The best books for children this summer: Science and Nature
This summer, why not pick up some fun children's books that entertain as well as provide valuable insight into science and the natural world?
Here are some of my favorites, as well as some great resources to look for additional titles:
The Magic School Bus series - this is an obvious choice, but this series is fantastic. Each page offers a wealth of things to read or observe, and the characters (such as the wacky school teacher) are memorable and fun. There are many books in the series covering diverse topics such as the human body and ocean science.
A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston- this is part of a series that is beautifully illustrated as well as scientifically engaging.
The How It Works series - these books go much more in depth and don't offer a narrative, so they are best for older and more curious youngsters. The illustrations are great, and the breadth of knowledge is very fulfilling for a youngster who wants to go further than the picture books in this list.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle - a classic, with good reason. A must-have for your bookshelf.
Grossology by Sylvia Branzei - a fun take on human biology, the boogers, guts, and scatalogical humor that bring kids to the human physiology table
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin - one of my current favorites, a great (true!) tale of the young boy who try-and-try-again was the first to photograph a snowflake.
The Everything Kids' Science Experiments book by Tom Robinson - great resource for some hands-on, awe-inspiring experiments to do at home.
Flotsam by David Wiesner - a Caldecott winner, about a boy at the ocean who discovers the meaning of the fun word: Flotsam
Also look for titles from Smithsonian, Kingfisher, Reading Rainbow, or award winners from the National Academy of Sciences, AAAS (Science magazine) and other reputable sources.
Resources for lists of great children's science books:
** This Australian Academy of Science website is a treasure trove of book ideas for children:
** Barefoot books publishes wonderful children's titles, including many which include great science/nature information:
** Amazon.com's book lists (also check B&N, Powell's and other great bookseller's sites):
** The National Science Teacher's Association book lists - each year a list of the best science trade books is compiled. All lists can be found here:
** The Royal Society (UK) prize winners for general science and Junior titles:
** List of Children's book awards and prizes:
Notable mention: The 2009 AAAS winner for a middle school science book:
The Frog Scientist
Author: Pamela S. Turner
Illustrator: Andy Comins
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
The Frog Scientist follows the research of Tyrone Hayes, a University of California, Berkeley, professor who is examining the effects of the herbicide atrazine on frogs. The story offers inspiration based on the experiences of Hayes, an understandable description of his experimental methods, and information about the threats facing amphibians.