I have a confession. I’m a huge science geek! That’s probably why I write nonfiction books– mostly about science and engineering. But I also like to read fiction, too. Even though I tend towards high stake action- adventure, mystery, humorous, and even a little fanasty on occasion, I sometimes miss seeing the science in those books.
So I have to say that I have been delighted to see the trend of science creeping into fiction books lately. Here are a few good ones that you might want to check out if you are into science, too. These books will surely help you “get your geek on”!
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm
Believe in the possible . . . with this “warm, witty, and wise” novel from “New York Times” bestseller, three-time Newbery Honor winner Jennifer L. Holm
Galileo. Newton. Salk. Oppenheimer.
Science can change the world . . . but can it go too far?
Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He’s bossy. He’s cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie’s grandfather, a scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?
With a lighthearted touch and plenty of humor, Jennifer Holm celebrates the wonder of science and explores fascinating questions about life and death, family and friendship, immortality . . . and possibility.
Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner
Four kids . . . Two weeks in the Florida Everglades . . . One top-secret science experiment that could change them “and “the world as they know it . . . Meet Quentin, a middle-school football star from Chicago; Sarah, a hockey player from Upstate New York; Ben, a horse lover from the Pacific Northwest; and Cat, an artistic bird watcher from California.The four have little in common except the head injuries that landed them in an elite brain-science center in the wild swamps of Florida. It’s known as the best clinic in the world and promises to return their lives to normal, but as days pass, the kids begin to notice strange side effects and unexplained changes.
Frank Einstein and the Anti- Motor Motor by Jon Scieszka
Frank Einstein loves figuring out how the world works by creating household contraptions that are part science, part imagination, and definitely unusual. After an uneventful experiment in his garage-lab, a lightning storm and flash of electricity bring Frank’s inventions—the robots Klink and Klank—to life! Not exactly the ideal lab partners, the wisecracking Klink and the overly expressive Klank nonetheless help Frank attempt to perfect his Antimatter Motor . . . until Frank’s archnemesis, T. Edison, steals Klink and Klank for his evil doomsday plan! Using real science, Jon Scieszka has created a unique world of adventure and science fiction—an irresistible chemical reaction for middle-grade readers.
Solving a centuries-old family mystery is Tom Edison’s only hope to stop his family from moving to Kansas. His famous namesake and great-great-grandfather, Thomas Edison, had discovered the secret formula for changing metal into gold, and now Tom and his friends are on a whirlwind adventure to find the key to this monumental discovery. But can the three friends uncover Edison’s secret formula in time and escape the clutches of an evil billionaire?
Full of gadgetry, historical rivalries, secret societies, and bad guys galore, Geoff Watson’s Edison’s Gold is a thrilling adventure for middle-grade readers.
E ye of the Storm by Kate Messner
In the not-too-distant future, huge tornadoes and monster storms have become a part of everyday life. Sent to spend the summer in the heart of storm country with her meteorological engineer father, Jaden Meggs is surprised at the strides her father’s company StormSafe, has made with custom shelters that keep her family safe in even the worst of storms. At her exclusive summer science camp, Eye On Tomorrow, Jaden meets Alex, a boy whose passion for science matches hers. Together, they discover that her father’s company is steering storms away from the expensive neighborhoods and toward the organic farming communities that are in competition with his bio-engineered food company, NatureMade. Jaden must confront her father, but when she does, she uncovers a terrifying family secret and must call on both her scientific knowledge and her faith to save the people she loves most from one of her father’s monster storms.
Brendan Buckley’s 6th grade Experment by Sundee T. Fraizer
Brendan Buckley is headed to middle school on a whole new adventure. When his alternative energy idea gets him paired with new girl Morgan Belcher for the national science competition, Brendan is skeptical. But their partnership clicks, and they embark on a methane-producing experiment involving bottles, balloons, and the freshest cow manure they can find.
As Brendan spends more time on the experiment, he has a lot of big questions: Does his police detective dad really think he’s a science-nerd whimp? Will he and Khalfani, his best friend and Tae Kwon Do sparring partner, remain best friends? And can Brendan prove that his scientific pursuits really “could” be world-changing?
The Secret Chicken Society by Judy Cox
When Daniel’s class hatches chicks as a science project, he adopts them. When he finds out that his favorite bird, Peepers, isn’t a hen but a rooster, and therefore illegal to keep in the city of Portland, the Secret Chicken Societyis quickly formed to save Peepers. This warmhearted chapter book about an environmentally-conscious family will provide plenty of clucks and lots of chuckles for young readers.
The Contagious Colors of Mumpley Middle School by Fowler Dewitt
Wilmer has always known that the greatest science comes from the keenest observations. So when he observes his classmates looking a little green…and orange…and chartreuse-fuchsia polka-dotted…he knows that it’s up to him to find the cause of this mysterious illness—and its cure.
But with his arch nemesis, Claudius Dill, hot on his heels; the eagle-eyed biology teacher, Mrs. Padgett, determined to thwart his plans; and a host of fluorescent classmates bouncing off the walls at increasingly dangerous speeds, can Wilmer prove he has what it takes to save the sixth grade from a colorful demise before it’s too late?
If you know of any more “science-y” middle grade fiction books, please feel free to share below. I’m sure all of us science lovers out there would be thrilled to add them to our “to be read” list!
Jennifer Swanson is a self-professed science geek and the author of over 20 nonfiction books for kids. You can find her at her website at www.JenniferSwansonBooks.com
Just to (toot toot) blow my own horn: my new middle grade MOONPENNY ISLAND is set on an island rich in fossils, including trilobites, one of the first creatures to develop eyes and sight. There’s a lot about evolution and Darwin, all tied to the larger theme of how we learn to see, both through our own eyes and the eyes of others’. Fourth grade teachers are telling me it works with their science curriculum. (toot toot!)
Thanks for this list. I haven’t read any of them, but have now put a couple of them on my TBR list.
Thanks for this. I’ve been curating a list of “sciency fiction” on my blog (http://jjhoutman.livejournal.com/62248.html). Brendan Buckley is there. I’ll definitely take a look at some of the books you listed. I don’t include any books with a speculative element (such as time travel or grandfathers turning into teenagers). Here’s a link to a page about sciency fiction on my website. http://jhoutman.com/pages/Sciency_fiction.html