Whether you’re introducing your child to science for the first time or hoping to give them a renewed interest in the subject, books play an essential role. If the science books you choose don’t hold their attention, they won’t be interested. If you choose fun science books, there’s a good chance they’ll become curious and anxious to learn more. What makes a science book fun? We’ve picked 15 of our favorites in the list below.
It’s important to remember that what is fun for some kids may not be fun for all. We’ve tried to give thorough descriptions of each book, so you can decide which will be the most fun for your child. Our overall advice is to try to choose a science book that includes something they’re already interested in, such as animals or the human body. If this will be the first time your children are exposed to science literature, consider a few books in different areas to see which they enjoy the most.
The following 15 books are a great way to expose your child to science!
1. “Animalium: Welcome to the Museum” by Jenny Broom (Author) Katie Scott (Illustrator) ─ Ages 8-12
Imagine yourself walking through the Museum of Natural History, looking at all of the exhibits and images on the walls that bring animals to life. This is all of that in an oversized (11”x15”) book. Page through more than 200 full-color images, with descriptive educational text, presenting the animal kingdom in detail. It’s enough to pique your child’s curiosity without overwhelming. It’s recommended for ages 8 to 12, but we’re confident it would be a great purchase for younger children, too. The animal illustrations will keep their interest at any age.
2. “The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book” by Tom Robinson ─ Ages 7-12
This book is perfect for hands-on children. The book itself is great, but the real treasures are the kid-tested science experiments waiting for you to recreate. Grab a few things around the house and get to work creating your own experiments. Reveal whether or not you can blow up a balloon without actually blowing into it, if you can turn off a magnet, or if toilets always flush in the same direction. The experiments may seem basic, but they are the perfect way to introduce your child to the basics of biology, chemistry, physics and outer space. “The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book” is great tool to keep your hands-on child entertained while learning.
3. “Infographics: Human Body” by Simon Rogers (Author) and Peter Grundy (Illustrator) ─ Ages 6-9
When you think about what makes infographics so great — complex information in bite-size, visual pieces — you realize they are perfect for kids. This book combines the infographic structure with bright, bold colors to uncover the mysteries of the human body. In one illustration, the body is shown as a factory. While the design itself captures the attention of kids of all ages, the easily digestible data throughout the book make it perfect for introducing your child to the human body and how it works. If animals or space are of greater interest to your student, consider the animal kingdom and space infographic books instead.
4. “Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space” by Dominic Walliman (Author) and Ben Newman (Illustrator) ─ Ages 8-11
You can’t go wrong with a cat in a retro, yet futuristic space suit. Professor Astro Cat and his assistant, Astro Mouse, lead the way through a conversational and humorous adventure to learn about space. This book covers it all — gravity, extraterrestrial life, time. Whether your child seems to have an interest in space or simply likes cats, they will love Professor Astro Cat and his educational space adventure. Fortunately, Professor Astro Cat also has “Atomic Adventure” and “Intergalactic Activity Book” for children who want more to explore.
5. “The Worm” by Elise Gravel ─ Ages 6-9
This book focuses completely on the worm. While the caricature-like cartoon illustrations seem to bring the worm to life, it’s the pithy commentary from the worm itself that really makes it fun. The commentary is balanced with facts about every aspect of a worm, leaving you and your child knowing more about a worm than you ever thought you would — and thoroughly entertained. If this becomes one of your child’s favorites, there are many more to choose from, such as “The Toad” and “The Fly.”
6. “Things That Float and Things That Don’t” by David A. Adler (Author) and Anna Raff (Illustrator) ─ Ages 4-8
Introducing your young child to physics may seem crazy, but this book makes it engaging and possible. It starts with a simple question: Why do some things float, and others don’t? In this well-illustrated book, a boy, a girl and their dog embark on an exciting adventure to discover what will float and what won’t. It introduces young readers to the concept of density, with plenty of opportunities for activities you can do to bring the concept to life at home. Something as simple as aluminum foil in two forms — a loosely crumpled up ball and a tightly packed ball — in a sink or tub full of water lets your child explore the concept. The basic explanation of density is great, but the illustrations and demonstrations put this one on our list.
7. “Me…Jane” by Patrick McDonnell ─ Ages 1-7
This book tells the story of a young Dr. Jane Goodall — renowned humanitarian, conservationist, animal activist, environmentalist and United Nationals Messenger of Peace — and her toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. The book explores Goodall’s childhood fantasies, but it also incorporates educational information about chimpanzees and other animals. Perhaps the most important part of the book is learning about the connection between Goodall’s childhood dream of helping animals and her reality. Children can relate to the story about her childhood toy, but also have room to grow as they learn more about her impact on the animal kingdom.
