STEM Tuesday — Pair Up! Comparing Nonfiction Titles — Booklist

This month, we take a look at pairs of books that focus on the same subject or theme. Readers can compare and contrast how authors have each approached these fascinating stories to craft their nonfiction middle grade books. In some cases authors have taken a different approach in organization and in others a different point of view. Reading both will provide more details and information on each topic, and also show that all authors find their own way into each story.

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Mary Mallon, known as Typhoid Mary, unwittingly spread the deadly disease as a cook. Read two nonfiction titles that tell this amazing story.

Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary by Gail Jarrow tells the investigative story behind the tale. 

Terrible Typhoid Mary by Susan Campbell Bartoletti approaches the story as a biography. 


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The history of chocolate is important to both science and history. These two authors have provided books that delve into chocolate’s origins and its history as the confection we love.

Chocolate: Sweet Science & Dark Secrets of the World’s Favorite Treat by Kay Frydenborg 

The Book of Chocolate: The Amazing Story of the World’s Favorite Candy by HP Newquist


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If learning about scavengers (and the important part they play in the food chain) is up your alley, then these two new titles are for you.

Rotten:  Vultures, Beetles, Slime, and Nature’s Other Decomposers by Anita Sanchez will be released in January of 2019 and delves into all kinds of decomposers. 

Death Eaters:  Meet Nature’s Scavengers by Kelly Milner Halls also focuses on decomposition and provides lots of interesting photos.   


Support Independent Bookstores - Visit Support Independent Bookstores - Visit Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgThese three titles focus on our waste and where it ends up. Eco-justice readers will be inspired by all three.

Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion by Loree Griffin Burns focuses on how ocean currents move debris around

Plastic, Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by Patricia Newman follows a team of scientists who study the Great Pacific Garbage Patch for the first time.

This Book Stinks! Gross Garbage, Rotten Rubbish, and the Science of Trash by Sarah Wassner Flynn dives deep into the cycle of trash.


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These two titles provide a look at how dogs use their perfect sniffers to help us.

Poop Detectives: Working Dogs in the Field by Ginger Wadsworth focuses on conservation canines.

Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs (and their Noses) Save the World by Nancy Castaldo introduces readers to all kinds of sniffer detection dogs. 


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Two great volcano titles for geology units.

Eruption: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives by Elizabeth Rusch deals with the science of eruption. 

Life on Surtsey: Iceland’s Upstart Island by Loree Griffin Burns focuses on the aftermath. 


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Budding naturalists will love learning about how apes are studied in the wild with these two titles.

Gorilla Doctors: Saving Endangered Great Apes by Pamela S. Turner

Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall by Anita Silvey


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 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. She strives to inform, inspire, and educate her 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.

Patricia Newman writes middle-grade nonfiction that inspires kids to seek connections between science, literacy, and the environment. The recipient of  a Sibert Honor Award for Sea Otter Heroes and the Green Earth Book Award for Plastic, Ahoy!, her books have received starred reviews, been honored as Junior Library Guild Selections, and included on Bank Street College’s Best Books lists. New in 2018:  Eavesdropping on Elephants: How Listening Helps Conservation. During author visits, she demonstrates how her writing skills give a voice to our beleaguered environment. Visit her at


STEM Tuesday
STEM books ENGAGE. EXCITE. and INSPIRE! Join us each week as a group of dedicated STEM authors highlight FUN topics, interesting resources, and make real-life connections to STEM in ways that may surprise you. #STEMRocks!