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A bevy of books
Long, lazy summer days are perfect for curling up in the shade or in an air-conditioned retreat indoors with a good book. And there are plenty of options for kids that will stir their interest in the natural world and spark their curiosity about the ways that scientists investigate everything from plankton to planets, unraveling the secrets of how things work from the inside out.
Exciting science-themed stories can be found in fact and fiction — from biographies of intrepid explorers and inventors to novels about space exploration among distant worlds; to photographic essays about conservation and biodiversity; to comics and graphic tales about everything from paleontology to new species discovery.
Here are some recommendations that will perk up any summer reading list. For even more suggestions, check out from the National Science Teachers of America (NSTA) Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12: 2016 and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Summer Reading Lists for Kids (2015).
PaleontologySlide 2 of 13
There's a lot to love about dinosaurs, and budding paleontologists will delight in digging up tidbits about their favorites — whether they favor feathered tyrannosaurs or towering titanosaurs.
Stone Girl Bone Girl: The Story of Mary Anning. Laurence Anholt (author) and Sheila Moxley (illustrator). Recommended for ages 5 to 9.
For beginning readers, this is a perfect introduction to acclaimed 19th century fossil hunter Mary Anning, who found her first fossil skeleton of an ichthyosaur when she was only 12 years old. Folk-art style illustrations help to tell the tale of the girl whose discoveries proved invaluable to the developing science of paleontology.
Science Comics: Dinosaurs. MK Reed (author) and Joe Flood (illustrator). Recommended for ages 9 to 13.
The history of paleontology, in comics format! Part of a series of non-fiction comics about science topics, Dinosaurs uses appealing illustrations to cover 150 years of the most significant dinosaur discoveries: the people who found, described and displayed the fossils, the biology and evolution of dinosaurs themselves, and how our understanding of dinosaurs has changed over time.
My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs. Brian Switek. Recommended for ages 14 and up.
Some are intrigued by dinosaurs during childhood but outgrow their fascination with these ancient beasts as they grow older. But for science writer Brian Switek, the youthful obsession never went away. This engaging account describes how an early interest in paleontology — and in one dinosaur in particular — inspired a lifelong commitment, interweaving personal fossil encounters with the latest discoveries that define the study of dinosaurs today.Slide 3 of 13
Plants, animals and ecologySlide 4 of 13
Plants, animals and ecology
The world around us is teeming with life — in the oceans, in the skies, and on land. These books will offer glimpses into some of the ways that humans interact with the plants, animals, and ecosystems around them.
Plastic Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Patricia Newman. Recommended for ages 8 to 14.
A team of scientists explores an immense floating island in the Pacific Ocean made up of millions of pieces of discarded plastic. Readers will follow the researchers as they study the impact of plastic trash on the ocean and marine organisms.
Wild at Heart: Mustangs and the Young People Fighting to Save Them. Terri Farley (author) and Melissa Farlow (photographer). Recommended for ages 10 to 14.
"Wild" horses roaming the ranges today aren't native to North America, but they have long been considered iconic figures in the landscape of the American West. Writer Terri Farley delivers an introduction to wild mustang history, and presents some of the challenges they face from agencies that see them as pests.
Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas. Jim Ottaviani (writer), Maris Wicks (illustrator). Recommended for ages 12 to 18.
Appealing illustrations and superb storytelling weave a highly entertaining nonfiction graphic account of three groundbreaking primate researchers. Through their work, these women redefined the study of primates and in doing so changed the way scientists understand the habits and behaviors of our closest living relatives.Slide 5 of 13
Human biologySlide 6 of 13
Inside and out, the human body is a marvelous machine that's full of surprises. There's always something new to learn about its construction, its microbial inhabitants, how it operates from day to day and how all of its parts — large and small — work together to keep us alive, functioning and healthy.
Human Body Theater. Maris Wicks. Recommended for ages 10 to 14.
In this humorously illustrated biology guide staged in a theaterlike setting, a skeleton master of ceremonies introduces the systems and senses in the human body, layer by layer. Organs take turns appearing in the spotlight to describe how our bodies are constructed and how all of the parts choreograph and coordinate efforts to ensure everything runs smoothly — inside and out.
What's in Your Genes?: From the Color of Your Eyes to the Length of Your Life, a Revealing Look at Your Genetic Traits. Katie McKissick. Recommended for ages 13 and up.
Written by a former high-school biology teacher, "What's in Your Genes?" is an accessible, fun overview of the fascinating world of genetics. With language that's easy to follow and understand, it looks at how scientists discovered and study DNA and explains the workings of those mysterious bits of coded data in all of our cells that determine each of the traits that make us who we are.
It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health (The Family Library): Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley. Recommended for ages 13 and up.
This invaluable resource is chock-full of practical information about puberty and sexuality, addressing how adolescent bodies change and providing answers to common questions about sexual health, orientation and activity that accompany these physical changes. The recently updated edition incorporates discussion of gender identity, sexting and internet safety.Slide 7 of 13
SpaceSlide 8 of 13