The best books about scientists

Who picked these books? Meet our 106 experts.

106 authors created a book list connected to scientists, and here are their favorite scientist books.
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The Vast Wonder of the World

By Mélina Mangal, Luisa Uribe (illustrator),

Book cover of The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just

Laura Gehl Author Of Who Is a Scientist?

From the list on introducing real scientists to children.

Who am I?

I am a former science teacher and science writer with a PhD in neuroscience. I have published thirty books for young readers, many with scientific themes. In elementary school, I was amazed by seeing pond water under a microscope. In high school, I sat in biology class feeling like my brain might explode from realizing how incredible it is that trillions of tiny cells work together to make up our bodies. I want to help my young readers find the same joy in connecting with science that I did, and to have that same feeling that their brains might explode—in a good way—from learning new, astonishing information.

Laura's book list on introducing real scientists to children

Discover why each book is one of Laura's favorite books.

Why did Laura love this book?

Ernest Everett Just said, “The egg cell is also a universe.” Reading those words gives me chills. This book showcases the same wonders that amazed me when I first began studying biology, and which I later tried to show my own students as a biology teacher. At the same time, this is the story of a scientist who persevered despite racism and discrimination. While the text and illustrations will appeal even to very young readers, the back matter gives more in-depth information about Just’s research, perfect for older kids.

By Mélina Mangal, Luisa Uribe (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Vast Wonder of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A must-purchase picture book biography of a figure sure to inspire awe and admiration among readers."―School Library Journal (starred review)

Extraordinary illustrations and lyrical text present pioneering African American scientist Ernest Everett Just.

Ernest Everett Just was not like other scientists of his time. He saw the whole, where others saw only parts. He noticed details others failed to see. He persisted in his research despite the discrimination and limitations imposed on him as an African American. His keen observations of sea creatures revealed new insights about egg cells and the origins of life.

Through stunning illustrations and lyrical prose,…

The Invisible Man

By H.G. Wells,

Book cover of The Invisible Man

Robin Friedman Author Of Nothing

From the list on classics that expose the cruelty of society.

Who am I?

I am one of those people who always feels sorry for the monster at the end of the movie. I am always more disturbed by the avenging townspeople’s bloodlust than the monster’s destructiveness. At a deeper level, for me these horror stories actually depict compassion, acceptance, and the hysteria whipped up by self-righteous mobs. They are books with very dark themes, and they generally do not have happy endings, but rather than being depressing, I find them instructive, even enriching, and certainly valuable. More than anything, they show me – in bloody detail  the terrifying limits of conformity.

Robin's book list on classics that expose the cruelty of society

Discover why each book is one of Robin's favorite books.

Why did Robin love this book?

Similar in vein, a more opaque story than Frankenstein, and with a more indeterminate morality surrounding the main character, who is, after all, a crackpot murderer, but eliciting perhaps the same complex reactions toward him and the other characters at the book’s tragic ending. 

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Invisible Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

H. G. Wells was one of the founders of science fiction and his novels have remained extremely popular since they were first released.

Minerva's French Sisters

By Nina Rattner Gelbart,

Book cover of Minerva's French Sisters: Women of Science in Enlightenment France

Kathleen Wellman Author Of Queens and Mistresses of Renaissance France

From the list on women in early modern France.

Who am I?

As a historian of early modern France and a professor at Southern Methodist University, I have taken students to Paris on a study abroad program for more than twenty summers. Students were invariably intrigued by the relationship of Henry II, Catherine de Medici, and Diane de Poitiers. The young prince married Catherine de Medici at the age of fourteen but the thirty-six-year-old Diane de Poitiers became his mistress when he was sixteen and remained so for the rest of his life. The complexities of that relationship and the significance of both women led me to conclude that the history of the Renaissance could be told through the lives of the queens and mistresses.

Kathleen's book list on women in early modern France

Discover why each book is one of Kathleen's favorite books.

Why did Kathleen love this book?

This book focuses on another group of influential women. They are six women of significant scientific accomplishment who have been almost entirely written out of history. Through painstaking research, Gelbart brings these women vividly to life. She reveals their extensive scientific work and significant accomplishments as well their influence on male scientists and intellectuals. She also notes the obstacles they faced and the sacrifices they made to do their work.

