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Reading is great for kids. Whether it’s you reading it to them or opening a book themselves, it helps develop many important life skills. STEM books are particularly great for kids because they can plant the seeds of lifelong interest, demystify obscure concepts and show kids the variety of careers and options open to them.
But to have that effect, books have got to be interesting. So, here’s a list of the most enjoyable STEM books for each child’s age or interest to get them hooked onto discovering more about the latest innovations and discoveries happening around them.
Infants and Toddlers
You’ve got the classic baby board books, teaching colours, numbers, animals and many more. But what about Quantum Physics, or General Relativity and Newtonian Physics?
The series of Baby University books are excellently written and a great opportunity to introduce your very young scientist to complex concepts. They’ll find it easier to learn them later and it might just spark their interest.
Pre-schoolers and Elementary Students
Join Ms Frizzle’s science class in incredible adventures through the world of science. In the Magic School Bus books, science is indeed fun. Engaging children with such a positive view of how interesting science actually sets them up to develop a passion for the subject from their favourite bedtime stories!
They are also great STEM books for girls because they promote a strong female character in science. That’s molding a positive stereotype of scientists while the children are still young and building their perceptions of the world. For girls and boys alike, that’s one more step towards showing them that anyone could easily grow up and be a scientist or engineer.
“Traditional science books are sometimes lacking in drama or excitement”
-Nick Arnold, author of Horrible Science
So he set out to change it and create a huge range of very exciting books, bringing in all the humorous parts of science with a sense of imagination and fun. As the title suggests – Horrible Science: Bulging Box Of 20 Brilliant Books – there are a few squeamish and yucky facts, but nothing disturbing, and it appeals all the more to kids, boys and girls.
The books also include “Dare you Discover” sections – easy at-home experiments requiring little equipment, but provides hours of entertainment and incredible learning opportunities!
Or if your tween is headed more on a mathematical slant, you could try the companion series, Murderous Maths. These books break down math concepts to be fun while providing a very solid basis of mathematical understanding. They can be read for interest or to provide an enjoyable method of extra math practice for those who are struggling in certain areas.
Teens and Adults
For those who are a bit older and have a definite interest in STEM and a little bit of background knowledge, there are some other great reads out there. Here are some of them:
Don’t let math scare you off! It’s a Numberful World is easy to read and it’s more of a fun conversation about different patterns in nature and the world, and how maths describes them. It will appeal to and satisfy your inner curiosity, and perhaps explain some concepts you’re only vaguely familiar with like the golden ratio, the number ‘e’, or why you can’t divide by zero.
The Glass Universe is a brilliantly well-written dive into the lives and work of 19th-century female astronomers working at Harvard. They weren’t recognized as proper scientists at the time, despite painstakingly cataloging the brightness and composition of millions of stars and leaving a lasting legacy. It’s only just recently that we’ve opened our eyes to the incredible contributions that were not that apparent at the time.
Whether you like science, history or are interested in great books about women in STEM, this book ticks all the right boxes. While many teens and adults would enjoy it, it’d be a particularly valuable gift for an older teen girl who’s interested in pursuing a STEM career. What a great way to inspire her!
Inspiring the Next Generation with Great STEM Books
These books are just a starting point to get your kids interested. From here, they can read further about the things that they were fascinated with, or start getting their hands-on experience with home science kits and robotics sets. So, read them the best STEM picture books, give them their own books as they grow older, and help develop their own love of STEM!
Arwen Nugteren is currently studying Chemistry at an Australian university. She balances work as a lab assistant with science writing. You can read more of Arwen’s work on her blog – https://scientiapotentiaest.blog