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Top STEM Books for Christmas

Ada and the galaxies

By Alan Lightman, Olga Pastuchiv (author) and Susanna Chapman (illustrator)

Suitable for children aged 4-7 

There is so much for Ada to do while visiting her grandparents on an island in Maine, but no amount of beachcombing and kayaking during the day can take the place of looking at the bright and beautiful stars at night. She can hardly wait for the sun to set, but will a thick fog spoil her stargazing plans?

This is a beautiful and fascinating story, interwoven with stunning pictures from the Hubble telescope, about a curious child and her caring grandfather, who share a love for our incredible night sky and the mysteries it holds.

This thought-provoking book is perfect for those curious young stargazers and budding astronomers.

The encyclopedia of STEM words

By Jenny Jacoby (author) and Vicky Barker (illustrator)

Suitable for children aged 7-12 years

Do you know your Algorithms from your Brownian motion? How about your Coprolites? (That means dinosaur poo!) Discover these words and more in this illustrated STEM encyclopedia.

Organised in alphabetical order and each term beautifully illustrated with humour and charm, these 100 essential concepts will fascinate scientifically minded young readers, from those ABCs all the way down to X-rays, the terrifying Yangchuanosaurus and even the true definition of Zero!

There is a contents list at the front and a full index at the back, plenty of extra words and definitions plus mind-boggling facts too. This is the book for STEM fans!

Invented by animals

Suitable for children aged 7-12 

In this book you will meet the crème de la crème of animal innovators who have created or are in the process of inventing things that people use every day.

Meet the shark who invented a pair of swimming shorts so fast, they were banned from the Olympic games. And meet the snail who has invented a house that stays cool inside even in the desert.

This book is packed full of interesting information. A must have for aspiring inventors, designers, and engineers.

The lighthouse keeper book

The lighthouse keeper’s lunch

By Ronda and David Armitage

Suitable for children aged 3-6

This modern-day classic is perfect for little problem solvers! Mr Grinling is the lighthouse keeper. Every day his wife packs him his lunch to take to work. However, the greedy seagulls keep trying to steal his sandwiches. This is the story of all the different ways Mrs Grinling tries to prevent the cheeky birds from stealing the Lighthouse Keeper’s lunch! 

With two happy characters and lots of interesting problem-solving, this is a lovely picture book to get your child thinking about how they would tackle the perennial problem of seagulls swiping your snacks on the beach. 

Women in science book

Women in science – 50 fearless pioneers who changed the world

by Rachel Ignotofsky

Suitable for children aged 9-11

This brilliant book tells you all about the amazing female scientists who changed our world forever. It not only features well known scientists such as Marie Curie (of radiotherapy and X-ray fame) but it also tells you all about lesser-known female scientists such as Katherine Johnson who worked on the Apollo 11 mission.  

If you like science and history and enjoy finding out about incredible people who changed the world, then this is the perfect book for you. 

Is anybody out there? book

Is there anybody out there?

By Dara O’Briain

Suitable for children aged 9-13 

Best known as a comedian and panel show host, Dara O’Briain is also an expert on all things space related.  

This fantastic book is perfect for those children with enquiring minds, wondering whether there really is life on other planets, and if so, what would this life look like? This book is a fun mix of both fact and fiction, lots of information about space, along with a story running alongside the scientific facts.  

Unlocking the universe book

Unlocking the universe

by Stephen and Lucy Hawking

Suitable for children aged 9-14 

This book is a wonderful scientific gaze at our world. It’s written in essay form, so is for the readers, aged 9 or over, or for a child who is curious about the world around them and enjoys having books read to them.

This book covers a wide range of scientific topics, such as ‘how did the universe begin?’ to a look inside the life-saving power of a vaccine.

100 things to know about the human body

100 things to know about the human body

By Alex Frith, Minna Lacey and Matthew Oldman

Suitable for children aged 9-12  

Almost all children have an interest in the human body – after all, we all have one! This book is full of fascinating facts, quizzes and unusual information about our bodies. From how many types of tears we cry, to the number of red blood cells that pass through the heart every minute, this book is jam packed.

Along with fascinating facts, this book is filled with brilliant illustrations and infographics. Perfect for the budding biological engineer!  

The little inventors handbook

Climate action: the future is in our hands

By Georgina Stevens

Suitable for children aged 7-12 

Although climate change is a huge, and at times, an overwhelming topic, this book breaks down the facts and explains exactly how and why climate change has come about. Not only does it give the scientific information about this subject, but it also offers practical and simple tips on how we can all lead a greener life and have a positive impact on our environment.

There are examples of inspirational people from around the world who have really made a difference and creative ideas on how we can reduce our carbon footprint to make the world a better place. 

At a time when it feels like the world is in crisis, this book gives us hope. A must have for children who care about the environment and want to make a real difference.  

Nano book

Nano: the spectacular science of the very (very) small

By Jess Wade

Suitable for children aged 5-9 years

As the adage goes “we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover”. However, in this case the cover is a brilliant starting point as the beautiful colours and eye-catching illustration is a taste of what’s to come when you open the book.  

This book is an insight into the most cutting-edge area of technology “nanotechnology”. It plunges into the world of atoms, materials and technology, and while this is a complex subject, Dr Jess Wade neither talks down to children, nor goes over their heads.  

This book is an insight into an incredible world that is all around us, and yet, in many cases, we know very little about. The perfect book for the young, curious engineer.

The IET is not affiliated with the publications suggested.

If you enjoy stories, why not write your own and sculpt a real-life book into your very own gift for friends and family using our activity pack below.

You could try your hand at being a comic and writing jokes for your homemade Christmas crackers, or head on over to find out all about engineers in Christmas films, from Home Alone antics to the unexpected engineering we find in characters from all walks of life.