STEM Tuesday: STEAMing Up your Summer Reading List!

STEM TUESDAY from the mixed up files


Are you settling in to those dog days of summer? The sun. The heat. The pool and the sand? Well, don’t forget to pack a book in your bag for the beach. A great book can provide hours of fun. Why not add some STEAM or STEM books to your summer reading list? Here are some great ones for you to check out.


A wacky and unique way to experience science:



Flying Machines: How the Wright Brothers Soared by Alison Wilgus  Illustrator Molly Brooks (First Second Books)

* A 2017 NSTA Best STEM book

Take to the skies with Flying Machines

Follow the famous aviators from their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio, to the fields of North Carolina where they were to make their famous flights. In an era of dirigibles and hot air balloons, the Wright Brothers were among the first innovators of heavier than air flight. But in the hotly competitive international race toward flight, Orville and Wilbur were up against a lot more than bad weather. Mechanical failures, lack of information, and even other aviators complicated the Wright Brothers’ journey. Though they weren’t as wealthy as their European counterparts, their impressive achievements demanded attention on the international stage. Thanks to their carefully recorded experiments and a healthy dash of bravery, the Wright Brothers’ flying machines took off.


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50 Wacky Inventions Throughout History: Weird inventions that seem too crazy to be real! by Joe Rhatigan (Author), Celeste Aires (Illustrator) – (Walter Foster Jr)

With 50 Wacky Inventions Throughout History, history has never been so fun–or wacky

Have you ever heard of a bike TV? Or a bird diaper? 50 Wacky Inventions Throughout History describes 50 inventions that seem too crazy to be true–but are Whether useful, entertaining, or just plain silly, these mind-boggling inventions and gadgets from yesterday, today, and tomorrow will surprise and delight fun-fact lovers of all ages.



Learn about the Creatures you might find in the Ocean:



Sea Creatures by Seymour Simon (HarperCollins)

Dive into the wonderful world under the sea with Sea Creatures, a gorgeous informational picture book from award-winning science writer Seymour Simon!

Ranging from tiny single-celled creatures to the larger-than-life whales, the ocean is filled with life. Some sea animals live in the darkest depths of the ocean, while others live close to sunlight. From camouflage to way of communicating to existing symbiotically, sea creatures are some of the most adaptable animals on Earth.

With clear, simple text and stunning full-color photographs, readers will explore the deep blue sea and meet all types of aquatic friends.


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Absolute Expert Dolphins by Jennifer Swanson (NGKids Books)

Kids who have a laser focus on dolphins will learn everything they’ve ever wanted to know about them in an eye-catching, page-turning book for aspiring experts, featuring exclusive content from a National Geographic explorer currently in the field.Hey, dolphin fin-atics Get ready to dive into the world of your favorite fabulous marine mammals in this action-packed book chock-full of awesome facts, photos, and fun Join National Geographic explorer and dolphin expert Justine Jackson-Ricketts to get the latest, most up-to-date dolphin intel straight from the field, plus fun facts, in-depth info, and awesome trivia about every kind of dolphin under the sun (and beneath the waves). It’s the ultimate book to help YOU become an absolute expert on one of your favorite topics.


Quiz your friend with fun facts about scientists!

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Galaxy Girls: 50 Amazing Stories of Women in Space
by Libby Jackson (Harper Collins)

Filled with beautiful full-color illustrations, a groundbreaking compendium honoring the amazing true stories of fifty inspirational women who helped fuel some of the greatest achievements in space exploration from the nineteenth century to today—including Hidden Figure’s Mary Jackson and Katherine Johnson as well as former NASA Chief Astronaut Peggy Whitson, the record-holding American biochemistry researcher who has spent the most cumulative time in space.



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Up & Down: The Adventures of John Jeffries, First American to Fly
by Don Brown (Charlesbridge Publishing)

The incomparable Don Brown chronicles the ballooning misadventures of John Jeffries, scientist and aviation pioneer.

Swept up by the European ballooning craze of the 1780s, Dr. John Jeffries longed to become the first person to fly across the English Channel. But first he had to outwit a rascally copilot, keep the balloon from bursting, and avoid crashing into the sea. The good doctor’s quick-thinking solutions will surprise young readers–and keep them giggling. Orbis Pictus and Sibert Honor winner Don Brown tells this quirky true story with his usual accuracy and heart.


Discover interesting info on animals all around you!

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The Hyena Scientist by Sy Montgomery (HMH BFYR)

This myth-busting new addition to the critically acclaimed Scientists in the Field series by Sibert medal winning team Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop is perfect for nonfiction readers looking for more female scientist narratives, or a fresh perspective on an underrepresented animal–Hyenas

Timely and inspiring, The Hyena Scientist sets the record straight about one of history’s most hated and misunderstood mammals, while featuring the groundbreaking, pioneering research of a female scientist in a predominately male field in this offering by Sibert-winning duo Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop.


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Beastly Brains by Nancy Castaldo (HMH BFYR)

In Beastly Brains, Castaldo delves into the minds of animals and explores animal empathy, communication, tool use, and social societies through interviews and historical anecdotes. Researchers from Charles Darwin to Jane Goodall have spent years analyzing the minds of animals, and today’s science is revolutionizing old theories and uncovering surprising similarities to our own minds. Humans are not alone in our ability to think about ourselves, make plans, help each other, or even participate in deception. You’ll think differently about the animals on this planet—maybe it’s their world and we’re just living in it!


Enjoy some science with your fiction book!


Support Independent Bookstores - Visit The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty (Random House BFYR)

A lightning strike gave her a super power…but even a super genius can’t solve the problem of middle school. This smart and funny novel is perfect for fans of The Fourteenth Goldfish, Rain Reign, and Counting by Sevens.

Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning. She doesn’t remember it, but it changed her life forever. The zap gave her genius-level math skills, and ever since, Lucy has been homeschooled. Now, at 12 years old, she’s technically ready for college. She just has to pass 1 more test–middle schoolLucy’s grandma insists: Go to middle school for 1 year. Make 1 friend. Join 1 activity. And read 1 book (that’s not a math textbook ). Lucy’s not sure what a girl who does calculus homework for fun can possibly learn in 7th grade. She has everything she needs at home, where nobody can make fun of her rigid routines or her superpowered brain. The equation of Lucy’s life has already been solved. Unless there’s been a miscalculation?


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Lucy’s Lab: The Colossal Fossil Fiasco by Michelle Houts (Sky Pony Press)


Lucy accidentally overhears her parents talking about the family getting a second pet. But what pet should they get?At school, Lucy’s class is learning about fossils and the plants and animals that left them behind.One afternoon, Lucy finds a special rock, and Miss Flippo gets very excited But when Lucy’s precious fossil goes missing, everyone in Room 2C is a suspect. . . .


Know of a great STEM/STEAM book to recommend? Add it below. Happy Science Reading!



This post created by Jennifer Swanson, award-winning author of 35 nonfiction books for kids. When not writing, Jennifer can be found reading about cool science facts. You can find 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!