The reader walks with Gelbart through the streets of Paris as she gives her figures a rich personal and professional context in time and space. She illuminates the scientific context of the Enlightenment by bringing these women into our historical understanding of the period. Her empathic treatment exposes the difficulties faced by women who pursued science, many of which continue to plague twenty-first-century female scientists.

By Nina Rattner Gelbart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Minerva's French Sisters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fascinating collective biography of six female scientists in eighteenth-century France, whose stories were largely written out of history

This book presents the stories of six intrepid Frenchwomen of science in the Enlightenment whose accomplishments-though celebrated in their lifetimes--have been generally omitted from subsequent studies of their period: mathematician and philosopher Elisabeth Ferrand, astronomer Nicole Reine Lepaute, field naturalist Jeanne Barret, garden botanist and illustrator Madeleine Francoise Basseporte, anatomist and inventor Marie-Marguerite Biheron, and chemist Genevieve d'Arconville. By adjusting our lens, we can find them.

In a society where science was not yet an established profession for men, much less…


By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,

Book cover of Frankenstein

Noreen Herzfeld Author Of The Artifice of Intelligence: Divine and Human Relationship in a Robotic Age

From the list on the dangerous future of AI.

Who am I?

I’m a theologian who started out as a computer scientist. Teaching classes on AI got me wondering, not just whether we’d ever be able to create a human-like AI, but why we wanted to do so in the first place. It seemed to me that computers were the most helpful when they did the things we are not very good at—crunching big calculations, or exploring Mars—stuff we can’t do. That got me thinking that there might be something spiritual going on, that in a world where we increasingly no longer believed in God or angels, we were lonely. That we didn’t want a tool but a companion.  

Noreen's book list on the dangerous future of AI

Discover why each book is one of Noreen's favorite books.

Why did Noreen love this book?

Who’d expect a book written almost 150 years before computers were invented to be one of the best books to help us think about AI? In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley explores how good motivations can quickly go bad.

Scientist Frankenstein builds a monster with the best of intentions yet fails to foresee what could go wrong and to take the necessary precautions when what he has produced does go wrong. Then he tries to duck responsibility, ending up futilely trying to stop things from getting worse in a desperate bid to stop a chain reaction of destruction. 

Sounds like Silicon Valley? Yup. This is a cautionary tale (and not at all like the Bela Lugosi movies) for our age.

By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,

Why should I read it?

38 authors picked Frankenstein as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World'

'That rare story to pass from literature into myth' The New York Times

Mary Shelley's chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley on Lake Geneva. The story of Victor Frankenstein who, obsessed with creating life itself, plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, but whose botched creature sets out to destroy his maker, would become the world's most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity. Based on the third…

The Alienist

By Machado De Assis,

Book cover of The Alienist

R.H. Emmers Author Of Lynerkim's Dance and Other Stories

From the list on stories you should read (but probably haven’t).

Who am I?

I’ve always been attracted to the overlooked, the obscure, the forbidden. Maybe it’s as simple as the fact I grew up in a time when it seemed natural to rebel against norms. Or maybe it’s that I inherited an oddball gene from some ancient ancestor. Anyway, it led me to interesting adventures—hanging out with a crew of gun runners in eastern Turkey—and interesting career choices—strike organizer, private detective, etc. It also shaped my reading and my writing. I read everything, but I’m particularly drawn to the quirkyGrendel, the fiction of Christine Rivera Garza for instance. And in my writing too: Lynerkim, the protagonist of my novella, is undoubtedly an odd duck.

R.H.'s book list on stories you should read (but probably haven’t)

Discover why each book is one of R.H.'s favorite books.

Why did R.H. love this book?

If you need inspiration to write strange stories, then read the Brazilian Machado de Assis. In his photos he looks like a prim and proper gentleman, giving no hint he wrote some of the whackiest fiction you’ll ever encounter—for example, one story is told from the perspective of a needle. The Alienist is a favorite. Bacamarte, a man devoted to science, opens an insane asylum in the town of Itaguaí, taking in the mentally ill. But his scientific mind leads him to the inevitable conclusion that he must also include healthy people who, according to his diagnosis, are about to go crazy. Soon, his asylum, Casa Verdi, accommodates the entire town. Then, in the ending of the story… Well, you’ll have to read it yourself to find out. 

By Machado De Assis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Alienist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A classic work of literature by “the greatest author ever produced in Latin America.” (Susan Sontag)
Brilliant physician Simão Bacamarte sacrifices a prestigious career to return home and dedicate himself to the budding field of psychology. Bacamarte opens the first asylum in Brazil hoping to crown himself and his hometown with “imperishable laurels.” But the doctor begins to see signs of insanity in more and more of his neighbors. . . .

