STEM subjects — science, technology, engineering, and math — are a crucial part of a child’s education both now and in the future. Books on STEM offer endless opportunities for engaged learning. They invite children to see the world differently and to think in new ways about what they observe. They also help by celebrating convergent and divergent thinking, analysis and creativity, persistence, and the sheer joy of figuring things out. Here is a list of some STEM books to help you involve even the youngest children in the process of STEM thinking, spark excitement, teach something new, and make STEM accessible to your children.
STEM books to make Science and Technology Fun for Children
These books explore problems and possible solutions in the scientific world and, where applicable, in the lives of the protagonists. Instead of focusing on specific content, they emphasize real-world issues that cross disciplinary boundaries.
STEM picture books (for ages 3-8)
This book is a wonderful way to introduce kids to Lilavati, the great mathematician from a millennium ago. In this story, Lilavati does what no other brain in the kingdom could do – she succeeds in calculating the weight of the king’s favorite elephant. This book introduces the theory of displacement of liquids – the Eureka principle. The story successfully expounds two issues. One is the scientific principle and the other, it encourages children to think out of the box. Just like Lilavati, who was one of the earliest mathematicians of India! As a bonus are the notes on other famous women scientists. Women who not only dared to dream big but also became trailblazers of their times.
Nobel Laureate Dr. C.V. Raman loved the universe, loved science and loved speaking to children. Extracted from a famous lecture, this book is a creative new look at science. Dr. C.V. Raman loved the universe, loved science, loved speaking to children. In this extraordinary book conceived by two creative minds, the eminent scientist and Nobel Prize winner urges readers to look around, observe nature, and ask questions. This gives the book a feeling of action, as though Dr. C.V. Raman is actually speaking, moving his hands about and forcefully making his points. The pictures, the talk, the introduction, crisp timeline listing milestones, the anecdotes, and a simple explanation of the Raman Effect all combine to capture the essence of a multifaceted man who was an inspiring example of the scientific spirit.
An imaginative look at the life of scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose through the eyes of his friend, the plant Mimosa Pudica. The comic book format packs in a punch, with dashes of humor and doses of quick information.In the early 20th century, after making pathbreaking innovations in wireless communication, pioneering scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose (J.C. Bose) turned to the world of plants. In this first-of-its-kind comic book, the maverick scientist’s journey is imagined through the eyes of Mimosa Pudica — the ‘touch-me-not’ plant he used extensively in his research. Extracts from a well-known speech and an entry from Bose’s own journal offer a direct glimpse into a fascinating mind. A crisp timeline gives an overview of his life, while humorous asides and quick facts pack in a punch.
Maya Lin by Jeanne Walker Harvey
This book deals with a different way of seeing the problem defined and tested in an architectural way. The bold story of Maya Lin, the visionary artist-architect who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. As a child, Maya Lin loved to study the spaces around her. She explored the forest in her backyard, observing woodland creatures, and used her house as a model to build tiny towns out of paper and scraps. The daughter of a clay artist and a poet, Maya grew up with art and learned to think with her hands as well as her mind. From her first experiments with light and lines to the height of her success nationwide, this is the story of an inspiring American artist: the visionary artist-architect who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Rosie Revere Engineer, Iggy Peck Architect and Ada Twist Scientist by Andrea Beaty
These 3 books are about not being afraid to be different, especially when being different is amazing. Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal, Rosie knows what she has to do. Iggy’s parents are proud of his fabulous creations, though they’re sometimes surprised by his materials. When his second-grade teacher declares her dislike of architecture, Iggy is challenged to show his classmates how wonderful Architecture really is. Like her classmates, builder Iggy and inventor Rosie, scientist Ada has a boundless imagination and has always been hopelessly curious. Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose? When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it’s up to her to find the source.
Infinity and Me by Kate Hosford, Gabi Swiatkowska (Illustrator)
Uma can’t help feeling small when she peers up at the night sky. She begins to wonder about infinity. Is infinity a number that grows forever? Is it an endless racetrack? Could infinity be in an ice cream cone? Uma soon finds that the ways to think about this big idea may just be . . . infinite.
Awesome Dawson by Chris Gall
Dawson is an amazing little boy who invents new things from other people’s trash. Dawson is just like other children who try to find ways to get out of their chores so he can get back to the important work of play. He’s one step ahead of most kids though and invents a robot to take care of this chores, but things don’t go as awesome as he hoped. That’s when he must re-invent himself into a superhero to save the day. I really love this book and how inspiring it is for kids exploring the idea of invention and tinkering.
