978-0753464137

 

 

The Periodic Table: Elements with Style! by Simon Basher and Adrian Dingle

Once again, Basher’s humor and first person narratives are not for everyone, but just might be the ticket for a reluctant reader.

Age Range: 10 – 15 years
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Kingfisher; Pap/Pstr edition (May 23, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0753460858
ISBN-13: 978-0753460856

 

 

Do you have any favorite chemistry books? We’d love to hear about them!

 

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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.

Plant Science Books for Children

Below is a list of children’s books that focus on plants and gardening, organized by reading level and genre. They were chosen to support and inspire plant science projects. Be sure to visit our earlier list of children’s books about seeds, as well.

Do you have any favorite plant science books for kids? We’d love to hear your suggestions.

 

Note: Linked titles go to Amazon for further information and reviews. Just so you know, I am an affiliate with Amazon. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the 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

Plants: Real Size Science by Rebecca Rissman

Don’t let the short sentences fool you, this informational book is full of vocabulary and concepts, such as what are roots, stems and flowers. Be sure to read the notes for parents and educators in the back to get the most from the book.

Age Range: 4 – 6 years
Publisher: Acorn (July 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 143297887X
ISBN-13: 978-1432978877

Picture Books

New Books:
Plants Can’t Sit Still by Rebecca E. Hirsch and illustrated by Mia Posada

Although they can’t run around like some animals can, plants can move quite a bit. Sunflowers follow the sun, tendrils can creep around, and seeds can shoot away. A deeper look into the life of plants.

Isn’t the cover beautiful?

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Millbrook Press (September 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1467780316
ISBN-13: 978-1467780315

 

flowers

Flowers (Plant Parts) by Melanie Waldron is the perfect introduction to flowers in the garden. This informational book covers what a flower is, the parts of a flower, how flowers make seeds, and become fruit, etc. It also discusses how flowers attract insect pollinators. Two hands-on activities are included with clear and well-organized instructions to help reinforce learning.

Age Range: 7 – 9 years
Grade Level: 2 – 4
Series: Plant Parts
Publisher: Raintree Perspectives (January 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1410954269
ISBN-13: 978-1410954268

seeds-and-fruit

Seeds and Fruits (Plant Parts) is also by Melanie Waldron and is part of the same series as Flowers. It covers variation in seeds and fruits, what seeds and fruit are for, the parts of a flowering plant, how seeds are made, what’s inside a seed, what seeds need to germinate, different types of fruit, methods plants use to disperse seeds, and how humans interact with seeds and fruits. This book contains an activity of finding seeds in fruit and an experiment to investigate germination of bean seeds under different conditions.

These books in the Plant Parts series would work well with a school garden as well as in the classroom for a unit on plants.

Age Range: 7 – 9 years
Grade Level: 2 – 4
Series: Plant Parts
Publisher: Raintree Perspectives (January 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1406274801
ISBN-13: 978-1406274806

 

weeds-find-a-way

Vegetables aren’t the only plants we can study. Weeds Find a Way by Cindy Jenson-Elliott and illustrated by Carolyn Fisher introduces young readers to the wonders of the natural world by exploring these often ignored, deplored plants. Jenson-Elliott’s text conjures up lighthearted word pictures. For example, can’t you imagine seeds coming out of pods “…like confetti from a popped balloon?”  The back matter, however, includes a serious discussion of weeds, why they are interesting and important, and a list and descriptions of some common weeds.Pick up a copy and you will find out, as the author says, “Weeds are amazing!” (Review with activity suggestions at Growing with Science).

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Publisher: Beach Lane Books (February 4, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1442412607
ISBN-13: 978-1442412606

plant-a-pocket-prairie

Plant a Pocket of Prairie by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Betsy Bowen is a perfect introduction because it encourages planting of locally-adapted plants in pocket wildlife gardens. The book may focus on the prairies of Minnesota, but it carries a message about preserving habitats that is important anywhere in the world. Get the full scoop at Growing with Science.

Ages 5-10
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press (April 15, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0816679800
ISBN-13: 978-0816679805

 

Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld and illustrated by Priscilla Lamont

This creative picture book walks the line between fiction and nonfiction. Although Alice is the narrator, leading the way to her discoveries in her family’s garden, two chickens provide the science concepts in informative sidebars.

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; First Printing edition (February 28, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0517709902
ISBN-13: 978-0517709900

 

Older favorites:

a-seed-is-sleepy

A Seed Is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long

This is an absolutely gorgeous and well-researched book. Highly recommended!

Age Range: 5 – 10 years
Publisher: Chronicle Books; First Edition edition (March 1, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0811855201
ISBN-13: 978-0811855204

 

 

pumpkin-circle

Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson, Shmuel Thaler (Photographer)

When I lent this one to someone and never got it back, I knew I had to go out and buy another copy. This book is really one of a kind. The photographs are exceptional, although they do have a flower fly identified as a honey bee, which is a common mistake. The website has good information, too.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Tricycle Press (August 7, 2002)
ISBN-10: 1582460787
ISBN-13: 978-1582460789

 

 

planting-a-rainbow

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

You can see what it is about in this video.

 

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (February 28, 1992)
ISBN-10: 0152626107
ISBN-13: 978-0152626105

 

Middle Grade

Linnea’s Windowsill Garden (Linnea books) by Cristina Bjork, illustrated by Lena Anderson, and translated by Joan Sandin

For fans of Linnea’s Garden (see fiction section below), this gardening how-to is a useful introduction to indoor gardening. It is written in a cozy, journal style.

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Grade Level: 4 – 7
Publisher: R & S Books (October 1, 1988)
ISBN-10: 9129590647
ISBN-13: 978-9129590647

 

Related Fiction

 

Picture Books

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small

Lydia Grace Finch isn’t used to living in the city, let alone with her dour uncle. Can she work miracles with a small suitcase full of seeds?

Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: Square Fish; Reissue edition (May 1, 2007)
ISBN-10: 031236749X
ISBN-13: 978-0312367497

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

This classic picture book reveals how planting flowers can make a difference.

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (November 6, 1985)
ISBN-10: 0140505393
ISBN-13: 978-0140505399

 

Middle Grade

Our School Garden! by Rick Swann and illustrated by Christy Hale

Discovering the joys of the school garden helps lonely Michael make friends.

Winner, 2013 Growing Good Kids Book Award, Junior Master Gardener & American Horticultural Society

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Readers to Eaters (March 6, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0983661502
ISBN-13: 978-0983661504

 

Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Cristina Bjork, Lena Anderson (Illustrator), Joan Sandin (Translator)

If you are interested in art, artists, Monet, nature, gardening or traveling to Paris, this is the book for you. Definitely inspires me to want to grow a “Monet Garden” of my own. Beautiful, sweet, and informative, I keep our copy with the art books, but it wants to be with the nature and gardening books, too.

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Publisher: R & S Books; 1st American ed edition (October 1, 1987)
ISBN-10: 9129583144
ISBN-13: 978-9129583144

Grow: A Novel in Verse by Juanita Havill and illustrated by Stansislawa Kodman

Twelve-year-old Kate helps Berneetha turn a vacant lot into a community garden, gathering help and friends along the way. Can they protect the garden when the lot owner decides to build on it?

