Crowdsourcing Science Books for Kids and Teens

What kind of science books do you get for kids these days? I had a brief gallop through the Kindle store, but I can only guess what books kids really love. I haven’t got kids, I’ve got a cat. She doesn’t care about what’s inside books, she just wants to sleep on them. And it’s been over 30 years since I’ve had direct experience with being a child. This isn’t very helpful when one is trying to come up with a handy list of books for people to buy for kids.

Have you got kids? Have you got nieces, nephews, cousins, honorary versions of same? Are you a teacher or caregiver or otherwise plugged into the part of the universe that includes small people? Awesome! They must have at least one science book they love. Gimme the title!

And what about teenagers? Are there any books out there specifically written for them that’re taking their minds by storm, or are they skipping straight to books marketed toward adults? Are there any science books in particular the teenagers in your experience love?

Hey, are you a teenager? Great! Tell me which books you love best. This will help me gently steer adults away from giving you things that insult your intelligence. Give me some hard data I can wave in the faces of those convinced teenagers don’t do complex, so I can prevent them from stuffing your stocking with stuff that’s more suitable for grade school kids.

Image shows a cat lying under an Xmas tree with a book tented over it. Caption says, "Next year, I want more books for my book fort."

Crowdsourcing Science Books for Kids and Teens

5 thoughts on “Crowdsourcing Science Books for Kids and Teens

  1. 1

    May be a little obvious, but my ten year old is very fond of the ‘Horrible Science’ and ‘Murderous Maths’ series, which are engaging, funny, and (as far as I could determine outside my own fields), accurate. Though one of them did lead to me trying to clarify what Bayesian probability is at 5 AM.

  2. rq

    Oh man. I can only speak for the under-7 crowd, but no matter the book, pictures are important. Colourful, not too complicated (for the lower ages), and engaging. I’ll take a browse through our shelves tomorrow and present some concrete examples, but pictures are key.

  3. 3

    When I was a teenager my favourite gifts were the massive, hardcover coffee-table science books, with the high quality printing and excellent illustrations. The Walking With… series served that purpose for quite some time.

    For wordier books, I recall devouring Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything.

    When I was younger than that, There was a series of books called Horrible Science which did more to fan the flames and educate me than any other. I don’t know if they’re still around, but they are worth tracking down for any kids who will read.

  4. 5

    I second the Dorling Kindersley endorsement – when they were younger, my kids enjoyed several of their titles, as well as the “Eyewitness” video series (these are a tad out-of-date now, special effects-wise, but were really well done. In addition, I liked how they added a 5-or-so minute epilogue to each video to demonstrate how the special effects were created, like the birds bursting out of the egg in the intro here: ).

    With my kids, at least, there was a strong link between their interest in science books, and science-themed electronic media (games and videos). This link was particularly strong for my son, who, for example, developed a strong interest in ants after seeing a documentary about them, and ended up reading (and re-reading) several books on the topic. So it might be worthwhile to expand your search for good science books AND vids, since the latter can spark a kid’s interest in the former.

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