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Science books are a great way to inspire and excite kids about STEM. Whether you’re hoping to encourage or educate, there are some great options on this list that any middle schooler will enjoy.
Our top pick is The Bacteria Book: The Big World of Really Tiny Microbes because it’s a book that will appeal to most preteens. The content is interesting and well presented, and it covers some topics that everyone should know and understand. Plus, it’s both fun and gross as well!
Related post: Best STEM Books for Kids of All Ages
- Best Science Books For Preteens
- Activity Books
- History/Biography Books
- Instructional Books
- What to Consider When Buying a Science Book for Preteens
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Science Books For Preteens
Best Overall – The Bacteria Book: The Big World of Really Tiny Microbes
The Bacteria Book: The Big World of Really Tiny Microbes is an excellent book. Its appeal for kids comes from the fact that it does not shy away from some of the more gross aspects of microbiology. The stuff that kids find fascinating, but adults avoid. You can find it all here in fascinating and horrifying detail.
The illustrations in this book do a lot of work to capture kids’ attention. They are detailed and tread the line between realism and cartoon in an interesting and engaging manner.
This book also has some vital information. The book spends time making sure that kids understand the difference between viruses and bacteria. There is also a lot of information about how these germs can be spread and what you can do about it.
A lot of adults would do well to read this book, as well. In the end, readers walk away with a real appreciation for the wonderful world of bacteria and microbes.
Best for Inspiring Girls – Women In Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World
Women In Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World is a charmingly illustrated encyclopedia. The book takes readers on a journey through history and introduces them to 50 fascinating women and the contributions they made to STEM.
This book excels at putting the history of science into context. The chronological arrangement helps to put everything into perspective. Kids can learn about how the world has changed for women as they worked to contribute to their chosen fields.
This book is perfect for inspiring young girls. The focus is a little more on the history of science than the science itself. However, this results in building curiosity. It’s a book you can walk away from having learned a lot, but still wanting to know more.
Bomb: The Race To Build – And Steal – The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon is a fascinating and engaging read. It tells the full story behind the development of the atomic bomb.
This book does an excellent job of putting everything into context. It doesn’t shy away from the horrors of the war, but it doesn’t revel in them either. Reading it can be an eye-opening experience for adults and tweens alike.
Anyone who has an interest in chemistry or physics will find this book fascinating. It gives some insight into not only the science but also the scientists behind the atomic bomb. You get to learn more about the complex motivations of these sometimes brilliant and misguided men.
This might not be the right book for all kids, but it has a lot to offer for any who want to understand the power and the responsibility of science.
Best for Encouraging Kids To Try Things Themselves – Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects
Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects is a great science activity book for kids. The projects are carried out using everyday household items that are easy to get hold of. The instructions are clear and well-illustrated with great photographs. Anyone can follow along.
There is a wide variety of science projects in this book, and there is something that will touch on all aspects of science. These projects mostly revolve around creating something. This means that your child will have something to keep that they made at the end of the project.
The book does a great job of not only teaching kids how to make things, but it also explains the science behind it. For instance, I’m sure many of you have made slime before. But, how many times did you bother finding out about how it works. With this book, it’s right there at your fingertips.
Best for Inspiring Creativity With Science – Making With States of Matter
Making With States of Matter is a fascinating science activity book. It contains a wide variety of scientific activities, many of which also involve some artistic elements as well.
The theme of the book is states of matter, and these are explored in a wide variety of ways. There are projects on making ice sculptures, melted chocolate art, or even on how to desalinate seawater.
Each project gives you a list of ingredients and supplies. There are then step-by-step instructions will lovely colorful photographs to guide you through the project.
Along with each project, there is a ‘maker profile.’ This gives you some interesting background about the person behind the ideas in the project. There are also explanations of the science and engineering that explains how the project works.
It’s the kind of book that makes you want to dive in and just get started. Another great thing about this book is that it encourages kids to be creative as they explore science. Creativity is so important in science, and sometimes this gets forgotten, so I really love that about this book.
Best for Aspiring Scientists – Kid Scientists: True Tales of Childhood From Science Superstars
Kid Scientists: True Tales of Childhood From Science Superstars is a great book for inspiring kids. It tells the stories of 16 different scientists and how they got to be scientists. What’s great about this book is that instead of kids wondering, ‘How can I ever be a scientist like that.’ It gets them thinking about how these great scientists used to be just like them.
These stories aren’t just about the success these scientists and mathematicians had. Instead, it tells the stories of the challenges they overcame, the interests they had, and how hard they worked. By then end, you understand that if you really love science and work hard, you can get where you want to go.
The books are beautifully illustrated. There are lovely comics interspersed through the stories. The balance is just right. There is enough color and interest to draw reluctant readers. But it does this without it being so much that it turns off kids by making them feel patronized.
This book has also made an effort to include scientists you’d know as well as others you might not. It’s also nice that there is a fair bit of diversity among the scientists and mathematicians included. There should be a story here that everyone can relate to.