With dark humor and sparse prose, The Alienist lets the reader ponder who is really crazy.


This is a Hybrid Book.

Melville House HybridBooks combine print and…

Obsessive Genius

By Barbara Goldsmith,

Book cover of Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie

Doug Macdougall Author Of Endless Novelties of Extraordinary Interest: The Voyage of H.M.S. Challenger and the Birth of Modern Oceanography

From the list on scientific discovery.

Who am I?

I’m a geoscientist and writer, and ever since my childhood explorations of the ponds, creeks, cliffs and forests of my native Ontario I’ve been fascinated with the natural world. During my PhD studies and subsequent academic career I’ve been fortunate to experience the thrill of experiment and discovery, and I’m passionate about communicating the wonders of science to others. I try to do that in my own books. Those I’ve recommended here, in my opinion, do it superbly. 

Doug's book list on scientific discovery

Discover why each book is one of Doug's favorite books.

Why did Doug love this book?

The ‘obsessive genius’ of the title is Marie Curie, the only woman to have won two Nobel Prizes. I love Goldsmith’s book because it humanizes Curie, starting with her childhood in Poland and progressing to her determination to someday become a scientist, the difficulties she faced as a woman seeking an education in Poland at the end of the nineteenth century, and finally the combination of serendipity, enduring curiosity and fierce determination that led to her groundbreaking discoveries about radioactivity, a word she is credited with coining.

By Barbara Goldsmith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Obsessive Genius as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Through family interviews, diaries, letters, and workbooks that had been sealed for over sixty years, Barbara Goldsmith reveals the Marie Curie behind the myth-an all-too-human woman struggling to balance a spectacular scientific career, a demanding family, the prejudice of society, and her own passionate nature. Obsessive Genius is a dazzling portrait of Curie, her amazing scientific success, and the price she paid for fame.

The Outside

By Ada Hoffmann,

Book cover of The Outside

Nick Walker Author Of Neuroqueer Heresies: Notes on the Neurodiversity Paradigm, Autistic Empowerment, and Postnormal Possibilities

From the list on neuroqueer speculative fiction.

Who am I?

My first passion, as a youngster, was speculative fiction—stories and comics that set the imagination ablaze with visions of wondrous possibilities and impossibilities. Later, my experiences of being queer, transgender, and autistic led me to an academic career in which I helped create the field of Neurodiversity Studies and something called Neuroqueer Theory (which is what you get when you mix Queer Theory and neurodiversity together and shake vigorously). These days I’m back to writing fiction, including the urban fantasy webcomic Weird Luck, and I’m thrilled to find myself part of an emerging wave of neuroqueer speculative fiction. Here are some of the best so far...

Nick's book list on neuroqueer speculative fiction

Discover why each book is one of Nick's favorite books.

Why did Nick love this book?

The Outside is a gripping sci-fi novel with a queer autistic protagonist, written by an autistic author who perfectly conveys the flavor of autistic thinking. This one’s set far in the future, in a galaxy-spanning theocracy ruled by powerful artificial intelligences that have set themselves up as gods. Scientist Yasira Shien has developed a brilliant new energy drive. The problem? Turns out the drive taps into an extradimensional reality called the Outside, which, true to its name, exists outside ordinary spacetime—and which is capable of spilling over catastrophically into the material world. Highly original world-building blended with classic space opera. Compelling characters and a plot that had me hooked all the way. Oh, and it’s the first book in a trilogy!

By Ada Hoffmann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Outside as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Autistic scientist Yasira Shien has developed a radical new energy drive on board The Pride of Jai that could change the future of humanity. But when she activates it, reality warps, destroying the space station and everyone left inside.

The Gods declare her work heretical, and Yasira is abducted by their agents. Instead of simply executing her, they offer mercy if she'll help them hunt down a bigger target: her mysterious, vanished mentor.

With her homeworld's fate in the balance, Yasira must choose who to trust: the Gods and their ruthless post-human angels, or the rebel scientist whose unorthodox mathematics…

Ship Fever

By Andrea Barrett,

Book cover of Ship Fever: Stories

Elise Blackwell Author Of Hunger

From the list on that lie to tell the truth.

Who am I?

Three of my five novels have largely tragic historical settings—the siege of Leningrad, the Great Flood of 1927, and Hurricane Katrina—and I’ve always been fascinated and awed by how people survive the things they do. The origin of “May you live in interesting times” is disputed, but undoubtedly it's more curse than blessing. I’m also just fascinated by the way writers bring real people and events to life in new ways. As the daughter of scientists, I’m often drawn to works of fiction that feature scientists, real or invented. 

Elise's book list on that lie to tell the truth

Discover why each book is one of Elise's favorite books.

Why did Elise love this book?

I’m the daughter of two scientists, and this book was deeply important to me when I first read it. It helped me understand my parents’ passion for and pursuit of botanical knowledge. Many of the characters in this collection (a novella and stories) are fictional botanists, but historical figures appear in several stories. For instance, “The English Pupil” features an elderly Carl Linnaeus and explores themes of botany and regret.

By Andrea Barrett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ship Fever as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The elegant short fictions gathered hereabout the love of science and the science of love are often set against the backdrop of the nineteenth century. Interweaving historical and fictional characters, they encompass both past and present as they negotiate the complex territory of ambition, failure, achievement, and shattered dreams. In "Ship Fever," the title novella, a young Canadian doctor finds himself at the center of one of history's most tragic epidemics. In "The English Pupil," Linnaeus, in old age, watches as the world he organized within his head slowly drifts beyond his reach. And in "The Littoral Zone," two marine…

The Lunar Men

By Jenny Uglow,

Book cover of The Lunar Men: A Story of Science, Art, Invention and Passion

Nicholas Hudson Author Of A Political Biography of Samuel Johnson

From the list on why the Enlightenment is the beginning of the modern world.

Who am I?

As a teacher and writer, I am a passionate believer in the ideals of the Enlightenment. In my understanding of these ideals, they include a belief in reason and honest inquiry in the service of humanity. More and more we need these ideals against bigotry, self-delusion, greed, and cruelty. The books recommended here are among those that helped to inspire me with continued faith in the progress of the human species and our responsibility to help each other and the world we live in.

Nicholas' book list on why the Enlightenment is the beginning of the modern world

Discover why each book is one of Nicholas' favorite books.

Why did Nicholas love this book?

What really attracted to me about this book was Jenny Uglow’s ability to bring the eighteenth century alive in her biographies of five men – Josiah Wedgwood, Mathew Boulton, James Watt, Eramus Darwin, and Joseph Priestley – who met every month near Birmingham when the moon was full (so that they could see their way home).

These men genuinely transformed the world with their discoveries that created and powered the first factories and revolutionized our understanding of the natural and chemical worlds. For some reason I always remember Uglow’s description of Wedgwood, who invented the process for mass producing china, being so scientifically curious that he insisted on sitting up to watch his own leg being amputated.

This book is a wonderful, personal introduction to the English Enlightenment.

By Jenny Uglow,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Lunar Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the 1760s a group of amateur experimenters met and made friends in the English Midlands. Most came from humble families, all lived far from the center of things, but they were young and their optimism was boundless: together they would change the world. Among them were the ambitious toymaker Matthew Boulton and his partner James Watt, of steam-engine fame; the potter Josiah Wedgwood; the larger-than-life Erasmus Darwin, physician, poet, inventor, and theorist of evolution (a forerunner of his grandson Charles). Later came Joseph Priestley, discoverer of oxygen and fighting radical.

With a small band of allies they formed the…

Perdido Street Station

By China Miéville,

Book cover of Perdido Street Station

Noah Lemelson Author Of The Sightless City

From the list on fantasy about weird and wonderful cities.

Who am I?

Growing up in Los Angeles, I am well familiar with strange, grotesque, illogical, and wonderful cities. My love of fantasy has always been for the odd ones out, less the bucolic farmlands and forest, more for those that present a twisted mirror of modern urban life. As an amateur lover of history, I love to study the evolution, mutation, and decay of cities. I find most interesting cities, in both real life and fantasy, to be those shaped by not one single culture, but by many over history and space.

Noah's book list on fantasy about weird and wonderful cities

Discover why each book is one of Noah's favorite books.

Why did Noah love this book?

New Crobuzon is a city as weird as its name sounds, inhabited by avian Garuda, cactus-skinned Cactacae, and the scarab beetle-headed Kephri, among many other fantastical creatures.

