13 Cool STEM Books for Kids Who Love Science (and More)

Engaging reads for kids and tweens about science, technology, engineering, and math. By Regan McMahon
13 Cool STEM Books for Kids Who Love Science (and More)

Digital tools that engage kids in the process of scientific discovery get a lot of STEM attention (deservedly so), but reading also hooks kids on science, technology, engineering, and math. There's a lot more to STEM books than you might think. We found a biography of a 19th-century female inventor, a story about scientifically minded twins that includes gadget-creation projects, and a graphic novel that teaches coding. We've selected books that offer engaging stories and tantalizing nonfiction to nurture kids' natural curiosity about the world and spark an interest in inventions, inventors, and problem-solving. 

Take a look at our STEM book picks for preschool through middle school kids. 

Ada Twist, Scientist (4+). A young girl of color asks a host of questions about the world around her and launches into investigations to test her theories (the mark of a true scientist). From the team that created Rosie Revere, Engineer.

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (5+). The writing is lively and the art is rich in this award-winning bio of a remarkable 19th-century female inventor who created algorithms for a machine that was a precursor to computers. 

Rosie Revere, Engineer (5+). A second-grade girl who loves making gadgets tries to build a flying machine for her great-great-great-aunt. Rosie Revere, Engineer includes wonderful lessons, including that failure is part of the inventor's (or engineer's) process -- and that you only truly fail if you give up.

The Animal Book (6+). This beautiful, comprehensive overview of the animal world offers an introduction to basic ideas in biology, simply explained and illustrated with small snippets of text. It showcases some the remarkable ways animals hunt, survive, mate, and raise their young.

Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas (7+). The inspiring story of the African-American man who developed open-heart surgery for infants -- but had to wait years to receive recognition. Tiny Stitches includes lots of medical information and historical context about racial prejudice.

Secret Coders (8+). This graphic novel fantasy teaches coding skills to elementary and middle schoolers as part of a fun and funny story. Diverse characters, including a puzzle- and mystery-solving 12-year-old girl, make this a smart, modern read.

Astrotwins (9+). Retired astronaut Mark Kelly's novel is a primer on rocketry and NASA's space program. The story is rooted in his memories of growing up with his twin brother, astronaut Scott Kelly. The scientific content is rich and deep, with patient, detailed explanations.

Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab: A Mystery with Electromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself (9+). Spending the summer with their mad-scientist uncle, 11-year-old twins Nick and Tesla use their creativity and scientific knowledge to get out of scrapes. The book includes step-by-step instructions for building their projects.

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate (10+). It's 1900 in rural Texas, and Callie is turning 13 -- and discovering the joys of science. The book includes lots of scientific detail, including gross moments involving animal bodily fluids and dissection.

Human Body Theater (10+). A skeleton guides visitors on a trip through the 11 systems that make up the human body. This clever nonfiction graphic novel has organs and processes acting like people, with arms, legs, and facial expressions.

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World (10+). This illustrated encyclopedia of women who've made important discoveries and contributions in a wide variety of STEM fields emphasizes their achievements and obstacles they overcame. 

Bomb: The Race to Build -- and Steal -- the World's Most Dangerous Weapon (12+). This suspenseful, detailed account of the development of the first atom bombs includes chemistry and physics. A Newbery Honor Book, it also shows how the bomb effectively ended World War II and led to the Cold War arms race between the United States and Russia.

Planesrunner (12+). A physicist is kidnapped off the streets of London, and his 14-year-old son follows his trail into another universe. The main premise in this fast-paced sci-fi adventure -- a multiverse of distinct universes -- is based on current theories in cosmology and quantum physics. 

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About Regan McMahon

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Regan has been reviewing children's books for more than a decade. A journalist and former book editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, she cites as one of her toughest assignments having to read and review the 784-page... Read more

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