Best Book About Innovation – How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made The Modern World
How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made The Modern World explores the impact of science. Every innovation changes our lives both for good and evil. This book helps kids to understand just how important science is to our lives and how it could change it in the future.
The book explores six themes – Glass, Cold, Sound, Cleanliness, Time, and Light. In covering these big themes in terms of a single innovation, kids get the chance to learn about how science has changed our lives.
This book is really fascinating. I’d recommend it to parents as well as kids.
Best Educational Graphic Novel – Human Body Theatre: A Non-Fiction Revue
Human Body Theatre: A Non-Fiction Revue is a really well thought out book. It’s a graphic novel, which means it instantly appeals to kids, especially to reluctant readers. Despite its comic style, the book is packed with information.
The book uses silly jokes and puns to introduce kids to the 11 systems that make up the human body. This complex information is shared clearly and sensitively. With a skeleton as your guide, you’ll travel through the human body learning as you go.
The book knows how to appeal to its target audience because there is just enough information about the gross things like snot, farts, and poop to keep middle schoolers engaged.
There are a lot of books about human biology, but this is one of the better ones for making learning fun and engaging.
Best Chemistry Book – The Element in the Room: Investigating the Atomic Ingredients that Make Up Your Home
The Element in the Room: Investigating the Atomic Ingredients that Make Up Your Home is a great kids’ book. Chemistry books for preteens can be hard to come by. This is a really fascinating one I’m glad to say.
The book explores each of the elements in the periodic table. That means you can dip in and out to learn about the different elements.
Threaded in between the stories about the elements, there are also ‘Atomic Comics.’ These comic strips tell stories about the periodic table itself in a humorous and interesting style.
The information is interesting and relatable. It’s often broken down into small digestible chunks that don’t seem too daunting to more reluctant readers. The colorful and quirky style also serves to draw kids in and make them excited to be reading this book.
The information is all presented as if your child is discovering it. I love how it equates the story of the discovery of the periodic table with a detective tale. It makes it so much more engaging for kids as they uncover the tale of discovery.
Best Book About STEM Facts – 100 Things To Know About Numbers, Computers & Coding
100 Things To Know About Numbers, Computers & Coding is a fascinating book. The topics it covers are some of the most important in our lives. Maths and technology are behind everything we do these days, but as a topic, it can feel a little dry. This book is anything but dry.
The gorgeous illustrations make this book inviting and fun to read. The pages are bright and colorful. You know the outstanding infographics you see on websites? The ones that draw your eye. Each page is like that – beautifully designed and filled with information.
The facts are genuinely fascinating, no matter how old you are. Let me give you a couple of examples. Did you know that most avalanches happen on slopes of 38o? Or that there is a single spot in the brain that recognizes numbers? Not only does this book introduce these facts, but it also goes on to give you all the background information as well.
Each of the facts is told in their own self contained little story. This means you can easily dip in and out of the book as you wish.
What to Consider When Buying a Science Book for Preteens
Science books cover a wide range of topics. Some are just about general science, others focus on a particular topic area. There are books that look at the people behind the science and others that look at science’s role in history. When you’re picking a book for a tween, it’s a good idea to try and pick one that aligns with their interests.
Type Of Book
There are three general types of science books for kids. There are instructional books. These books aim to teach your child about some aspect of science. These can be helpful in improving your child’s grades at school.
Second are the activity books. These are books that suggest ideas for experiments your child can try at home.
The third type is inspirational books. These are the ones that aim to enthuse kids about science. They can do this through fiction history or biography. They are a great way to excite kids about both science and reading.
When choosing science books for kids, you need to think about two different things. You need to match the level of science in the book to your child’s interest and knowledge. Too easy and they’ll be bored, too complicated and they’ll be turned off.
You also need to match the book to their reading level. Not all preteens are happy readers. For more reluctant readers, you might want to veer towards books with more illustrations. These can draw your child in and give them a reason to want to read.
Illustrations can be a double-edged sword. In an instructional book, they add value. They can help your child to build their understanding. In more interest-based books, too many illustrations might appear childish. You need to make sure that the style of illustrations of the book you choose will appeal to your child’s sensibilities.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you choose the right science book for a child?
The right science book is one that your child wants to read. Ideally, it should match some interest that they already have. If you’re choosing a fiction book or a history book, try to pick one that your child can relate to.
What are the benefits of Science Books?
Science books can fulfill a lot of different purposes. They can teach your child interesting facts and enhance their knowledge. They can inspire them to want to learn more and to become a scientist themselves. Science books can also be guides to show your child how they can try science at home for themselves.
What’s the best type of science book?
It depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If your aim is to give your child a tool to help them learn and do better in school, then you should look for a reference or educational style book. If you want to inspire them, you might want a history or a biography. If your child wants ideas, then an activity book is the way to go.
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