science book list for kids

Great Science Books for Kids

Please welcome Erica from What Do We Do All Day?, a blog that always inspires me. There’s a big push now for non-fiction in the Common Core Curriculum and I am afraid that if we, as parents, don’t introduce non-fiction books to our kids that enchant them, they could be turned off by the onslaught of “boring” non-fiction they will be forced to read at school.

Non-fiction, however, when matched up to a child’s interest can be a great motivator in getting them to read. Erica offers up great science books for kids! I hope you find some ideas here for your child’s summer reading list.


Do your kids love science and learning about facts? Science picture books are a lovely way for kids to explore their favorite subjects and to discover something new.

At What Do We Do All Day? I share a book list (almost) every Monday, and even though my older son loves non-fiction books, I have made very few lists featuring fact-based books. That is probably a reflection of my own interests, so I am extra excited to be able to share with Pragmatic Mom’s followers this list of science picture books my boys have really enjoyed!

This book list is a hodgepodge and mishmash of all different science topics, so I hope you will find something that is a good fit for your child’s interests. If you have any favorite science picture books, please leave a comment here on this post. We love to get recommendations!

A Seed Is Sleepy. Author/illustrator team Dianna Hutts Aston and Slyvia Long have created a series of gorgeous books about natural wonders which turn kids’ attentions to the beauty of the small miracles of nature. Also discover: A Rock Is Lively,An Egg Is Quiet and A Butterfly Is Patient.

All the Water in the World. Poetry in motion, just like rushing, trickling, dripping water, this book about the cycle of water will fascinate your kids. Lots of facts about where water comes from, where it goes and why we need it are eloquently communicated through gorgeous watercolors and poetry.

Redwoods. A truly imaginative book, my 8 year old loved this one, and not just because the hero starts out on the F train! (That’s in NYC, for you non-New Yorkers!) When he exits the station, he finds himself in a redwood forest, where he explores the wonder of the earth’s oldest trees. Chin skillfully blends fantasy and facts. Also check out Chin’s Island: A Story of the Galápagos and Coral Reefs.

Just Ducks! I really appreciate science books which demonstrate the wonders of nature in an urban environment. A young girl with a healthy affection for her city’s duck population gives the reader lots of ducky facts as she narrates a day spent with her feathered friends. This is the perfect pairing for the fiction classic, Make Way for Ducklings.

Growing Patterns. Gorgeous photographs and descriptions of mathematical patterns in flowers, shells and pine cones will fascinate kids who are already math lovers and may convert those who are skeptical. This book will probably inspire some very interesting nature walks with your kids!

Actual Size. Some animals we may never encounter except on the page. Illustrating the actual size of animals pretty brilliant. Of course that means only partial animal parts can be illustrated sometimes, like the eye of a giant squid. I won’t admit it out loud, but I may have been a little freaked out by the giant earthworm. Dino lovers will enjoy Prehistoric Actual Size.

Older Than the Stars. One of the best things about this book is that it can accommodate kids at different levels of scientific understanding. The origins and formation of the universe are told in a rhyming text with small asides that include more in depth knowledge for older kids.

Too Hot? Too Cold?: Keeping Body Temperature Just Right. This picture book is jam-packed with information about how animals and people keep warm or cool down. My 8 year old loved it.

Poop: A Natural History of the Unmentionable. It’s good to save the best for last, right? I’m just keeping it real here to tell you my boys love books about poo. This is one of their favs. You’ll learn a lot. More than you ever wanted.

Do any of these books fit with your kids’ favorite science subjects? What would you add to the list?


profile g+250 bw1 125Erica (aka “Mom and Kiddo”) is a SAHM to two very rowdy boys who love to read. She blogs at What Do We Do All Day? where she shares a new book list every Monday, including popular lists featuring chapter books for preschoolers, early chapter books and favorite classics by the decade. She also shares easy indoor activities that her kids have tested out in their tiny apartment and fun learning ideas for kids. You can connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest or Google+.

science book list for kids

Follow PragmaticMom’s board Science Fun on Pinterest.

Follow PragmaticMom’s board Best Non-Fiction for Kids on Pinterest.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. I hope your readers enjoy this list, Mia and thank you so much for having me on your blog!
    Erica recently posted…Ocean Coloring Page with Fish PuppetsMy Profile

  2. So many wonderful books on this list – love it!

    May I suggest a few more of my own favorites?



    A LEAF CAN BE by Laura Salas

    Happy reading!
    Cathy Ballou Mealey recently posted…Bookcase BuddiesMy Profile

  3. Giora

    Nice list of books and I’m going to look for Redwoods in my bookstore, nice concept.

  4. Awesome round up. I need to add more nonfiction to our home library. My boys always love nonfiction choices, but I’m such a fiction lover, I forget to add it in. Definitely checking out some of these.
    Jackie Higgins recently posted…Word Work Activities featured on Mom’s LibraryMy Profile

  5. Jeanette Nyberg

    Great list, Erica! I’ve pinned it for reference. We’ll especially enjoy digging into the poop book…yay!
    Jeanette Nyberg recently posted…Make A Mini Art Museum BookMy Profile

  6. Lovely recommendations for the younger set!
    Roshni recently posted…A haiku (or three) for the Write TribeMy Profile

  7. Elle Carter Neal

    It’s funny how most children are so interested in everything and anything, until it’s force-fed them at school (or home). My 4 year old devours non-fiction and fiction alike – he can’t get enough of stories and information. I really hope I can keep his enthusiasm going.

    Thanks for the great post, Erica.
    Elle Carter Neal recently posted…The Cone-Shaped Pointed Hats Worn by Princesses in Fairytales…My Profile

  8. Erin

    Oh dear! Teachers do not go out of their way to make learning about or using non-fiction texts boring. Most of us have kids so we are more aware of what kinds of non-fiction our kids and thus our students might be interested in. My personal class library is the largest in the school (I am a bit of a book nut! okay not a bit…a HUGE book nut) and most of it is non-fiction because that is what my students seem to ask for. Of course it helped that I have two Discovery Channel loving boys at home who also love a good non-fiction book and often continue to explore the topic after the book is finished. A lot of the books made their way into my class library when my boys were finished with them. There are a lot of books that are a mix of fiction and non-fiction out there that capture student attention and that teachers, like myself use as introductions to various units. Perhaps how a child views a particular genre depends on how a parent, teacher or even their friends perceive it or present it. I love books…all types of books and I think that is why my students and my sons do too! I have learned about every plane in the air force, how cruise ships are made, all about old castles and knights, different cultures, artists, how to hot rod an old car and gross anatomy all because my sons and my students were interested in these things. Not every child will enjoy fiction or non-fiction and not every child will like to read–that is inevitable. Please, don’t insinuate that that is the fault of their teachers or even the education system. Many teachers try to make learning interesting, engaging, student driven when possible and inquiry based if possible. And I do not know many teachers who don’t spend time looking for quality non-fiction and fiction books or magazines to inspire and hook their students’ interest in learning various topics. I am thrilled that you and other parents take such a deep interest in your child’s learning and in inspiring them to love books of all kinds and to go beyond the book and explore further. Kudos to you and keep on doing it! I LOVE this blog for this reason and have passed it on to several friends of mine both teachers and non-teachers. I would give you my list of favourite non-fiction books but it is too long for as my students say, “Mrs. M…EVERY book is your favourite!” and well, that is almost true.

    Happy reading! Thanks for the list of books, I will definitely be adding a few to my class library this year.

    • Hi Erin,
      I agree with you that the key to making non fiction exciting for kids is to match interest with individual child. One of my kids is learning how to read non fiction for the MCAS test through non fiction magazine that all the kids have to read and analyze. She hates this because she has no interest in the stories and that was my concern. This has really turned her off non fiction as well.

      I also think that these wild swings in education policy do more harm than good. Making non fiction more of a priority over fiction seems very short sighted to me but this is being done in the United States currently, in theory, to help our kids succeed in an international knowledge based economy. Honestly, a better approach would be to have foreign language, music and art mandatory in elementary school curriculum rather than an emphasis on reading captions below images in non fiction 2 page stories. This approach is necessary for scoring well on the MCAS test.

