To keep this world ticking round and to prevent it from combusting any time in the near future, we need to breed a load of future scientists.
To celebrate British Science Week, we’ve found some of the best books for making the sciences accessible to children, hopefully helping to pave the way for a future passion that might just save us all…
Big Questions From Little People by Gemma Elwin Harris
If you’ve ever found yourself in the black hole of a ‘but whyyy?’ conversation with a small child, you’ll know it’s like banging your head against a rather unforgiving brick wall and, chances are, you would’ve done anything to get out of it. Clearly Gemma Elwin Harris has experienced several such moments and has, thankfully, written a book to prevent them from happening ever again. Addressing seemingly unfathomable questions such as, ‘why is the sea salty?’ and ‘why can’t animals talk like us?’ she calls upon some of the most prominent people alive today to tackle them head on. Everyone from Sir David Attenborough to Bear Grylls, Tracey Emin and Jessica Ennis provide expert answers to some of the ultimate head-scratchers. For just £7.99 you can stave off the grey hairs and wrinkles brought on by these conversations and possibly learn something yourself, too.
£7.99, Amazon, Buy it now
Destroy This Book in the Name of Science! By Mike Barfield
As many toddlers will attest, the best kinds of books are the ones you can scribble in and rip pages out of. This activity book by Mark Barfield brings these wickedly fun elements into the mix, giving children the opportunity to discover through easy- to-access scientific exercises. Including optical illusions and press-out projects, the instructions are written simply in a format that’s simple to follow. Kids will get excited about making their own Einstein and building Turbo Turtles. This is also a great little life-saver to keep on hand if you’re taking the kids to a restaurant or round to the in-laws.
£10, Amazon, Buy it now
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
Even children fairly new to the concept of science may have heard of some of its most famous pioneers- Newton, Darwin and Einstein. But what about the women who have helped us reach new heights of discovery? This book is filled with profiles of 50 of the most prolific female scientists that have helped shape the world we live in today. Kids get to learn about astronomer Wang Zhenyi and Ancient Egyptian mathematician and philosopher Hypatia. The text is perfect for those with a reading age of 11, but also makes a great bed time story. Beautiful illustrations and memorable fact bulletins help to engage younger children and make it a book they’ll want to take in for their class show and tell.
£13, Amazon, Buy it now
What’s the Point of Being Green? By Jacqui Bailey
A good way to stop the next generation making catastrophic environmental mistakes is to teach them the importance of conservation as early as possible. Tackling head on the issues our planet faces today, it helps children gain access to what is a difficult enough topic, even for adults. Quizzes, cartoons and eco tips will engage both enthusiastic and reluctant eco-warriors, giving them a profound sense of the importance of being more ‘green’. A bonus for you is that they’ll probably want to do all the recycling.
£13, Amazon, Buy it now
Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space by Dr Dominic Walliman
Get kids on board with Professor Astro Cat- the smartest feline around- as he sets out to explore the universe. For any child that’s obsessed with space, rockets and Buzz Lightyear, this book will help to bring some of the most puzzling conundrums around down to their level. It’s actually written by a quantum physicist so you can rely on it to deliver accurate information.
£14, Amazon, Buy it now
Animalium (Welcome to the Museum) by Jenny Broom
There’s no denying that museums are great, but battling the crowds every Saturday afternoon to show your kid the taxidermy-ed Dodo they’re obsessed with? Not so great. For all the weekends in between those family excursions, you can assuage their inquisitiveness with this museum style animal encyclopaedia. Careful and accurate illustrations fill each page, annotated with curious facts and amazing discoveries, making this a book they’ll never want to get rid of, no matter how old they get.
£13, Amazon, Buy it now
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
For kids that just want to experiment, Ada Twist will resound. She’s inquisitive, interested and forever exploring- constantly asking questions about the world and how it works. In this story we follow her as she tries to uncover what’s causing the terrible smell in her house by concocting wild and wonderful experiments (much to the alarm of her parents). It’s a fun story with cute illustrations about a girl with a burning curiosity. It teaches kids the value of discovery and the excitement of not always knowing the answers straight away.
£7.69, Amazon, Buy it now
What Mr Darwin Saw by Mick Manning
What’s so inspiring about this story is that it focuses on Darwin as a young man before he became one of the pivotal scientists in history. Following him as he first sets out on the HMS Beagle, it gives kids an insight into the mind of a great scientist as he makes discoveries about insects in Brazil, fossils in Argentina and turtles in the Galapagos Islands. Ending with his theory of evolution, it’s an accessible examination of the process that leads to innovation.
£8, Amazon, Buy it now