Children’s book recommendations for the young scientist

by The Darwinian Doctor

In this post I’ll share my recommendations on some great age appropriate books for young scientist, especially for four year olds.

I’ve always considered myself a curious learner, and I’ve watched with satisfaction as my four year old son has displayed a similar curiosity about the natural world.  From an early age, he’s had a fascination with things like gravity, electricity, and the water cycle.

His favorite bedtime-delaying tactic these days is a string of endless questions about natural phenomena such as volcanoes and the inner workings of various machines like locomotives and building cranes.  

I’ve definitely had to Wikipedia certain topics to find answers to some of his more random questions.  And I’ve attempted to include science projects into our day to day, with some projects succeeding more than others. (Oil and water experiments were easy. Making a magnetic induction dynamo from copper wire and cardboard boxes? Less successful.)

To nurture his curiosity, and also to decrease the pressure on the Dr-ess and I on producing all of the answers, we have purchased a number of science books. The quality and readability of the books are variable, but we definitely have some favorites.  

I’ve found these books are also great gifts for birthday parties, and a welcome contrast to the heaps of plastic toys that seem to inexplicably multiply when I’m not looking.

So below, please enjoy my recommendations on books to buy for a young scientist.

“Did You Know?: Amazing Answers to the Questions You Ask” by DK from DK Children

For 6-8 years (but younger kids may like it too!)

The pages are chock full of interesting information

This book is an excellent primer for the curious mind.  It’s a large hardcover book of almost 200 pages, with a wide variety of topics including astronomy, the earth, living things, human history, the natural sciences, and the human body. The pictures are engaging and well annotated, and it’s just brimming with interesting tidbits to jump-start a lifelong love of learning in youngsters.  

“Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out” book series from HarperCollins

For 4 – 8 years

This award winning book series has engaging, well illustrated paperback books that each tackle different science concepts.  They’re divided both by subject and by “level,” which is their home grown rating system for judging the difficulty of the concepts and complexity of the explanations.  

One of our son’s favorites over the past year has been “Germs Make Me Sick”.  But if bacteria and viruses don’t float your kids’ boat, there’s a large library of books in this series that addresses everything from the water cycle to simple physics.

Each book is from a different author, so the explanations of the concepts can be of varying quality.  My son also loved “What Is the World Made of?”, which explains the difference between solids, liquids, and gases.  He liked “Forces Make Things Move” a bit less.

I’ll update this list of books as time goes on, so check back for more recommendations in the future!

These are my unbiased recommendations on books to buy for a young scientist. Please see my affiliate policy.


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5 years ago

Germs Make Me Sick! The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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