Age Range: 9 and up
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (April 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 156145575X
ISBN-13: 978-1561455751

 

Related Resources:

Compost and Decomposition Books

 

childrens-books-about-seeds List of Children’s books about seeds.

books-for-gardening-with-children

Gardening activity books for adults working with children

childrens-garden-weekChildren’s Garden Week Activities at Growing With Science Blog

 

You might also be interested in our Gardening/Science Pinterest Board:

 

Pinterest-gardening-right

30 Space and Astronomy Books for Children

What is more inspiring than space?

If you are doing a science theme about space 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 reading level.

list-space-books-for-kids

Looking for more specific information? Visit our more recent, specialized lists about:

 

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

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

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

If You Were the Moon by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Jaime Kim

Combining spare, imaginative text with denser scientific explanations, this book has potential for a multitude of uses. It can be a lovely bedtime book, the basis for a language arts lesson, or a great accompaniment to a lesson on the solar system.

Salas must inspire her illustrators to greatness, because Jaime Kim’s art positively shines.

If You Were the Moon is a must have for budding astronomers and poets everywhere.

Visit Laurie Purdie Salas’s website for downloadable teaching guides (long and short versions) and other goodies.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Millbrook Press (March 1, 2017)
ISBN-10: 146778009X
ISBN-13: 978-1467780094
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

Picture Books about the Planets/Solar System:

 

 

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

 

Picture books About the Lunar Landing:

Footprints on the Moon by Alexandra Siy

 

Illustrated with photographs, this book documents

 

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (February 1, 2001)
ISBN-10: 1570914095
ISBN-13: 978-1570914096

 

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca is an extraordinary book. You can tell the minute you open it and see the front endpapers, which have exquisite, detailed illustrations of Apollo 11.

Age Range: 4 – 10 years
Series: Richard Jackson Books (Atheneum Hardcover)
Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books (April 7, 2009)
ISBN-10: 141695046X
ISBN-13: 978-1416950462

 

One Giant Leap
by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Mike Wimmer

Another book to commemorate the 40th anniversary lunar landing, it is also well done.

 

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Publisher: Philomel (April 2, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0399238832
ISBN-13: 978-0399238833

 

 

Look to the Stars by Buzz Aldrin and illustrated by Wendell Minor is remarkable because it is much more than merely an account by the second human being to touch the surface of the moon. Dr. Aldrin shows us how this incredible accomplishment is part of a long history of discoveries and advancements, and how it may lead to many more new things in the future.

Full review at Wrapped in Foil

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Grade Level: 1 – 3
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (May 14, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399247211
ISBN-13: 978-0399247217

 

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 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

 

 

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 Moon Seems to Change (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)
 by Franklyn M. Branley and illustrated by Barbara & Ed Emberley

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; Revised edition (July 24, 1987)
ISBN-10: 0064450651
ISBN-13: 978-0064450652

 

 

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

 

What the Moon is Like (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2) by Franklyn M. Branley and illustrated by True Kelley

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; Ill edition (May 3, 2000)
ISBN-10: 0064451852
ISBN-13: 978-0064451857

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

Age Range: 10 and up
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Lexile Measure: 950L (What’s this?)
Series: Scientists in the Field Series
Hardcover: 80 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (June 19, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 054747881X
ISBN-13: 978-0547478814

 

 

Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet
by Alexandra Siy

 

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

 

A Black Hole Is Not a Hole
by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano

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

 

Young Adult

Earthrise: My Adventures as an Apollo 14 Astronaut by Edgar Mitchell, Ellen Mahoney, and with a foreword by Dr. Brian Cox

Fast-paced autobiography of Dr. Edgar Mitchell, who went to the moon in 1971 on Apollo 14. Although obviously a must-have resource for future astronauts, Earthrise is also likely to appeal to those interested in history, science, engineering, and aviation. It is a revealing look at how one man’s sense of adventure took him places that the rest of us can only imagine.

Full review at Growing with Science.

Age Range: 12 and up
Publisher: Chicago Review Press (April 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1613749015
ISBN-13: 978-1613749012

 

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

Are you ready to try science poetry now? Check out our list of space and astronomy poetry books for kids.

Related activity: Exploring Space Without a Spacesuit.

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.

 

21+ Children’s Books about Women Scientists

March is Women’s History Month. To celebrate, we have gathered some children’s book biographies of remarkable women who have made significant impacts in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

The list keeps growing, so now it is 21+ books (last edited 10/2018).

Historically women have been under-represented in STEM fields. Reading these biographies, it becomes apparent that early females interested in STEM faced discrimination. They managed to persevere, however, and make significant discoveries. Their stories are inspiring.

With so many wonderful biographies coming out recently, we started a new list of children’s books about Women Mathematicians.

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 maintain this website.

 

Last Name A-F

 

Greta Binford

silk-and-venom

Silk & Venom: Searching for a Dangerous Spider by Kathryn Lasky and her husband, photographer Christopher G. Knight is a middle grade biography of arachnologist, Greta Binford.

This book can work both for the spider squeamish and spider enthusiast because, although it is filled with large photographs of spiders, it isn’t a general book about spiders, but a biography. After reviewing Binford’s path to becoming a spider scientist, the story follows on her journey to the Caribbean to find a certain species of brown recluse.

Reading level: Ages 4-8 (Amazon, this is probably better for 9-12)
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Candlewick (February 22, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0763642223
ISBN-13: 978-0763642228

 

Rachel Carson

Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement by Stephanie Roth Sisson reveals how Carson carefully observed natural events during her childhood, which is why she was able to notice things were changing later in her life and sound the alarm.  Extensive back matter.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (August 14, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1626728194
ISBN-13: 978-1626728196

Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor and illustrated by Laura Beingessner

This picture book biography was written to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book, Silent Spring.

Lexile Measure: 890L (What’s this?)
Publisher: Holiday House (February 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0823423700
ISBN-13: 978-0823423705

Rachel Carson: Preserving a Sense of Wonder (Images of Conservationists)by Joseph Bruchac and illustrated by Thomas Locker

Encompassing Rachel Carson’s life in a few pages, Bruchac emphasizes her love of nature in this picture book biography. The title refers to Carson’s book, A Sense of Wonder.

Age Range: 4 – 10 years
Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing (May 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1555916953
ISBN-13: 978-1555916954

 

 

Eugenie Clark

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating and illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens

Lively picture book about how Eugenie Clark became the “Shark Lady,” the scientist who studied sharks even though sharks were unpopular and scary, and women weren’t supposed to be scientists. Contains colorful and imaginative illustrations, including one of sharks swimming in a library.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (June 6, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1492642045
ISBN-13: 978-1492642046

Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark by Heather Lang and illustrated by Jordi Solano

Eugenie Clark was an incredible zoologist/marine biologist. This biography focuses on her work on sharks which earned her the nickname “Shark Lady.”

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (December 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0807521876
ISBN-13: 978-0807521878

Desert Beneath the Sea by Ann McGovern and Eugenie Clark, illustrated by Craig Phillips

This older book about ichthyologist Eugenie Clark has a personal, conversational tone that makes the reader feel like they are underwater with Eugenie. The delicate, pale illustrations by Craig Phillips are delightful. Definitely a book to share with any child interested in becoming a scientist or simply interested in learning more about oceans.

Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: Scholastic; 1 edition (October 1991)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0590426397
ISBN-13: 978-0590426398

 

Fish Watching with Eugenie Clark (Naturalist’s Apprentice) by Michael Elsohn Ross and illustrated by Wendy Smith

Geared for older audiences than The Desert Beneath the Sea, this biography of ichthyologist Eugenie Clark is more comprehensive as well. The biographies in this series by Michael Elsohn Ross include observation tips and and related hands-on activities.

Age Range: 8 and up
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (February 2000)
ISBN-10: 1575053845
ISBN-13: 978-1575053844

Anna Botsford Comstock

Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Jessica Lanan

Anna Botsford Comstock excelled at art and science, plus she encouraged others to explore and love nature. Although not as well known as some others, her works influenced many, including Rachel Carson.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press (March 15, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1585369861
ISBN-13: 978-1585369867

 

Marie Curie

Marie Curie by Demi glows. From the gold leaf letters on the cover, to Demi’s beautiful and unique illustrations, to the perfectly composed text, this picture book biography is a gem.

Full review and activity suggestions at Growing with Science blog.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (February 20, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1627793895
ISBN-13: 978-1627793896

Marie Curie for Kids: Her Life and Scientific Discoveries, with 21 Activities and Experiments by Amy M. O’Quinn is a middle grade title that is an important resource for educators as well.

The 21 hands-on activities range from learning about Poland (Marie Curie’s birthplace) to chemistry and physics experiments, such as:

  • Build an atomic model
  • Make a compass with magnets
  • Explore Charles’s Law using soap clouds

I have to say that I love Chicago Review Press books. They combine two of my favorite elements: an in-depth biography and hands-on activities to reinforce learning. Those are a powerful combination on their own. Add that the title is about an outstanding woman scientist, and it is a must have.

Full review at Growing with Science blog

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Publisher: Chicago Review Press (November 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1613733208
ISBN-13: 978-1613733202

Marie Curie: Prize-Winning Scientist (Biographies) by Lori Mortensen and illustrated by Susan Jaekel

Noted for her groundbreaking work with radioactivity, Marie Curie became the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903. Later, she was awarded a second Nobel Prize in chemistry.

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 3
Library Binding: 24 pages
Publisher: Picture Window Books (January 1, 2008)
ISBN-10: 1404837310
ISBN-13: 978-1404837317

Marie Curie: Scientist Who Made Glowing Discoveries (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Inventors & Scientists) by Mike Venezia (Author, Illustrator)

Mike Venezia, who made a name for himself with his fun and informative biographies of artists, has expanded to biographies of scientists. Children love his cartoon illustrations and humor, while learning about important historical figures. See his title about Jane Goodall, as well.

Age Range: 6 and up
Grade Level: 1 and up
Publisher: Children’s Press(CT); Reprint edition (March 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 053122208X
ISBN-13: 978-0531222089

 

Sylvia Earle

Claire A. Nivola’s Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle is a lovely picture book biography of a pioneer of in the field of ocean studies.

Nivola has allowed her subject to tell her own story without excessive crafting. Her delicate and whimsical watercolors are lovely, and they rise to a new level in the underwater scenes, where Sylvia becomes a sea creature herself. Life in the Ocean will be a hit with children who are interested in oceans, in science, in history and/or in conservation. The incredible story of Sylvia Earle’s life is sure to inspire future explorers.

Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (March 13, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0374380686
ISBN-13: 978-037438068

Sylvia Earle: Extraordinary Explorer and Marine Biologist (Great Minds of Science) by Rebecca Rowell

Although the stock photographs give the book a bit of a dated feel, each chapter has a section at the end that asks questions and encourages readers to think deeper about the content. Supports Common Core State Standards.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Core Library (September 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1624038743
ISBN-13: 978-1624038747

sylvia-earle-ocean-explorer

Sylvia Earle: Ocean Explorer (Women in Conservation) by Dennis Fertig

Most of us go to the beach and marvel at the the beauty of the ocean, but we rarely get even the smallest glimpse of what is happening under the waves. Sylvia Earle has logged in more than 7,000 hours underwater. Now she shares her passion and knowledge with others.

As appropriate for a children’s book, this biography starts with Earle’s childhood. Sylvia Earle spent her early years on a farm in New Jersey, where she remembers visiting the Jersey Shore at the age of three and discovering the power of the ocean. When she was twelve, Sylvia and her family moved to Dunedin, Florida. Suddenly, she had a beautiful ocean to investigate right in her own backyard. She jumped in and her life was changed forever.

Age Range: 8 – 11 years
Grade Level: 3 – 6
Publisher: Heinemann InfoSearch (July 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 148460475X
ISBN-13: 978-1484604755

Last Name G – L

 

Jane Goodall

I am Jane Goodall by Brad Meltzer and Christopher Eliopoulos

Brad Meltzer’s picture book biographies are top notch. Add the captivating chimpanzee behavior scientist, Jane Goodall and how can you go wrong?

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Dial Books (September 6, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0525428496
ISBN-13: 978-0525428497

The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps by Jeanette Winter

This award-winning biography ties Jane Goodall’s childhood to her career as a ground-breaking primatologist and conservationist.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (April 5, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0375867740
ISBN-13: 978-0375867743

Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall by Anita Silvey and foreword by Jane Goodall gives a more detailed overview of Goodall’s accomplishments. It is written for older children, and is illustrated with the high quality photographs you would expect from National Geographic.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books; 1 edition (June 9, 2015)
ISBN-10: 142631518X
ISBN-13: 978-1426315183

 

Heidi Hammel

 

Beyond Jupiter: The Story of Planetary Astronomer Heidi Hammel (Women’s Adventures in Science (Joseph Henry Press)) by Fred Bortz

Heidi Hammel is an astronomer who specializes in studying the planets Neptune and Uranus. Bortz fills in some of the details of her childhood, as well as discussing her scientific accomplishments. The strength of this series is that it covers more contemporary women whose stories have not been told for young people.

Age Range: 11 and up
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Joseph Henry Press (December 31, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0309095522
ISBN-13: 978-0309095525

Caroline Herschel

Caroline’s Comets: A True Story by Emily Arnold McCully

This picture book biography explores the life of a famous woman astronomer who lived from 1750 to 1848. Caroline Herschel discovered galaxies, nebulae and was the first woman to discover a comet. Her other claim to fame was that she was the first woman scientist who was paid for her work.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Holiday House (February 28, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0823436640
ISBN-13: 978-0823436644

 

Hypatia

Of Numbers and Stars: The Story of Hypatia by D. Anne Love and illustrated by Pamela Paparone

Hypatia, the daughter of a mathematician and philosopher named Theon, studied mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy at a time when few women received an education. She became a scholar and teacher.

 

Henrietta Leavitt

Look-up

Look Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Raúl Colón (February 19, 2013), is a picture book biography of the woman who discovered how the brightness of stars had fixed patterns, information that would later be used to measure distances through space. Amazingly, at the time she did her work women weren’t even allowed to use telescopes; she made her observations from photographs.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (February 19, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1416958193
ISBN-13: 978-1416958192

Ada Byron Lovelace

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark and illustrated by April Chu, which is the story of a unique and fascinating woman who was years ahead of her time.

Adults may have heard of the British poet Lord Byron, but likely they have missed the story of his inventive math whiz of a daughter, Ada Byron Lovelace. Lovelace overcame a severe childhood illness to write the first computer program. Who knows what she might have achieved if she hadn’t died at a relatively young age and if her collaborator, Charles Babbage, had actually built the analytical machine he had planned.

