Welcome to December! You’ve heard of science fiction, well this month we are focusing on science IN fiction! These middle grade novels include inspiring characters who love science. We’ve included a “cheat-sheet” breakdown beside each book to alert you to the STEM topic included.
Lucy’s Lab chapter book series by Michelle Houts
[book 1: habitats, book 2: states of matter, book 3:fossils]
In book one of the series, Lucy’s teacher tells her that they will have their very own lab in the classroom, complete with lab coats and goggles. Lucy can’t wait! Lucy’s first inquiry-based project? Find out where the squirrels will live once the tree in front of the school is cut down.
The Reinvention of Edison Thomas by Jacqueline Houtmann
[invention, engineering, physics]
Eddy is a science geek who has problems communicating with others. He must learn to trust his real friends and use his talents to succeed. *Library Media Connection
The Red Blazer Girls by Michael Beil
A series of four titles for mystery lovers, and the detectives are girls who love math. In The Secret Cellar (book 4), Sophie finds a secret message in an antique fountain pen. To solve the mystery, the girls must solve puzzles which lead to a hidden treasure.
Frank Einstein series by Jon Scieszka
[invention, engineering, physics, robotics]
Science experiments, inventions, jokes, and a kid-genius are the subject of this series. Frank Einstein loves to figure out how the world works by creating unusual household contraptions that are part science, and part imagination. “I never thought science could be funny,” say Jeff Kinney (author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid).
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm
[science of life and death, genetics, science of aging] A new boy enters Ellie’s life who looks a lot like her dead grandfather, a scientist who’s always been obsessed with immortality. Could the pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin?
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
This story focuses on grief, wonder, life, death, and oceanography. Benjamin weaves in details about jellyfish and the ocean into her lyrical text. National Book Award Finalist
Saving Wonder by Mary Knight
[conservation, environmental health]
Set in the Appalachian Mountains, Saving Wonder tells the story of Curley Hines, who must speak out against Big Coal to save his mountain. Green Earth Book Award
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Calpurnia Virginia Tate is an inquisitive eleven-year old in 1890 who will inspire budding naturalists. 2010 Newbery Award (Look for the sequel)
The Cry of the Crow by Jean Craighead George
[ornithology, animal behavior]
Mandy’s family thinks of crows as pests and hunts them to protect their valuable strawberry crop. But when Mandy takes on the care of a baby crow she is faced with difficult decisions and the struggles of growing up.
Someday Suitcase by Corey Ann Haydu
[health] A mixture of science, art, magic, and love. Clover and Danny are two best friends who are better together. In fact, Clover thinks they’re symbiotic. In this poignant story, Haydu introduces readers to complex characters who face tough situations with friendship and love.
The Great Hibernation by Tara Dairman
On Founder’s Day in St. Polonius-on-the-Fjord, everyone over the age of twelve must eat a sliver of bear’s liver to celebrate the town’s history. When Jean Huddy finally comes of age to participate in this great honor, she pukes up her portion. A few hours later, all of St. Polonius’s adults fall into a deep sleep, and the children must run the town. Courage, teamwork, ans science come to the rescue to unlock this unusual mystery.
We could go on and on with lots of other great titles that include science in fiction. Can you name others?
STEM Tuesday book lists prepared by:
Nancy Castaldo has written books about our planet for over 20 years including her 2016 title, THE STORY OF SEEDS: From Mendel’s Garden to Your Plate, and How There’s More of Less To Eat Around The World, which earned the 2017 Green Earth Book Award and other honors. Nancy’s research has taken her all over the world from the Galapagos to Russia. She enjoys sharing her adventures, research, and writing tips with readers. Nancy also serves as the Regional Advisor of the Eastern NY SCBWI region. Her 2018 title is BACK FROM THE BRINK: Saving Animals from Extinction. www.nancycastaldo.com
Patricia Newman writes middle-grade nonfiction that inspires kids to seek connections between science, literacy, and the environment. The recipient of the Green Earth Book Award and a finalist for the AAAS/Subaru Science Books and Films Award, her books have received starred reviews, been honored as Junior Library Guild Selections, and included on Bank Street College’s Best Books lists. During author visits, she demonstrates how her writing skills give a voice to our beleaguered environment. Visit her at www.patriciamnewman.com.
Check back every Tuesday of every month:
- Week 1: STEM Tuesday Themed Book Lists
- Week 2: STEM Tuesday in the Classroom
- Week 3: STEM Tuesday Crafts and Resources
- Week 4: STEM Tuesday Author Interviews and Giveaways