It’s a grimy city that if you squinted might just look a bit like Victorian-era London, albeit with more frog-people, airships, and statues crafted from harden spit. And at its center, the titular Perdido Street Station, a towering immense skyrail station, too large and labyrinthine to ever map out.

Miéville crafts a fantasy city unlike any other, plagued by government corruption, organized crime, and labor disputes, that makes New Crobuzon feel real and grounded, despite being one of the strangest cities ever put to ink.

By China Miéville,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Perdido Street Station as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the August Derleth award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Perdido Street Station is an imaginative urban fantasy thriller, and the first of China Mieville's novels set in the world of Bas-Lag.

The metropolis of New Crobuzon sprawls at the centre of its own bewildering world. Humans and mutants and arcane races throng the gloom beneath its chimneys, where the rivers are sluggish with unnatural effluent, and factories and foundries pound into the night. For more than a thousand years, the parliament and its brutal militia have ruled over a vast array of workers and artists, spies, magicians,…

The Scientist

By John C. Lilly,

Book cover of The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography

Christopher Rankin Author Of Ann Marie's Asylum

From the list on mad scientists both real and fictional.

Who am I?

Christopher Rankin is an author, the host of the Vanadium podcast on YouTube, and a scientist in the field of renewable materials. He was awarded a PhD in materials science from the University of Pennsylvania and holds several patents. A lifelong lover of science, Rankin hopes to encourage greater public interest and a broader understanding of technical subjects.

Christopher's book list on mad scientists both real and fictional

Discover why each book is one of Christopher's favorite books.

Why did Christopher love this book?

John Lilly, a Caltech and University of Pennsylvania trained doctor who also probed the murkiest waters of the psychedelic experience, was the inspiration for Dade Harkenrider in my book, Ann Marie’s Asylum. Lilly was a genius, who crossed over the edge more than once.

By John C. Lilly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Scientist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tells the story of John Lilly's discoveries from his early experiments; mapping the brains of monkeys and communication with dolphins, to his experience with consciousness expanding drugs. The book includes an update on Lilly's work on human/dolphin communication and returning animals to the wild.

My Dog Is Not a Scientist

By Betsy Ellor, Luisa Vera (illustrator),

Book cover of My Dog Is Not a Scientist

Helen H. Wu Author Of Long Goes to Dragon School

From the list on children’s reads about perseverance.

Who am I?

I’m a children’s book author, illustrator, translator, and book reviewer. I’m the author of Tofu Takes Time, illustrated by Julie Jarema, and Long Goes To Dragon School, illustrated by Mae Besom. I was born and raised in Hefei, China, and moved to the US in my 20s. Being fascinated by the differences and similarities between cultures, I love to share stories that empower children to understand the world and our connections. Children’s picture books have the potential to pass on the joy from generation to generation. As an art lover, I also find it very entertaining and soothing to simply enjoy the artwork of picture books. 

Helen's book list on children’s reads about perseverance

Discover why each book is one of Helen's favorite books.

Why did Helen love this book?

Yara is a girl with a passion for science who is determined to make new discoveries. The book has educational back matter explaining the scientific method of making new discoveries and lays out each step in the process clearly that young readers can follow. It will inspire children to start experimenting on their own. Like every good scientist, Yara starts with a question, makes observations, and comes up with a hypothesis... but each time she starts an experiment, her dog, Renzo, ruins it! Yara sets a great example for young readers to pursue scientific studies. In this humorous story, there is clear evidence that scientific method works as well for dogs as for people. 

By Betsy Ellor, Luisa Vera (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Dog Is Not a Scientist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A humorous, endearing story about a passionate, young scientist who is determined to achieve her goal--no matter what!

Yara is out to prove that she's the greatest scientist in town!

Her annoying neighbor Eddie always wins the Science Fair, but this year is going to be HER year. Like every good scientist, Yara starts with a question, makes observations, and comes up with a hypothesis . . . but each time she starts an experiment, her dog, Renzo, ruins it!

Could Renzo be up to something more than making trouble?

From Betsy Ellor and Luisa Vera comes a humorous, endearing…

The Kid Who Named Pluto

By Marc McCutcheon, Jon Cannell (illustrator),

Book cover of The Kid Who Named Pluto

Andrea Menotti Author Of How Many Jelly Beans?

From the list on math and science.

Who am I?