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine is likely to resonate with kids interested in computers, math, and engineering and inspire some who haven’t yet found their passions. History buffs, particularly those interested in women’s history, will also want to check it out.

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Creston Books (October 13, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1939547202
ISBN-13: 978-1939547200

 

Last Name M – Q

 

 

Wangari Maathai

 

Seeds-of-Change

Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace by Jen Cullerton and illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler is a picture book about the life of Wangari Maathai, a woman whose story is both uplifting and complex.

When she is a child, Wangari’s mother shows her the mugumo, the wild fig tree, and explains its importance. Later, when her brother tells her of the things he learns at school, Wangari decides she would like to go, too. Although it is unusual for a girl to receive an education, Wangari does go to school. In fact, she goes all the way to study in the United States and becomes a scientist.

When Wangari returns to Kenya, she find many things have changed. She finds the trees have all been cut down and the resulting environmental damage means that people can no longer grow food for themselves. In a move that is in one hand simple, and in the other incredibly insightful, she encourages the women to re-plant the trees. Her tree-planting movement grew and flourished as did the trees themselves, but not completely without hardship. Wangari had to overcome harsh political resistance and was even briefly imprisoned. She was released, however, and in 2004 Wangari became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Publisher: Lee & Low Books (June 30, 2010)
ISBN-10: 160060367X
ISBN-13: 978-1600603679

 

Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock: Nobel Prize Geneticist (Spotlight Biography)by Edith Hope Fine

Edith Hope Fine has turned her considerable writing ability to chronicle the life of a truly creative, brilliant and persistent scientist. Barbara McClintock discovered the existence of jumping genes, something that few other scientists understood or believed for many years.

This title is only available as an e-book.
For ages 9+
File Size: 1281 KB
Print Length: 104 pages
Publisher: eFrog Press (April 12, 2012)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
ASIN: B007TRDLJY

Barbara McClintock (Women in Science)by J. Heather Cullen, with an introduction by Jill Sideman

Barbara McClintock noticed something odd about the genetics of the corn she was working with. With persistence and creativity, she discovered jumping genes. She was awarded the Nobel prize in 1983.

Age Range: 10 and up
Grade Level: 5 and up
Series: Women in Science
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Chelsea House Publications (January 2003)
ISBN-10: 0791075222
ISBN-13: 978-0791075227

Barbara McClintock: Genius of Genetics (Great Minds of Science) by Naomi E. Pasachoff

Age Range: 9 and up
Grade Level: 4 and up
Publisher: Enslow Publishers (April 1, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0766025055
ISBN-13: 978-0766025059

 

Barbara McClintock: Pioneering Geneticist (Makers of Modern Science) by Ray Spangenburg and Diane Kit Moser

Hardcover: 136 pages
Publisher: Chelsea House Pub (L) (March 2008)
ISBN-10: 0816061726
ISBN-13: 978-0816061723


Barbara McClintock: Pioneering Geneticist (Unlocking the Secrets of Science) by Kathleen Tracy

Age Range: 9 and up
Publisher: Mitchell Lane Pub Inc (October 1, 2001)
ISBN-10: 1584151110
ISBN-13: 978-1584151111

 

 Maria Sibylla Merian

 

Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merianby Margarita Engle and illustrated by Julie Paschkis explores the life of a woman who investigates the mysteries of insect metamorphosis during the 1600s. Known for her brilliant paintings, Merian was also a careful, patient observer and scientist.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 3
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1 edition (April 27, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0805089373
ISBN-13: 978-0805089370

 

Maria Mitchell

Maria Mitchell (Great Women in History) by Anna Butzer

Starting beginning readers out well, this small book distills Maria Mitchell’s life into the important details. It would be a great title for teaching timelines because it has ever expanding timeline at the bottom of every two-page spread.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 1
Publisher: Pebble Books (July 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1491405422
ISBN-13: 978-1491405420

 

 

Maria’s Comet by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated Deborah Lanino

Having a picture book format and poetic text, Maria’s Comet fills in details of Maria’s childhood and family.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Aladdin; Reprint edition (February 1, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0689856784
ISBN-13: 978-0689856785

 

 

Margaret Morse Nice

 

Bird Watching with Margaret Morse Nice (Naturalist’s Apprentice)
by Michael Elsohn Ross and illustrated by Laurie A. Caple

Margaret Morse Nice was an ornithologist who studied birds for more than eighty years. Ross does an excellent job of writing about lesser-known women who gave a great deal to their chosen field. Includes suggestions for activities.

Age Range: 8 and up
Lexile Measure: 980L (What’s this?)
Series: Naturalist’s Apprentice
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (December 1997)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1575050021
ISBN-13: 978-1575050027

 

Ellen Ochoa

Ellen-Ochoa-Romero

Ellen Ochoa: The First Hispanic Woman Astronaut (Great Hispanics of Our Time) by Maritza Romero

After becoming a pioneer in the field and inventing optical devices used in recognizing images, Ellen Ochoa went to work for NASA where she became the first female Hispanic astronaut in July 1991. Participating in four space flights, Dr. Ochoa was in space over 978 hours. She currently serves as Deputy Director at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. What an inspiring woman!

Lexile Measure: 860L (What’s this?)
Library Binding: 24 pages
Publisher: PowerKids Press; 1st edition (January 31, 2001)
ISBN-10: 0823950875
ISBN-13: 978-0823950874

 

Caitlin O’Connell

The Elephant Scientist (Scientists in the Field Series)by Caitlin O’Connell and Donna M. Jackson with photographs by the first author and her husband, Timothy Rodwell

The Elephant Scientist is a part of the award-winning Scientists in the Field series. Not a biography, this book follows author Dr. Caitlin O’Connell as she studies elephant social life and communication and at the same time works on ways to prevent elephants from ruining crops planted by local people. She discovers that elephants communicate to one another by detecting vibrations in the ground with their feet and trunks. What better way to learn about what a scientist does than in the scientists own words?
Age Range: 10 and up
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Lexile Measure: 1260L (What’s this?)
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (July 11, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0547053444
ISBN-13: 978-0547053448

Last Name R – Z

 

Kate Sessions

The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry is a lovely picture book biography about Kate Sessions, the woman who is considered to be the Mother of Balboa Park in San Diego.

Kate Sessions came to San Diego to become a teacher, but went on to almost single-handedly transform the city from a barren desert to a tree-filled paradise using her interest in horticulture/botany.

 

Age Range: 5 – 10 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 5
Publisher: Beach Lane Books (September 17, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1442414022
ISBN-13: 978-1442414020

 

Amy Vedder

 

Gorilla Mountain: The Story of Wildlife Biologist Amy Vedder (Women’s Adventures in Science (Joseph Henry Press))
by Rene Ebersole (Author)

Following in the footsteps of Dian Fossey, Amy Vedder not only studies gorillas, but must fight to save them. The strength of this series is that it covers more contemporary women whose stories have not been told for young people.

Age Range: 11 and up
Grade Level: 6 and up
Series: Women’s Adventures in Science (Joseph Henry Press)
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Joseph Henry Press (December 31, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0309095514
ISBN-13: 978-0309095518

 

Collections of Biographies

Magnificent Minds: 16 Pioneering Women in Science and Medicine by Pendred E. Noyce.

This book is a collection of biographies chronicling the lives of women who made a name for themselves in the areas of STEM and health care, complete with timelines for each woman.

Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 and up
Hardcover: 180 pages
Publisher: Tumblehome Learning, Inc. (March 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0989792471
ISBN-13: 978-0989792479

 

Super Women In Science (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Women’s Hall of Fame) by Kelly DiDomenico

Age Range: 9 and up
Grade Level: 4 and up
Series: Women’s Hall of Fame
School & Library Binding: 102 pages
Publisher: Turtleback (January 1, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0613804333
ISBN-13: 978-0613804332

girls-research

Girls Research!: Amazing Tales of Female Scientists (Girls Rock!) by Jennifer Phillips

This book gives a brief overview of the lives of 56 women scientists and researchers.

Age Range: 9 – 13 years
Library Binding: 64 pages
Publisher: Savvy (January 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 147654056X
ISBN-13: 978-1476540566

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World written and illustrated by Rachel Ignotofsky

The illustrations in this book are very modern. Check out Rachel Ignotofsky’s website for examples.

Ages 10 & up
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Ten Speed Press; Gift edition (July 26, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1607749769
ISBN-13: 978-1607749769

 

Other lists of children’s books about women in STEM:

Women in Science – Trailblazers Before the 20th Century at Kidlit Celebrates Women’s History Month 2012

Women in Science – Trailblazers of the 20th Century at Miss Rumphius Effect

Biographies of Women Scientists: For Girls and Young Women at Library of Congress

Looking for subject ideas for a biography about a woman in STEM? Try this list of Women in STEM from the National Women’s History Project.

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Taking Flight: Children’s Books About Bird Migration

Fall and spring are wonderful times to introduce children to the idea that birds migrate.

 

Pair some great nonfiction with fiction to celebrate the seasonal flights of birds.

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

 

Nonfiction Picture Books

Warbler Wave by April Pulley Sayre with contributions by Jeff Sayre

Photographer and award-winning author April Pulley Sayre and her husband Jeff Sayre have been observing warblers during their annual spring migration for years. Now they share their experiences with this gorgeous book for children.

Warblers are tiny and elusive birds, but the Sayres have captured many wonderful photographs to fill the pages of the book. As she explains on her website, they chose photographs of birds in action to give children the experience of viewing live warblers in nature, rather than choosing those that are simply posed well.

Warbler Wave is simply wonderful. It is likely to inspire children to take up birdwatching as a hobby or maybe even as a career!

Age Range: 3 – 8 years
Publisher: Beach Lane Books (February 13, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1481448293
ISBN-13: 978-1481448291

How Do Birds Find Their Way? (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Roma Gans and illustrated by Paul Mirocha

The Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series offers consistently high quality children’s science books. This title covers what starts birds on their migrations and some of the common migration pathways.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins (January 18, 1996)
ISBN-10: 006445150X
ISBN-13: 978-0064451505

Red Knot: A Shorebird’s Incredible Journey by Nancy Carol Willis

red-knotAlthough the bird in this nonfiction book migrates long distances, one important stop on the way is Delaware Bay were it refuels on horseshoe crab eggs. Same type of bird that s featured in the middle grade book Moonbird (see below).

Age Range: 7 – 9 years
Grade Level: 2 – 4
Publisher: Birdsong Books (May 1, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0966276159
ISBN-13: 978-0966276152

The Peregrine’s Journey: A Story of Migration by Madeleine Dunphy and illustrated by Kristin Kest

The-Peregrine's-JourneyFlying from Alaska to Argentina, the peregrine makes an 8,000 mile journey during its migration. Based on the flight of an actual bird followed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Publisher: Web of Life Children’s Books (January 28, 2008)
ISBN-10: 097775393X
ISBN-13: 978-0977753932

The Flight of the Snow Geese by Deborah King

snow-geeseDid you know that snow geese fly from their Arctic nesting ground to the New Mexico desert where they spend the winter?

Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Orchard Books (NY) (September 1998)
ISBN-10: 0531300889
ISBN-13: 978-0531300886

The Long, Long Journey: The Godwit’s Amazing Migration by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Mia Posada

the-long-long-journeyFollow the flight of the bar-tailed godwit from Alaska to New Zealand. Some of the birds fly an amazing 7000 miles without stopping! Perfect nonfiction to pair with Baba Didi and the Godwits Fly below.

Library Binding: 32 pages
Publisher: Millbrook Pr Trade (January 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0761356231
ISBN-13: 978-0761356233

 

Middle Grade Nonfiction

Belle’s Journey: An Osprey Takes Flight by Rob Bierregaard and illustrated by Kate Garchinsky

Dr. Rob Bierregaard ( Dr. B. as he calls himself in the book) studies osprey migrations. One August he captured an osprey he named Belle on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. He fitted her with a radio transmitter. After he released her, the transmitter sent her location data to a computer so he could study where she went. That fall, Belle flew all the way to the rain forests of Brazil.

In the forward Dr. B. explains that “this is a mostly true story.” Belle really made the flight to Brazil and he knew her location at different times, but he used creative nonfiction techniques to fill in details about her experiences and the dangers she faced. His descriptions of her daily activities are lush and detailed. Readers learn a lot about all the places Belle visits.

Belle’s Journey is likely to appeal to youngsters who enjoy reading fiction as well as to those who want to find out more about ospreys and bird migration.

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (May 15, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1580897924
ISBN-13: 978-1580897921

Snowy Owl Invasion!: Tracking an Unusual Migration by Sandra Markle

In 2013, large numbers of white owls started showing up in lower Canada and along the east coast of the United States where they weren’t normally seen. Why were snowy owls migrating to new places?

Sandra Markle used her research skills to track down experts and find the answers. What she discovered was that the snowy owls were experiencing an irruption, which means they migrating beyond their usual range, because their populations had swelled the previous summer. She also found out why, which I won’t reveal here. Like Belle in the story above, some of the scientists used GPS transmitters to follow the birds.

The book is filled with amazing photographs of beautiful snowy owls.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Millbrook Pr (January 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1512431060
ISBN-13: 978-1512431063

Flight of the Golden Plover: The Amazing Migration Between Hawaii and Alaska by Debbie S. Miller and illustrated by Daniel Van Zyle

 

flight-of-the-golden-plover
An older book, it tells the story of the Pacific golden plover, which is a tiny shorebird that migrates from Alaska to Hawaii.

Age Range: 9 and up
Publisher: Alaska Northwest Books; First Edition edition (June 1, 1996)
ISBN-10: 0882404741
ISBN-13: 978-0882404745

On the Wing: American Birds in Migration by Carol Lerner

on-the-wing

In addition to illustrations of birds flying, this book also includes colorful maps of migrations and ranges.

Age Range: 8 and up
Grade Level: 3 and up
Publisher: HarperCollins (June 5, 2001)
ISBN-10: 0688166490
ISBN-13: 978-0688166496

 

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 (Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Honor (Awards)) by Phillip Hoose

The bird of the title or “Moonbird” is also known as B95 because that was the number he was banded with in South America in 1995. A male shorebird commonly called a red knot, he is called “Moonbird” because he has been documented to have flown an estimated 350,000 miles – over the distance to the moon and halfway back – in his lifetime!

