Beautiful Books to Encourage a Love of Science and Math
In Iceland, they have a tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve, then spending the night reading books and drinking hot chocolate.
Here are some of our favorite books to gift that encourage a love of science and math.
Star Wars Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to a Galaxy Far, Far Away Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to The Comic Book Universe
So many kids don’t value math and statistics outside of the classroom, so we especially love finding great infographic books to tell stories through graphs and data. The books use a series of charts to view different sides of the stories and worlds.
Each page is its own story from a bar graph comparing the heights of over 80 comic book characters, a scatter chart of the politics of good vs. evil to a comparison to how key planets stack up against one another.
The Street Beneath My Feet by Charlotte Guillian and Yuval Zommer
Using fold-out format, The Street Beneath My Feet illustrates the complex world underneath us that is often overlooked as we go through our daily lives. One side folds out to explore an urban perspective: water pipes, electrical wires, sewers and underground trains, going deeper to explore types of rocks and minerals all the way to the earth’s crust. When you flip the book over, it explores how the earth beneath us varies in a rural setting: the types of animals that might be burrowing just beneath us, fossils and minerals.
This book helps kids make personal connections to seemingly distant ideas like the earth’s crust while also piquing imagination to think about how ancient civilizations and fossils could be beneath the streets we walk every day.
We also like this book paired with the picture book Sam and Dave Dig a Hole. This is a fictional book that explores the humor in what happens when two boys have a mission to dig a huge hole and find something amazing. While Sam and Dave Dig a Hole is not scientifically accurate, kids could use what they learned from The Street Beneath My Feet to imagine what should really be in the blank spaces as the boys are digging deeper and deeper.
Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein
One if our most popular lessons, published here, has engaged students in a potentially dry unit on circuitry by creating their own Frankenstein’s monster. Frankenstein, celebrating its 200 year anniversary this year, still remains culturally relevant and helps kids experience issues of design and ethics in science.
While many students are familiar with the story of Frankenstein, the original text is written at a higher level and can be dry and difficult to read for younger students. Illustrator Gris Grimly recreated the story into a graphic novel using the original text and illustrations to make it easier for younger readers to understand.
Professor Astro Cat’s Atomic Adventure: A Journey Through Physics
So many people have aversions to physics because their first introduction was through textbooks, testing and rote memorization. We love seeing books that explain ideas, like physics, in relatable ways to help kids (and their parents!) make more positive associations.
The Professor Astro Cat books use illustrations, snippets, and fast facts to explain concepts like Nuclear Physics, Newton’s Laws, and Particle Physics in ways that kids can connect with and launch their own investigations and learning.
The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest—and Most Surprising—Animals on Earth by Steve Jenkins
As someone just told us: “You can never go wrong with Steve Jenkins”. Steve Jenkins books use beautiful illustrations and fun facts to compare and explore the intricacies of the animal world. Our only complaint about his books is that they are often too short. This book provides a “best of” reel with information about over 300 animals. Facts like: “The wood frog freezes solid in the winter, appearing like a stone on the forest floor, and thaws out and hops away in the spring”. “The diamondback rattlesnake has heat-sensitive pits on its face that can detect the warm bodies of small mammals, allowing it to hunt in complete darkness”. “When its colony is threatened, the Malaysian ant explodes spraying a sticky poison at its attackers”.
Our other favorites: Actual Size, Bones, and What can you do with a Tail like This.