I’m a former elementary teacher- therefore I love picture books. But to be honest I feel like I’ve always loved picture books. I loved them myself as a kid and have so many great memories of reading them to my own two kids. A couple of decades ago in my teacher education program I can remember we had an assignment to read 50 picture books…it didn’t feel like an assignment to me. That was probably my favorite literacy assignment- and then we got to do a read aloud to our class- just the best!
So now as a teacher educator and consultant I love to integrate picture books into my teaching. I read picture books to my college students and my inservice teachers to teach them about engineering design, the science and engineering practices and the crosscutting concepts. We discuss how to use picture books in authentic and engaging science lessons.
As someone who is always on the hunt for a good STEM picture book- here are my personal Top 5 favorite science and STEM-related picture books from 2020 in no particular order. NOTE: Some of these may not have a 2020 publication date- they are books that I became aware of in 2020.
Top 5 Science Picture Books of 2020
A Computer Called Katherine by Suzanne Slade
We’ve seen a few children’s books about the incomparable mathematician Katherine Johnson depicted in the movie Hidden Figures. I think this is my favorite of all of them due to the focus on Mrs. Johnson’s motivation and drive.
Look Up with Me, Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Life Among the Stars by Jennifer Berne
I am always a fan of sharing (with students and teachers) the early lives of people who entered STEM fields. I think it’s important to see the rich experiences that lead young people to pursue STEM careers. This excellent book shares how Neil’s early curiosity about planets and stars led to his love of science.
Nine Months by Miranda Paul
I have a very strong memory of my mom (a nurse) buying me a book about baby development when I was around 7 years old. I was fixated with that book and all of the pictures of the stages of human development. That’s probably where my interest in science- and specifically biology- was solidified. Nine Months reminds me a lot of that book I had in the mid-1970s. Check it out and try to get someone hooked on the life sciences 🙂
What Miss Mitchell Saw by Hayley Barrett
The true story of Maria Mitchell and her discovery of a comet which led to her becoming the first American female astronomer.
Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge by Rachel Dougherty
The true story of Emily Roebling who helped guide the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge when her husband (the lead engineer on the project) fell ill.
Lots of great picture books were left off of this list. What science-related picture books have you fallen in love with recently that deserve a mention here?
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