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Grade Level: 4 – 8
Series: Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Honor (Awards)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (July 17, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0374304688
ISBN-13: 978-0374304683

man-who-flies-with-birds

The Man Who Flies With Birds (Israel) by Carole G. Vogel and Yossi Leshem

Yossi Leshem studied bird migrations over Israel, in part to prevent bird strikes on airplanes.

Age Range: 10 and up
Grade Level: 5 and up
Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing (September 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0822576430
ASIN: B00DF86QLQ

 

Nonfiction Video

 

winged-migration

Winged Migration (2003)
Jacques Perrin (Actor), Philippe Labro (Actor), Jacques Perrin (Director), Jacques Cluzaud (Director) | Rated: G | Format: DVD

Amazing footage of geese and other birds flying through the air, filmed using ultralights that are moving right with the birds. If you like birds, this one shouldn’t be missed.

Fiction:

All Eyes on Alexandra by Anna Levine and illustrated by Chiara Pasqualotto

In All Eyes on Alexandra, young Alexandra Crane is terrible at following her family in their flying Vee. She can’t help it that the world is so full of interesting distracting sights! When it’s time for the Cranes to migrate to Israel’s Hula Valley for the winter, Alexandra is excited but her family is worried. Will Alexandra stay with the group, and what happens if a dangerous situation should arise? Might Alexandra—and the rest of the flock—discover that a bad follower can sometimes make a great leader?

Age Range: 3 – 8 years
Publisher: Kar-Ben Pub (August 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1512444391
ISBN-13: 978-1512444391

Baba Didi and the Godwits Flyby Nicola Muir and illustrated by Annie Hayward with a foreword by Former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark

godwitsBaba Didi of the title is the narrator and Isabella’s grandmother. When they discover brown shorebirds called bar-tailed godwits feeding on the beach near their home in New Zealand, Baba Didi explains how the birds make a migration flight all the way to Alaska each year. The reader soon learns Baba Didi made an equally perilous journey when she and her husband left Croatia when they were young and sailed all the way to New Zealand.

Series: Searchlight Books
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group (August 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1467715522
ISBN-13: 978-1467715522

Flute’s Journey: The Life of a Wood Thrush by Lynne Cherry

flutes-journeyFlute is a wood thrush that migrates from Maryland to Costa Rica and back.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 2
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (February 15, 1997)
ISBN-10: 0152928537
ISBN-13: 978-0152928537

Welcome, Brown Bird by Mary Lyn Ray and illustrated by Peter Sylvada

welcome-brown-bird

Also following a wood thrush, the story centers on a boy in New England and a boy in Central America, each of whom treasure their experiences with the same bird, but don’t know the other exists.

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 1
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 1, 2004)
ISBN-10: 0152928634
ISBN-13: 978-0152928636

The Far-Flung Adventures of Homer the Hummer by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds and illustrated by Catherine McClung

homer-the-hummerJust one look at the cover, and you know this is a special children’s book. It follows a ruby-throated hummingbird’s migration from Michigan to Costa Rica.

Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Ann Arbor Editions (August 1, 2005)
ISBN-10: 158726269X
ISBN-13: 978-1587262692

 

______

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.

Honey Bee Books For Kids

Honey bees are important insects that have been in the news recently.

 

honey-bee-books-cover

 

Let’s take a look at some wonderful children’s books about honey bees and other bees.(Note:  Linked titles go to Amazon for more information. Please see the disclaimer below).

Nonfiction:

Beginning Reader

 

Inside-a-bee-hive

Look Inside a Bee Hive (Pebble Plus: Look Inside Animal Homes) by Megan Nicole Cooley Peterson is a timely picture book for young children interested in learning more about honey bees. The book consists of two-page spreads with a full-page color photograph on the right and on the left are simple sentences with controlled vocabulary written at the first grade level. Children learn vocabulary words such as queen bee, worker bee, and comb.

Age Range: 4 and up
Series: Pebble Plus: Look Inside Animal Homes
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1429660759
ISBN-13: 978-1429660754

 

how-bees-make-honey

How Bees Make Honey (First Facts: Big Picture: Food) by Louise A. Spilsbury

Discusses honey bees foraging, their dances and how they make honey, with large color photographs.

Age Range: 6 and up
Grade Level: 1 and up
Series: First Facts: Big Picture: Food
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Capstone Press (January 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1429655364
ISBN-13: 978-1429655361

bees-and-their-hives

Bees and Their Hives (Pepple Plus; Animal Homes) by Linda Tagliaferro

Reading Level: K-1
Interest Level: PreK-2
Series: Pepple Plus; Animal Homes
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Capstone Press(MN) (January 2004)
ISBN-10: 0736851224
ISBN-13: 978-0736851220

bees-rissman

Bees by Rebecca Rissman

For the youngest set, combines large color photographs with simple rhyming text. “Do you hear that sound? Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! It’s a bee! Covered in black and yellow fuzz!”

Reading Level: PreK-K
Publisher:  Raintree (2013)
ISBN:  9781410948021 / 1-4109-4802-1

 

Picture Books

 

life-and-times-of-honey-bee

 

The Life and Times of the Honeybee by Charles Micucci

Written and illustrated by Micucci, this lovely book gets high marks for both accuracy and ability to hold the reader’s interest. Covers many aspects of bees, including their life cycle and behavior.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (August 25, 1997)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 039586139X
ISBN-13: 978-0395861394

 

the-honey-makers

The Honey Makers by Gail Gibbons

Also illustrated by the author, this text highlights honey production and beekeeping. Gail Gibbons books are uniformly high quality and children enjoy them

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (April 5, 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0688175317
ISBN-13: 978-0688175313

are-you-a-bee

 

Are You a Bee? (Backyard Books) by Judy Allen check illustrator: Tudor Humphries

Are you a Bee? is an intriguing book that compares humans and honey bees in an informative and gently humorous way.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Kingfisher; Reprint edition (May 13, 2004)
ISBN-10: 9780753458044
ISBN-13: 978-0753458044

 

brillant-bees

Brilliant Bees
by Linda Glaser and illustrated by Gay Holland conveys information about the honey bee life cycle and concepts like pollination using a few well-chosen words. The back matter has questions for deeper understanding.

Age Range: 5 and up
Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
Publisher: Millbrook Press (September 3, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0761326707
ISBN-13: 978-0761326700

The bumblebee-queen

The Bumblebee Queen
by April Pulley Sayre (Author), Patricia J. Wynne (Illustrator) is a lovely picture book. It follows a simple story in bold typeface, with sidebars of facts in regular font on some pages. There are also ideas for encouraging bees in the back matter.

Age Range: 4 and up
Grade Level: Preschool and up
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing; Reprint edition (July 1, 2006)
ISBN-10: 1570913633
ISBN-13: 978-1570913631

honey-in-a-hive

Honey in a Hive (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by S. D. Schindler

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 4
Series: Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2
Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (May 3, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0064452042
ISBN-13: 978-0064452045

magic-school-bus

The Magic School Bus Inside a Beehive
by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Lexile Measure: 520L (What’s this?)
Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: Scholastic; Reprint edition (January 1, 1998)
ISBN-10: 0590257218
ISBN-13: 978-0590257213

 

 

In-the-trees-honey-bees

 

In the Trees, Honey Bees!
by Lori Mortensen and and illustrated by Cris Arbo

Age Range: 5 and up
Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
Lexile Measure: 650L (What’s this?)
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Dawn Publications (March 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1584691158
ISBN-13: 978-1584691150

 The-Fascinating-World-of-Bees-Parramon-Jose-Maria-9780812047202
The Fascinating World of Bees
by Jose Maria Parramon and A. Julivert

Probably the most densely information-packed of all the books in this list, this older title is worth looking up.

