Having decided it was that time of year – that is, book list time of year – I put my mind to thinking about the Your Kid’s Next Read community and the books they were requesting for their kids.
Science books, I decided. STEM books for kids of all ages.
And then, because it is that time of year – that is, the busy time of year – I put my mind to think about the BEST person to create such a book list – a list of books for kids who love science, and for those kids who might not know just how awesome science can be.
I immediately thought of Cristy Burne, author, science writer, science educator and fizzing ball of energy and enthusiasm.
I met Cristy a few years ago when we were both on the program for a literary festival and, well, she managed to convince me that science could be fun and cool, so clearly she has magical powers.
Most recently, I interviewed Cristy for the So You Want To Be A Writer podcast about the launch of her new series, Wednesday Weeks, which blends science and magic into a highly entertaining middle-grade adventure (listen here).
So I could think of no-one better to bring us a brilliant book list if you’re looking for STEM books – fiction and non-fiction – for a young reader. (Click the title of the book to discover more information or to purchase at Booktopia*)
Take it away Cristy!
21 STEM books for kids of all ages
I love science! Curiosity and creativity and thinking outside the box. Inventing new ideas. Stretching into the unknown.
Science books are having a bit of a moment right now, and if you have a kid who loves facts, or a kid who loves to wonder, or a kid who’s always asking questions, there’s a science-fuelled book for you.
I’ve been a science writer and communicator for 20 years (!!!)(already!?) and there’s nothing I love more than sparking and feeding young people’s passion for asking questions and discovering their world.
Whether I’m creating fact books (like Zeroes and Ones), or science-fantasy adventures (like the Wednesday Weeks series), or narrative non-fiction (like the Aussie STEM Stars series), I’m sharing my love of all things STEM. Science, technology, engineering and maths all need creativity, imagination, innovation and a strong sense of adventure.
Which is why STEM-based books are awesome!
Below is a short list of some great STEM-based books…
If your young readers are curious, if they love discovery and fun, if they feel like the world is a wide and incredible place, or if you want to inspire them to think about science and STEM in a different way … there’ll hopefully be something on this list of books for you:
A is for Australian Animals: a factastic tour by Frane Lessac
Bright and full of glorious animal facts, these alphabet books can be read again and again. To max out on cute, there’s also companion book Baby Australian Animals.
Backyard Bugs and Backyard Birds by Helen Milroy
With Backyard Beasties on the way, these gorgeous books are a brilliant introduction to the wonders of our own backyard. Author-illustrator Helen Milroy is Australia’s first Indigenous doctor.
Do Not Lick this Book by Idan Ben-Barak and Julian Frost
Good advice for all times (especially unprecedented). This funny and informative book is a fab introduction to the microscopic world of microbes.
Great White Shark by Claire Saxby and Cindy Lane
Swim with a great white mumma shark as she travels the ocean. A moving story full of empathy for (and learning about) this mysterious creature. The latest from the always-brilliant Claire Saxby (and a stunning debut for illustrator Cindy Lane).
Hold On! Saving the Spotted Handfish by Gina M Newton and Rachel Tribout
Full of cool biology and engagingly narrated by Handstand the handfish, this beautiful book celebrates a quirky and endangered species – and our efforts to save it from extinction.
Pretty much anything by Philip Bunting
From Superpower (about renewable energy) to Your Planet Needs You (about reducing waste). From The Gentle Genius of Trees to The Wonderful Wisdom of Ants. From We Go Way Back (about life on Earth began) to Me, Microbes and I (about life in and on you!) … there’s just so much to love.
Stellarphant by James Foley
Stellar wants to be an astronaut, but elephants aren’t allowed. A funny, multi-layered and topical adventure about reaching for the stars. Check out the Hall of Fame end paper for a true history of animals in space.
Book of Curious Birds by Jennifer Cossins
A beautiful encyclopaedia of quirky facts about dangerous, clever, fast, awkward, silly, massive and tiny birds. This is the latest in a luscious collection of books celebrating biology and conservation from author-illustrator Jennifer Cossins.
Brobot, Dungzilla, Gastronauts and Chickensaurus by James Foley
From robotics to dinosaurs to your gastrointestinal tract, these graphic novels slip science into the wacky fantasy adventures of Sally Tinker, the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve.
Eco Rangers series by Candice Lemon-Scott and Aśka
Exciting mystery series with strong environmental and conservation themes. Eco Rangers Ebony and Jay investigate mysteries, save injured animals and make a difference in their local environment.
Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda
Taking pop-up books to an extraordinary new level, this book is a treasure chest of dinosaur facts and history … and a brain-bending marvel of paper engineering.
Fish Kid series by Kylie Howarth
Part-kid, part-fish, Fish Kid is a superhero on a mission. These are exciting, easy-to-read adventures set in gorgeous island locations with real marine biology woven in.
Illustrated Encyclopedia series by Sami Bayly
Find the beauty in ‘ugly’ animals that never get the spotlight, tremble at the world’s most dangerous beasts, or get your grin on with peculiar animal pairs. These encyclopedias are packed with facts and compelling illustrations.
Rivertime, Rockhopping and Landing With Wings by Trace Balla
Utterly gorgeous graphic novels that you can read over and again, discovering new facts and details each time. These are brilliant stories featuring kids (and their adults) sharing time together in nature.
The First Scientists: Deadly Inventions and Innovations from Australia’s First Peoples by Corey Tutt and Blak Douglas
Celebrate and learn from Australia’s earliest innovators in this illustrated tour of cool facts and awesome innovations in astronomy, engineering, forensic science, chemistry, land management and ecology.
Aussie STEM Stars series published by Wild Dingo Press
Inspiring real-life stories of the childhoods and careers of some of Australia’s best scientists, engineers and mathematicians. These narrative non-fiction books are written in collaboration with the Australian scientists they feature.
Double Helix magazine published by CSIRO
A stalwart of science for kids since 1986, CSIRO’s science magazine is full of news, facts, articles, competitions and activities. Published eight times a year.
Plantastic! A to Z of Australian Plants by Catherine Clowes and Rachel Gyan
Full of facts, activities, accurate illustrations and a super-fun style, this guide shines light on the native plants we encounter every day in our parks, gardens and bushlands.
Under the Stars: Astrophysics for Bedtime by Lisa Harvey-Smith and Mel Matthews
One for the star-gazers! Explore the solar system, marvel at the universe and learn loads about astronomy at the same time. Accessible and wonderful and mysterious.
Wednesday Weeks series by Denis Knight and Cristy Burne
Science meets magic in these hilarious fantasy adventures. Everyday STEM helps our heroes escape wardrobe mazes or battle a fierce laundry kraken. Bonus at-home science activities in the back of each book.
Zeroes and Ones: The geeks, heroes and hackers who changed history by Cristy Burne
Weird facts and cool stories about the invention of computers, including the first computer game. This is a great book for kids who love technology. It’s also pretty funny (I think :-)).
She has also worked as a science circus performer, garbage analyst and atom-smashing reporter at CERN, but her all-time favourite job is working with kids to embrace the intersection between science, technology and creativity.
Find out more at cristyburne.com