Fraidyzoo by Thyra Heder
This is a wonderfully creative book about a family who creates zoo themed costumes from A-Z in an attempt at guessing which animal at the zoo their youngest child is afraid of. The homemade costumes captures the spirit of the maker mentality and after reading this with my daughter she was off to create her own. Perfect right? The book is also a really great lesson about fears and how your family can be your support if you allow them to.
Monkey with A Tool Belt and The Noisy Problem by Chris Monroe
This is a hilarious book about a monkey who is not only handy with his tools, he is also a fantastic problem solver. The perfect combination to demonstrate to young readers what STEM is all about. He creates, builds, and fixes the noisy problem. This whole series of books are fantastic and the author-illustrator is a genius at combining a fun story with illustrations that will suck kids in. Do not try to read this in a hurry because each page deserves a long long look at every single detail.
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
This is an important addition to this list because while the end product is important, this story focuses on the process of creating, and failing. Making amazing things is awesome but it’s not always an easy road and this book tackles the idea that failing, and trying again is part of the creation process.
STEM books (Ages 7-12)
Ada Lace Sees Red by Emily Calandrelli with Tamson Weston Illustrated by Renée Kurilla
This is a brand-new chapter book series about an eight-year-old girl with a knack for science, math, and solving mysteries with technology. The book starts with a personal problem for a young girl who is struggling with her art project. It turns out she is color-blind and ultimately uses STEM skills to succeed. Ada Lace is building a new robot! She’s determined to beat Milton in the upcoming robotics competition. But she’s distracted—Ada finds her dad’s art class impossible, while Nina is the star of the class, basking in the glory of being Mr. Lace’s star pupil. When Mr. Lace suggests that Nina put on an art show, Ada becomes jealous and loses her temper. Now Ada isn’t speaking to her dad, she’s falling behind in art class, and she still doesn’t know how to fix her robot. As the competition looms closer, Ada starts to wonder if there might be a way to use both science and art to solve her problems.
Caroline’s Comets by Emily Arnold McCully
This book has both STEM problem-solving and the societal barriers for a woman in astronomy as she worked to make discoveries on her own. Caroline Herschel was not only one of the greatest astronomers who ever lived but also the first woman to be paid for her scientific work. She and her brother shared a passion for stars, and together they built the greatest telescope of their age, working tirelessly on star charts. Using their telescope, Caroline discovered fourteen nebulae and two galaxies, was the first woman to discover a comet and became the first woman officially employed as a scientistby no less than the King of England! The information from the Herschels star catalogs is still used by space agencies today.
Finding Wonders by Jeannine
Told in prose, this is an important middle-grade read about three young ladies who defied what others told them they had to do and committed their lives to science and discovery. Based on three very real women, we are told about how Maria Merian refused to believe the lies about moths and discover where they really came from, combining her love for art in the process. We see how Mary Anning worked relentlessly despite her family’s hardships to uncover fossils of some never before seen prehistoric beings. We watch as Maria Mitchell takes her love for the night sky and excels through life and never stops seeking answers. This is important for young readers because, the lack of women in science, despite how important they have been through history. As STEM programs grow, so should the women’s roles in scientific discoveries. This book combines art and science, showing that you don’t have to give up one for the other.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba, Bryan Mealer, Elizabeth Zunon (Illustrator)
When fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba’s Malawi village was hit by a drought, everyone’s crops began to fail. Without enough money for food, let alone school, William spent his days in the library . . . and figured out how to bring electricity to his village. Persevering against the odds, William built a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps, and thus became the local hero who harnessed the wind. Lyrically told and gloriously illustrated, this story will inspire many as it shows how — even in the worst of times — a great idea and a lot of hard work can still rock the world.
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
A charmingly illustrated and educational book, Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of STEM from the ancient to the modern world. Full of striking, singular art, this fascinating collection also contains infographics about relevant topics such as lab equipment, rates of women currently working in STEM fields, and an illustrated scientific glossary. The trailblazing women profiled include well-known figures like primatologist Jane Goodall, as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, the African-American physicist, and mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists, and more!
Famous STEM Inventors by Sumita Mukherjee
Famous STEM Inventors is an exciting collection of stories of young inventors and how they invented new things such as glowing paper, the surfboard, ear muffs, the television, the popsicle and more. It includes the engineering design process behind every invention to encourage children to understand the methods of inventing anything new. The book also contains prompts which inspire kids to design and create their own new gadget or useful thing.
These are just a few of the wide array of STEM books that are available. Go on and encourage STEM education and instill a love of learning in your children! Try out some cool STEM projects and build bridges, towers, dams, or ramps and simple machines. Be it skateboard parks or wind farms, many inventions started with an idea and a plan. Most importantly, they all started with a person who wasn’t willing to give up on his or her idea. Check out these STEM Books for Hands on learning.
Help your children to get excited about learning with these workshops and courses that are STEM-based.
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