Age Range: 8 and up
Series: Fascinating World Of…
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Barron’s Educational Series (September 1991)
ISBN-10: 0812047206
ISBN-13: 978-0812047202

the-buzz-on-bees

The Buzz on Bees: Why Are They Disappearing?
by Shelley Rotner and Anne Woodhull

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Holiday House (May 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 082342247X
ISBN-13: 978-0823422470

 

bee-sarasota

The Bee: Friend of the Flowers (Animal Close-Ups) (Animal Close-Ups)by Paul Starosta has excellent full-color photographs. As well as important facts about honey bees, it also wasps, bumble bees and carpenter bees.

Age Range: 4 and up
Grade Level: Preschool and up
Series: Animal Close-Ups
Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing; Tra edition (June 2005)
ISBN-10: 1570916292
ISBN-13: 978-1570916298

 

Poetry

honeybee-Nye

Honeybee: Poems & Short Prose by Naomi Shihab Nye

Using honey bee metaphors to explore various aspects of living.

Age Range: 8 and up
Grade Level: 5 and up
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books; First Edition edition (February 26, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060853905
ISBN-13: 978-0060853907

 

unBeeleivable

 

 

UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings, a newer book by Douglas Florian (2012), goes into more scientific detail than some of his other books of poetry. The reader comes away with an appreciation of bees and how they live.

 

Middle Grade

 

The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe (Scientists in the Field Series) By Loree Griffin Burns and photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz.

This book examines colony collapse disorder or CCD – the problem with honey bees disappearing that has been in the news – by going right to the beekeeper who first noticed missing bees. Dave Hackenberg runs a large company, Hackenberg Apiaries. He moves thousands of hives around the country. When he found 400 empty hives in Florida, he knew something big had gone wrong and he sounded the alarm. Burns then introduces us to four bee scientists who are at the front lines of CCD research, and explains their roles in the investigation.

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (April 16, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0544003268
ISBN-13: 978-0544003262

My Review

Activity

case-honeybees

The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees: A Scientific Mystery
by Sandra Markle is a fabulous new book about the mystery of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in honey bees. Organized in a beautifully logical way, Markle introduces honey bees and why we should care about them. She then presents the case for different causes of the disorder, revealing how complicated it all might be. The visual lay out of the book is also appealing. It adds bold interest without overwhelming the text. Some of the close-up photographs are astonishing.

Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group (August 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1467705926
ISBN-13: 978-1467705929

 

 

Nonfiction appropriate for Young Adults

 

honey-bees-letters

Honey Bees: Letters from the Hive by Stephen Buchmann

A noted expert on bees, Buchmann is a passionate and informed author. He does, however, write using complex sentences and vocabulary. If in doubt whether it is age appropriate, check the excerpt on the Amazon page for idea of the reading level.

Age Range: 11 and up
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (June 8, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 038573770X
ASIN: B006J41BQI

 

Lessons Featuring Honey Bees

buzzong-the-hive

Buzzing A Hive (Old Edition) by Jean C. Echols, illustrated by Lisa Haderlie Baker. Published by Great Explorations in Math and Science, University of California, Berkeley. 1987.Great ideas for hands on activities for young children.

Paperback: 146 pages
Publisher: GEMS-Regents of the Univ of CA (March 1996)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0912511125
ISBN-13: 978-0912511122

 

Fiction

 

 

The-honey-hunters

The Honey Hunters by Francesca Martin is a version of an African folktale involving a following a honey guide bird to find honey.

Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Candlewick (January 3, 1994)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1564022765
ISBN-13: 978-1564022769

 

the honeybee-man

The Honeybee Man
by Lela Nargi and illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker (2011)

A realistic fiction picture book about a man named Fred who keeps bees on his rooftop in Brooklyn. Description of the honey-making process included.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (March 8, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0375849807
ISBN-13: 978-0375849800

 

the-honeybee-and-robber

The Honeybee & the Robber by Eric Carle

Age Range: 1 – 6 years
Hardcover: 14 pages
Publisher: Philomel; Revised edition (July 23, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399237313
ISBN-13: 978-0399237317

 

 

 

the-bee-tree

The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco

When a young girl wants a break from reading, her grandfather takes her on a quest to find a bee tree. It is a tale about life’s adventures.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (May 4, 1998)
ISBN-10: 0698116968
ISBN-13: 978-0698116962

 

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 Spiders

Looking for books for a unit on spiders? Wanting something to read to put your children in the mood for Halloween? Then you’ve come to the right place.

 

spider-books

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.

 

 Nonfiction

Beginning Readers

 

tarantulas-capstone

Tarantulas (Pebble Plus) by Jeni Wittrock will help young readers learn more about the anatomy, life cycle and behaviors of tarantulas. With carefully controlled vocabulary and short sentences, the child can gain confidence reading while at the same time increasing their understanding of the natural world.

Review and related activities at Growing with Science.

Reading Level: K-1
Interest Level: PreK-2
Series: Pebble Plus
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1476524580
ISBN-13: 978-1476524580

NG-spiders

National Geographic Readers: Spiders by Laura Marsh

All these National Geographic readers feature amazing color photographs, and age-appropriate facts and concepts. For example, in this title, readers learn where spiders make their homes and that there are many different kinds.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (August 23, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1426308515
ISBN-13: 978-1426308512

Super Spiders (Read Me!: Walk on the Wild Side) by Charlotte Guillain

Read to find out what spiders look like, what they eat, and how they spin their webs. Colorful photographs show close-ups of many different kinds of spiders. Life cycle information included.

Reading Level:  1-3
Series: Read Me!: Walk on the Wild Side
Publisher: Raintree (August 14, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1406260886
ISBN-13: 978-1406260885

 

Picture Books

Spiders!: Strange and Wonderful by Laurence Pringle and illustrated by Meryl Learnihan Henderson

Setting the stage with, “As you read these words, there is probably a spider nearby,” Pringle does an excellent job of introducing young readers to all the many different kinds of spiders.

Henderson’s watercolor and pencil illustrations are beautifully done and tie the book together in a way stock photographs can not. Lovely!

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (October 10, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1629793213
ISBN-13: 978-1629793214

Nefertiti, the Spidernaut: The Jumping Spider Who Learned to Hunt in Space by Darcy Pattison and illustrated by Valeria Tisnes

| 2017 NSTA CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book

No one knew what to expect when a jumping spider was sent to the International Space Station. If it jumped for its food like it did on Earth, would it float away?

The good news is the little spider learned to adapt, and survived for the trip back to Earth.

Age Range: 6 – 12 years
Publisher: Mims House (September 15, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1629440604
ISBN-13: 978-1629440606

house-spider's-life

A House Spider’s Life (Nature Upclose) by John Himmelman

John Himmelman’s larger-than-life illustrations make this description of the life cycle of a house spider worth a second look.

