10 uncommon yet marvelous science books for children

Experiment, read, repeat

When it comes to chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture, the num­ber of ti­tles is about equiv­a­lent to the num­ber of stars in the sky. Need­less to say, find­ing some­thing worth­while is a chal­lenge. No wor­ries, though! We have scout­ed the mar­ket for you and picked 10 gems from all around the world for all ages. A good book will cer­tain­ly come in handy when your child needs to pass the time be­tween MEL Sci­ence ex­per­i­ments!

1. “The Se­cret Life of…” se­ries

"The Secret Life of Viruses" []

Mar­i­ona Tolosa Sis­teré’s tril­o­gy in­clud­ing “The Se­cret Life of Virus­es,” “The Se­cret Life of Boogers,” and “The Se­cret Life of Boo-Boos” is per­fect for preschool­ers. The sur­pris­ing­ly in-depth ex­pla­na­tions of how bac­te­ria and virus­es work and how our bod­ies de­fend them­selves in re­turn fea­ture beau­ti­ful­ly dis­gust­ing il­lus­tra­tions of this nev­er end­ing bat­tle. If you want your child to un­der­stand what ill­ness­es are and why hy­giene is im­por­tant, these works are the key!

“The In­cred­i­ble Free­dom Ma­chines”

“The Incredible Freedom Machines” []

Our own iden­ti­ty starts de­vel­op­ing as soon as we can tell our­selves apart from the world around us. And Kir­li Saun­ders’s “The In­cred­i­ble Free­dom Ma­chines” is a cre­ative way to broach the top­ic of how im­por­tant it is to choose your own path in life with young read­ers. The sto­ry it­self is a metaphor­i­cal jour­ney of a young girl dream­ing of ac­quir­ing a won­drous ma­chine ca­pa­ble of ful­fill­ing her dreams. The trick is that get­ting such a de­vice in her fic­tion­al world re­quires fig­ur­ing out what the ma­chine ac­tu­al­ly is.

3. “The Go­ril­la Who Want­ed to Grow Up”

“The Gorilla Who Wanted to Grow Up” []

An­oth­er great sym­bol­ic av­enue to ex­plain ma­tur­ing and find­ing your­self is Jill Tom­lin­son’s “The Go­ril­la Who Want­ed to Grow Up.” The pro­tag­o­nist of this book is a child go­ril­la ea­ger­ly wish­ing to be­come an adult. As it hap­pens, she grad­u­al­ly learns that grow­ing up is not only about cool looks and chest-beat­ing.

4. “The Wild Ro­bot”

“The Wild Robot” []

Au­toma­tons are soul­less ma­chines who know noth­ing of feel­ings, right? Wrong. At least if we think of them in terms of the fic­tion­al world cre­at­ed by Pe­ter Brown. The nov­el fol­lows a ro­bot stuck on an un­in­hab­it­ed is­land. Can she sur­vive on her own in this new and un­fa­mil­iar en­vi­ron­ment? Her ad­ven­ture will turn out to be an al­lur­ing tale of friend­ship, love, and the abil­i­ty to over­come seem­ing­ly in­sur­mount­able ob­sta­cles.

5. “Mouse Ad­ven­tures” se­ries

“Mouse Adventures” series []

Fic­tion and metaphor can be a great way to ex­plore life’s won­ders and hard­ships, but a slight­ly more di­rect ap­proach to the world can be ev­ery bit as cap­ti­vat­ing. Al­bert Ein­stein, Neil Arm­strong, and Charles Lind­bergh were liv­ing mile­stones of hu­man­i­ty’s tech­ni­cal progress, and Tor­ben Kuhlmann’s sto­ries in­tro­duce them through the eyes of a small time-trav­el­ing mouse.

6. “The Sto­ry of In­ven­tions”

“The Story of Inventions” []

As hu­man­i­ty pro­gress­es in terms of sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy, it’s get­ting hard­er and hard­er for ev­ery new gen­er­a­tion to catch up with ev­ery­thing in­vent­ed be­fore their time. This com­ic book by Cather­ine Barr suc­cess­ful­ly tack­les this is­sue by por­tray­ing the ma­jor sci­en­tif­ic break­throughs of hu­man his­to­ry.

7. “George” se­ries by Lucy and Stephen Hawk­ing

“George” series by Lucy and Stephen Hawking []

Frankly, ex­plain­ing the lat­est dis­cov­er­ies and the­o­ries to the gen­er­al pub­lic is no easy task for a sci­en­tist. How­ev­er, Lucy and Stephen Hawk­ing took a cre­ative ap­proach and penned a se­ries about the ad­ven­tures of George. The fic­tion­al plot of the books, which in­volves trav­el­ing through space, is ac­tu­al­ly a bril­liant out­line for ex­plain­ing the na­ture of the uni­verse.

8. “The Out­side: A Guide to Dis­cov­er­ing Na­ture”

“The Outside: A Guide to Discovering Nature” []

Be­sides learn­ing through fun, our ex­per­i­ments also of­fer a good share of in­ter­ac­tiv­i­ty. “The Out­side: A Guide to Dis­cov­er­ing Na­ture” by Maria Ana Peixe Dias and Inês Teix­eira do Rosário does just the same: it's a well-de­signed, com­pre­hen­sive cat­a­log where al­most any­thing we call “na­ture” is in­tro­duced through a di­a­logue-like nar­ra­tive en­dors­ing real-life ex­plo­ration.

9. “Jef­fer­son”

“Jefferson” []

Some top­ics are mere­ly hard to ex­plain; oth­ers are ex­treme­ly dif­fi­cult. An­i­mal rights are one of the lat­ter, and can only be tru­ly un­der­stood through em­pa­thy as op­posed to a ra­tio­nal ap­proach. Jean-Claude Mourl­evat’s “Jef­fer­son” is an ex­cit­ing de­tec­tive nov­el fea­tur­ing a hedge­hog forced to ven­ture into the world of hu­mans af­ter be­ing framed for mur­der.

10. “Heart­stream”

“Heartstream” []

The fi­nal ti­tle in our list of chil­dren's books is a young adult book suit­able for teenagers over 16. We mustn’t for­get that sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy are ac­tu­al­ly tools that can be used to make hu­man life ei­ther com­fort­able or mis­er­able. While the British TV show “Black Mir­ror” suc­cess­ful­ly ex­plores this mes­sage, “Heart­stream” by Tom Pol­lock of­fers a deep­er and much less ex­ag­ger­at­ed ap­proach. This one is a de­tec­tive nov­el too, but un­like “Jef­fer­son,” it takes place in a world like ours with only one ma­jor dif­fer­ence — the ex­is­tence of an app ca­pa­ble of con­vey­ing emo­tions.

This read­ing se­lec­tion works great in tan­dem with MEL Sci­ence ex­per­i­ments! Af­ter read­ing these, your child might catch a real sci­ence bug — keep­ing one of our kits close at hand for the oc­ca­sion is a fine idea.

Bear in mind that while the books in this list are writ­ten for chil­dren, there is no shame in check­ing them out your­self! They are a great, homey way to get more fa­mil­iar with sci­ence and na­ture. Be­sides, thanks to the de­sign and sto­ries, the ti­tles above are just a mag­nif­i­cent ad­di­tion to your home li­brary as col­lectibles!