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Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12

Books Published in 2023


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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Animals in Surprising Shades: Poems About Earth's Colorful Creatures

By: Susan Johnston Taylor, illustrated by Annie Bakst
Gnome Road Publishing

The coloration of a myriad of different animals is described through various poetry formats.

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At Home with the Prairie Dog: The Story of a Keystone Species

By: Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, photographed by William Muñoz
Web of Life Children's Books

Dig into the prairie ecosystem, its flora and fauna, and the important role of the prairie dog through this book’s engaging text and captivating photographs.

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Becoming Bionic and Other Ways Science Is Making Us Super

By: Heather Camlot, illustrated by Victor Wong
Owlkids Books

Using superheroes as a starting point, this book looks at the ways scientists have found to extend human capabilities and push us past the limits of the bodies we were born with.

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Before Colors: Where Pigments and Dyes Come From

By: Annette Bay Pimentel, illustrated by Madison Safer
Abrams Books for Young Readers

Trace the sources of pigments and dyes throughout the natural world and discover how the beauty of color is used in art and culture.

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Ben Rothery's Deadly and Dangerous Animals

By: Ben Rothery
Tilbury House Publishers

Have you ever heard of an assassin bug? The book encourages reconsideration regarding deadly and dangerous animals. Not always the biggest and strongest, some species use special features, speed, or intelligence to be labeled dangerous and deadly.

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Bone Wars: The True Story of an Epic Battle to Find Dinosaur Fossils

By: Jane Kurtz, illustrated by Alexander Vidal
Simon & Schuster Children's / Beach Lane Books

A tragic and cautionary tale about two early paleo scientists who went from collaborating colleagues to competitive adversaries. While Marsh and Cope discovered over 100 species, the mess they created through their battles affected accuracy in dinosaur identification for decades.

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The Clues Are in the Poo: The Story of Dinosaur Scientist Karen Chin

By: Karen Chin and Jane Kurtz, illustrated by Francisco Riolobos
Reycraft Books

Karen Chin, a curious and persistent (eventual) paleontologist took a meandering route to studying the “beings cleaning up the dinosaur world”. She now connects the past to the present studying dinosaur poo.

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Creep, Leap, Crunch! A Food Chain Story

By: Jody Jensen Shaffer, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
RHCB / Alfred A. Knopf BFYR

This cumulative food chain story is told using lyrical text as animals move through the day “creeping, leaping, and crunching” in a forest ecosystem.

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By: Sarah Darwin / Eva-Maria Sadowski, illustrated by Olga Baumert
What on Earth Books

Captivating and educational, this children's book on evolution and natural selection is a delightful journey through Earth's history and origins of life.

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Extra Life: The Astonishing Story of How We Doubled Our Lifespan (Young Readers Adaptation)

By: Steven Johnson
PYR / Viking Books for Young Readers

Sharing stories of real-life scientific discoveries over the last 100 years, the author explains how specific innovations and advancements, such as vaccines, contributed to the lengthening of our life span.

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Find Out About Animal Camouflage

By: Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Jane McGuinness
Candlewick Press

Explores a variety of interesting creatures who have developed clever ways to survive.

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Grizzly Bears: Guardians of the Wilderness

By: Frances Backhouse
Orca Book Publishers

Grizzly bears play an important role in their ecosystems. Author and scientist Frances Backhouse takes readers on a journey of discovering the biology and behaviors of grizzlies and invites us to consider ways we can coexist with these incredible creatures.

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Her Eyes on the Stars: Maria Mitchell, Astronomer

By: Laurie Wallmark, illustrated by Liz Wong
Creston Books

Not only was Maria Mitchell the first American to discover a comet, she was also the first female astronomy professor who made many more discoveries, setting an example for the many generations of women that followed.

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Hidden Systems: Water, Electricity, the Internet, and the Secrets Behind the Systems We Use Every Day

By: Dan Nott
RHCB / Random House Graphic

Key systems we rely on, such as the electrical and water systems and the internet along with other systems that we take for granted, how they developed, and how they are implemented in the world are explained in this graphic novel.

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How Birds Sleep

By: David Obuchowski, illustrated by Sarah Pedry
Astra Books for Young Readers/Minerva

Fly around the world to discover how different birds sleep in this beautifully illustrated book.

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How to Spacewalk: Step-by-Step with Shuttle Astronauts

By: Michael J. Rosen and Kathryn D. Sullivan, illustrated by Michael J. Rosen
Candlewick Press / MIT Kids Press

Retired astronaut, Kathryn Sullivan, walks the reader through the step-by-step experience of being an astronaut, including moving in zero gravity and conducting experiments in space.

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If the Rivers Run Free

By: Andrea Debbink, illustrated by Nicole Wong
Sleeping Bear Press

Delve into how humans can impact rivers. This story is told in a rhyming text.

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Jumper: A Day in the Life of a Backyard Jumping Spider

By: Jessica Lanan
Macmillan Children's Publishing Group / Roaring Brook Press

Discover the world of Jumper as she hides, leaps, and hunts her way through the garden in this wonderfully illustrated book about a backyard jumping spider.

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Masked Hero: How Wu Lien-teh Invented the Mask That Ended an Epidemic

By: Shan Woo Liu, illustrated by Lisa Wee
Candlewick Press / MIT Kids Press

A familiar topic and an unfamiliar person. Written by his great-granddaughter, Doctor Wu Lien-teh’s biography provides a window into his life, highlighting a familiar modern-day problem – stopping an epidemic using masks and isolation!

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Mission: Arctic: A Scientific Adventure to a Changing North Pole

By: Katharina Weiss-Tuider, illustrated by Christian Schneider
Greystone Books/Greystone Kids

Have you ever wanted to explore the mysterious Arctic Circle? Mission: Arctic takes readers on an incredible adventure aboard the research vessel Polarstern as it drifts with the sea ice and researchers discover some important information about our changing climate.

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My Indigo World: A True Story of the Color Blue

By: Rosa Chang
Astra Books for Young Readers/Minerva

The process of using the indigo plant to obtain the elusive color of blue for textiles is explained by the author to include the science behind the dyeing process.

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Old Enough to Make a Difference: Be inspired by real-life children building a more sustainable future

By: Rebecca Hui, illustrated by Anneli Bray
Abrams Books / Magic Cat

Each of us has the power to make a difference. Meet twelve young and inspiring entrepreneurs who have become change-makers in their communities by starting businesses that are making a positive impact in our world.

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Paper World: Human Body

By: Ruth Symons, illustrated by Gail Armstrong
Candlewick Press / Big Picture Press

This book takes the reader on an immersive adventure of the human body using big flaps and stunning paper-cut art on each page to learn about the body’s mighty muscles, fast-firing nerves and the intricacies of the brain.

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The Pie That Molly Grew

By: Sue Heavenrich, illustrated by Chamisa Kellogg
Sleeping Bear Press

This book reveals a story, told in a rhythm, about the journey of seed, the joy of sharing a pumpkin pie, and the details in between all because Molly sowed a seed.

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Queen of Leaves: The Story of Botanist Ynes Mexia

By: Stephen Briseño, illustrated by Isabel Muñoz
The Innovation Press

Ynez Mexia found her passion for botany at age 51. This biography is told through parallel narratives (loneliness, adaptation, scars, and shooting up strong) of the wax palm, a species she re-discovered, and her life journey.

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Rooting for Plants: The Unstoppable Charles S. Parker, Black Botanist and Collector

By: Janice N. Harrington, illustrated by Theadore Taylor III
Astra Books for Young Readers/Calkins Creek

Botanist Charles S. Parker’s life is a story of an African American that made significant contributions throughout his life, demonstrating determination, perseverance, curiosity, bravery, and so much more, encouraging us to remember that science is for everyone.

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Santiago Saw Things Differently: Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Artist, Doctor, Father of Neuroscience

By: Christine Iverson, illustrated by Luciano Lozano
Candlewick Press / MIT Kids Press

Explore the life of Santiago Ramon y Cajal and discover how his passion for art transformed the way we understand the nervous system.

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Sew Sister: The Untold Story of Jean Wright and NASA's Seamstresses

By: Elise Matich
Tilbury House Publishers

Jean Wright’s biography is a captivating, untold story of unlikely heroes and problem solvers at NASA. She was a part of a team of women who sewed the blankets that protected the space shuttle and their crews.

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Shining Star: Vera Rubin Discovers Dark Matter

By: Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Susan Reagan
Astra Books for Young Readers/Calkins Creek

This story about Ver Rubin describes how she was “starstruck” when young, and persevered during a time when few women pursued to astronomy to become a world-renowned astronomer who discovered the existence of dark matter.

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Sisters in Science: Marie Curie, Bronia Dluska, and the Atomic Power of Sisterhood

By: Linda Elovitz Marshall, illustrated by Anna and Elena Balbusso
RHCB / Alfred A. Knopf BFYR

This book unveils the extraordinary bond between Marie Curie and her older sister Bronia Dluska and how they helped each other reach their academic dreams, leaving an enduring legacy of determination and brilliance.

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Snow Man: A True Story

By: Jonah Winter, illustrated by Jeanette Winter
Simon & Schuster Children's / Beach Lane Books

The Snow Man, a story of dedication, perseverance, and outright toughness, illustrates a lifetime of data collection in the Colorado Rockies by citizen scientist Billy Barr.

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A Star Explodes: The Story of Supernova 1054

By: James Gladstone, illustrated by Yaara Eshet
Owlkids Books

By connecting astronomy, cultural relevance, and a historical perspective of Supernova 1054 – the Crab Nebula – the reader learns about this explosive event through descriptive narrative and stunning watercolor images.

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A Stone Is a Story

By: Leslie Barnard Booth, illustrated by Mac Martin
Simon & Schuster Children's / Margaret K. McElderry Books

This journey of a stone over time is described, thus helping the reader to make connections to where the rock finds itself in or on the Earth and the rock cycle.

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Tell Me About Space

By: Lisa Varchol Perron, illustrated by Jennifer Falkner
Simon & Schuster Children's / Little Simon

A sturdy board book explores space via the format of a young child’s curiosity.

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We Are Branches

By: Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes
HarperCollins/Clarion Books

From a butterfly wing to a river flowing to the ocean. Branches are all around us and nature’s way to connect.

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We Are Starlings: Inside the Mesmerizing Magic of a Murmuration

By: Robert Furrow and Donna Jo Napoli, illustrated by Marc Martin
RHCB / Random House Studio

Told from the point of view of the flock, readers will learn the how and why of starlings’ harmonious movement as they fly together twisting and turning across the sky.

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We Need to Talk About Vaginas

By: Dr. Allison K. Rodgers, illustrated by Annika Le Large
Macmillan Children's Publishing Group / Neon Squid

This insightful book provides a thorough and inclusive exploration of anatomy, puberty, and reproduction tailored for young women and offers essential knowledge for a crucial stage of life.

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Whale Fall: Exploring an Ocean-Floor Ecosystem

By: Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Rob Dunlavey
RHCB / Random House Studio

In this beautifully illustrated children's book, the life cycle of a whale becomes a mesmerizing tale and explores how the death of a whale becomes a thriving ecosystem.

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Why Do Elephants Have Big Ears?: Questions ― and Surprising Answers ― About Animals

By: Steven Jenkins & Robin Page
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Illustrated with colorful paper collages, this book provides unique facts and answers the “why” about a variety of animals from across the world.

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The Woman in the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Helped Fly the First Astronauts to the Moon

By: Richard Maurer
Macmillan Children's Publishing Group / Roaring Brook Press

This book tells the story of Margaret Hamiton, who led one for the most crucial parts of the early space program: writing the software that guided the astronauts to the Moon and back.

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Zero Waste: How One Community Is Leading a World Recycling Revolution

By: Allan Drummond
Macmillan Children's Publishing Gorup / Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

The small community of Kamikatsu, Japan has a very big goal: Zero Waste. Told through the eyes of two grandchildren, we learn how one community is using innovative ideas to minimize their trash and to maximize green living.


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