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29 of the best science books for kids to read right now | April 2021 © Getty Images

29 of the best science books for kids to read right now | April 2021

From family foraging guides to science history made fun, these are the best science books for kids to pick up this month.

Our team have chosen the best science books for kids to read this April. Head outside for some family foraging with the help of Alys Fowler and Heidi Griffiths’ new book or get gruesome facts to fascinate your gore-obsessed teens from Erika Engelhaupt’s weird science adventures.

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If these books make you want to dust off the safety glasses and don your lab coat, try these easy indoor food experiments or find out how to help your children learn to code.

The best science books for kids to read in April 2021

Kid Innovators

Cover of Kid Innovators

Robin Stevenson and Allison Steinfeld

£11.99, Quirk Books

Every parent thinks their kid is going to change the world, but what can we learn from the formative years of those who really did?

From Florence Nightingale and the Wright brothers to Bill Gates and Elon Musk, this imaginative, inspiring book tells the childhood stories of innovators of all kinds. Each mini biography comes with colourful illustrations and interesting factoids about game-changers in science, entertainment, business and technology. Worried your child is a daydreamer? Don’t be. Alan Turing was exactly the same.

KEW: Grow, Forage and Make

KEW-grow-forage-make

Alys Fowler and Heidi Griffiths

£9.99, Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Lockdown gave us all a new appreciation of the outdoors and, for many parents, forced us to come up with inventive ways to keep young people engaged and entertained. This new fieldbook from Kew Gardens is packed with fun ideas for small green fingers.

From foraging edible flowers and roots to growing neon beetroots in the dark, there’s an emphasis on discovery and mud-splattered practicality with lots of things to make, grow and find – indoors and outdoors.

Fourteen Wolves

Cover of Fourteen Wolves

Catherine Barr and Jenni Desmond

£12.99, Bloomsbury Children’s Books

This is an evocative story about rewilding, designed to capture imaginations young and old, as well as give us all a refreshed appreciation of nature. The book tells the story of the wolves of Yellowstone Park. They disappeared in the 1930s and their absence had far-reaching consequences for the local ecosystem, with the fortunes of many species tied up with that of the pack.

It took until 1995 for wolves to be reintroduced to Yellowstone, and this wonderfully illustrated book tells the amazing story of what happened next.

Diary of a Young Naturalist

Cover of Diary of a Young Naturalist

Dara McAnulty

£9.99, Ebury Press

One of the most warmly received books in any genre from recent years gets a paperback release this month. Diary of a Young Naturalist chronicles the life of author Dara McAnulty, a nature-obsessed environmental campaigner who finds peace in observing, recording and understanding the wildlife and landscapes he encounters.

McAnulty is autistic and his book, often described as a blend of nature book and coming-of-age memoir, charts a tumultuous period of his life. His relationship with the environment is one of solace, and a reminder to us all of the healing power of the natural world.

Where the Wild Things Grow

Cover of Where the Wild Things Grow

David Hamilton

£20, Hodder & Stoughton

Part how-to guide, part love letter to the ecosystems on our doorsteps, this book reveals the food hidden in plain sight that most of us have the chance to forage. From wild mushrooms and berries to the weeds that grow in our gardens, David Hamilton draws on his own extensive experience to explain what’s out there and where to find it. Along the way, he also illuminates the science and history of wild foods and explains how to use them in recipes.

Gory Details: Adventures From the Dark Side of Science

Cover of Gory Details

Erika Engelhaupt

£18.99, National Geographic

Based on a blog from National Geographic, this collection of scientific snapshots explores the weird, the gross and the funny. In other words, it’s great for young minds who want to impress their friends with something outrageous (but informative).

The book covers everything from bee stings to blood spatter at crime scenes – so it’s probably one for teens rather than tots – and never skimps on the juicy, biological or anatomical details. Often illuminating unreported areas of science, there’s plenty for parents here, too.

More great science books for children and teens

None of the above suit your kids’ interests?

Try these brilliant books for science lovers and nature enthusiasts. There’s something here for all ages!

What To Look For In Spring

Cover of What to Look for in Spring

Elizabeth Jenner

£5.99, Ladybird

We might be in the chilliest months of the year right now, but soon the natural world will start waking up from its winter slumber to burst into life once more. This beautifully illustrated, pocket-sized book guides young readers through the wonders of nature that can be witnessed during spring, including meteor showers, boxing hares and bleating lambs.

Ladybird’s original series of What To Look For books was published in the 1960s, and this modern, child-friendly update is sure to appeal to the new generation of readers.

Marie Curie And Her Daughters

Cover of Marie Curie and Her Daughters

Imogen and Isabel Greenberg

£12.99, Bloomsbury

Many of us are familiar with Marie Curie, the brilliant scientist who made game-changing discoveries in the field of chemistry. Yet perhaps less well known are her two daughters, Irène and Ève, who grew up to be just as passionate and independent as their mum. Irène became a great scientist, while Eve was a journalist, war correspondent and humanitarian, who later worked for UNICEF.

This gorgeously illustrated book tells the remarkable story of Marie, Irène and Ève, as they travel the world, save lives during WWI and WWII and win Nobel Prizes.

Made For Each Other

Cover of Made for Each Other

Joanna McInerney and Georgina Taylor

£15.99, Templar Publishing

Sometimes it pays to have a trusted friend close by. In nature, teamwork can make the difference between surviving another day or becoming someone else’s lunch.

This stunning book, illustrated by debut artist Georgina Taylor, takes us on a tour through some of the most intriguing partnerships in the wild world. Whether they help each other to ward off predators, remove parasites, reproduce or feed, the organisms featured in this book have learnt how to work together to successfully co-exist.

What’s The Weather?

What's the Weather?

Fraser and Judith Ralston

£9.99, DK Children

At a time when extreme weather is becoming more common, it makes sense to get clued up on the science behind it. This colourful book tells us about clouds, the climate and global warming, reveals how the weather has changed over Earth’s entire history, what it could be like in the future, and teaches us how we can predict the weather.

What’s The Weather? is jam-packed with bite-sized facts and cute illustrations that reveal intriguing titbits of information, such as the different names for snowflake structures and how lightning storms form. A great one for learning at home.

The Awesome Power Of Sleep

Cover of The Awesome Power of Sleep

Nicola Morgan

£7.99, Walker Books

Teenagers today have to struggle with excessive amounts of screentime, pressure from social media, school stress, late nights, and worries about friendships. It’s no wonder they aren’t getting enough sleep! Nicola Morgan, an expert on the adolescent brain, explores the importance of sleep for teenage health, wellbeing and development, and reveals why a good night’s rest is so crucial.

With plenty of scientific evidence conveyed in an accessible and authoritative way, this helpful guide is a fascinating read for both teenagers and adults alike.

30-Second series

30-seconds-series

£9.99–£14.99 each, Quarto

A great series of books for revision, there are books on GCSE topics such as biology, chemistry and physics, but also specific titles including the study of genetics, the writings of Shakespeare and the science of Earth’s climate. Condensing each topic into 50 fundamental facts, these short books make learning straightforward and (dare we say it) interesting!

Also in the series are books aimed at adults, so if you’re a parent wanting an understanding of whisky or wine, classical music or even Paris, check out Quarto’s full collection.

How Science Works

how-science-works

£16.99, DK

Although this book is primarily aimed at adults, it is full to brimming with easy to understand diagrams, illustrations and infographics that will spark the imagination of anyone that picks it up, young or old.

Teens cramming for an exam will love the fact that every page is dedicated to a specific part of science (think the quantum world, machines, special relativity or the carbon cycle), while for the rest of us this is probably the best science book if you need a quick refresher.

I Want to be… Series

i-want-to-be-series

Becky Davies, illustrated by Richard Merritt

£6.99, Little Tiger

These books for babies and toddlers make the perfect introduction to people’s jobs and what their daily life is like. Share stories of what an astronaut might do out in space, or explain what your role as a doctor involves. Where is that firetruck going? I Want to be a Firefighter can help answer your little one’s questions.

Turn and Learn: Our World

turn-learn-our-world

Isabel Otter, illustrated by Hannah Tolson

£12.99, Little Tiger

If you’ve been watching Sir David Attenborough’s new series as a family, why not explore more of the Earth with this interactive book for young readers? You’ll meet the people who live in the Arctic, the creatures that live in the desert, and see the world from a new perspective through Hannah Tolson’s detailed illustrations.

By the same author and illustrator is Turn and Learn: Weather, to help you explain how rain and the Sun, thunder and snow, come to be outside our window.

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Stop that Virus!

stop-that-virus

Illustrated by Susanna Rumiz

£10.99, Quarto Kids

The coronavirus pandemic has brought up conversations that many of us didn’t expect, and children may have asked questions that you might not know how to answer. Stop that Virus! explains how a team of cells within your body helps attack an intruder. What is the human body’s immune system, and what do antibodies do to stop the enemy?

The book doesn’t go into the role of personal hygiene in immunology, so it’s important to also talk about hand-washing and how that can Stop that Virus!

The Weird Maths series

weird-maths-series

David Darling and Agnijo Banerjee

£9.99 each, Oneworld

Mathematics is weird.

Teenage maths whizz Agnijo Banerjee, and his tutor and science writer David Darling, fill the pages of three books with exotic and unusual facts about maths, including God’s Number (the smallest number of moves it takes to solve a Rubik’s cube) and the reigning role of Pi in just about everything.

Wish We Knew What to Say: Talking with Children About Race

knew-what-to-say

Dr Pragya Agarwal

£9.99, Dialogue Books

From a data and behavioural scientist, this book gives parents the confidence to answer their children’s questions about race and racism. It includes questions, resources and suggestions for scenarios that could start these tricky conversations, written with delicacy and authority.

This isn’t just for parents, though – it’s aimed at anyone who has young people in their life and wants to support the education of the next generation.

Nodding Off: The Science of Sleep from Cradle to Grave

nodding-off

Alice Gregory

£10.99, Bloomsbury Sigma

Offering parents an insight into their children’s, and their own, sleep patterns, sleep psychologist Professor Alice Gregory brings science and self-help together in this guide to getting a good night’s rest. Thoroughly researched with interviews and statistics, this book is essential reading for all – whether you get 4 or 40 winks a night.

Ocean

Cover of Ocean

Hélène Druvert and Emmanuelle Grundmann

£19.95, Thames & Hudson

This fantastic title from Hélène Druvert for children aged 7-11 explains the most fascinating facets of the sea, including waves, coral reefs and the food chain. With captivating fold-out infographics and stunning laser-cut illustrations, it’s a beautiful, interactive tome that’ll help both kids and adults appreciate our oceans.

Is Anybody Out There?

Book cover of Is Anybody Out There?

Dara Ó Briain

£12.99, Scholastic

The hilarious Dara Ó Briain offers scientific answers to questions such as: how did life begin? How was the Earth created? Do aliens exist? in this illustrated book for 9+ years.

Encyclopedia Prehistorica of Sharks and Other Sea Monsters: The Definitive Pop-Up

encyclopedia-prehistorica

Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda

£35, Walker Books

These often-forgotten prehistoric monsters once ruled the seas, and they are no less menacing in their pop-up paper form. A fight between two sea lizards unfolds between the pages, and the tentacles of ancient squid reach out from the depths of the ocean.

Stunningly crafted and meticulously researched, the Encyclopedia Prehistorica is a book that will be used and admired again and again.

Outdoor Maker Lab

outdoor-maker-lab

Professor Robert Winston

DK, £12.99

Kids love making things, especially when it involves mess, explosions, and anything that makes you go “wow” (fun fact: so do we). Professor Robert Winston (the scientist with a very fetching moustache that presented the seminal BBC TV show The Human Body) introduces this 160-page book filled with wonderful experiments that are easily made using household items, but show off some seriously fun science.

Kay’s Anatomy: A Complete (and Completely Disgusting) Guide to the Human Body

kays-anatomy

Adam Kay

£14.99, Puffin

From the junior doctor who wrote the best-selling comedic memoir This is Going to Hurt comes a thorough tour through the human body. Answering questions like: What’s in a bogey? Do hideous creatures really live on our eyelashes? How does food become poo?

Kay’s Anatomy is like Horrible Histories but for the human body.

Probably best to have your Christmas dinner before opening presents, if you intend on gifting this…

This Book is Not Rubbish

not-rubbish

Isabel Thomas

£6.99, Wren & Rook

We all know that the grown-ups have messed up and now our planet is struggling. But you can help save it. This book contains 50 everyday ideas, like how to use less water when you do the washing-up, to how to make your next birthday party eco-friendly.

The Lost Words

lost-words

Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris

£20, Hamish Hamilton

Worried by the way in which natural words (acorn, dandelion, kingfisher, etc) were disappearing from children’s vocabulary, Robert Macfarlane teamed up with illustrator Jackie Morris to produce this exquisite ‘spell book’, combining acrostic poems with hand-painted artwork.

What if?

what-if

Randall Munroe

£9.99, John Murray Press

XKCD webcomic creator and former NASA roboticist Randall Munroe addresses questions such as ‘If we all disappeared, how long before the last light went out?’ and ‘Can you warm up a cup of tea just by stirring it?’. It’s like BBC Science Focus’s Q&A section fell down the rabbit hole… but the author’s inquisitive mind is the star.

Why Your Parents Are Driving You Up the Wall and What To Do About It

parents-driving-you-up-the-wall

Dean Burnett

£8.99, Penguin

Why are teens so emotional? Why won’t they listen when adults depart their worldly knowledge? Why won’t they tidy their rooms?

Well, there are plenty of parenting books out there that attempt to answer these questions, but neuroscientist Dean Burnett’s book offers teens an insight into their parents’ minds. By giving teenagers the psychology behind why their parents do the things they do, Burnett answers common complaints such as; why is my Dad always dragging me out of bed? Why are my family always so obsessed with asking ‘How was school?’ and more.

Exploring the Elements

Cover of Exploring the Elements

Isabel Thomas

£17.95, Phaidon

Elements. They make up everything. There are 92 found in nature, and there have been another 26 created by scientists. In this colourful compendium, Isabel Thomas takes us on a journey through (or rather, down, diagonally and across) the periodic table.

Perfect for those studying for science GCSEs and A-Levels. Did you know that sulphur, a key ingredient of gunpowder, is also included (safely) in food additives? Sulphur-based preservatives keep our meals bacteria-free!

The best books of all time

For more great book recommendations, check out these lists: