The world of STEAM is packed with loads of hands-on activities. This week we are moving beyond the lab and towards the bookshelf to share some great books to get kids really excited about science, technology, engineering, arts and maths during Book Week. Hopefully you will find some new favourites in the list that will get your primary aged students thinking and talking about the world around them.
Iggy Peck, Architect, Rosie Revere, Engineer and Ada Twist, Scientist – Andrea Beaty & David Roberts
Technically three books, we know, but picking a favourite proved to be impossible. Each book tells the tale of a kid who dreams big, fails and tries again until they eventually save the day. With engaging illustrations and a rhyming story that is an absolute joy to read aloud, these books will be loved by both students and teachers. Fun fact: Rosie Revere, Engineer is kept on the International Space Station! You can watch an astronaut reading it here.
River Time – Trace Baller
Uncle Egg takes a reluctant Clancy on a ten day kayak down the Glenelg River and along the way this ‘modern boy with modern needs’ grows up and slows down. River Time is both a fantastic graphic novel and a birdwatching guide – one for the budding environmental scientists, future ornithologists and nature lovers. Also recommended by David Suzuki!
Before After – Anne Margot Ramstein and Matthias Arégui
Although ostensibly a picture book, Before After is aimed at 4-8 years and is a great jump off point for many a discussion. Before After explores cause and effect and is a great way to introduce new vocabulary. It doesn’t hurt that it is also an absolutely beautiful looking book. Each turn of the page reveals a different set of before and after pairs. Some obvious: from the nest of eggs to a nest full or baby birds, while some are less so: such as an image of a sling shot with a pile of rocks, paired with a broken window.
What we see in the stars: An illustrated tour of the night sky – Kelsey Oseid
Combining art, mythology and science, this beautifully illustrated book is a tour through the night sky that will inspire budding astronomers to step outside and look up. ‘What we see in the stars’ is the perfect beginners guide to astronomy for both students and teachers, the latter of whom will find it a great resource for answering all those tricky space questions. A gorgeous book that is surprisingly information dense, while remaining totally accessible.
Here We Are: Notes for living on planet earth – Oliver Jeffers
This book was inspired by the moment Oliver Jeffers brought his newborn home from hospital and realised his new baby, ‘knew absolutely nothing’. Here We Are is a tender introduction to the world around us. With core messages of respect for nature and kindness to each other, this is a lovely, simple (but never simplistic) look at the world: both natural and man-made. Best suited for ages 3-7 years.
What Planet Are You From, Clarice Bean? – Lauren Child
Told from the perspective of 7 year old Clarice Bean, who has to ‘do’ a project on the environment, but doesn’t quite know where to start – “My mind is a blanket” she memorably sighs. The way Clarice and her family interact with the world around them is a great starting point for so many ideas about physical and human geography: pollution, trees, litter, planets and other big ideas are all explored on Clarice’s Beans journey to becoming an ‘eco-warrior’. Lauren Child also has a lovely website www.staringintospace.me as part of her role as Children’s Laureate, where she encourages families and kids to detach from screens and take a look at the world around.
The Robot Book – Heather Brown
What makes a robot tick? Hint: it’s what’s on the inside that counts. And if you have the board book version of this book there are interactive cogs, springs and gliding gears inside too – although these moving parts might not last long in the school library! Found in the fantastic Questacon library so you know it’s a winner. Great for mini engineers of preschool age.
There are, of course, countless books we could have included here. Did we miss any of your favourites?