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by | May 31, 2018

Books to inspire young scientists

Why encourage your child to read about science? There are loads of reasons. Science and engineering provide fantastic career opportunities, but science is not just for scientists – it’s a huge part of everyday life. A good grounding in science will help every child to navigate their world and make good decisions.

Yet with the focus on literacy and maths in the primary school curriculum, there is inevitably limited time to explore all that science has to offer at primary school. Children are born curious about the natural world, but by the time they reach secondary school a large proportion have already decided that science is ‘not for people like me’.

The Aspires project found that exposure to science at home is key in shaping attitudes towards science. Books can help parents to share a love of science with their children, even if they don’t have a scientific background themselves. A good children’s science book is nothing like a textbook. The focus is not on learning facts, but on giving children a better understanding of what science is, and what scientists do. Books can connect classroom science to exciting real life applications, which can be hugely inspiring.

Below you can find a selection of some of my favourite science books to inspire children across a range of ages.

Science books for ages 3+


Joelle Jolivet

This enormous book is a great way to pique your child’s interest in different animals and habitats. The pages are large enough to crawl onto, and each one is packed with exciting things to spot.

Buy on Amazon >

Look Inside Your Body

Louie Stowell and Kate Leake

Young children are fascinated by their bodies. This flap book lives in our bathroom, and provides excellent information about the body for young children.

Buy on Amazon >

Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do

Rebecca Gilpin and Leonie Pratt

We have the older edition of this fab activity book, and it’s been used so much it’s falling apart. Inspiring ideas that are perfect to try with 3 to 5-year-olds, but will appeal to older children too.

Buy on Amazon >

The Rabbit Problem

Emily Gravett (and a lot of rabbits)

If a pair of baby rabbits is put into a field, how many rabbits will there be at the end of a year? This clever book is based on a mathematical problem, solved by Fibonacci, but to young readers it’s just a brilliant book about rabbits! It grows with your child, and is as interesting for a 13-year-old as it is for a 3-year-old.

Buy on Amazon >

Science books for ages 5+

How Things Work

Conrad Mason and Colin King

The flaps in this book work hard, letting us peek inside machines of all shapes and sizes to see how they work. A brilliant choice for children who are fascinated by machines and want to find out more.

Buy on Amazon >

Ada Twist, Scientist

Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

There are several picture books in this series, and the rhyming stories are great fun. They give children the message that they are ALREADY scientists, engineers, and architects, and encourages them to develop these skills.

Buy on Amazon >

Stone Girl, Bone Girl

Laurence Anholt

I’m a big fan of biographies for children, because they make the history of science relevant and relatable. They show that scientists – even the famous ones – are people just like them. 

Buy on Amazon >

How the World Began

Christiane Dorion and Beverley Young

This beautiful pop-up book answers dozens of BIG questions, and like all good books will prompt even more!

Buy on Amazon >

This Book Thinks You’re a Scientist

Harriet Russell

When we visited the brilliant Wonderlab at the Science Museum in London, copies of this book were piled everywhere. A bright and colourful first science activity book that ties in with the activities in the gallery.

Buy on Amazon >

Science books for ages 7+

The Official Astronaut’s Handbook

Louie Stowell and Roger Simo

This fun and witty book is a crash course on getting ready for space travel, weaving in loads of relevant science on the way. With a foreword by British astronaut Tim Peake.

Buy on Amazon >

Self-Destructing Science: Space Activity

Isabel Thomas and Nikalas Catlow

Hands-on activities are the best to harness way children’s curiosity and bring out their inner scientist. I created these books to show that you don’t need lots of fancy kit or expensive ingredients to start doing science at home – just paper and a pair of scissors!

Buy on Amazon >

Women in Science

Rachel Ignotofsky

Attitudes about who ‘belongs’ in science are formed very early in life. Sometimes I meet five-year-old girls who think that jobs in STEM are just for boys. Role models can change this, and you’ll find fifty in this beautifully-illustrated book.

Buy on Amazon >

What Makes You You?

Gill Arbuthnott

Gill is a former science teacher, and her humour and enthusiasm really come across in her books (and others in the series include A Beginner’s Guide to the Periodic Table).

Buy on Amazon >

Operation Ouch! Your Brilliant Body

Dr Chris van Tulleken and Dr Xand van Tulleken

I love this series of books, adapted from the award-winning CBBC series, and written in the same conversational style. Entertaining and informative.

Buy on Amazon >

Whizz Pop Bang!

This monthly magazine is perfect for broadening the horizons of budding scientists. A different theme is explored in depth each month. Interviews with scientists and the latest science news means the focus is on real world applications, rather than dusty lists of facts.

Visit website >

Science books for ages 9+

The Misadventures of Charles Darwin

Isabel Thomas and Pete Williamson

I studied human evolution and genetics as part of my degree, so writing a biography of Charles Darwin was a dream commission. It focuses on the real person behind the legend, and builds understanding of natural selection gradually.

Buy on Amazon >

MAKE: Making Simple Robots

Kathy Ceceri

The huge library of MAKE books are full of satisfying projects for parents and children to do together (although the layout is not as child-friendly as books designed for children to use independently). Have a look at Paper Inventions and Tinkering too.

Buy on Amazon >

Computer Coding Projects For Kids and Coding for Beginners using Python

Carol Vorderman and Louie Stowell

I was in two minds about getting a book about coding, but I’m glad I did. The step-by-step instructions have given my eldest son inspiration to turn on the computer and give it a go.

Buy on Amazon >

The Jamie Drake Equation

Christopher Edge

Superb storytelling that weaves in science and maths, including space travel and those Fibonacci numbers again (this time without rabbits).

Buy on Amazon >

The Periodic Table Book: A Visual Encyclopedia of the Elements

This is DK’s newest chunky visual guide to the world, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it! It promises a visual tour of the 118 chemical elements that make up our universe. The Natural History Book (DK) is already a firm family favourite, helping me to answer my children’s questions about life on Earth in seconds.

Buy on Amazon >

The Magic of Reality

Richard Dawkins and David McKean

“When you think about it, here we are, we started off on this planet — this fragment of dust spinning around the sun — and in four billion years we gradually changed from bacteria into us. That is a spellbinding story.” This fully-illustrated book is aimed at older children, and explores how science helps us to answer questions about life, the universe, and everything.

Buy on Amazon >