8. “How Does the Wind Blow?” by Lawrence F. Lowery ─ Ages 5-8
Relating to something children come in contact with on their own, this book explores the wind — everything from gentle breezes moving a flag to the powerful tornados that can move cars and houses. They’ll learn how wind can intensify and be measured. Each book includes coordinating home activities to show children a few basic concepts in action in their very own backyard. This book is one of many in the “I Wonder Why” series. If your child responds well to this one, consider searching for the rest of the books in the series to continue engaging them in some of the basics of geology, land forms, weather, environments and other phenomena related to science and nature.
9. “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle ─ Ages 2-5
This classic book is the perfect simple introduction to animals. You may remember it for its poetic and repetitive nature — two bonus characteristics for a child learn to talk. The pages also introduce young children to some of the most common animals. The boldly colored images will catch your little one’s attention as you read each of the different animals. Begin with the brown bear, and move on to a purple cat, blue horse, yellow duck and more. The fun illustrations and poetic text is sure to become a fun learning experience for you and your young child.
10. “Big Questions from Little People: And Simple Answers from Great Minds” by Gemma Elwin Harris ─ Ages 8-12
Perhaps this book has more of a focus on preparing you, as a parent, to engage and encourage your curious children when they have questions about science you aren’t quite sure how to answer. This book is a collection of real questions from real children — questions that have stumped adults. Use it to pique your child’s curiosity. The answers Harris provides are stated by a notable group of scientists, specialists, philosophers and writers. In addition to featuring answers from top experts, such as adventurist Bear Gryllis, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and Chef Gordon Ramsay, well-known comedians, columnists and raconteurs have also provided hilarious alternative answers. This one is sure to be as entertaining for you as it is for your children.
11. “On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein” by Jennifer Berne ─ Ages 6-9
This book is great for exploring some of the basics of atoms and light, but it also comes with an inspirational twist. Exploring Albert Einstein’s life, it takes a different path to learning science, as it includes some biographical information, including his notable accomplishments. In a simple way, accompanied by beautiful watercolor illustrations, children learn about how he was different and how he thought about light and numbers in a different way. Connecting this to his invention is meant to encourage children to be curious, ask questions and explore — as there are many questions left to be answered. Maybe your child will be inspired to pick up where Einstein left off.
12. “Actual Size” by Steve Jenkins ─ Ages 6-9
Learning facts is an important part of educating children, and Steve Jenkins helps children put it in perspective. This book focuses on showing children how big — and small — animals are. Each spread includes a new animal or two along with a few facts and physical dimensions. When possible, Jenkins shows parts of animals to scale — a moth with a 12-inch wingspan and the eye of a giant squid that takes up a full spread. When it isn’t possible to show to scale, he provides specific information on size, so you can put it into perspective for your child. Many other books present the facts, but this one brings them to life unlike any other.
13. “Everything Rocks and Minerals” by Steve Tomecek ─ Ages 8-12
Bright, colorful photos introduce your child to different types of rocks and minerals. It’s light on text — only giving the basics about where many rocks and minerals can be found and how they form. Fun facts make it a light read — nothing too complex or heavy. National Geographic provides the basics in a fun, colorful way to give your child a new appreciation and curiosity for different types of rocks and minerals. Parents might also learn something in the process.
14. “Gardening Lab for Kids” by Renata Fossen Brown ─ Ages 5-12
Many books are great for reading on a rainy day, but this one encourages children to get outside and enjoy nature. Packed with 52 plant-related activities, it will keep you and your child busy. The activities are gathered into weekly lessons and can be used individually as time allows. You’ll cover everything from the basics of botany, ecology, seasons, food, insects, eating and cooking. Work with your child to create a terrarium, fairy garden and even a mini garden. Children will learn to appreciate their surroundings, regardless of where they live, and have a new appreciation for the plants in their backyard.
15. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle ─ Ages 1-3
This all-time classic children’s book may not be thought of as a science book, but it’s the perfect introduction to the science of caterpillars for young children. Follow the story of a brightly colored caterpillar who loves to eat. Watch as he hatches from an egg and eats his way through everything from an apple to a cherry pie. Once he’s too full to eat any more, he makes himself a cocoon, goes to sleep and wakes up a beautiful butterfly. The bright illustrations and simple text make it perfect for reading to a young child. It may begin as merely entertainment, but over time your child will learn the most simple version of a caterpillar’s lifecycle.
We hope that you’ve found the above list to be a helpful resource as you consider ways to get your child interested in science. At Science Explorers, we aim to demystify, inspire and explore the world of science with hands-on activities. To further engage your child in the wonders of science, consider summer camps, after-school clubs, field trips and other fun activities. We proudly offer these to children across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland!