What Scientists Do

Do you have a child or teen who seems fascinated by all things science related? Or maybe you are the one in your family who loves to read about the work of scientists. “Scientists in the Field” is a wonderful book series that explores that actual scientific research being done by modern-day scientists around the world. Each book in the series features a particular research focus: insects, under-sea volcanoes, bees, whales, conservation, gorillas, and many more topics. The books have been consistently praised by reviewers from School Library Journal and have won numerous awards including the Robert F. Siebert Award for Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot.

Kakapo Rescue by Sy Montgomery

These books are great for learning about the actual subject being studied, but the real strength of the books is the ability to place the reader at the very center of the research process. These are very much focused on the application of the scientific method. As readers, we get to see the problems, the set-backs, and the refining of the research. We also get to see how different people with different careers all work together in the research field!

Here are a few of the books that illustrate the wide variety of scientific fields covered.

Eruption!: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives by Elizabeth Rusch   Stronger than Steel by Bridget Heos

The Mighty Mars Rovers by Elizabeth Rusch   Amazon Adventure: How Tiny Fish are Savingthe World's Largest Rainforest by Sy Montgomery

A few of the titles will be of special interest to people in our geographic area. Dr. Terri Roth from the Cincinnati Zoo is featured in Emi and the Rhino Scientist. Dr. Roth is the director of the Cincinnati Zoo’s research on endangered animal species, including the extremely rare Sumatran rhino.  The Bug Scientists features Tom Turpin a long-time professor of entomology at Purdue University. Turpin, who retired in 2017, spent 45 years making the study of insects seem cool at events like Purdue’s annual Bug Bowl.

  The Bug Scientists by Donna M. Jackson

Several of the books in the “Scientists in the Field” series are written by Cincinnati author Mary Kay Carson.

Inside Biosphere 2: Earth Science Under Glass by Mary Kay Carson  The Park Scientists by Mary Kay Carson

Our latest addition in this book series is Life on Surtsey: Iceland’s Upstart Island, a fascinating look at the way plant and animal life is developing on a volcanic island that was formed in 1963.

Life on Surtsey by Loree Griffin Burns

Fascinating stuff, wouldn’t you say? Stop by to check out one of these amazing books!

 

 

Picture Books About Scientists

Children are naturally curious about the world around them! As parents, we always want to find ways to nurture that curiosity. We can provide them with a wide variety of learning activities, including lots of books that lead to more and more questions for us to explore with them. Here are some great picture books about famous scientists, paired with a related storybook.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamda relates the story of a young boy from Malawi who brought electricity to his village by building a windmill out of scraps. It would be a perfect book to share after a day of playing with Legos or blocks with your child. Dreaming Up pairs block play with famous buildings around the world in a celebration of creativity.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba   Dreaming Up by Christy Hale

Big Al by Andrew Clements is a story of friendship and will also introduce kids to fish that live around a coral reef. Follow the story up with Manfish by Jennifer Berne, a book about legendary marine scientist Jacques Cousteau.

Big Al by Andrew Clements   Manfish: The Story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne

If you and your family enjoy watching birds at a feeder, these next two books are perfect for you! Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward explores all ways that birds build their homes. For the Birds shares the story of Roger Tory Peterson, the creator of many bird guidebooks.

Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward   For the Birds: The Life of Roger Tory Peterson by Peggy Thomas

Creativity is the name of the game in Not a Box by Antoinette Portis. When you’re through playing with boxes, read about a scientist who thought outside the box in On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein, another biography by Jennifer Berne.

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis   On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne

Trees are always interesting to kids, for playing under and around. Share A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry, then read about The Tree Lady who changed San Diego from a desert town to a garden-filled oasis.

A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry   The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins

These are all book pairs that work well with younger kids. The following picture book biographies are better suited for upper elementary students or older. There is a new research study that shows that teens who read about the struggles of famous scientists do better in their science classes, so keep the books coming and keep talking about the way that scientists persevere through many mistakes!

   Look Up! The Story of the First Woman Astronomer by Robert Burleigh