I’m a deeply curious person who has always loved the intersections of science and art, and the related intersection of the humanities and technology. I also have a passion for children’s books and have worked as both a writer and an editor, and as a developer of interactive apps and games based on children’s books. My latest book is a collaboration with one of my favorite childhood (and teenage) writing partners, Hena Khan. It’s an adventure where you get to make choices that turn you into a hero or a villain. It’s called Super You: The Power of Flight. I hope you’ll check it out!

Andrea's book list on math and science

Discover why each book is one of Andrea's favorite books.

Why did Andrea love this book?

I didn’t want to leave older children out of this list. This book would make a fantastic gift for a child who loves science but considers themselves “too old” for picture books. This beautifully illustrated chapter book features children who followed their curiosities and questions to real discoveries that helped the world! A very inspiring read.

By Marc McCutcheon, Jon Cannell (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Kid Who Named Pluto as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A collection of profiles of children and young adults whose scientific inventions made an impact on the world, including Louis Braille who discovered a way for the blind to read and write.


By Elizabeth Carney,

Book cover of Bears

Joan Holub Author Of Bears Are Best! The scoop about how we sniff, sneak, snack, and snooze!

From the list on bears with funny facts and friendship.

Who am I?

The truth? I’m scared of bears! But learning about them has helped me become a less fearful hiker. Turns out, bears spread seeds and salmon nutrients in their droppings. They also help maintain populations of prey species like deer. I don’t want those jobs. So, thank you, bears! The more kids learn about wildlife, the more comfortable they’ll be outdoors. And the better planet citizens they’ll become! Beyond bears, I’ve authored 200+ children’s books, writing everything from Greek Mythology take-offs (Goddess Girls middle grade series of 30 books) to math (Zero the Hero picture book) to a fractured fairy tale about how to write a story (Little Red Writing)!

Joan's book list on bears with funny facts and friendship

Discover why each book is one of Joan's favorite books.

Why did Joan love this book?

Carney’s book is part of the National Geographic Kids series, and is meant for independent, fluent readers.

So it’s for kids who are older than those who might read my bear book and the other books on my list. Still, Carney’s book is well-organized, interesting, and definitely worth a read.

If your cubs enjoy this one, consider trying another one in this National Geographic series—Ink!—by Stephanie Drimmer. After watching (aka sobbing my way through) the film My Octopus Teacher, I read Ink! to learn more about Octopuses.

By Elizabeth Carney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Get ready for a walk on the wild side in this image-packed book all about bears! Kids will learn about different kinds of bears, where they live, and what they do. This level 3 reader is written in an easy-to-grasp style to encourage the animal lovers of today and scientists of tomorrow!

The Clockwork Universe

By Edward Dolnick,

Book cover of The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World

Tamim Ansary Author Of The Invention of Yesterday: A 50,000-Year History of Human Culture, Conflict, and Connection

From the list on the human story as a single whole.

Who am I?

Tamim Ansary is the son of an Afghan father and an American mother.  As a writer, growing up in Afghanistan and growing old in America has drawn him to issues that arise from cultural confusion in zones where civilizations overlap. His books include histories and memoirs, which he considers two sides of the same coin: a memoir is history seen up close, history is memoir seen from a distance.  Much of his work explores how perspective shapes perceptions of reality—a central theme of his best-known book, Destiny Disrupted, A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes.

Tamim's book list on the human story as a single whole

Discover why each book is one of Tamim's favorite books.

Why did Tamim love this book?

Yes, yes, history is an unbroken river of themes, but it’s also a chain of pivotal dramatic episodes. Dolnick gives us one such moment. In 17th century Europe, within two generations, a collection of brilliant oddballs invented science. They’re people, so they’re doing the sorts of things people do, elbowing and shoving one another to find the ultimate truth before the other guy. I appreciate that in the course of reading such a wonderfully enjoyable story, I somehow learn a great deal about the truth they were seeking, the underlying mathematical order of the universe in which they believed.

By Edward Dolnick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Clockwork Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Edward Dolnick’s smoothly written history of the scientific revolution tells the stories of the key players and events that transformed society.” — Charlotte Observer

From New York Times bestselling author Edward Dolnick, the true story of a pivotal moment in modern history when a group of strange, tormented geniuses—Isaac Newton chief among them—invented science and remade our understanding of the world.

At a time when the world was falling apart— in an age of religious wars, plague, and the Great Fire of London—a group of men looked around them and saw a world of perfect order. Chaotic as it looked,…

Ice Station

By Matthew Reilly,

Book cover of Ice Station

Graham Smith Author Of The Flood

From the list on where the weather is a character and a foe.

