12 Books that Inspire Children with Science

It’s that time of the year again – fabric is strewn across living rooms nationwide as parents put the finishing touches onto World Book Day costumes. Books are marvellous things – they take us on adventures to faraway worlds and distant times, and let us live as other people as we peel back the pages. They have the capacity to ignite imagination and nurture curiosity, regardless of what that curiosity might be about. If you have a curious little scientist at home, there are plenty of books you can give them that will inspire them with science.

We’ve put together a list of the best books for children who love science – whether they be fiction or nonfiction, dinosaur dramas or out-of-this-world compendia. As well as our own favourites, we’ve asked parents, teachers and our friends at Parrot Street Book Club for recommendations to help us cover all ground.

For each book we’ve included an age recommendation, but it’s worth bearing in mind that children can really grow into non-fiction science books. If a book has beautiful illustrations or fabulous photographs, it will inspire your little scientist even before they can read, and continue to surprise and intrigue them as their reading skills improve. These big coffee-table books can have a hefty price tag, but are worthwhile investments because they will delight again and again.


My First Science Textbook: Three book set Protons & Neutrons, Electrons, and Atoms! by John J. Coveyou and Mary Wissinger (3+)
Recommended for: the littlest scientists

If you ever thought atomic science was for grown ups, prepare to have your mind blown. These board books introduce toddlers to the inside of the atom, with charming illustrations from Harriet Kim Anh Rodis.

See Inside How Things Work by Conrad Mason (6+)
Recommended for: inquisitive minds

If you have a little scientist who never seems to run out of questions about how the world works, they will love this opportunity to lift the flaps and see what’s actually going on inside everyday machines. It’s wonderfully detailed yet colourful and engaging.

Lego Chain Reactions by Pat Murphy and the Scientists of Klutz Labs (8+)
Recommended for: ambitious creators

If your little scientist enjoyed Lego Masters they might be itching to create some fantastic machinery of their own, and this book is a great place to start. If you have a bucket of Lego bricks, this book supplies everything else you need to build exciting contraptions and explore engineering.

Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs Pop-Up by Robert Sabuda
Recommended for: absolutely everyone

I think the picture above says it all about this book. It is absolutely stunning in every way, and jam packed with exciting facts about dinosaurs. It’s impossible to put an age recommendation on this because even the littlest scientist would be delighted to flick through, and I can’t imagine ever growing out of my fascination for this book either!

On the Origin of Species by Sabina Radeva (7+)
Recommended for: animal enthusiasts

Have you ever read Darwin’s On the Origin of Species? If so, you’ll probably agree that however seminal, genius, and inspired Darwin’s ideas were, it’s not a work that would inspire most children to become biologists. But Sabina Radeva’s retelling, accompanied by her own stunning illustrations, might just be the missing link between Darwin and the next generation of brilliant biologists.

We’ve recommended it for age 7+ but think younger animal fans will love the pictures too!

Beyond the Sky: You and the Universe by Dara Ó Briain (7+)
Recommended for: aspiring astronauts

Dara O’Briain injects so much enthusiasm into his writing that it’s hard not to get swept up in the magic of space exploration! Overflowing with fun facts, this is a fabulous introduction to astronomy.

A Young Scientist’s Guide to Defying Disasters with Skills and Daring
by James Doyle (10+)
Recommended for: adventurous explorers

Got an aspiring adventurer at home? You’d better make sure they’re prepared for even the rarest of natural disasters. This book is enormously compelling, full of surprises and wit, and is also packed full of experiments that the reader can try at home.


Max Einstein: The Genius Experiment by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein (8+)
Recommended for: little scientists with big ambition

Max Einstein is your average twelve year old. She attends New York University, plays chess, dreams up inventions that will help homeless people and carries around a picture of Albert Einstein. Maybe not your average twelve year old then! But Max Einstein is a truly inspirational figure and any child that reads about her adventures in science is sure to get swept up by her imagination, kindness and determination.

Science Comics: Volcanoes | Fire and Life by Jon Chad (7+)
Recommended for: comic fans

Straddling the line between fiction and non-fiction, the Science Comics series has a brilliant introduction to any topic you can imagine. The graphic novels ease young readers into fun facts via exciting adventures. Volcanoes, for example, sees researchers on a freezing future Earth desperately trying to find a way to heat it up again.

Parrot Street recommends…

We asked our friends at Parrot Street Book Club to tell us about their favourite fictional science books.

Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor by Jon Scieszka & illustrated by Brian Biggs (5+)

Frank Einstein is a self-styles kid-genius, scientist and inventor who loves figuring out how the world
works by creating household contraptions that are part science, part imagination, and definitely
unusual. In this first book in the Frank Einstein series, an uneventful experiment in his garage-lab, a
lightning storm, and a flash of electricity bring Frank’s inventions―the robots Klink and Klank―to life, with hilarious consequences.

The Matilda Effect by Ellie Irving (7+)

Budding scientist Matilda stops at nothing when she takes on the establishment in her quest for justice and gender equality. Dismayed by the story of her Granny Joss’s long overlooked scientific achievements, she travels all the way across a continent, to the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm, to stand up for what she believes in – and in the process single-handedly empowers female scientists the world over.

The Extraordinary Colours of Auden Dare by Zillah Bethell (9+)

Set in a near-future world where water is scarce and carefully rationed, eleven-year-old Auden Dare uncovers an intelligent robot and an extraordinary mystery in his uncle’s shed. This remarkable, thought-provoking book explores the meaning of colour, climate change, AI and the future of our planet. Can Auden solve the mystery of PROJECT RAINBOW? And can you be friends with a robot?

Emily Bright and Sarah Campbell run Parrot Street Book Club, an exciting monthly book subscription for primary school-aged kids designed to inspire a love of reading. Each month children receive a brand new chapter book to keep and a fun-filled activity pack inspired by that book, including book club-style questions, puzzles, crafts, a recipe and more.

Bonus Book!

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield (12+)
Recommended for: teenage history fanatics

We mostly focused on KS1 / KS2 age children when putting this list together but must give special mention to YA historical sci-fi novel Leviathan by Scott Westerfield. An alternative telling of World War One in which British Darwinists put their genetically fabricated monsters against the steam-powered iron war machines of the Central Powers, this book encourages young readers to ask important ethical and practical questions about science and invention.

What next?

If your child picked up the science bug from reading, nurture their curiosity with incredible science experiments that fly through your letterbox. All of our science kits come with fully illustrated comic-style instruction books and absolutely everything you need to play with science.

Check out our innovative science kits here.

Did we miss any books that have inspired your little scientists? Let us know!

Thank you to Gino, Pauline, Andaiye, Margaret, Lucy and Parrot Street Book Club for your recommendations and help writing this list!

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