We’ve compiled a list of 47 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) books for readers of all ages. Children in kindergarten can solve math mysteries or read about how the color purple was invented. Older readers can explore physics in everyday life and the lives of women who changed the study of DNA. From picture books to memoirs, STEM books have something for every creatively minded reader.
General STEM | Nonfiction | Girls in STEM “The book includes 32 female characters in a whole range of different STEM careers. The aim is for both girls and boys to look at this book and see girls being aerospace engineers, theoretical physicists and just think that it’s normal.” Image and description via Awesome Career Books.
General STEM | Fiction | Girls in STEM “In the first book of this series, Zoey discovers a glowing photo and learns an amazing secret. Injured magical animals come to their backyard barn for help! When a sick baby dragon appears, it’s up to Zoey and Sassafras to figure out what’s wrong.” Image and description via ZoeyandSassafras.com.
General STEM | Nonfiction “This picture book covers the life of Eratosthenes of Cyrene, a geographer who estimated the circumference of the Earth in around 200 B.C. Though he was in fact a librarian, he is famous for his scientific accomplishments.” Image and description via KathrynLasky.com.
Math | Nonfiction “Most people think of mathematicians as solitary, working away in isolation. And, it’s true, many of them do. But Paul Erdos never followed the usual path… this is a beautiful introduction to the world of math and a fascinating look at the unique character traits that made ‘Uncle Paul’ a great man.” The Boy Who Loved Math image and description via Macmillan Publishers.
Math | Nonfiction | Girls in STEM “[This] is the third book in a riveting educational series about the inspiring lives of amazing scientists. In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you’ll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colorful timeline of events, and even a note from Montague herself!” Image and description via The Innovation Press.
Math | Fiction “When the wise man refuses to accept a reward for his service to the king, the king insists and so the wise man asks for a payment of rice for each square of the king’s chessboard—the amount to be doubled each day. Soon the royal granaries are almost empty. Will the proud king concede that he has been outwitted?” Image and description via MathsThroughStories.org.
Math | Fiction “The teacher tells her class that they can think of almost everything as a math problem. Soon after, a little girl wakes up to find everything in life arranging itself into a math problem, and she must find her way out of the Math Curse!” Math Curse image and description via Scholastic.
Science | Fiction | Girls in STEM “Ada has always been endlessly curious. But when her fact-finding missions and elaborate scientific experiments go too far, her frazzled parents banish her to the Thinking Chair. Will all that thinking change Ada’s mind?” Ada Twist, Scientist image and description via The Questioneers.
Science | Fiction | Girls in STEM “In this charming STEAM book, children will see how the light of the full moon inspires Aliana to create a present for her brother, Gustavo, which will surprise the whole family.” Image and description via Eifrig Publishing.
Science | Nonfiction “Explore the uber-awesome and sometimes gross world of biology—aka, the study of living things. Inside these pages, you’ll meet animals with superpowers, plants that eat meat, brains that trick you, and tiny microbes that live, well… all over you!” Image and description via Little, Brown and Company Young Readers.
Science | Nonfiction “William wanted to invent a new medicine to cure malaria, but his experiment, using the scientific method, created something else—the world’s first synthetic dye. PURPLE FOR THE PEOPLE! And a new way to approach chemistry, to identify and cure disease and to make a better world.” Image and description via TamiLewisBrown.com.
Invention | Fiction “A charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea: She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy.” Image and description via Kids Can Press.
Invention | Fiction | Girls in STEM “Rosie’s gizmos would astound—if she ever let anyone see them. Afraid of failure, she hides them away under her bed until a fateful visit from her great-great-aunt Rose, who shows her that a first flop isn’t something to fear—it’s something to celebrate.” Rosie Revere, Engineer image and description via The Questioneers.
Invention | Nonfiction “You know the Super Soaker. It’s one of the top 20 toys of all time. And it was an accidental discovery that brought it into being. Trying to create a new cooling system for refrigerators and air conditioners, inventor Lonnie Johnson instead created the mechanics for the iconic toy.” Image and description via ChrisBarton.info.
General STEM | Nonfiction “A readable, perceptive account of the lives of 14 gifted innovators who have played important roles in scientific and industrial progress.” Image and description via Blackwell’s.
General STEM | Fiction “Emmet Roche is an oddball, a whippersnapper, a genius… When the blizzard of 1888 hits, snowing sideways, will anyone listen to his ideas about the flame color in the stove? And the headaches and dizziness? Will they take his advice before it’s too late?” Image and description via CA Tree Books.
General STEM | Nonfiction “In Thing Explainer, [Randall Munroe] uses line drawings and only the thousand (or, rather, ‘ten hundred’) most common words to provide simple explanations for some of the most interesting stuff there is.” Image and description via Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
General STEM | Nonfiction | Girls in STEM “Full of striking, singular art, this fascinating collection also contains infographics about relevant topics such as lab equipment, rates of women currently working in STEM fields and an illustrated scientific glossary.” Image and description via Penguin Random House.
Math | Fiction | Girls in STEM “Loops, variables, input/output—Lucy can’t wait to get started with the new coding club at school. Lucy begins to get cryptic coding messages and needs some help translating them. She soon discovers that coding—and friendship—takes time, dedication and some laughs!” The Friendship Code #1 image and description via Penguin Random House.
Math | Fiction “Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning. She doesn’t remember it, but it changed her life forever. The zap gave her genius-level math skills, and ever since, Lucy has been homeschooled. Now, at 12 years old, she’s technically ready for college. She just has to pass one more test—middle school!” Image and description via Stacy McAnulty.
Science | Fiction “The plot centers on a seventh-grade science competition and a group of friends who face personal as well as classroom challenges as they attempt to raise honey bees on a hotel roof in New York City.” Image and description via BeesOnTheRoof.com.
Science | Fiction | Girls in STEM “When seventh-grader Alexis catches an unusual fish that looks like a living fossil, she sets off a scientific hunt for more of its kind.” Image and description via Epic.
Invention | Nonfiction “When 14-year-old William Kamkwamba’s Malawi village was hit by a drought, everyone’s crops began to fail. Without enough money for food, let alone school, William spent his days in the library… and figured out how to bring electricity to his village.” The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind image and description via Scholastic.
Invention | Nonfiction | Girls in STEM “From Sybilla Masters, the first American woman with a documented invention (although the patent had to be in her husband’s name), to 12-year-old Becky Schroeder, who in 1974 became the youngest girl to receive a patent, Girls Think of Everything tells the stories of these women’s obstacles and their remarkable victories.” Image and description via Catherine Thimmesh.
Invention | Nonfiction “Leonardo da Vinci was a genius of epic proportions, and his notebooks prove that his thinking stood at the edge of the modern world. Explore the story of Leonardo the scientist and artist.” Image and description via RIF.org.
General STEM | Nonfiction | Girls in STEM “Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization and more.” Image and description via Rebecca Skloot.
General STEM | Fiction “Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next.” Image and description via Andy Weir.
General STEM | Nonfiction “Lavers explores and solves some of nature’s most challenging evolutionary mysteries, such as why birds are small and plentiful, why rivers and lakes are dominated by the few remaining large reptiles, why most of the large land-dwellers are mammals and many more.” Image and description via Thrift Books.
Math | Nonfiction | Girls in STEM “The incredible true story of the greatest codebreaking duo that ever lived, an American woman and her husband who invented the modern science of cryptology together and used it to confront the evils of their time, solving puzzles that unmasked Nazi spies and helped win World War II.” Image and description via HarperCollins.
Science | Nonfiction “As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together.” Braiding Sweetgrass image and description via IndieBound.
Science | Nonfiction | Girls in STEM “Geobiologist Hope Jahren has spent her life studying trees, flowers, seeds and soil. Lab Girl is her revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also a celebration of the lifelong curiosity, humility and passion that drive every scientist.” Lab Girl image and description via Penguin Random House.
Science | Nonfiction “[In this] memoir of growing up in World WarII–era England as part of an extraordinary scientific family … Oliver Sacks invokes his childhood and early scientific fascination with light, matter and energy as a mystic might invoke the transformative symbolism of metals and salts.” Image and description via OliverSacks.com.
Invention | Nonfiction | Girls in STEM “Sullivan, the first American woman to walk in space, recounts how she and other astronauts, engineers and scientists launched, rescued, repaired and maintained Hubble, the most productive observatory ever built.” Image and description via Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.
Invention | Nonfiction “A powerful, luminous story of coming of age at the dawn of the 1960s, of a mother’s love and a father’s fears, of a group of young men who dreamed of launching rockets into outer space… and who made those dreams come true.” Rocket Boys image and description via Amazon.
Invention | Nonfiction | Girls in STEM “[This is] the untold story of the woman who helped to make one of humanity’s greatest discoveries—DNA—but who was never given credit for doing so.” Image and description via Google Books.