STEM Tuesday — Animal Perceptions– Book List

Animals see the world differently from humans. Check out this list of middle grade books that explore various ways in which animals perceive, sense, and communicate.

Detector Dogs, Dynamite Dolphins, and Other Animals with Super Sensory Powers Detector Dogs, Dynamite Dolphins, and More Animals with Super Sensory Powers:  Giaimo, Cara, Couch, Christina, Duncan, Daniel: 9781536229530: Books -
by Cara Giaimo, Christina Couch, and Daniel Duncan


This book features an array of different animals that use their “super” senses,from echolocation to electroreception to help humans tackle real-world problems like pollution and global warming. Examples include Cynthia, a pipe-fixing ferret, and Rosita, a goat who helps prevent wildfires. Each chapter features a different animal and also provides guided experiments for young, curious minds.



How to Talk to a Tiger…and Other Animals: How Critters Communicate in the Wild
by Jason Bittel and Kelsey Buzzell


What do skunks, blue-ringed octopuses, and ladybugs have in common? They all use aposematic coloration, or warning colors, to communicate with other animals! Every page of this colorful book is packed with fun facts about how animals talk to each other using sights, sounds, smells, tastes, electrosenses, and touch. This browseable book groups animals by their special communication styles, including dancing, singing, playing dead, and even urinating.


Cat Eyes & Dog Whistles: The Seven Senses of Humans and Other Animals
by Cathy Evans and Becky Thorns


This book takes a look at human perception and shows how we don’t have five senses, we have seven. We’re constantly trying to interpret the world around us as highly sensitive receptor cells in our eyes, ears, noses, tongues and skin relay messages to the brain. This book compares our senses with various animals and examines how they differ. Fascinating facts are paired with animated illustrations to engage children.



Sensational Senses: Amazing Ways Animals Perceive the World
by Rebecca E. Hirsch


From star-nosed moles to Japanese sea catfish, each of the eight chapters in this book dives deep into the amazing sensory abilities of a different animal. Hirsch’s clear text combines with eye-popping photographs to show readers how these extraordinary animals can sense things in the world that are hidden to humans.


When Elephants Listen with their Feet: Discover Extraordinary Animal Senses
by Emmanuelle Grundmann and Clemence Dupont


Accessible and often humorous text is paired with informational sidebars and inviting art to encourage budding biologists. This book offers a comprehensive study of the senses, and how animals use them to communicate, feel, and interact with the world around them. Examples include birds that can feel the Earth’s magnetic field and fish that use electricity.


Sound: Shh…Bang…POP…BOOM!
by  Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv


This beautifully unique picture book explores the history, science, and culture of sound, from the oldest sound in the Universe (the Big Bang) to the loudest animals on Earth (a toss-up between the giant sperm whale and the tiny tiger pistol shrimp). Along the way, readers will learn key physics concepts and meet animals that hear the world differently from humans. Don’t miss the companion book, Sight: Glimmer, Glow, Spark, Flash! 


Beastly Brains: How Animals Think, Talk, and Feel
by Nancy Castaldo


Castaldo delves into the minds of animals like dolphins, dogs, and elephants to explore animal empathy, communication, tool use, and lifestyle through interviews and historical anecdotes. The book also mentions research from some great minds, such as Charles Darwin and Jane Goodall, regarding the behavior of animals and revolutionizes old theories through the lens of modern science.



How to Speak Animal: A Guide to Learning How Animals Communicate
by Aubre Andrus and Gabby Wild


This opening of this book contains a fact-filled introduction to animal senses, followed by more than 60 different profiles of creatures from around the world. Using photographs, icons, and pop-outs (plus a fun, interactive quiz!), it showcases the many wild ways animals communicate with each other. Other books in this National Geographic series include How to Speak Dog and How to Speak Cat. 


Beyond Words series
by Carl Safina


This series is a young reader’s adaptation of The New York Times bestseller. It follows researcher Carl Safina as he journeys across the world to track and monitor various animals. This excellent, documentary-style account will encourage children to think more about their own feelings and the feelings of others while reading about the natural world and its remarkable wonders.




Making Sense of Dog Senses: How our Furry Friends Experience the World
by Stephanie Gibeault and Raz Latif (releases April 2024)


This book dives deep into anatomy to explore the “why” behind strange (and gross) dog habits, like drinking from the toilet, sniffing fire hydrants, and eating poop. Each chapter is packed with interesting facts and explanations, colorful illustrations and diagrams, and activities to test out your own senses. Readers will finish this book with a greater understanding and appreciation for our canine friends.


This month’s STEM Tuesday book list was prepared by:

Author Lydia Lukidis


Lydia Lukidis is the author of 50+ trade and educational books for children. Her titles include DANCING THROUGH SPACE: Dr. Mae Jemison Soars to New Heights (Albert Whitman, 2024), DEEP, DEEP, DOWN: The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench (Capstone, 2023) and THE BROKEN BEES’ NEST (Kane Press, 2019) which was nominated for a Cybils Award. A science enthusiast from a young age, she now incorporates her studies in science and her everlasting curiosity into her books. Another passion of hers is fostering a love for children’s literacy through the writing workshops she regularly offers in elementary schools across Quebec with the Culture in the Schools program. For more information, please visit


author Callie Dean


Callie Dean is a researcher, writer, and musician living in Shreveport, LA. She writes stories that spark curiosity and encourage kids to explore their world. For more information, please visit



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