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23 of the best science books for kids to read right now | January 2021

Looking for some brilliant science books for kids?

Whether the third lockdown has found you home-schooling again, or your little one is showing an interest in subjects you’re not exactly au fait with, these books should help kickstart your year.

For more great book content, come join us over at the Science Focus Book Club. You’ll get free samples of new and popular books, plus reading recommendations and bookish news sent directly to your inbox. Just sign up to the Science Focus Book Club Newsletter.

If these books make you want to dust off the safety glasses and don your lab coat, try these easy indoor food experiments or find out how to help your children learn to code.

The best science books for kids to read in January 2021

What To Look For In Spring

What To Look For In Spring
Elizabeth Jenner

£5.99, Ladybird

We might be in the chilliest months of the year right now, but soon the natural world will start waking up from its winter slumber to burst into life once more. This beautifully illustrated, pocket-sized book guides young readers through the wonders of nature that can be witnessed during spring, including meteor showers, boxing hares and bleating lambs.

Ladybird’s original series of What To Look For books was published in the 1960s, and this modern, child-friendly update is sure to appeal to the new generation of readers.

Marie Curie And Her Daughters

Marie Curie And Her Daughters
Imogen and Isabel Greenberg

£12.99, Bloomsbury

Many of us are familiar with Marie Curie, the brilliant scientist who made game-changing discoveries in the field of chemistry. Yet perhaps less well known are her two daughters, Irène and Ève, who grew up to be just as passionate and independent as their mum. Irène became a great scientist, while Eve was a journalist, war correspondent and humanitarian, who later worked for UNICEF.

This gorgeously illustrated book tells the remarkable story of Marie, Irène and Ève, as they travel the world, save lives during WWI and WWII and win Nobel Prizes.

Made For Each Other

Made For Each Other
Joanna McInerney and Georgina Taylor

£15.99, Templar Publishing

Sometimes it pays to have a trusted friend close by. In nature, teamwork can make the difference between surviving another day or becoming someone else’s lunch.

This stunning book, illustrated by debut artist Georgina Taylor, takes us on a tour through some of the most intriguing partnerships in the wild world. Whether they help each other to ward off predators, remove parasites, reproduce or feed, the organisms featured in this book have learnt how to work together to successfully co-exist.

What’s The Weather?

What’s The Weather?
Fraser and Judith Ralston

£9.99, DK Children

At a time when extreme weather is becoming more common, it makes sense to get clued up on the science behind it. This colourful book tells us about clouds, the climate and global warming, reveals how the weather has changed over Earth’s entire history, what it could be like in the future, and teaches us how we can predict the weather.

What’s The Weather? is jam-packed with bite-sized facts and cute illustrations that reveal intriguing titbits of information, such as the different names for snowflake structures and how lightning storms form. A great one for learning at home.

The Awesome Power Of Sleep

The Awesome Power Of Sleep
Nicola Morgan

£7.99, Walker Books

Teenagers today have to struggle with excessive amounts of screentime, pressure from social media, school stress, late nights, and worries about friendships. It’s no wonder they aren’t getting enough sleep! Nicola Morgan, an expert on the adolescent brain, explores the importance of sleep for teenage health, wellbeing and development, and reveals why a good night’s rest is so crucial.

With plenty of scientific evidence conveyed in an accessible and authoritative way, this helpful guide is a fascinating read for both teenagers and adults alike.

30-Second series

30-Second series

£9.99–£14.99 each, Quarto

A great series of books for revision, there are books on GCSE topics such as biology, chemistry and physics, but also specific titles including the study of genetics, the writings of Shakespeare and the science of Earth’s climate. Condensing each topic into 50 fundamental facts, these short books make learning straightforward and (dare we say it) interesting!

Also in the series are books aimed at adults, so if you’re a parent wanting an understanding of whisky or wine, classical music or even Paris, check out Quarto’s full collection.

How Science Works

How Science Works

£16.99, DK

Although this book is primarily aimed at adults, it is full to brimming with easy to understand diagrams, illustrations and infographics that will spark the imagination of anyone that picks it up, young or old.

Teens cramming for an exam will love the fact that every page is dedicated to a specific part of science (think the quantum world, machines, special relativity or the carbon cycle), while for the rest of us this is probably the best science book if you need a quick refresher.

I Want to be… Series

I Want to be… Series
Becky Davies, illustrated by Richard Merritt

£6.99, Little Tiger

These books for babies and toddlers make the perfect introduction to people’s jobs and what their daily life is like. Share stories of what an astronaut might do out in space, or explain what your role as a doctor involves. Where is that firetruck going? I Want to be a Firefighter can help answer your little one’s questions.

Turn and Learn: Our World

Turn and Learn: Our World
Isabel Otter, illustrated by Hannah Tolson

£12.99, Little Tiger

If you’ve been watching Sir David Attenborough’s new series as a family, why not explore more of the Earth with this interactive book for young readers? You’ll meet the people who live in the Arctic, the creatures that live in the desert, and see the world from a new perspective through Hannah Tolson’s detailed illustrations.

By the same author and illustrator is Turn and Learn: Weather, to help you explain how rain and the Sun, thunder and snow, come to be outside our window.

Stop that Virus!

Stop that Virus!

Illustrated by Susanna Rumiz

£10.99, Quarto Kids

The coronavirus pandemic has brought up conversations that many of us didn’t expect, and children may have asked questions that you might not know how to answer. Stop that Virus! explains how a team of cells within your body helps attack an intruder. What is the human body’s immune system, and what do antibodies do to stop the enemy?

The book doesn’t go into the role of personal hygiene in immunology, so it’s important to also talk about hand-washing and how that can Stop that Virus!