      I agree with you that kids need to be taught a love of reading and so many wonderful teachers do that by going above and beyond the call of duty. I often see a teacher at my elementary school at the public library with a child from her class as she steers the kid around the children’s section in search of books to get that kid excited to read. I can tell you are one of those teachers!

      I would love your list of favorite non fiction books! It’s a area of weakness for me personally.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Rising Kindergarten Summer Reading ListMy Profile

  9. Ann

    Great theme and list! I love to find nonfiction, science picture books. There are a few from this list we like too and a few I am adding to our list. Thanks Pragmatic Mom for introducing us to Erica too. Followed her all over!
    Ann recently posted…Make a SplashMy Profile

  10. This is such a fantastic book list! My son would much rather read factual books than fiction, but I miss the story books! Usually, the books he chooses are very dense in info and light on pictures, which I’m not a huge fan of for bedtime. Haha! I think these would make us both happy.
    Joyce recently posted…Water Safety Tips for KidsMy Profile

  11. Erica, your book lists are the best!!
    Thanks Mia and Erica both for sharing this with the Kid Lit Blog Hop!
    Katie recently posted…Kid Lit Blog Hop #20My Profile

  12. What a great list. We love reading nonfiction and we recently borrowed Just Ducks from the library and adored it.I host a weekly nonfiction link up, called Keeping it Real, and I hope you can share your book list with us.
    Melissa recently posted…Review of The Very Brave Bear and Boris Buffalo maskMy Profile

  13. Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews

    Great list of recommendations Erica! Where were you 5 years ago when my kids were little? lol Thanks for sharing your post in the Kid Lit Blog Hop Mia! 🙂
    Renee recently posted…Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Charis – Journey to Pandora’s JarMy Profile

  14. JR Rosales

    Please recommend more Science and Math related picture books!

    Thanks. 🙂

  15. Katie McLaren

    hay…..this is i guess best list ..great collection.

  16. Teresa Townsell

    Youch!!! to what was written in your blog, “I am afraid that if we, as parents, don’t introduce non-fiction books to our kids that enchant them, they could be turned off by the onslaught of “boring” non-fiction they will be forced to read at school.” This comment seems too sweeping, critical and inaccurate. I thought the counter-response given in an earlier comment covered my thoughts perfectly; thank you to her.


    • Hi Teresa,
      I’m sorry that offended you. I was referencing these non-fiction short magazines that my kids read in school as part of Common Core Standardized Test Prep. My kids read them and then answer questions modeled after standardized tests and they HATE these magazines. I understand that it’s important for them to get the test format; that they have to read the captions under the photos but they find it boring and a turnoff. And the magazines are non-fiction pieces. But I do think that it’s important when it comes to nonficton to match up your child’s interest (which the magazines do not do). I think when you do that, nonfiction is magical and gets kids reading.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Very Short Science Videos for KidsMy Profile

  17. Teresa Townsell

    Hi there! Thank you for your reply. I think we can all agree that there are a lot of wonderful books out there. I’ve made a push for about the last 6-7 years to get more non-fiction into my second grade classroom. As you might imagine non-fiction at that reading level can be challenging to find, especially on a teacher’s budget. However, I did get an Audubon Society grant a couple years ago; buy books from our book guy; order many books through Scholastic; and frequent the thrift stores. I do have higher level non-fiction books for different science and social studies units. If children want to read those further they take them home in their “Read to Me” bag. I would be the first to commend parents who read to their children and make reading an important part of family life. I work hard during the year to encourage a routine of reading. It is disheartening to check with children in September and hear, “No. I didn’t read anything this summer.” Or, to hear parents say, “We meant to get to reading.” After all, “readers” don’t wait for a jump start to begin reading in the summer. They just continue their reading routine. So, to the parents out there helping their children engage with books . . . thank you!

    • Hi Teresa,
      Our elementary school tends to assign summer reading which is great. Last year it was five books in different genres plus a book project. I liked how the different genres forced my son out of his usual choices (Riordan, Riordan and Timmy Failure). I had purchased Salt a few years back for his older sisters but they didn’t read it. We read it and it’s a great non fiction title about how Salt played such a huge role in history.

