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Great science books to inspire children for Summer Reading Challenge 2022

Bishop's Stortford College Prep School librarian Lizzie Hall writes about the magic of storytelling...

Dear Reader. Summer Reading Challenge 2022 is here and this year's theme is Gadgeteers. So get ready to be boggled by brilliant facts, gaze at the stars and be inspired by tales of invention. To find out how to sign up, visit www.summerreadingchallenge.org.uk.

Here are some fun science and innovation-themed recommendations:

Picture books

The Planet in a Pickle Jar by Martin Stanev

When two kids visit Grandma's house for their usual visit, they can't help but think she's stuffy and no fun at all. Even the dinner she makes is predictable. But when Grandma goes missing and wild animals start popping up around the house, they realise she has a secret...

The Planet in a Pickle Jar (58005919)
The Planet in a Pickle Jar (58005919)

A gorgeously illustrated picture book about not judging people based on appearances, and how families can work together to help save the planet.

Author/illustrator Martin Stanev's debut book will make a beautiful, and fun, addition to any child's bookshelf.

Bears Make the Best Science Buddies by Carmen Oliver and Jean Claude

It's time for the first science lab, and nobody can agree on an experiment. But why pick just one when Bear is around?

Bears Make the Best Science Buddies (58005911)
Bears Make the Best Science Buddies (58005911)

Bears makes the best science buddies, and Bear proves it by helping each group use the scientific method for its special experiment.

This fourth picture book in Carmen Oliver's Bears Make the Best... series will bring the excitement of science to a new level.

Shine, Star, Shine! by Dom Conlon and Anastasia Izlesou

Travel with Star as her light zips across 93 million miles of space from her home to Earth, where she ripens crops, keeps us warm, creates weather and reveals a waking world full of life.

Shine, Star, Shine! (58005921)
Shine, Star, Shine! (58005921)

Complete with a list of facts about the stars that fill our sky and why they are important, this charming poetic picture book combines fiction and non-fiction to make a perfect educational resource for children whether at home or in the classroom.

Early readers

Once Upon an Atom by James Carter and William Santiago

Explore the whys, whats and hows of science and answer all the really BIG questions that curious kids are keen to ask.

Once Upon an Atom (58005915)
Once Upon an Atom (58005915)

This playful rhyming book bubbles and bursts with all things scientific, from technology and space to experiments, inventions and the natural world.

You are 25% Banana by Susie Brooks and Josy Bloggs

This stunningly illustrated book will boggle your brain with astonishing facts, as it shows how we're all related to every living thing on the planet.

You Are 25% Banana (58005909)
You Are 25% Banana (58005909)

Did you know that a grain of rice has more genes than you? Or that you're related to dogs, dung beetles and even daffodils? Luckily, even though you're 99.9% like a chimpanzee, you're still 100% YOU!

Night Sky by Rola Shaw and Lara Hawthorne

From ancient Egyptians building the pyramids to early Polynesian sailors criss-crossing the Pacific Ocean and astronauts travelling into space, the night sky has guided and inspired people across the world and throughout time.

Night Sky (58005913)
Night Sky (58005913)

Now it's your turn to look to the skies and discover the mysteries they hide.

Middle grade

How to Win a Nobel Prize by Barry Marshall and Bernard Caleo

A time-travelling adventure with interactive experiments for budding young scientists, by Nobel Prize-winning Barry Marshall

Mary has always wanted to win a Nobel Prize and loves running her own science experiments at home.

How To Win a Nobel Prize (58005917)
How To Win a Nobel Prize (58005917)

One day she stumbles on a secret meeting of Nobel Prize winners. Dr Barry Marshall agrees to travel with her through time to learn the secrets behind some of the most fascinating and important scientific discoveries.

They talk time and space with Albert Einstein, radiation with Marie Curie, DNA with Crick, Watson and Wilkins – and much more.

Science Experiments at Home by Susan Martineau and Vicky Barker

Explore the science in everyday life with these simple, step-by-step experiments to do around the home.

Each activity takes a complex, scientific concept and makes it easy for kids to understand.

Science Experiments at Home (58005907)
Science Experiments at Home (58005907)

Young scientists will enjoy discovering the science behind the simple phenomena all around them.

Perfectly Weird, Perfectly You by Camilla Pang

As a child, Camilla loved patterns and putting things in order. She was obsessed with Stephen Hawking. And the only language she really understood was science.

Diagnosed with autism at the age of eight, Camilla saw the world very differently.

Perfectly Weird, Perfectly You (58005905)
Perfectly Weird, Perfectly You (58005905)

But with science as her sidekick, she was able to translate ideas she could understand – like gravity, photosynthesis and algorithms – onto things she couldn't – like peer pressure, emotions and finding your voice.

Today, Camilla is a scientist and an award-winning author, and she is here to share her scientific survival guide with you – so you can grow up with the courage to be yourself, no matter how different you feel or how tricky you might find it to connect.

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