In this new monthly STEAM series, I will highlight some wonderful picture books that fall under one area of STEAM [STEAM = Science Technology Engineering Art Mathematics]. For the month of November we are starting with science. These books include diverse biographies, books about the solar system, chemistry, physics, environmental science (my personal favorite!), and even a scientific parody on Goodnight Moon. These picture books can be found in our print collection at The Trove and on OverDrive. At the end of the post, you'll also find some fun and educational STEAM websites for kids.
What Miss Mitchell Saw by Hayley Barrett
Maria loves to gaze at the sky. Her father helps her by teaching her how to use a telescope. Maria becomes a teacher and a librarian but continues to gaze at the sky each evening until she discovers something that no one had ever seen…. Beautifully illustrated with whimsical designs, and words whirling through the pages, What Miss Mitchell Saw is a wonderful book.
Fossil Huntress by Andi Diehn
Mary Leakey loved to study the past and was fascinated by cave paintings. When Mary wondered why people painted on rocks, her father encouraged her curiosity. Instead of going to school, Mary studied and drew fossils. Mary traveled to Africa to learn to become a paleontologist. She made some great discoveries that still inspire paleontologists today. The book also provides quotes from Mary and a fun STEAM activity: draw a specimen!
Mama Miti by Donna Jo Napoli
Learn the true story of Wangari Muta Maathai, a woman who inspired her village and others to share seedlings of trees. She was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her work planting trees. Children will learn how each seedling protected itself from danger; for example, a Mukawa has thorns. There is medicine from the muthakwa wa athi, and the Muluhakuha tree makes good timber for shelter. A beautiful picture book that uses collages to illustrate Maathai’s kindness.
Professor Astro Cat’s Space Rockets by Dr. Dominic Walliman & Ben Newman
Want to read a fun book about space? Welcome to Professor Astro Cat’s Space Rockets. This is a fun book that introduces vocabulary words, such as astronaut and space probes. The book also breaks down the concept of gravity and the stages of a rocket launch. Read along and get ready to fly off into space!
Goodnight Constellations by Rachel McAlister
This wonderful board book illustrates the constellations. For example, Orion is shown using his bow to sprinkle stars in the sky. Taurus looks like he is ready to sleep and Leo roars like a big lion. If you and your child like to stargaze you can look for these constellations by looking at the night sky after you have read this fun book!
Solar System by Jill McDonald
This is another wonderful board book that introduces children to the solar system. Young scholars will learn that Venus is the brightest planet, and that astronauts have left their footprints on the moon.
Mae Among The Stars by Roda Ahmed
Meet Mae, a dreamer and a brave little girl. She wants to become an astronaut and her mother tells her that she can be anything she wants to be! Mae reads about space, and draws pictures about space. She even makes an astronaut costume! Mae is convinced that she can make her dream come true even if people try to discourage her. Will Mae wave to her parents from space? Read this inspiring true story to find out.
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Ada has a lot of questions about the world around her. Why does it tick? She asked and her parents wondered how to help Ada and her brilliant mind. Even her teacher allowed Ada to make a mess as she created…she was a young chemist! Ada asked more questions about the world around her and luckily her parents continued to support her curiosity!
Max and the Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper
Max and his grandpa have a special bond. When Max points out the moon one night, Grandpa says the moon will always shine for Max. When Max leaves Grandpa’s and takes a trip home, he notices that the moon is tagging along. All through the trees, curves, and roundabout streets, the moon is still there. Would the moon also be there when Grandpa is so far away? A delightful and endearing book.
Margaret and the Moon by Robert Dean
Margaret was a very smart girl and loved to solve problems. She studied hard and loved math. Margaret also wanted to know why stars shone, and how planets moved when the galaxy was formed. She studied the night sky and began to ask complex questions… how many miles to the moon? When Margaret grew older she discovered computers. Could Margaret help NASA fly people to the moon? Read this wonderful book to find out more about Margaret’s journey.
Forces by Andi Diehn
Did you ever wonder how magnets work? Learn about how certain magnets attract or repel each other. This book is a wonderful introduction to the physical sciences. Also, the book includes fun experiments, such as observing the interactions between two magnets. Want to learn the secret to winning a game of tug of war? Or how to swing higher? The book also features a glossary of words such as friction, gravity, and magnetism.
A Trip Into Space by Lori Haskins Houran
Taking a walk without any ground, flipping in space… a wonderful book that uses rhyme to introduce children to the vocabulary that is used by astronauts. At the end of the book children can learn about how astronauts keep from floating off into space, and how astronauts sleep.
Water Can Be… by Laura Purdie Salas
In this book, poetry is used to explain the nature of water. The pictures of puddles, jellyfish, and gentle deer drinking from a stream illustrate the fluidity of water. The poetic rhymes also help readers understand the creative force of water. We meet snowmen and salmon, and even learn how water can even be used as decoration. At the end of the book, there is a wonderful explanation of some of the terminology used, such as rainbow jeweler: without water we wouldn’t have rainbows.
Kate, Who Tamed the Wind by Liz Garton Scanlon
Read about the power of wind as an old man cries out for help and his words are whipped away by the wind. Kate, a little girl, hears his cries and wants to help. Kate wonders if she can stop the wind by planting trees. A wonderful book that includes facts on the importance of trees in our ecosystem.
Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped the Unlock the Secrets of the Atoms by Teresa Robeson
Mama and Baba Wu knew that their daughter would be brave and smart, so they named her Chien Shuing which means courageous hero. Chien Shuing learned a lot from her parents’ school and went off to learn more. She was captivated by physics, the study of matter. Discover how Chien Shuing lived up to her name by researching beta decay at Columbia University.
Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved our Planet by Elizabeth Rusch
Mario had a curious mind and began to study the world around him. What would happen if he let lettuce rot? Mario even examined toothpaste! As an adult, Mario discovered the danger of CFC’s, which damaged earth’s atmosphere. Mario was determined to warn everyone about the endangerment of the planet. An inspiring biography on the life of Mario Molina, a boy from Mexico City, who became a Nobel Prize winner.
ABC's of Space by Chris Ferrie and Julia Kregenow
This is a wonderful book that introduces young children to the world of astronomy! D is for dark matter–did you know that even though we can’t see dark matter, it makes up most of the mass in the universe? The illustrations are a delight for any child who loves space.
You might also want to check out 8 Little Planets and Electromagnetism for Babies by Chris Ferrie, and Astrophysics for Babies by Chris Ferrie and Julia Kregenow.
Goodnight Lab by Chris Ferrie
This is a fun parody of Goodnight Moon with a scientific spin! Goodnight liquid nitrogen… goodnight compressed air. Goodnight lab coats and sticky notes. Try pairing this up with an audiobook of the original Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown before bedtime.
There was a Black Hole that Swallowed the Universe by Chris Ferrie
There was a Black Hole that Swallowed the Universe by Chris Ferrie is based on the classic There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly. The book is silly, fun, and beautifully illustrated. Check out the Stellar Black Hole Facts at the end.
Suggested Websites for Fun STEAM Activities: