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Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12

Books Published in 2022


We invite you to explore this year's list of Outstanding Science Trade Books, which builds upon our 50-year history. In the award-winning books below, you'll find not only traditional science content but also elements of engineering and design. We hope you'll enjoy exploring science through this collection of outstanding children’s books.


Winning Titles

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American Murderer: The Parasite That Haunted the South

By: Gail Jarrow
Astra Publishing House / Calkins Creek

Follow along as the effect of this murderous parasite is explained in skin-crawling detail from the devastating infections to the tireless efforts made to educate and heal its victims.


Animal Allies: 15 Amazing Women in Wildlife Research

By: Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan
Chicago Review Press

This introduction to 15 awesome women scientists takes readers to unexpected places and introduces them to not-so-common animals. Chapters include ways to access these incredible women using social media.


Animal Sidekicks: Amazing Stories of Symbiosis in Animals and Plants

By: Macken Murphy, illustrated by Dragan Kordic
Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group / Neon Squid

Explore the many cases of symbiosis, where different species of animals, plants, and other living organisms form interesting relationships rather than avoiding each other.


Antarctica: A Melting Continent

By: Karen Romano-Young, illustrated by Angela Hsieh
What on Earth Books

Learn about Antarctica’s past hidden in its frozen layers and how an international scientific community continues to explore and research the wondrous ecosystem of one of Earth’s lesser-known continents.


Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

By: Robin Wall Kimmerer, Adapted by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt
Lerner Publishing Group/Zest Books

This amazing adaptation of Braiding Sweetgrass for youth includes many ways for youth to be thinking about science and the natural world through the lens of traditional ecological knowledge.



By: Henry Cole
HarperCollins Children’s Books / Katherine Tegen Books

Through simple text and line art drawings, discover how beaver families live and work together, using their engineering skills to survive within a pond ecosystem.


The Code Breaker - Young Readers Edition: Jennifer Doudna and the Race to Understand Our Genetic Code

By: Walter Isaacson
Simon & Schuster / S&S Books for Young Readers

An inspiring biography about the life and work of Dr. Jennifer Doudna, a female biochemist whose groundbreaking Nobel Prize-winning research in genetics led to the development of CRISPR.


Hidden Habitats: Earth

By: Camilla de la Bedoyere, illustrated by Lara Hawthorne
Candlewick Press / Big Picture Press

The interdependence living creatures have within habitats is described by asking the reader to look for the relationships that exist in hidden habitats.


How to Build a Human: In Seven Evolutionary Steps

By: Pamela S. Turner, illustrated by John Gurche

This humorous and captivating book is written in seven, accessible sections that describe the major evolutionary steps of our journey to becoming human.


A Journey Under the Sea

By: Craig Foster and Ross Frylinck
HaperCollins Children’s Books/ Clarion Books

Focusing on a particular area of the ocean, the reader is immersed in an amazing environment as they learn about animals and plants that are found in the Great African Sea Forest.


Life in Hot Water: Wildlife at the Botton of the Ocean

By: Mary Batten, illustrated by Thomas Gonzales

Dive into the fascinating discovery and exploration of the ocean’s deep sea vents and the extraordinary ecosystem surrounding them.


Lion Lights: My Invention That Made Peace with Lions

By: Richard Turere & Shelly Pollock, illustrated by Sonia Possentini
Tilbury House

A young Massai herder, tasked with taking care of his family’s cows, finds an ingenious way to keep them safe to help his family and the community live peacefully with the neighboring lions.


Luminous: Living Things That Light Up the Night

By: Julia Kuo
Greystone Books / Greystone Kids

Explore bioluminescence, the light made from living things, in its many forms, including fireflies, and foxfire, fungi and glowworms, deep-sea fish and vampire squid.


Moving Words About a Flower

By: K. C. Hayes, illustrated by Barbara Chotiner

A clever approach of presenting the life cycle of a dandelion told with moving, colorful text and bold illustrations.


The Mystery of the Monarchs: How Kids, Teachers, and Butterfly Fans Helped Fred and Norah Urquhart Track the Great Monarch Migration

By: Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Erika Meza
Random House Children's Books/Alfred A Knopf BFYR

Where do the Monarch butterflies go? Highlighting citizen science and the persistence and dedication of Fred and Norah Urguhart, this book tells the story of how the migration mystery of the Monarch butterfly was solved.


Narwhal: The Arctic Unicorn

By: Justin Anderson, illustrated by Jo Weaver
Candlewick Press

Follow a pod of narwhals during their treacherous journey north, where they find fish to eat, avoid a hungry polar bear, and navigate the maze of sea ice.


Oceanarium: Welcome to the Museum

By: Loveday Trinick, illustrated by Teagan White
Candlewick Press

This eighth book in the Welcome to the Museum series takes readers on a visually stunning and informative tour of the world’s oceans and the spectacular organisms within.


Over and Under the Waves

By: Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
Chronicle Books

Dive into the depths of the kelp forest to explore the ocean habitat and learn about the creatures who make their home over and under the waves.


Queer Ducks (and Other Animals): The Natural World of Animal Sexuality

By: Eliot Schrefer, illustrated by Jules Zuckerberg
HarperCollins Children’s Books / Katherine Tegen Books

Alternating between informative text, amusing comics, and interviews with contemporary scientists (some of whom identify as queer), this book explores the animal kingdom’s diverse queer behavior with humor and accessibility.


Salmon: Swimming for Survival

By: Rowena Rae
Orca Book Publishers

Salmon are living with increasing challenges to their survival. Explore the importance of these fish to both ecosystem and community while learning about the scientists working to conserve their populations.


Urgent Message from a Hot Planet: Navigating the Climate Crisis

By: Ann Eriksson, illustrated by Belle Wuthrich
Orca Book Publishers

This is an accessible, scientifically accurate, daunting, yet hopeful book about the climate crisis. It provides a variety of information and helpful mitigation ideas for youth.


A Walk Through the Rain Forest

By: Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Vicky White
Candlewick Press

Subdued images and descriptive text take the reader on a journey through the Malaysian rainforest. Details about this exotic habitat inform about and transport the reader to the location.


The Whale Who Swam Through Time: A 200-Year Journey in the Arctic

By: Alex Boersma and Nick Pyenson
Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group / Roaring Brook Press

Follow the longest-living mammal, a bowhead whale, as she swims through her life of two centuries. A rare perspective on changes and human impact in the Arctic.


The Woman Who Split the Atom: The Life of Lise Meitner

By: Marissa Moss
ABRAMS / Abrams Books for Young Readers

Lise Meitner overcame many obstacles to solve some of the most perplexing problems in nuclear science. Discoveries that took a lifetime for the world to recognize as hers.


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