A picture of a selection of kid's science books on a dark blue background with a black splodge featuring white stars

Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin

Unlocking the Universe by Stephen Hawking & Lucy Hawking (2020)

‘Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.’ Discover the many wondrous secrets of the cosmos in this book by the late, world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking and his daughter Lucy. Unlocking the Universe is filled with facts and essays about all thing's science, from the Big Bang and Einstein’s theory of special relativity to the ethics of AI and climate change. Stephen and Lucy, along with a great many other experts, have put together this compendium of knowledge that is perfect for wannabe scientists.  

Kay’s Anatomy by Adam Kay & Henry Paker (2020)

The human body is a fascinating, albeit sometimes weird and disgusting place. So, former doctor Adam Kay has created a fun and informative guide to our anatomy. You’ll learn all sorts of odd and unexpected things such as, in your whole life, you will probably spend about a year in total on the toilet. Bogeys are safe to eat as a snack (although we wouldn’t recommend it). And your lungs are the only organ in your body that can float! This book is perfect for those wanting a future career in the medical world. Or those who just love gross facts.

Roald Dahl's: George’s Marvellous Experiments by Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake, Jim Peacock & Michelle Porte Davies (2017)

In Roald Dahl's classic tale, George creates his own marvellous medicine to sort out his grizzly Grandma. And now it’s your turn! Inspired by Dahl’s original wacky tale, this book is full of amazing experiments that budding scientists can attempt at home – without the disastrous consequences Granny faced! Follow the simple step-by-step instructions and you can make your own homemade slime, explosive volcano and more!

Max Einstein: The Genius Experiment by James Patterson & Chris Grabenstein (2018)

If you like adventure AND science, then the Max Einstein series deserves a spot on your bookshelf. It follows the adventures of 12-year-old Max and she’s your typical pre-teen. She goes to college, plays a lot of chess, and builds inventions to help the homeless. Max has also recently been recruited to help solve some of the world’s toughest problems using science. However, a sinister group known as The Corporation has other plans in store for Max... Interspersed with science facts throughout, this series has been officially approved by the Albert Einstein Archives!

A Really Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (2020)

Have you ever wondered how old the Earth really is? Or how the Moon was formed? And who was the first person to discover dinosaurs? All these questions and more are answered in Bill Bryson’s A Really Short History of Nearly Everything. This extraordinary book will take you from the dawn of time to the present day, revealing all the mysteries of time, space, and life. It’s guaranteed to turn any reader into a scientist.

On the Origin of Species retold by Sabina Radeva (2019)

In 1859, naturalist and biologist Charles Darwin published his ground-breaking On the Origin of Species and changed everything everyone had ever thought about the creation of the world. And now, fellow biologist Sabina Radeva has retold Darwin’s work in picture book form. Young readers will learn all about the theory of evolution, and the ways in which species form and change over time through Radeva’s stunning illustrations. 

Pig-Heart Boy by Malorie Blackman (1997)

Pig Heart Boy is an incredibly moving story about 13-year-old Cameron, who receives a pig’s heart as a transplant when there are no human donors available. As well as detailing the science behind the story, this book covers the very real and ethical debates of the sensitive subject manner in a compassionate and engaging way. 

The Extraordinary Life of Stephen Hawking by Kate Scott & Esther Mols (2019)

Physicist Stephen Hawking is one of the greatest minds of our time. And he lived an extraordinary life. Diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21, Hawking was told that he only had a few years left to live. Well, he ended up defying those odds (Hawking lived to the age of 76), and he helped define our understanding of the universe with his book A Brief History of Time. Learn all about Hawking’s life in this fantastic, illustrated biography.

Itch by Simon Mayo (2012)

Young scientists will find a hero in Itch, an accidental, accident-prone science-lover. Itch just loves chemistry, and is an element-hunter, trying to collect all the elements in the periodic table. One day, Itch makes a discovery – he’s found a new element! But soon someone wants this prized possession and Itch is quickly plunged into a high-stakes adventure. 

The Matilda Effect by Ellie Irving (2017)

Matilda, the plucky protagonist from The Matilda Effect wants to be a famous inventor, so she enters the school science fair. Despite her excellent invention, she doesn’t win, all because the judges didn’t believe she came up with the entry by herself. Because she’s a girl. Dejected, Matilda discovers something similar is happening to her Grandma, an astrophysicist, whose discovery of a new planet is about to win a Nobel Prize – only to be claimed by somebody else! It’s a race against time to crash the award ceremony and reveal the truth. Will they make it? 

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