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21 New STEM Picture Books to Use in Elementary Classrooms

 

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New STEM Picture Books

I love to check out the new STEM picture books on the National Science Teaching Associations website. In January, they published a list of “best STEM books.”  The books on the list are all 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 elementary grades.

Amara and the Bats

Author and Illustrator:  Emma Reynolds

  • for ages 4 – 8
  • This is a great environmental book. Amara loves bats. When she moves to a new town she discovers that there aren’t bats. This inspiring story tells about how one person can make a big impact.
  • STEM Concepts:  food chains, pollination, ecosystems, human impact on the environment

 

Artificial Intelligence

Author: Dinah Williams

 

  • for ages 4 – 8
  • Personally, I think the topic and the text in this book are geared to the upper end of the recommended age range. While reading this book, students will learn fun facts about AI (programming computers to be smart) and participate in some fun little experiments.
  • STEM Concept:  Engineering and Technology

 

Bicycle: Eureka! The Biography of an Idea 

Author:  Lori Haskins Houran,  Illustrator:  Aaron Cushley

  • for ages 4 – 8
  • This book is part of a multicultural series of books that show the history behind some inventions. This one shows the timeline of the bicycle and how it improved over time.
  • STEM Concept:  Engineering and Design Process

 

Building Zaha: The Story of Architect Zaha Hadid

Author and Illustrator: Victoria Tentler-Krylov
  • For ages 4-8
  • This is an inspiring biography about Zaha Hadid, an aspiring architect. Despite being a woman in a man’s world, she was able to see her dreams come to fruition. Zaha’s building designs are truly beautiful. You will probably want your students to build towers and other buildings after reading this one!
  • STEM Concept:  Engineering and Design

Einstein: The Fantastic Journey of a Mouse Through Space and Time (Mouse Adventures)

Author and Illustrator:  Torben Kuhlmann
  • For ages 6 and up
  • Students will learn about Albert Einstein through the eyes of a mouse. There is a lot of information in this book. It might be better suited to upper elementary grades. Great illustrations!
  • STEM Concepts:  Various science topics

 

Glasses: Eureka! The Biography of an Idea 

Author:  Lori Haskins Houran,  Illustrator:  John Joven
  • For ages 4 – 8
  • This is another book in the Eureka series. This book teaches us about the development of eyeglasses; which started over 2,000 years ago. There are illustrations that show the eye and how it works and explanations of why some people need to wear glasses. Children will learn about the power of collaboration.
  • STEM Concepts:  Engineering and Design Process, how the eye works

The Great Stink: How Joseph Bazalgette Solved London’s Poop Pollution Problem

Author:  Colleen Paeff,  Illustrator:  Nancy Carpenter

  • For ages 4 – 8
  • This is a true story of how an engineer, Joseph Bazalgette, dreamed up a way to clean up a river in 1858. The Thames River was full of poop! Besides the smell, every few years the disease cholera broke out because of the polluted water. Thousands of people died. Bazalgette designed a new sewer system that solved both problems. Kids will love the illustrations.
  • STEM Concepts:  Engineering and Design Process, ecology, pollution

 

Lady Bird Johnson, That’s Who!: The Story of a Cleaner and Greener America

Author:  Tracy Nelson Maurer,  Illustrator:  Ginnie Hsu

  • For ages 5 – 9
  • This biography has a timeline of former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson’s life from childhood to adulthood. Raised in Texas, she started a highway beautification project there. I have been fortunate enough to see the bluebonnets and other flowers still blooming in the spring.
  • STEM Concepts:  Human Impact on the Environment, pollution, conservation

 

The Leaf Detective: How Margaret Lowman Uncovered Secrets in the Rainforest

Author:  Heather Lang,  Illustrator:  Jana Christy


  • For ages 7 – 10
  • Meg Lowman is a current-day scientist. She studies trees, especially those in the rainforests.   She is known as the “real-life Lorax,” so I can see you using this book as a paired reading. It could also lead to a nature hunt for leaves and bugs. Great illustrations.
  • STEM Concepts:  ecosystems, the rainforest, environment, conservation

 

A Life Electric: The Story of Nikola Tesla

Author:  Azadeh Westergaard,  Illustrator: Júlia Sardà

  • For ages 5 – 9
  • Learn about Nikola Tesla from childhood to adulthood. His most important invention of the AC induction motor is still the standard for delivering electricity.
  • STEM Concepts:  Electricity

 

Light Bulb: Eureka! The Biography of an Idea

Author: Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld,  Illustrator:  Stephanie Dehennin

  • For ages 4 – 8
  • Another great Eureka book. This one introduces young children to the invention and history of the light bulb. Of course, they will also learn a little about Thomas Edison.
  • STEM Concepts:  Electricity, Engineering and Design

 

Look, Grandma! Ni, Elisi!

Author:  Art Coulson,  Illustrator:  Madelyn Goodnight

  • For ages 3 – 6
  • This story is about a Cherokee boy who wants to design the perfect container to hold his marble collection. It needs to be just the right size for his marbles, and not too big for his grandmother’s booth at the Cherokee National Holiday festival.
  • STEM Concepts:  Engineering and Design Process, math, volume, capacity

 

Luna’s Yum Yum Dim Sum 

Author: Natasha Yim,  Illustrator: Violet Kim

  • For ages 3 – 6
  • Chinese American characters try to figure out how everyone can have equal portions of buns served at a birthday party.
  • STEM Concepts: Problem-solving, math, fractions, division, divergent thinking

 

Maxine and the Greatest Garden Ever

Author:  Ruth Spiro,   Illustrator:  Holly Hatam

  • For ages 4 – 8
  • Maxine wants to have the greatest garden ever. She and her friend, Leo, plan it.   They don’t always agree on the design but learn that they must compromise if they want to remain friends.
  • STEM Concepts:  Engineering and Design Process, perseverance

 

Mimic Makers: Biomimicry Inventors Inspired by Nature

Author: Kristen Nordstrom,  Illustrator: Paul Boston

  • For ages 7 -10
  • This book highlights a diverse group of scientists and inventors who have used nature to help solve real-world problems (biomimicry). This book is filled with questions that children will really want to think about.   Then the author gives real-life examples of how scientists have solved the problem.
  • STEM Concepts:  Problem-solving, mimicry, biomimicry

 

Molly and the Mathematical Mysteries: Ten Interactive Adventures in Mathematical Wonderland

Author: Eugenia Cheng,  Illustrator: Aleksandra Artymowska
  • For ages 7 – 10
  • In this unique book, readers are challenged to solve math problems based on clues that Molly leaves. Children must use their imaginations in order to be successful. There are things that need to be manipulated in the book (spinners, pop-ups, etc.).
  • STEM Concepts:  Math

Secrets Of The Sea: The Story of Jeanne Power, Revolutionary Marine Scientist

Author:  Evan Griffith,   Illustrator:  Joanie Stone

  • For ages. 6 – 9
  • Learn about Jeanne Power, a marine scientist, living during the time when men dominated the field. She was curious about animals that lived in the ocean. She built the first glass aquariums, so she could study them up close.
  • STEM Concepts:  Life sciences, perseverance

 

Someone Builds the Dream 

Author: Lisa Wheeler,  Illustrator: Loren Long

  • For ages 5 – 8
  • This is a beautifully written and illustrated book. The author explains how people design bridges, wind farms, amusement parks, and more, but that it takes other workers to make those dreams come true.
  • STEM Concepts:  Engineering and Design Process, teamwork

 

The Stuff Between the Stars: How Vera Rubin Discovered Most of the Universe

Author: Sandra Nickel,  Illustrator:  Aimée Sicuro

  • For ages 6 – 9
  • Vera Rubin was one of the few female astronomers of her time. She discovered and named “black matter.”  This book is a timeline of Vera’s life.
  • STEM Concepts:  Astronomy, perseverance

Thank You, Dr. Salk!: The Scientist Who Beat Polio and Healed the World

Author: Dean Robbins,   Illustrator: Mike Dutton

  • For ages 4 – 8
  • This timely book is a great introduction to vaccines for children. It showcases the life of Jonas Salk
  • STEM Concepts: engineering, perseverance

 

Uma Wimple Charts Her House

Author: Reif Larsen,  Illustrator: Ben Gibson

  • For ages 4 – 8
  • Uma has always loved making charts of all sorts. When she is given a school assignment of charting her house, she isn’t sure what to do.
  • STEM Concepts:  Data Collection, charts

 

Why Not Get Some Awesome STEM Picture Books

The books on this list make perfect read-alouds. Many are also appropriate for children to read on their own. Most importantly (after instilling the love of reading), they will help you meet the NGSS standards and lead to many fun classroom activities.

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 picture 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!

Interested in the Newest Elementary Science Books?

Read our post 14 of the Best Picture Books for Elementary Science.

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!

Sarah

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