STEM Books for Middle School Readers

List compiled by Nanette Hamilton, MLIS, Technical Services Librarian

“[Science] is more than a school subject, or the periodic table, or the properties of waves. It is an approach to the world, a critical way to understand and explore and engage with the world, and then have the capacity to change that world…”

— President Barack Obama, March 23, 2015

Books

Blood, bullets, and bones: the story of forensic science from Sherlock Holmes to DNA
by Heos, Bridget

Blood, Bullets, and Bones provides young readers with a fresh and fascinating look at the ever-evolving science of forensics.

Since the introduction of DNA testing, forensic science has been in the forefront of the public’s imagination, thanks especially to popular television shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. But forensic analysis has been practiced for thousands of years. Ancient Chinese detectives studied dead bodies for signs of foul play, and in Victorian England, officials used crime scene photography and criminal profiling to investigate the Jack the Ripper murders. In the intervening decades, forensic science has evolved to use the most cutting-edge, innovative techniques and technologies.

In this book, acclaimed author Bridget Heos uses real-life cases to tell the history of modern forensic science, from the first test for arsenic poisoning to fingerprinting, firearm and blood spatter analysis, DNA evidence, and all the important milestones in between. By turns captivating and shocking, Blood, Bullets, and Bones demonstrates the essential role forensic science has played in our criminal justice system.

Electronics for kids
by Shamieh, Cathleen

The easy way for kids to get started with electronics. If your youngster likes to tinker, Electronics For Kids For Dummies is here to teach them the core concepts of electronics in a fun and engaging way. Written in a language elementary-to-middle-school-aged kids can understand, it’s packed with full-color photos, easy-to-follow instructions, simple examples, and 13 cool projects that will boost your child’s confidence while instilling valuable electronics lessons.

Written by an experienced engineer who authored Electronics For Dummies, this friendly guide shows children the right way to learn about this exciting’but the potentially dangerous field. From making their very own LED flashlight and basic radio to building a smart nightlight and making an LED blink, Electronics For Kids For Dummies walks young readers through 13 projects that are easy to accomplish and, most importantly, fun! Plus, the full-color design is heavy on eye-catching graphics and the format is focused on the steps to completing a project, making it approachable for any youngster with an interest in exploring the electrifying world of electronics.

Introduces kids to the basics of electronics Includes 13 projects that promote your kid’s sense of achievement Features larger print to make the material less intimidating and easier to navigate Covers tools and safety measures to ensure your child’s safety

Spark your child’s interest in the shockingly exciting field of electronics with Electronics For Kids For Dummies

Star Wars coding projects / Using Scratch
by Woodcock, Jon

Learn to design and code games using Scratch, inspired by the Star Wars(TM) universe!

Star Wars Coding Projects is a step-by-step visual guide to designing and coding in Scratch. The setting is as big as your imagination. Your favorite Star Wars characters will guide you through fun projects, animations, and games as you learn how to create and code. Draw your own Star Wars inspired sprites to use in the projects. You’re the director as you navigate the spaceship you’ve designed through the asteroid belt you imagined as you go on the jetpack adventures you brought to life. Learn essential coding skills, share the sprites you drew with friends, and even challenge your pals to beat your high scores in the games you designed. Each project lists the sprites you’ll have fun creating through simple, numbered steps that are fully illustrated and easy to follow. Coding games have never been so fun, with Star Wars characters to guide you.

STEM in sports. Engineering
by Newcomb, Tim

You can’t play sports without a place to play. Inside, find out how engineers are changing the way people view and play sports around the world. Read how talented engineers are becoming all-stars by creating arenas and stadiums that thrill fans. Check out advances in engineering that are changing how athletes dress and coaches coach. From the giant size of stadiums to the micro-engineering of uniform fabric, from 3-D printing of running shoes to growing grass indoors, engineers find themselves atop the victory stand over and over again. The entire STEM in SPORTS series tells the story of how science, technology, engineering, and math are not just an exciting and innovative part of education, but also part of the winning formula for success in sports. In this series, find out how these fields of study are hard at work on the fields of play.

STEM in sports. Science
by Gigliotti, Jim

Science and sports are coming together to create winning teams around the world, and this book tells that story. Read how scientists are making sports safer and easier to play; how engineers are creating ways for disabled athletes to excel; and how nutritionists are using science to change the way athletes eat to win. From auto racing to baseball, from football to soccer, science has become as big a part of sports as wins and losses. The entire STEM in SPORTS series tells the story of how science, technology, engineering, and math are not just an exciting and innovative part of education, but also part of the winning formula for success in sports. In this series, find out how these fields of study are hard at work on the fields of play.

