STEM Books for Girls | Smart Girls Read Books

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We know that magical things happen when we put books in the hands of little girls. Here at STEM Toy Expert, in particular, we know that the only way we are going to close the gap for women in science is by empowering young girls from an early age. Check out below, our top picks of best STEM books for girls, to inspire the young Rosalind Franklins in your life.

Related Post: Best STEM Books for Kids of All Ages

Our Top Picks by Age

Our Top Picks
Best Overall
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
Best for Middle-Grade
Who Was Marie Curie?
Budget Option
Mars One
Name
Hidden Figures
Who Was Marie Curie
Mars One
Features
Discuss social justice and science simultaneously through this beautifully illustrated read.
Dazzle your daughter with stories of this early female scientist from humble beginnings.
Combine reality television and the engineering behind manning a rocketship to Mars in this adventure read!
Best Overall
Our Top Picks
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
Name
Hidden Figures
Features
Discuss social justice and science simultaneously through this beautifully illustrated read.
More Info
Best for Middle-Grade
Our Top Picks
Who Was Marie Curie?
Name
Who Was Marie Curie
Features
Dazzle your daughter with stories of this early female scientist from humble beginnings.
More Info
Budget Option
Our Top Picks
Mars One
Name
Mars One
Features
Combine reality television and the engineering behind manning a rocketship to Mars in this adventure read!
More Info

Best Picture Books

1. You Wouldn’t Want to Live Without Boogers

Recommended Ages: 8 and Up
Grade Level: 3 -6

You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Boogers
With full-color, cartoon-style illustrations and comic-style speech bubbles.

A silly series published by children’s book giant, Scholastic, You Wouldn’t Want to Live Without Boogers takes readers through the journey of answering its title question. With full-color, cartoon-style illustrations and comic-style speech bubbles, this series will be a hit with even the most reluctant of readers. Follow along for the ride as the author answers questions such as: What is mucus? What is it made of? Why do we produce more of it when we have a cold? While shopping, feel free to be on the lookout for another favorite of ours in this series, You Wouldn’t Want to Live Without Coding!

2. Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct

Recommended Ages: 3 – 5
Grade Level: Preschool-Kindergarten

Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct
About a fun-loving dinosaur who has become a staple of the town in which she resides.

Written by Mo Willems of Don’t Let the Pigeon acclaim, Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct is about a fun-loving dinosaur who has become a staple of the town in which she resides. All of the children at the local elementary school love her, except for Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie, who spends the duration of the book explaining that dinosaurs are extinct. This is a great fiction book to use as an access point to discuss concepts such as extinction with your child – we also love watching Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie work through the scientific method while attempting to persuade his peers that it’s impossible for Edwina to exist!

3. The Very Impatient Caterpillar

Recommended Ages: 4 – 8
Grade Level: Preschool – 3

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The Very Impatient Caterpillar
A book following the eponymous’ character’s transformation into a butterfly.

Dazzle your child with important evolutionary vocabulary words like “metamorphosize” as you follow the eponymous’ character’s transformation into a butterfly. Your child will love the repetitive language and dialogue demonstrating the caterpillar to be a character completely devoid of patience. The Very Impatient Caterpillar is beautiful in its ability to spur scientific and social-emotional conversations alike.

4. Hidden Figures

Recommended Ages: 4 – 8
Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Hidden Figures
A book about the journey of four female African-American mathematicians at NASA.

Give your daughter, niece, or another beloved little girl the gift of outer space by offering her a copy of the book Hidden Figures. Through this book, she will be able to learn about Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden – four female African-American mathematicians at NASA. Readers will learn how these women overcame immense challenges in order to succeed in a career many of us only dream about.

Best Middle-Grade Books

1. The Thing About Jellyfish

Recommended Ages: 10 – 14
Grade Level: 4 – 7

The Thing About Jellyfish
An adventure book with woven emphasis on scientific methods and teach advocacy through scientific investigation.

This stunning debut and National Book Award finalist centers around a girl named Suzy who loses her best friend in a tragic drowning accident. Despite this heartache, the reader quickly falls in love with Suzy as she turns her science fair project into a skilled investigation of what happened to her friend. Her adventure leads her through the scientific method and even into work as advanced as contacting other researchers to learn more about their work. The Thing About Jellyfish is worth the purchase for its beautiful story, its woven emphasis on the scientific method, and its ability to teach advocacy through scientific investigation.

2. Rhino Rescue and More True Stories of Saving Animals

Recommended Ages: 7 – 10
Grade Level: 2 – 5

Rhino Rescue and More True Stories of Saving Animals
A National Geographic book that contains adventurous stories of animal rescues across the globe.

If you have an aspiring veterinarian in the family, this is the book for you! This beautifully illustrated, National Geographic book contains adventurous stories of animal rescues across the globe. Read stories about rhinos in trouble, a Hawaiian monk seal struggling for its life, and a pair of Siberian tiger cubs fighting against certain peril. Rhino Rescue and More True Stories of Saving Animals is not only excellent for teaching animals facts but includes many important nonfiction elements, such as photo captions and sidebars.

3. Who Was Marie Curie?

Recommended Ages: 8 – 12
Grade Level: 3 – 7

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Who Was Marie Curie?
One of many series about famous figures throughout history.