The Weird Maths series

The Weird Maths series
David Darling and Agnijo Banerjee

£9.99 each, Oneworld

Mathematics is weird.

Teenage maths whizz Agnijo Banerjee, and his tutor and science writer David Darling, fill the pages of three books with exotic and unusual facts about maths, including God’s Number (the smallest number of moves it takes to solve a Rubik’s cube) and the reigning role of Pi in just about everything.

Wish We Knew What to Say: Talking with Children About Race

Wish We Knew What to Say: Talking with Children About Race
Dr Pragya Agarwal

£9.99, Dialogue Books

From a data and behavioural scientist, this book gives parents the confidence to answer their children’s questions about race and racism. It includes questions, resources and suggestions for scenarios that could start these tricky conversations, written with delicacy and authority.

This isn’t just for parents, though – it’s aimed at anyone who has young people in their life and wants to support the education of the next generation.

Nodding Off: The Science of Sleep from Cradle to Grave

Nodding Off: The Science of Sleep from Cradle to Grave
Alice Gregory

£10.99, Bloomsbury Sigma

Offering parents an insight into their children’s, and their own, sleep patterns, sleep psychologist Professor Alice Gregory brings science and self-help together in this guide to getting a good night’s rest. Thoroughly researched with interviews and statistics, this book is essential reading for all – whether you get 4 or 40 winks a night.

Ocean

Ocean
Hélène Druvert and Emmanuelle Grundmann

£19.95, Thames & Hudson

This fantastic title from Hélène Druvert for children aged 7-11 explains the most fascinating facets of the sea, including waves, coral reefs and the food chain. With captivating fold-out infographics and stunning laser-cut illustrations, it’s a beautiful, interactive tome that’ll help both kids and adults appreciate our oceans.

Is Anybody Out There?

Is Anybody Out There?
Dara Ó Briain

£12.99, Scholastic

The hilarious Dara Ó Briain offers scientific answers to questions such as: how did life begin? How was the Earth created? Do aliens exist? in this illustrated book for 9+ years.

Encyclopedia Prehistorica of Sharks and Other Sea Monsters: The Definitive Pop-Up

Encyclopedia Prehistorica of Sharks and Other Sea Monsters: The Definitive Pop-Up
Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda

£35, Walker Books

These often-forgotten prehistoric monsters once ruled the seas, and they are no less menacing in their pop-up paper form. A fight between two sea lizards unfolds between the pages, and the tentacles of ancient squid reach out from the depths of the ocean.

Stunningly crafted and meticulously researched, the Encyclopedia Prehistorica is a book that will be used and admired again and again.

Outdoor Maker Lab

Outdoor Maker Lab
Professor Robert Winston

DK, £12.99

Kids love making things, especially when it involves mess, explosions, and anything that makes you go “wow” (fun fact: so do we). Professor Robert Winston (the scientist with a very fetching moustache that presented the seminal BBC TV show The Human Body) introduces this 160-page book filled with wonderful experiments that are easily made using household items, but show off some seriously fun science.

Kay’s Anatomy: A Complete (and Completely Disgusting) Guide to the Human Body

Kay’s Anatomy: A Complete (and Completely Disgusting) Guide to the Human Body
Adam Kay

£14.99, Puffin

From the junior doctor who wrote the best-selling comedic memoir This is Going to Hurt comes a thorough tour through the human body. Answering questions like: What’s in a bogey? Do hideous creatures really live on our eyelashes? How does food become poo?

Kay’s Anatomy is like Horrible Histories but for the human body.

Probably best to have your Christmas dinner before opening presents, if you intend on gifting this…

This Book is Not Rubbish

This Book is Not Rubbish
Isabel Thomas

£6.99, Wren & Rook

We all know that the grown-ups have messed up and now our planet is struggling. But you can help save it. This book contains 50 everyday ideas, like how to use less water when you do the washing-up, to how to make your next birthday party eco-friendly.

The Lost Words

The Lost Words
Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris

£20, Hamish Hamilton

Worried by the way in which natural words (acorn, dandelion, kingfisher, etc) were disappearing from children’s vocabulary, Robert Macfarlane teamed up with illustrator Jackie Morris to produce this exquisite ‘spell book’, combining acrostic poems with hand-painted artwork.

What if?

What if?
Randall Munroe

£9.99, John Murray Press

XKCD webcomic creator and former NASA roboticist Randall Munroe addresses questions such as ‘If we all disappeared, how long before the last light went out?’ and ‘Can you warm up a cup of tea just by stirring it?’. It’s like BBC Science Focus’s Q&A section fell down the rabbit hole… but the author’s inquisitive mind is the star.

Why Your Parents Are Driving You Up the Wall and What To Do About It

Why Your Parents Are Driving You Up the Wall and What To Do About It
Dean Burnett

£8.99, Penguin

Why are teens so emotional? Why won’t they listen when adults depart their worldly knowledge? Why won’t they tidy their rooms?

Well, there are plenty of parenting books out there that attempt to answer these questions, but neuroscientist Dean Burnett’s book offers teens an insight into their parents’ minds. By giving teenagers the psychology behind why their parents do the things they do, Burnett answers common complaints such as; why is my Dad always dragging me out of bed? Why are my family always so obsessed with asking ‘How was school?’ and more.

Exploring the Elements

Exploring the Elements
Isabel Thomas

£17.95, Phaidon

Elements. They make up everything. There are 92 found in nature, and there have been another 26 created by scientists. In this colourful compendium, Isabel Thomas takes us on a journey through (or rather, down, diagonally and across) the periodic table.

Perfect for those studying for science GCSEs and A-Levels. Did you know that sulphur, a key ingredient of gunpowder, is also included (safely) in food additives? Sulphur-based preservatives keep our meals bacteria-free!

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