Who am I?

I am a novelist with a passion for reading and it is this which I feel qualifies me to speak on this topic. My reading is eclectic across the crime/mystery genre and there’s nothing I love more than a book that sucks me right into the same world its characters inhabit, something all five of my choices did. As a novelist I appreciate the way these novels all use the weather conditions to add an extra layer of threat to the protagonists and it’s something I’ve always wanted to emulate.

Graham's book list on where the weather is a character and a foe

Discover why each book is one of Graham's favorite books.

Why did Graham love this book?

With this stunning introduction to Shane “Scarecrow” Schofield, Reilly hits the heights of adventure like few before him.

The action is non-stop and just when you think you have a chance to breathe, the frigid Antarctic conditions rear their head. Not so much a full on foe, as a general hindrance, I loved Ice Station because Reilly’s sparse descriptions of the landscape and inhospitable weather were just enough to bring a sympathetic shiver to me before the action kicked off again.

By Matthew Reilly,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ice Station as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fast-paced thriller from bestselling author Matthew Reilly, Ice Station.

Antarctica is the last unconquered continent, a murderous expanse of howling winds, blinding whiteouts and deadly crevasses. On one edge of Antarctica is Wilkes Station. Beneath Wilkes Station is the gate to hell itself...

A team of U.S. divers, exploring three thousand feet beneath the ice shelf has vanished. Sending out an SOS, Wilkes draws a rapid deployment team of Marines-and someone else...

First comes a horrific firefight. Then comes a plunge into a drowning pool filled with killer whales. Next comes the hard part, as a handful of survivors…

Up to This Pointe

By Jennifer Longo,

Book cover of Up to This Pointe

Paula Stokes Author Of Girl Against the Universe

From the list on YA for people navigating grief or loss.

Who am I?

I knew when I was in elementary school that I wanted to be a therapist when I grew up, but I took a slight detour after finishing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology to work as a line cook, retail manager, veterinary assistant, freelance editor, and registered nurse before finding my way back to graduate school. I also released ten young adult novels, many of them populated by characters struggling with mental illness. I understand anxiety, survivor’s guilt, grief, and loss as both a counselor and a human being, and I selected these books because they resonated deeply with me. I hope readers find comfort and connection in their pages.

Paula's book list on YA for people navigating grief or loss

Discover why each book is one of Paula's favorite books.

Why did Paula love this book?

Most books about grief deal specifically with the death of a loved one, but grief isn’t just about death—it’s about major loss. For some of us that might mean the loss of a friendship or relationship or job. In this book, the main character is facing the loss of a lifelong dream.

Despite what TV shows and self-help books tell us, success is not a simple matter of dedication and hard work. Sometimes we don’t achieve our dreams, and stories like this remind us that "failure" is okay, that we have options, that we can choose to pursue the thing we love in a different way, or choose to love something else, or maybe we'll have to take a break to heal and reflect before we choose anything at all. The universe might steal away a dream, but we remain in charge of our happiness.

By Jennifer Longo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Harper had a plan. It went south. Hand this utterly unique contemporary YA to anyone who loves ballet or is a little too wrapped up in their Plan A. (It's okay to fail, people!)
Harper Scott is a dancer. She and her best friend, Kate, have one goal: becoming professional ballerinas. And Harper won’t let anything—or anyone—get in the way of The Plan, not even the boy she and Kate are both drawn to.
Harper is a Scott. She’s related to Robert Falcon Scott, the explorer who died racing Amundsen and Shackleton to the South Pole. Amundsen won because he…


By Karin Boye, Gustaf Lannestock (translator),

Book cover of Kallocain

Jessica Jarlvi Author Of What Did I Do?

From the list on dark Scandi Noir.

Who am I?

I’m originally Swedish and although I have been brought up reading literature from all over the world, the dark setting of Scandi Noir has deeply influenced me. It’s the environment, isolated locations, and the way these books delve into the psyche of the characters that grab me. If you’re into dark, twisty books then this list is for you! 

Jessica's book list on dark Scandi Noir

Discover why each book is one of Jessica's favorite books.

Why did Jessica love this book?

Kallocain is a dystopian Scandi Noir written by feminist writer Karin Boye. Like The Handmaid’s Tale, it shows a state where there are eyes and ears everywhere. However, in this world, a scientist discovers a drug that can force people to tell the truth, which poses many philosophical questions while pitting people in the novel against each other. Kallocain has a suspenseful and intriguing plot where you’re never quite sure how the characters are going to act. A brilliant read!

By Karin Boye, Gustaf Lannestock (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This classic Swedish novel envisioned a future of drab terror. Seen through the eyes of idealistic scientist Leo Kall, Kallocain's depiction of a totalitarian world state is a montage of what novelist Karin Boye had seen or sensed in 1930s Russia and Germany. Its central idea grew from the rumors of truth drugs that ensured the subservience of every citizen to the state.

The System of the World

By Neal Stephenson,

Book cover of The System of the World

Julie Anderson Author Of Plague

From the list on secret subterranean London.

Who am I?

I've lived and worked in London for most of my adult life and am perpetually astonished, amazed, and fascinated by the city around me. It's histories, small and large, are a constant delight and surprise for me, and its hidden places of enchantment fire my imagination. So, when I came to write my first novel, for Claret Press, there was no other place where it could possibly be set and I chose central London which I knew very well and had layer upon physical layer of history. Given that it was a crime thriller, it had to use those hidden places, which mirrored the surface world, as part of the plot. Walk with me along one of London's lost rivers on my website

Julie's book list on secret subterranean London

Discover why each book is one of Julie's favorite books.

Why did Julie love this book?

The System is the third book in the Baroque Cycle which begins with Quicksilver and continues with The Confusion. The whole Cycle is a rip-roaring, wildly inventive, and massively ambitious saga, ranging from the mid-seventeenth to the early eighteenth century, spanning the globe and casting an amazing set of characters from Leibnitz and Newton, to King George, Thomas Newcomen and William Teach the pirate. It's astonishing and has some of the best subterranean London episodes I've ever read, including an escape from Newgate Prison which takes in the Bank of England, a Roman Temple, and a medieval privy. Read all three books and hang on to your hats, it's a thrilling ride.

By Neal Stephenson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The System of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Neal Stephenson follows his highly-praised historical novels, Quicksilver and The Confusion, with the extraordinary third and final volume of the Baroque Cycle.

The year is 1714. Daniel Waterhouse has returned to England, where he joins forces with his friend Isaac Newton to hunt down a shadowy group attempting to blow up Natural Philosophers with 'Infernal Devices' - time bombs. As Daniel and Newton conspire, an increasingly vicious struggle is waged for England's Crown: who will take control when the ailing queen dies?

Tories and Whigs clash as one faction jockeys to replace Queen Anne with 'The Pretender' James Stuart, and…


By James Rollins,

Book cover of Crucible

Henry Sipes Author Of NUERA1

From the list on questioning the future survival of humanity.

Who am I?

I’ve spent decades showing people the beauty of space in my telescope, and volunteering for a college/park observatory, and NASA’s JPL Solar System Ambassador program here in Kentucky. My question – was it a waste of time? I should have been selling humanity on love and setting aside hatred. What is the point of dreaming of going to the stars if we are only going to take the same hatred with us. I write to cry my thoughts into words and attempt in some small part to bring hope that we can leave hatred behind, embrace diversity, and use the wonders of science to colonize our solar system and beyond.

Henry's book list on questioning the future survival of humanity

Discover why each book is one of Henry's favorite books.

Why did Henry love this book?

James Rollins weaves wild and wonderful tales throughout this series, but this book struck me at my core with the facts he used. Would you find it odd that the Catholic Church canonized a witch? What lengths would an organization, religious or otherwise, go to rule humanity? A being that can use information to save humanity may not be alive at all. Or is it alive? Is she alive? Would a religious organization want an AI to control their agenda, or would they want to destroy it because it could become God like? That entity may have other plans. All these questions were weaved into a wonderful story that at times had me wanting the AI to win. At the same time, I was frightened it would.

By James Rollins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the race to save one of their own, Sigma Force must wrestle with the deepest spiritual mysteries of mankind in this mind-expanding adventure from the #1 New York Times bestselling author, told with his trademark blend of cutting edge science, historical mystery, and pulse-pounding action.

Arriving home on Christmas Eve, Commander Gray Pierce discovers his house ransacked, his pregnant lover missing, and his best friend's wife, Kat, unconscious on the kitchen floor. With no shred of evidence to follow, his one hope to find the woman he loves and his unborn child is Kat, the only witness to what…