A tremendous hit among middle-grade children, the Who Was series dazzles readers by taking them through the life and times of famous figures throughout history. We love this take on Who Was Marie Curie?, a story about a female scientist who left her home country to be allowed to study physics and mathematics. One of the most important things we can do to empower the young female scientists in our lives is to ensure that they feel represented – and one of the best ways you can do this is by providing her with biographies of people who look like her.

4. Awesome Science Experiments for Kids

Recommended Ages: 5 – 10
Grade Level: K – 5

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Awesome Science Experiments for Kids
An amazing book of science experiments for kids.

No list of STEM books would be complete without a book of science experiments! Get your kids down and dirty with science by providing them with this list of hands-on experiments. Awesome Science Experiments for Kids contains easy-to-follow instructions and color photos illustrating the experiments. One of our favorite things about this book is that the authors have committed to creating experiments primarily comprised of items that the average family has laying around the house – we love that our girls will be engaged in experiments without requiring a thousand runs to the store to sustain! 

Best Young Adult Books

1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Recommended Ages: 13 – 18
Grade Level: 9 – 12

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
This book tells the story of a woman whose cells were harvested and used to further science without her knowledge or consent.

Ranked first on Amazon’s bestseller list for History of Medicine, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is written by an award-winning journalist set on doing her part to mend history by telling stories of those long forgotten and devalued. This book tells the story of a woman named Henrietta Lacks, whose cells were harvested and used to further science without her knowledge or consent. Throughout the book, the reader is asked to grapple with the fact that these cells have furthered medicine and created tremendous profit for various medical companies while Henrietta’s family members still do not have health insurance. This book is excellent to help the budding doctor in the family begin grappling with questions about medical ethics.

2. What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

Recommended Ages: 11 – 18
Grade Level: 9 – 12

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
An entertainment and humor book about absurd scientific theories.

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Categorized as an entertainment and humor book, What If? Serious Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions is one of the best ways to get the young woman in your life invested in a variety of absurd scientific theories. Questions range from: What if I took a swim in a nuclear fuel pool? to Are fire tornadoes possible? These questions are answered with scientific facts and levity, and best of all, they are illustrated by Randall Munroe, the creator of XKCD. This combines the levity of Munroe’s comic skills with the scientific rigor of theories from the likes of Hawking, overall creating an experience bound to foster curiosity and wonder in any reader.

3. Mars One

Recommended Ages: 13 – 18
Grade Level: 9 – 12

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Mars One
Fall in love with science all over again in this interesting combination of Ender’s Game and The Bachelor.

Tristan, the main character of this book, has nearly always known that his family would be the first family to colonize Mars. However, when a terrorist group begins to threaten the mission, Tristan is forced to put all of his scientific knowledge to use in order to save his life as well as the lives of everyone onboard the ship with him. If the reader you are looking to engage has begun to pull away from science reading in favor of elements of popular culture, look out for this exciting plot twist: the entire plot of Mars One takes place on a reality television show. Let the girl in your life fall in love with science all over again in this interesting combination of Ender’s Game and The Bachelor.

4. Frankenstein

Recommended Ages: 14 – 18
Grade Level: 9 – 12

Frankenstein
A book that focuses on scientific ethics.

An oldie, but a goodie. We highly recommend Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as another option for discussing scientific ethics with the strong-willed girl in your life. Consider using a read of Frankenstein as a springboard to discuss the author, Mary Shelley, who many theorize wrote not only her work but her husband’s. Why was she required to do this? Was it an acceptable expectation to place on her?

What to Consider When Buying a STEM Book for Girls

Purpose

Are you hoping to entertain or educate? Consider some of our nonfiction options above if you are hoping to educate on a particular subject. However, also recognize that young women can be inspired to love science by reading about its application in a fictional context! 

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Interest

STEM Book for Girls

Nothing matters more to inspiring future generations of readers than whether or not you have found a topic that interests them. Browse our list! We are sure that whether the reader in your list loves dinosaurs, outer space, or animals, there is something to engage them.

Reading Level

Reading levels come in ranges. Do not feel as though a book’s reading level is slightly above or below your child’s level that it is not appropriate. Because reading levels are given in bands, it is more than likely that if your child is interested in the topic and mature enough to handle the given material, they will do a stellar job making their way through a book you have chosen for them! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do girls need STEM books?

Research tells us that beginning around second grade, little girls stop seeing themselves as “good at” science. We want to change that! We believe that inspiring little girls to do well in science can only serve to benefit our community and our world. In order to help little girls commit to working in science someday, they need to see themselves in science roles while they are small. Help them envision just that by investing in good books for them now! 

Does the book have to be about a girl?

Certainly not! Your daughter can be inspired by books with animal main characters or even by books that include strong female supporting characters. A great example of this is Mars One, a book on our list whose main character is a teenage boy named Tristan. Tristan’s mother, however, is the lead mechanic of the entire journey to Mars. We loved reading about a strong, female engineer! 

Should my daughter be reading more nonfiction?

A broad variety of texts is always useful to a well-rounded education. Despite this, research tells us that children read more when they are introduced to texts that they connect with. Outside of school, let your daughter select her reading texts independently and be dazzled by how much time she invests in honing her literary skills! 

Kaitlin Anselmo

Last update on 2020-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API