The best books for siblings and scientists

Who am I?

I’ve been an elementary school teacher for 14 years. In that time, I’ve read a lot of children’s books. In my classroom, science is one of my students’ favorite subjects. Though they love fantasy and magic, they are inspired by the power of science. Each of the books I’ve recommended is part of my classroom library, is used in a read-aloud or as a mentor text in writing lessons. My students connect with the characters and experience the marvels of science along with them. These books are some of their favorites.

I wrote...

What the Wind Can Tell You

By Sarah Marie Jette,

Book cover of What the Wind Can Tell You

What is my book about?

Isabelle is fascinated by wind. And this year, she's determined to win the middle school science fair with her wind machine. She's just as determined to have her brother, Julian, who has a severe form of epilepsy and uses a wheelchair, serve as her assistant. But after Julian has a grand seizure, everything changes. Isabelle is suddenly granted entry into Las Brisas, a magical world where Julian's physical limitations disappear, and one, she discovers, that he visits every night. The more Isabelle explores Las Brisas, the more possibilities she sees―for Julian, and for herself―and the more she finds herself at odds with her parents.

Debut author Sarah Marie A. Jette has told, with remarkable insight and humor, a powerful story of a family struggling to love without fear.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Down to Earth

Sarah Marie Jette Why did I love this book?

Betty Culley writes the most beautiful books. Down to Earth is about a boy named Henry who watches a meteor fall from the sky. It crashes onto the land owned by his family and causes some magical changes in his community. Some people fear it, others want to use the meteor for profit. As I read the book, I learned so much about meteors and nature, but also about love, family, and friendship.

By Betty Culley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Down to Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Counting by 7s meets See You in the Cosmos in this heartwarming coming-of-age story perfect for the budding geologists and those fascinated by the mysteries of the universe.

Henry has always been fascinated by rocks. As a homeschooler, he pours through the R volume of the encyclopedia (to help him identify the rocks he finds). So, when a meteorite falls in his family's field, who better to investigate than this rock enthusiast--with his best friend, James, and his little sister, Birdie, in tow, of course.

But soon after the meteorite's arrival, the water in Henry's small Maine town starts drying…

Book cover of Maya and the Robot

Sarah Marie Jette Why did I love this book?

Maya loves science and has been counting the days until she can present at the 5th grade science fair. However, it doesn’t turn out as she hopes… Presenting at the science fair may be the moment Maya has always dreamed of, but, the journey leading her there is a heart-warming adventure. Over the course of the story, Maya builds a robot, helps her friend Mr. Mac at his store, and navigates her first school year separated from her two best friends. Maya's love of science is contagious, as is the joy in this book.

By Eve L. Ewing, Christine Almeda (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Maya and the Robot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

From award-winning author Eve L. Ewing comes an illustrated middle grade novel about a forgotten homemade robot who comes to life just when aspiring fifth-grade scientist Maya needs a friend -- and a science fair project.

Maya's nervous about fifth grade. She tries to keep calm by reminding herself she knows what to expect. But then she learns that this year won't be anything like the last. For the first time since kindergarten, her best friends Jada and MJ are placed in a different class without her, and introverted Maya has trouble making new friends.

She tries to put on…

Book cover of The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole

Sarah Marie Jette Why did I love this book?

Stella is grieving the death of her father. When a black hole follows her home one day, Stella is able to hide away all the memories she hopes to forget. In this touching and funny tale, Stella and her brother come together in their sadness. Yes, it is a story of grief, but it is also a story centered on science. I learned a lot about black holes in this book and there’s enough space jokes and puns to keep all space nerds laughing for days.

By Michelle Cuevas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

"So wait," said Cosmo. "If we go in that door, we might exit on the other side of the galaxy?"'
"I don't know," I said. "But we currently live in a tub in a black hole, so what do we have to lose?"

When eleven-year-old space mad Stella Rodriguez shows up at NASA to request that her recording be included in Carl Sagan's Golden Record, something unexpected happens: A black hole follows her home, and sets out to live in her house as a pet. The black hole swallows everything he touches, which is challenging to say the least -…

Book cover of We Dream of Space

Sarah Marie Jette Why did I love this book?

We Dream of Space is set in the month leading up to the Challenger disaster. The three main characters are siblings navigating their own troubles while their parents constantly fight. Each chapter is told from either Cash, Bird, or Fitch’s perspective. The siblings don’t seem to have a lot in common, besides their science teacher, Ms. Salonga, whose lessons center on the Challenger shuttle launch. When it seems like the siblings have lost themselves, and lost each other, they come together in the face of the tragedy. The story is layered with science. And the undeniable bond between Cash, Bird, and Fitch reads true.

By Erin Entrada Kelly,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked We Dream of Space as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A Newbery Honor Book * BookPage Best Books * Chicago Public Library Best Fiction * Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee * Horn Book Fanfare * New York Times Notable Children's Book * School Library Journal Best Book * Today Show Pick * An ALA Notable Book

"A 10 out of 10 . . . Anyone interested in science, sibling relationships, and friendships will enjoy reading We Dream of Space."-Time for Kids

Newbery Medalist and New York Times-bestselling author Erin Entrada Kelly transports readers to 1986 and introduces them to the unforgettable Cash, Fitch, and Bird Nelson Thomas in this pitch-perfect middle…

Book cover of Black Brother, Black Brother

Sarah Marie Jette Why did I love this book?

Black Brother, Black Brother doesn’t have science as its main focus, unless you consider the sport of fencing as a science. I’m including this book because of the complexity of the sibling relationship. Trey is white, popular, and athletic. Donte is black and bullied at his school. Even though they share the same parents (Civil Rights lawyer mom and, and computer architect dad), their experiences in school and in the world are completely different because of their skin color. Dante finds his place, his confidence, and himself when he takes up fencing with the help of an inspiring coach. 

I am half-Mexican. My siblings present as white, I do not. This story touched on the many complexities faced by siblings who are physically different -- as with me and my siblings, and with the characters in my book.

By Jewell Parker Rhodes,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Black Brother, Black Brother as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Donte wishes he were invisible. As one of the few black boys at Middlefield Prep, he feels as if he is constantly swimming in whiteness. Most of the students don't look like him. They don't like him either. Dubbed the "Black Brother," Donte's teachers and classmates make it clear they wish he were more like his lighter skinned brother, Trey. Quiet, obedient.

When an incident with "King" Alan leads to Donte's arrest and suspension, he knows the only way to get even is to beat the king of the school at his own game: fencing. With the help of a…

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The Alchemy Fire Murder: a Mary Wandwalker Mystery

By Susan Rowland,

Book cover of The Alchemy Fire Murder: a Mary Wandwalker Mystery

Susan Rowland Author Of The Alchemy Fire Murder: a Mary Wandwalker Mystery

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Part-time celt Modern alchemist Myth hunter Jungian

Susan's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A traditional mystery with a touch of cozy, The Alchemy Fire Murder is for those who like feisty women sleuths, Oxford Colleges, alchemy, strong characters, and real concerns like trafficking, wildfires, racism, and climate change. This book especially works for those fascinated by myth and witches in history. Read for a seventeenth-century alchemist in Connecticut, a lost alchemy scroll stuck in a California Museum, and a blizzard in Los Angeles.

Murder ensues when an intern is attacked after making a momentous discovery with Mary Wandwalker, an inexperienced detective commissioned to recover the treasure vital to the survival of her Oxford college, St Julian’s. When the young man’s brother is falsely accused, Mary has to step in.

The Alchemy Fire Murder: a Mary Wandwalker Mystery

By Susan Rowland,

What is this book about?

Former Archivist Mary Wandwalker hates bringing bad news. Nevertheless, she confirms to her alma mater that their prized medieval alchemy scroll, is, in fact, a seventeenth century copy. She learns that the original vanished to colonial Connecticut with alchemist, Robert Le More. Later the genuine scroll surfaces in Los Angeles. Given that the authentic artifact is needed for her Oxford college to survive, retrieving it is essential.

Mary agrees to get the real scroll back as part of a commission for her three-person Enquiry Agency. However, tragedy strikes in Los Angeles. Before Mary can legally obtain the scroll, a young…

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