Age Range: 5 and up
Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
Series: Nature Upclose
Publisher: Children’s Press(CT) (March 1, 2000)
ISBN-10: 0516265369
ISBN-13: 978-0516265360

 

creep-and-flutter

Creep and Flutter: The Secret World of Insects and Spiders  by Jim Arnosky

Jim Arnosky is a naturalist, a writer, and an artist. He has written many nonfiction children’s books about animals and the natural world. His illustrations include real size silhouettes.

Reading level: Ages 6 and up
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books (April 3, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1402777663
ISBN-13: 978-1402777660

 

Sneaky, Spinning Baby Spiders by Sandra Markle

As you can tell from the cover, this book has fantastic close up photographs. It covers spiders from throughout the world. Look for my in depth review at Wrapped in Foil,  Bouncing Baby Spiders

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Walker Childrens (October 28, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0802796974
ISBN-13: 978-0802796974

 

Up, Up, and Away by Ginger Wadsworth and Patricia J. Wynne (Illustrator)

This beautifully-illustrated book describes the life cycle of a type of garden spider. It has a totally different feel from Baby Spiders, although it covers a similar topic.

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing; 1st edition (July 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1580892213
ISBN-13: 978-1580892216

Up, Up and Away has a trailer so you can see whether it fits your needs.

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

Covers the basics of spider biology. Illustrated with high quality photographs.

Age Range: 6 – 10 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (January 4, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0060576340
ISBN-13: 978-0060576349

Are You a Spider? (Backyard Books)
by Tudor Humphries

These books are always wonderful, and I love how she brings the child into the story by comparing what humans do to what spiders do.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Series: Backyard Books
Publisher: Kingfisher; Reprint edition (May 16, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0753456095
ISBN-13: 978-0753456095

 

Spinning Spiders (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Melvin Berger and S. D. Schindler

How do spiders spin such intricate webs? Spiders produce special silk that can stretch from branch to branch. In this book the reader will learn about the silk spiders produce, the webs they spin, and the prey they capture. Even learn how to make a web of your own!

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Series: Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2
Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (May 6, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0064452077
ISBN-13: 978-0064452076

 

The Magic School Bus Spins A Web: A Book About Spiders by Joanna Cole, Jim Durk (Illustrator), Bruce Degan (Illustrator)

Those familiar with the Magic School Bus series will recognize how Cole manages to walk the line between fiction and nonfiction and engage children in an unique learning adventure each time.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (November 1, 1997)
ISBN-10: 0590922343
ISBN-13: 978-0590922340

 

Spiders by Gail Gibbons

Gail Gibbons is the queen of children’s nonfiction. You can’t go wrong with any of her books.

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Holiday House (April 1, 1994)
ISBN-10: 0823410811
ISBN-13: 978-0823410811

 

Nic Bishop Spiders (Sibert Honor Book) by Nic Bishop

Nic Bishop is an award-winning photographer and his passion for his subjects shines through.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction; First Edition edition (September 1, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0439877563
ISBN-13: 978-0439877565

 

a-spiders-life

A Spider’s Life (Science Slam: Animal Diaries: Life Cycles) by Ellen Lawrence

A young child follows a jumping spider, recording how it hunts, feeds, and its mating activities in her diary.The narrator also observes the jumping spider’s life cycle, including the development from eggs to babies through molting and becoming an adult spider.

Publisher: Bearport Publishing (January 2012)
ISBN-10: 1617724149
ISBN-13: 978-1617724145

 

Middle Grade

 

orb-weavers

Orb Weavers: Hungry Spinners (Arachnid World) by Sandra Markle

Overview of what makes orb weavers unique from other spiders. Includes information on anatomy, life cycles, and about their webs. Sandra Markle has written a number of books about spiders and her passion for them shows through. Just the right amount of information to keep the reader interested.

Age Range:  9 and up
Publisher: Lerner Pub Group (T) (March 2011)
ISBN-10: 0761350392
ISBN-13: 978-0761350392

Uncover a Tarantula: Take a Three-Dimensional Look Inside a Tarantula! (Uncover Books) by David George Gordon

The books in the Uncover series contain a plastic model of whatever organism is being studied right in the middle of the book. As the reader turns the pages, he or she delves deeper inside the tarantula (in this case), like viewing a dissection. Around the central model is an explanation of the inner organs that are displayed at that page, and also detailed information about the biology of tarantulas and spiders in general.

 

Age Range: 8 and up
Board book: 16 pages
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books (September 29, 2004)
ISBN-10: 159223237X
ISBN-13: 978-1592232376

stronger-than-steel

Stronger Than Steel: Spider Silk DNA and the Quest for Better Bulletproof Vests, Sutures, and Parachute Rope (Scientists in the Field Series) by Bridget Heos and illustrated by Andy Comins

This book highlights scientist Randy Lewis’ quest to find a better way to obtain large quantities of spider silk for innovative new products.

Full review at Wrapped in Foil blog.

Age Range: 10 and up
Hardcover: 80 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (February 26, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0547681267
ISBN-13: 978-0547681269

silk-and-venom

Silk and Venom: Searching for a Dangerous Spider by Kathryn Lasky and her husband, photographer Christopher G. Knight

This is a biography of arachnologist Greta Binford. It follows Binford on her journey to the Caribbean to find a certain species of brown recluse spider.  She is looking into how spiders of the genus Loxosceles, the brown spiders, may have migrated and evolved.

Full review at Wrapped in Foil blog.

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Candlewick (February 22, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0763642223
ISBN-13: 978-0763642228

Adults can find a few good books on spiders, too.

Biology of Spiders, 2nd Edition by Rainer F. Foelix

 

Spider-related Fiction

The Weaver by Qian Shi

Stanley the spider collects things and stores them in his web. What will he do when a storm comes and his collection is washed away? He comes up with a clever solution.

The Weaver Promo – Collector from Qian Shi on Vimeo.

 

Age Range: 5 – 7 years
Publisher: Andersen Pr USA (April 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1541514548
ISBN-13: 978-1541514546

 

Bear’s Scare by Jacob Grant

Bear is very neat and tidy. He is beyond bothered when a spider begins building webs everywhere. That is, until the spider shows a hidden talent for fixing things.

Age Range: 3 – 6 years
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books (June 12, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1681197200
ISBN-13: 978-1681197203

 

Fatima and the Clementine Thieves by Mireille Messier and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard

Living in Morocco, Fatima’s family has an orchard of clementine oranges. Right before harvest, someone or something destroys some of the crop and breaks the trees. What happened? What can Fatima and her grandfather do to stop it?

At first glance doesn’t the type of children’s picture book that belongs in a list about spiders. However, spiders play an important positive role in the story. See a full review, and suggestions for accompanying math and art activities at our sister blog, Wrapped in Foil and related hands on spider science activities at Growing with Science blog.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Red Deer Press; 1 edition (June 30, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0889955298
ISBN-13: 978-0889955295

 

Aaaarrgghh! Spider! by Lydia Monks

In this cute picture book, spider wants to be a family pet. Will it work out?

Check it out for yourself in this video:

 

Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (September 3, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0618737510
ISBN-13: 978-0618737512

 

CharlotteWeb

Charlotte’s Web (Trophy Newbery) by E. B. White

Features probably the most popular spider ever, Charlotte.

Age Range: 8 and up
Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (December 14, 2004)
ISBN-10: 0064400557
ISBN-13: 978-0064400558

Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Harry Bliss

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (January 8, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0062233009
ISBN-13: 978-0062233004

The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

This classic tale is still popular with the preschool set.