STEM Picture Book Recommendations
Updated: Jul 28, 2020
School's out and we're in a lockdown...and you might be running out of books for your child to enjoy. No fear! We have some great STEM picture book recommendations.
We here at Hello Bezlo know it's not all about growing up and marrying a prince. Princess stories are great...BUT growing up to be a strong, smart, and independent woman is way more empowering.
Young girls need to be exposed to STEM role models in order to be motivated and inspired, and what better time to introduce new role models than at story time? Seeing female faces making scientific discoveries and building things sends a powerful message to young girls that STEM subjects are for everyone.
Here are some of Hello Bezlo’s favorite STEM storybooks:
Georgia's Terrific, Colorific Experiment
Written and illustrated by Zoe Persico, Running Kids Press (AGES 5-8)
In a family full of artists, Georgia is unique. She's the only scientist in the family. Her mother, father, grandmother, and brother couldn't possibly understand how to conduct a proper experiment. As Georgia struggles to create the most terrific science experiment, she realizes the one thing she was missing. After all, science and art form the perfect mixture!
Written and illustrated by Kim Smith (AGES 4-7)
Meg is an amazing boxitect --she creates extraordinary things out of ordinary cardboard boxes. But when the incredibly talented Simone joins Maker School, Meg has some fierce competition now that she is no longer the school's only boxitect. The two rivals get paired up for the school's maker competition, and end up doing more arguing than creating. When their disagreements only lead to disastrous creations, they realize they must join forces and work together.
Cece Loves Science
Written by Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes, Illustrated by Vashti Harrison (AGES 4-8)
Cece is a curious girl who always asks questions. So when her teacher assigns a science project, she and her teammate Isaac try to come up with the answer to a very interesting question --do dogs eat vegetables? Using her dog, Einstein, as their subject, they collect data and make observations, but they just can't quite figure it out. They realize that the scientific process requires revising your hypotheses and using data to help find answers to your questions.
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World
Written and illustrated by Rachel Ignotofsky, Ten Speed Press (AGES 9+)
This book mixes amazing art with inspiring women to prove a scientific fact: STEM women rule! It highlights the contributions of 50 women who have paved the way in medicine, inventions, technology and much more, from ancient times to the modern world. It features well-known women such as primatologist Jane Goodall and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who helped bring the 1969 Apollo mission to the moon. This is definitely a must-read for any young girl who dreams of changing the world.
Ada Twist, Scientist
Written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts, Abrams Books (AGES 4-6)
From the author of best-selling books “Rosie Revere Engineer”, “Iggy Peck Architect”, and "Sofia Valdez, Future Prez" (which we also recommend!) comes Ada Twist, a curious girl who always asks, "why?" Why are there pointy things on a rose? Why are their hairs in your nose? So when she notices a toe-curling bad smell in her house, Ada conducts experiments in the name of science to solve the mystery! This book has themes of perseverance and problem solving, and shows diversity and determination at its best. Young girls will learn that sometimes questions only lead to more questions, but that is what all the fun of being a scientist is about!
The Most Magnificent Thing
Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires, Kids Can Press (AGES 3–7)
A little girl plans to make the most magnificent thing. But when building it turns out to be more difficult than she thought, she gets frustrated and quits. Her assistant/best friend/dog encourages her to keep trying. This quirky engineering-based story teaches kids that with a little bit of perseverance and a dash of creativity, they too can build magnificent things!
Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls (Vol. 1 and 2)
Written by Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli, Rebel Girls (AGES 5+)
This beautifully-illustrated book (which was illustrated by over 60 women artists!) shows girls they can be anything they want. It is packed with 100 true stories of famous women pioneers in fields like science, art, politics, sports, music, and much more. Girls will be inspired by the stories of Ada Lovelace (the first computer programmer), Amelia Earhart (the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean), Mae Jemison (the first African American woman in space), Margaret Hamilton (computer scientist who developed on-board flight software for NASA's Apollo program, and more!
Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle
Written and illustrated by Claire A. Nivola, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (AGES 4-8)
This beautifully illustrated story tells the tale of Sylvia Earle’s love for the ocean. We learn how Sylvia first discovers the wonders of the Gulf of Mexico in her own backyard, and dives even deeper as she grows up. Whether she's designing submersibles, swimming with the whales, or taking deep-water walks, Sylvia Earle has dedicated her life to learning more about what she calls "the blue heart of the planet." This book will inspire young environmentalists!
Not Just Another Princess Story
Written by Sheri Radford and illustrated by Qin Leng, Simply Read Books (AGES 6–9)
Princess Candi loves math more than anything! But when her father decides it’s time for her to get married, she takes charge and begins the search for her prince using every trick she can find from fairy tales, including kissing frogs and and slaying monsters. Expect the unexpected with this modern fairy tale, packed with algebra and a happy-ever-after consisting of Princess Candi finding love --with a college math scholarship!
Bright Sky, Starry City
Written by Uma Krishnaswami and illustrated by Aimee Sicuro, Groundwood Books (AGES 6–9)
Astronomy-loving Phoebe is excited for a special night. She has helped her dad set up a telescope to see Saturn and Mars! But will she be able to see them with all the city lights? A storm strikes up and the sky is covered with clouds and raindrops! Suddenly the sky clears, and Phoebe, her dad, and all their neighbors spill out into the streets to enjoy the view of the planets. This hopeful book shows kids to always stay positive. There is even a lovely illustrated section at the end that teaches all about the solar system, planets and light pollution.
Let us know what you think about these recommendations! We hope you and your kids enjoy reading these books, as well as having conversations about them afterwards. Books are an amazing way to spark conversations. They might even lead to ideas for fun activities, or research online about a particular person in history that they found fascinating. Happy reading!