      This summer, my son has to read 4 Just Right For Me Books. I’m hoping to get that number up a little higher. He’s reading Bible story book told via Minecraft Graphic Novel which is so clever and really the only way to get him to read Bible stories! We are finishing up Cosmic which my son says doesn’t count because we started it before school got out. He loved The Candymakers by Wendy Mass and this is a similar plot but in space instead of a candy factory. He will read Riordan’s newest Percy Jackson Heroes book as soon as it comes out. He is racing through My Life as a Gamer. I am hoping he will try out Teach Your Kids to Code which is nonfiction about how to program in Python. He’s currently learning Java through Minecraft at summer camp. I bought him Neal Shusterman’s The Schwa Was Here. We read one of his short stories in a Guys Read book and he’s such a great writer. That might be pushing him though… not sure if he will read it.

      You remind me to add in more nonfiction though so thank you! I’m going to scoot him by that section at the bookstore to see what catches his eye. He’s not really into anything but gaming right now. The National Geographic Alamanac for Kids 2015 was a hit last summer. I might pull that out again or find something similar from that series. He does love the 100 Most XX series.

      Some biographies would be nice too. I have a stash of picture book biographies which we can read together. They “won’t count” because he will deem them too easy but I think he will enjoy them. I’d love to add in some folk tales too. I have a Vietnamese book and a few other Asian folk tale books on my desk. I might ask him to “review” them for me.

      It takes some sneakiness to my son reading, especially out of his usual authors. I’m glad you are getting your students excited about reading in your classroom! It’s teachers like you who make such a huge difference!! Thank you!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Very Short Science Videos for KidsMy Profile

  18. Teresa Townsell

    Thank you for all your kind words. What grade is your son in? I only ask to see what a boy of his age is choosing to read. You have listed books I need to check out! I want to ask you about different genres. To say that my classroom has a lot of books would be an understatement; my classroom has jokingly been called -The Library Annex-. The children take home books to read every night. Every fifth book has to be nonfiction, a biography or folk fairy tale. (Theoretically all five of their books could come from these categories.) What other genre do you think might warrant special marking/recognition/promotion? (For example: we talk about fantasy fiction and realistic fiction, but I do not have them keep track of which of those they read.) I have lots of non-fiction-fairy-folk tales, but have only started really collecting biographies this last year; it is hard to find biographies at a primary level. I am interested in your suggestions. Then, I thought I would share with you some of the other ways I promote reading. There is a -Reading Club-every month: September: Clifford; October: Henry and Mudge, etc. I have a spinner of many of the beginning chapter books. Students are given a -Read to Me- zip-lock bag to keep in their -Take Home Folder-; I think parents tend to ignore books that are loose in a backpack. This way the parent and child know it is a book to be shared. These books are often the books I read aloud (promoted) and often above a child’s reading level (so sharing is a great way to reinforce the story). I have a list of classic chapter books (Henry and Ribsy; My Side of the Mountain) that I send home letting the parents know they may borrow the books from me. Finally, I have just put up a -Little Free Library- at my house! I live about 3 minutes from my school, and so everyone drives by it. I am so excited; I am still waiting for the sign, but did make it in two local papers. Thanks for sharing, and letting me share in return.

    • Hi Teresa,
      Wow, your classroom library sounds amazing! My son is 10 years old and will be in 5th grade this September. He’s currently reading Percy Jackson Hereos which should conclude his summer reading assignment for his 5th grade teachers: 4 books with a small paragraph summary. Whew! I think we will barely make it. Officially, the other books are: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (first one), A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass and My Life as a Gamer by Janet Tashjian.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Back to School with Tyson A+ Fun NuggetsMy Profile

  19. Teresa Townsell

    Could not send you the newspaper articles on my Little Free Library; kept getting the message “too many URLS”. Anyway, if interested, in google use the words: TeeTee’s cottage, Little Free Library”. You’ll get the facebook page which contains both articles!

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge