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11 of the New Best STEM Books For Students in the Middle Grades




The Best STEM Books

I love to check out the new STEM picture books on the National Science Teaching Associations website.  In January, they publish a list of “best STEM books.”  The books on the list are all books that were published the year before.  I find that they are perfect for the STEM library, lend themselves to many STEM challenges, are diverse in content and style, and are popular for years to come.  Here are the new STEM picture books for middle grades.


Race to the Bottom of the Earth: Surviving Antarctica 

Author: Rebecca E. F. Barone

  • For ages 8 – 12
  • This exciting book compares two Antarctic races, the race for the south pole by Scott/Admunsen in the early 1900s and the race between Rudd and O’Brady in 2018.  Often people think that explorers are a thing of the past, but readers will realize people are exploring every day.
  • STEM Concepts: Problem-solving


A Shot in the Arm: Big Ideas that Changed the World #3

Author and Illustrator:  Don Brown
  • For ages 8 – 12
  • This timely book gives the history of vaccines starting with the polio vaccine right through to the Covid vaccine.  It is informative and easy to understand.
  • STEM Concepts:  Inventions, Engineering and Design Process


Scene of the Crime: Tracking Down Criminals with Forensic Science

Author: Hp Newquist

  • For ages 10 – 15
  • This book discusses the science behind the scenes of true crime shows and movies.  There are many photographs, illustrations, and boxes with vocabulary words that accompany the text.  There are also several easy-to-replicate activities that you can do with your students.
  • STEM Concepts: forensic science 


Bones Unearthed (Creepy and True #3)

Author and Illustrator:  Kerrie Logan Hollihan

  • For ages  10 – 14
  • This creepy, nonfiction book will keep students engaged as they learn about some famous bones that have been unearthed.
  • STEM Concepts:  Geology, Fossils, DNA, Forensics


Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer

Author:  Traci Sorell,  Illustrator:  Natasha Donovan
  • For ages 7 – 11
  • Mary Golda Ross was the first women engineer to work at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation designing airplanes and other spacecraft.  Raised on Cherokee values, she was determined to help other Native Americans who were interesting in engineering.
  • STEM Concepts:  Engineering and Design, Math


Project Startup #1 (Eat Bugs)

Author:  Heather Alexander
  • For ages 8 -12
  • This fictional book is based on the true story of two college-aged girls that got a deal on the show Shark Tank.  In real life, they started a successful cricket-protein company.  The author turns this real life adventure into an adventure by a couple of sixth-grade girls, who start their own company by getting people to eat bugs.  Your middle schoolers will love this story.
  • STEM Concepts:  Sustainability, Climate Change


From Here To There: Inventions That Changed the Way the World Moves

Author: Vivian Kirkfield,  Illustrator: Gilbert Ford

  • For ages 8 – 12
  • This book highlights transportation inventions and the people who invented them.  It includes timelines of how different modes of transportation changed over time.  Great illustrations.
  • STEM Concepts:  Engineering and Design Process


Benoit Mandelbrot: Reshaping the World

Author: Robert Black

Benoit Mandelbrot mg 1795

  • For ages 10 – 18
  • Mandelbrot, a mathematician, is known for his work with fractals.  Learn how his discoveries influenced our world.  His ideas are used in the areas of movie animation, smartphone antennas,  economics, telecommunications, medicine, biology, and even art.
  • STEM Concepts:  Patterns and Fractals in Nature, Math, Engineering and Design


Upstream, Downstream: Exploring Watershed Connections 

Author:  Rowena Rae

  • For ages 8 -12
  • The author explains what a watershed is and how important they are in our daily lives.  She also explains how things we do to our environment have a direct impact on watersheds and what we can do to help protect them.
  • STEM Concepts:  Human Impact on the Environment, water cycle, environmental conservation


What Is Nintendo?

Author: Gina Shaw,  Illustrator: Andrew Thomson

  • For ages 8 – 12
  • Students will learn about the history of Nintendo from its inception in 1889 (playing card company) through the current day (Pokémon games).
  • STEM Concepts:  Engineering and Design Process.


Wonder Women of Science: How 12 Geniuses Are Rocking Science, Technology, and the World

Author: Tiera Fletcher and Ginger Rue,  Illustrator: Sally Wern Comport

  • For ages 9 – 12
  • This book highlights the lives of 12 diverse women in STEM fields today.  It also includes tips as to how children can get involved in STEM.
  • STEM Concepts:  Various topics based on the women, determination


Why Not Get Some of the Best STEM  Books?

I know of middle school science teachers who love to read to their classes sometimes; especially when they find a relevant topic.  Others approach the ELA teacher at their grade level and work together with them.  Students will find these books inspiring and motivational.

Consider purchasing some for your class library.  If your budget is small, ask your librarian if he/she can purchase them.  I always found mine more than happy to add STEM  books to her shelves.

Lastly, if you have read some of these books already, please leave a comment in the comment section below and let others know what you think.  If you want to tell us about a fun follow-up activity all the better!

If you are looking for science books for middle grades read 10 of the Best Middle School Science Books.

FYI,  as an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission on books I sell from my site.  The price you pay is not affected.

And remember, it’s all science!



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