STEM in sports. Science
by Gigliotti, Jim

Science and sports are coming together to create winning teams around the world, and this book tells that story. Read how scientists are making sports safer and easier to play; how engineers are creating ways for disabled athletes to excel; and how nutritionists are using science to change the way athletes eat to win. From auto racing to baseball, from football to soccer, science has become as big a part of sports as wins and losses. The entire STEM in SPORTS series tells the story of how science, technology, engineering, and math are not just an exciting and innovative part of education, but also part of the winning formula for success in sports. In this series, find out how these fields of study are hard at work on the fields of play.

by Buckley, James

In sports, 2 + 2 now equals winning. In this book, explore the many relationships between mathematics and sports. Start with the obvious–uniform numbers and stats–and continue with high-level analytics that are changing how teams are formed and how games are played. Math can make a basketball player more accurate and a football coach more successful. Knowing the numbers can make an everyday athlete more efficient and turn a racing team into a champion. Count it up: Math in sports is Number One! The entire STEM in SPORTS series tells the story of how science, technology, engineering, and math are not just an exciting and innovative part of education, but also part of the winning formula for success in sports. In this series, find out how these fields of study are hard at work on the fields of play.

Some of the most exciting careers are in STEM fields. A strong STEM education will allow you to research, test, and build new things. Learn about what role STEM plays in the sports industry. The sports engineers who design uniforms that keep players safe and protected from injury, also allowing them to move faster and improve their statistics, to improving the materials used to make the balls, bats, and other equipment used to play these sports. There are many different careers in STEM sports that are all highlighted, including what degrees it takes to obtain these jobs and what each of these people do. So, if you love sports, you may want to consider a career in one of these fields! This book will allow students to learn that cause and effect relationships are routinely identified, tested, and used to explain change.

Invincible Microbe: tuberculosis and the never-ending search for a cure
by Murphy, Jim

This is the story of a killer that has been striking people down for thousands of years: tuberculosis. After centuries of ineffective treatments, the microorganism that causes TB was identified, and the cure was thought to be within reach–but drug-resistant varieties continue to plague and panic the human race. The “biography” of this deadly germ, an account of the diagnosis, treatment, and “cure” of the disease over time, and the social history of an illness that could strike anywhere but was most prevalent among the poor are woven together in an engrossing, carefully researched narrative. Bibliography, source notes, index.

Shells: the photographic recognition guide to seashells of the world
by Dance, S. Peter

Authoritative text, crystal-clear photography, and a systematic approach make DK’s Smithsonian Handbook of Shells the most comprehensive and concise pocket guide to seashells of the world. Packed with more than 600 full-color photographs of over 500 species of seashells, this handy reference book is designed to cut through the complex process of identification and make it accessible to the average reader.

Expertly written and thoroughly vetted, each species entry combines a precise description with annotated photographs to highlight each shell’s characteristics and distinguishing features. The entry always includes a distribution map, showing the geographical range of the species, as well as color-coded bands to provide at-a-glance key facts.

Written by leading shell expert, author, and museum veteran S. Peter Dance, and packed with detailed information on the shape of each genus, differences between the major classes, and more, DK’s Smithsonian Handbook of Shells is the clearest identification guide to seashells for beginners and established enthusiasts alike.

Insects, spiders, and other terrestrial arthropods
by McGavin, Georgeeter

Written by noted entomologist George C. McGavin, this comprehensive handbook covers all 29 orders of the insect as well as spiders and terrestrial arthropods. It’s packed with hundreds of annotated photographs and illustrations to help you discern the many types of insects and gives you a brief description of each insect family with main characteristics, including life cycles, the environment in which they thrive, and a photographic guide to assist you in categorizing the insect group. It’s an indispensable handbook for beginners and enthusiasts alike.

Smithsonian Handbooks are the most visually appealing guides on the natural world in the book marketplace. Featuring more than 500 full-color illustrations and photographs, along with detailed annotations, Smithsonian Handbooks make identification easy and accurate.

The next wave: the quest to harness the power of the oceans
by Rusch, Elizabeth

Journey to the wave-battered coast of the Pacific Northwest to nbsp; meet some of the engineers and scientists nbsp; working to harness the punishing force of our oceans, one of nature’s powerful and renewable energy sources. With an array of amazing nbsp;devices that cling to the bottom of the sea floor and surf on the crests of waves, these explorers are using a combination of science, imagination, and innovation nbsp; to try to capture nbsp; wave energy nbsp; in the hopes of nbsp; someday powering our lives in a cleaner, more sustainable way.

Eruption! : volcanoes and the science of saving lives
by Rusch, Elizabeth

“At 11:35 p.m., as Radio Armero played cheerful music, a towering wave of mud and rocks bulldozed through the village, roaring like a squadron of fighter jets.” Twenty-three thousand people died in the 1985 eruption of Colombia’s Nevado del Ruiz. Today, more than one billion people worldwide live in volcanic danger zones. In this riveting nonfiction book–filled with spectacular photographs and sidebars–Rusch reveals the perilous, adrenaline-fueled, life-saving work of an international volcano crisis team (VDAP) and the sleeping giants they study, from Colombia to the Philippines, from Chile to Indonesia.

Isaac the alchemist: secrets of Isaac Newton, reveal’d
by Losure, Mary

A surprising true story of Isaac Newton’s boyhood suggests an intellectual development owing as much to magic as science.

Before Isaac Newton became the father of physics, an accomplished mathematician, or a leader of the scientific revolution, he was a boy living in an apothecary’s house, observing and experimenting, recording his observations of the world in a tiny notebook. As a young genius living in a time before science as we know it existed, Isaac studied the few books he could get his hands on, built handmade machines, and experimented with alchemy–a process of chemical reactions that seemed, at the time, to be magical. Mary Losure’s riveting narrative nonfiction account of Isaac’s early life traces his development as a thinker from his childhood, in friendly prose that will capture the attention of today’s budding scientists–as if by magic. Back matter includes an afterword, an author’s note, source notes, a bibliography, and an index.

Hidden figures: the untold true story of four African-American women who helped launch our nation into space
by Lee Shetterly, Margot

Now in a special new edition perfect for young readers, this is the amazing true story of four African-American female mathematicians at NASA who helped achieve some of the greatest moments in our space program. Soon to be a major motion picture.

Before John Glenn orbited the earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. This book brings to life the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African-American women who lived through the Civil Rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the movement for gender equality, and whose work forever changed the face of NASA and the country.

Maker lab: 28 super cool projects: build, invent, create, discover
by Challoner, Jack

As seen on Kim Kardashian’s Instagram. Supporting STEAM education initiatives and the Maker Movement, the National Parenting Publication Award-winner Maker Lab includes 28 kid-safe projects and crafts that will get young inventors’ wheels turning and make science pure fun.

Each step-by-step activity is appropriate for kids ages 8-12, and ranked easy, medium, or hard, with an estimated time frame for completion. Requiring only household materials, young makers can build an exploding volcano, race balloon rocket cars, construct a lemon battery, make sticky slime, and more. Photographs and facts carefully detail the “why” and “how” of each experiment using real-world examples to provide context so kids can gain a deeper understanding of the scientific principles applied.

With a foreword by Jack Andraka, a teen award-winning inventor, Maker Lab will help kids find their inner inventor and create winning projects for school projects, science fairs, and beyond.

Nick and Tesla’s solar-powered showdown: a mystery with sun-powered gadgets you can make yourself
by Pflugfelder, Bob

Kid inventors Nick and Tesla Holt have outsmarted crooks, spies, and kidnappers. Now they have to crack their biggest mystery yet: Where the heck are their parents? To outwit the criminal mastermind who’s holding their parents hostage, the twins will need all their brainpower, the help of their eccentric Uncle Newt, and an assortment of homemade solar gadgets. Will the Holt family be reunited at last? Or will a hijacked solar satellite beam down doom from the skies? The adventure includes instructions for creating a solar-powered hot-dog cooker, alarm, secret listening device, and model car, plus a nighttime signal cannon that fires illuminated ping-pong balls.

Elon Musk and the quest for a fantastic future
by Vance, Ashlee

An in-depth look into the extraordinary life of the world’s most important entrepreneur, Elon Musk. This fascinating and easily accessible young readers’ adaptation of Ashlee Vance’s New York Times bestselling Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future features black-and-white photographs throughout and an epilogue.

The version for adults has been praised as “riveting” (The Financial Times), “spirited” (The Wall Street Journal), and “masterful” (Vice). Now younger readers can read about this innovative leader who is revolutionizing three industries at once: space, automotive, and energy.

There are few people in history who could match Elon Musk’s relentless drive and vision. A modern combination of famous inventors and industrialists like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Steve Jobs, Elon is the man behind companies such as SpaceX, Tesla Motors, SolarCity, and PayPal that are transforming the way we live.

Written with exclusive access to Elon, his family, and his friends, this book traces Elon’s journey from a kid in South Africa to a young man in the United States, his dramatic technical inventions, and his world-changing companies. Elon has sparked new levels of innovation in the world, and this book gives young readers a detailed but fast-paced look at his story.

A Junior Library Guild Selection!