The best books for inspiring your young scientist

The Books I Picked & Why

Starstruck: The Cosmic Journey of Neil Degrasse Tyson

By Kathleen Krull, Paul Brewer, Frank Morrison

Starstruck: The Cosmic Journey of Neil Degrasse Tyson

Why this book?

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson visited New York’s Hayden Planetarium for the first time when he was just nine years old and the stars grabbed him. In Starstruck, non-fiction master Kathleen Krull and co-author Paul Brewer use relatable incidents, like a family trip when young Neil sees the dazzling night sky and decides to give up his ambition to be a baseball player to become an astrophysicist. Concepts like the Big Bang Theory and the reclassification of Pluto are explained simply but intelligently. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s road from inspired boy to world acclaimed scientist wasn’t easy, but it’s hard to imagine any kid- or adult- who won’t be motivated by this star-crossed journey.


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Me... Jane

By Patrick McDonnell

Me... Jane

Why this book?

Not all scientists work in laboratories. Me...Jane tells the story of primatologist Jane Goodall, climbing trees with her stuffed chimp, Jubilee, and a tattered copy of Tarzan. Sepia-tinged spreads look like pages torn from young Jane’s science notebook, with everything from sketches of wings to notes from “Alligator Club” meetings. Jane’s path - spending time outdoors, reading about science and nature, and studying hard – will feel both commendable and achievable. When it was published Me… Jane received many well-deserved awards and accolades. This book deserves a spotlight on your young scientist’s bookshelf, too. 


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Beatrix Potter, Scientist

By Lindsay H. Metcalf, Junyi Wu

Beatrix Potter, Scientist

Why this book?

We all know Beatrix Potter wrote and illustrated Peter Rabbit and other children’s books, but how many people are aware that young Beatrix was a groundbreaking mushroom scientist? In Beatrix Potter, Scientist, Metcalf unveils the secret scientific side of Beatrix Potter, long before her books became classics. Beatrix studied all sorts of fungi, discovering a mushroom known as the Old Man Of The Woods, but as a female she was prohibited from presenting a scientific paper to London’s Linean Society. I love one of this book’s underlying messages, that someone can be an artist AND a scientist; there’s no need to choose one or the other. There’s also a terrific author’s note and strong supporting end matter for further study.


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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Picture Book Edition

By William Kamkwamba, Bryan Mealer, Elizabeth Zunon

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Picture Book Edition

Why this book?

Gorgeous collage by Elizabeth Zunon brings the Malawi drought and teenager William Kamkwamba’s engineering solution to life in the picture book version of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Multicultural and celebratory in tone, William’s curiosity and ingenuity take center stage, along with his engineering triumphs, while some of the harsh realities of Malawi’s famine, detailed in the adult edition of this title, are omitted. There is also a chapter book for elementary school readers and a Netflix film based on this title. Clearly, it’s a STEM story that’s perfect for any age.


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Awesome Science Experiments for Kids: 100+ Fun STEAM Projects and Why They Work

By Crystal Chatterton

Awesome Science Experiments for Kids: 100+ Fun STEAM Projects and Why They Work

Why this book?

Your kiddo is excited about science… now what? Science experiments at home don’t have to be hard or hazardous. Chrystal Chatterton’s Awesome Science Experiments uses ordinary household products or items that are very easy to find. The instructions are step by step and simple to follow. Best of all the concepts are, well, real science. Chatterton explains the ideas in understandable but authentic scientific language—no dumbing things down here. Best of all these projects are a lot of fun!


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