Science fiction and STEM topic books – this collection of fiction and nonfiction titles for children in KS1, KS2 and KS3 combines escapism with imagination, explores futuristic lifestyles, encourages thinking skills and a love of inventions, provides a different spin on reading comprehension and uses science to help children envision amazing machines and better worlds. Authors include Amy Bond, Christopher Edge, David Wiesner, Jane Wilsher, Ross Welford, SF Said and Margaret Wild.
Our recommended children’s books for topics about science fiction and STEM
We Use Maths by Kim Hankinson and Jenny Jacoby
The perfect antidote to children (and parents) who ask “Why are we learning this?” in maths and “What will it be useful for?” with homework. This book reveals how maths relates to the workplace. Colourful, engaging and packed with information, this is a book that will both enlighten and convince children that the maths they learn in school is useful in real life. There’s also a #MathsSquad page full of useful ideas for further independent study.
We Use Science by Kim Hankinson and Jenny Jacoby
Engaging, detailed, and inspirational, this non-fiction text embraces STEM with passion and enthusiasm. Using real jobs and professions that children will relate to, this book demonstrates how science is important to everyday situations. It may well make pupils reconsider the importance of science lessons to their own ambitions, and the lives and livelihoods of their parents. Highly recommended for KS2 libraries.
Invisible Nature by Catherine Barr
With a spectacular palette of warm, rich and bold colours, children will find out how animals survive using a myriad of special abilities that will seem mysterious to humans. Covering familiar senses such as sound, sight, smell and touch, this book delves deeper to examine microwaves, infrared, ultrasound, and almost undetectable scents. A spectacular exposition of the senses we know, and senses that will be new and exciting to readers in lower KS2.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s Life of Invention by Jake Williams
The beautifully realised illustrated hardback takes 7-11-year-old readers on a journey through Leonardo Da Vinci’s life, the world as he saw it, his inventions, and his greatest artistic achievements. A sparkling blend of history, biography, STEM and culture, each double-page spread examines an aspect of Da Vinci’s life and learning. It’s a fascinating Renaissance volume that features the Mona Lisa, an early parachute, human anatomy, a mechanical bat, maths and the unknown. Perfect for children interested in science, it will also make a great addition to KS2 libraries.
Cool Engineering by Jenny Jacoby and Jem Venn
There’s a massive amount of information crammed into this large pocket-sized hardback. Covering the history of engineering, real-world constructions, great inventions, projects to try at home, places to look out for and thoughts for the future; this is a cracking book for any STEM minded child to carry around and peruse. Highly recommended to spark inspiration and inquiry in KS2 children.
Morgana Mage in the Robotic Age by Amy Bond
There’s a unique blend of futuristic science and magic in this memorable chapter novel. When Morgana finds herself in the technologically advanced city that she’s always dreamed about being part of, her sheltered background as a witch leads her to see things others would rather keep hidden. The clever mix of enchantment and realism makes this ideal for children in years 5&6 who are interested in STEM but like to question the world around them. Here’s the first chapter, free.
The Encyclopedia of STEM words by Jenny Jacoby
This super colourful glossy paperback covers a plethora of challenging and fascinating scientific concepts in an accessible and absorbing format. A very thorough encyclopaedia, the STEM words are arranged in alphabetical order, and each page explains a different term through short bursts of facts, engaging graphics and engaging snippets of information to inspire further reading. It’s a book that children can dip into and be completely captivated by for ages – perfect for KS2 classroom libraries.
Future Friend by David Baddiel
Heroine Pip travels back in time to team up with tech prodigy Rahul and warn the world of climate change and viruses. This fast-paced illustrated futuristic adventure with punchy dialogue and raucously funny moments is ideal to engage reluctant readers in years 5 and 6.
Earth Is Big by Steve M Tomecek
With an engrossing layout, captivating graphics and precision typography, ‘Earth Is Big’ is a wonderful book to add to your KS2 library. It’s a mind-bogglingly impressive compendium of STEM facts and statistics that cover Earth’s size, age, life, composition, climate, speed, shape, mass, evolution and uniqueness. If your child learns even half the facts in this book, Top Trumps might be out of business! But it’s not just a wealth of information that makes Steve Tomecek’s book impressive. Children will appreciate the miracle of Earth’s precious existence and begin to understand the delicate equilibria that make all our lives possible.
Cookie! and the Most Mysterious Mystery in the World by Konnie Huq
In the third of the popular Cookie series, Cookie’s Nani arrives from Bangladesh, and only Cookie can translate Bengali. With a STEM angle that will appeal to children interested in coding and computing, Cookie uses her programming knowledge to solve problems involving the school website and a suspicious gaming score, as well as helping her Nani. The cartoon-style illustrations make this ideal for reluctant readers in KS2.
Darwin’s Dragons by Lindsay Galvin
There’s no fantasy about the dragons in this captivating historical novel that follows cabin boy Syms as he sets off on an expedition with Charles Darwin. Cast adrift after a storm, he finds himself the first person to experience a remote island with unexpected inhabitants. Gripping and atmospheric, this story is a great starting point for discussing evolution, and highly recommended for children in years 5&6. There’s a guide for teachers here, and you can read our full review here.
Space Oddity by Christopher Edge
At times laugh-out-loud and at times arrestingly thought-provoking, this mesmerizing story about Jake and his search for answers to big questions about life and our place in the universe will appeal to children with imaginations in upper KS2. Space Oddity would make an excellent choice for book groups, and a useful fast-paced class reader for Year 6. Here’s a free set of teacher’s notes.
The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm by Norman Hunter
A series of stories featuring the mad Professor Branestawm, his crazy inventions, Mrs Flittersnoop, Colonel Dedshott, General Shatterfortz and Dr Mumpzanmeasle, the doctor. Ideal for 7-11 year old readers interested in inventions and STEM.
The Feather by Margaret Wild
When a feather drifts down from above in a lifeless, dull and monotonous world, excited children take it back home. But the villagers decide to lock it away, and the feather loses its life and inspiration. Will the children be able to release it? A great picture book for discussion and one that will make children think about what makes an object intangibly powerful, mysterious or valuable.
Eager by Helen Fox
When the family robot goes wrong, Dad tries to find an upgrade. But the replacement turns out to be something very different, more like a human being and posing difficult questions. Both funny and thought-provoking, this book will raise questions about what it is to be sentient. A good book for KS2 book clubs or to spark ideas for home learning projects.
June 29, 1999 by David Wiesner
When 8-year-old Holly decides to send plant seeds to the edge of space as part of a school science project, she doesn’t expect vegetables to start raining down. But these vegetables are not what they seem… This is a fun and fascinating picture book that will be ideal to discuss with children in years 3 & 4.
SuperQuesters – The Case of the Stolen Sun by Lisa Moss & Dr Thomas Bernard
A unique and innovative concept, with superhero STEM characters, sees Leo Zoom and Bea Bumble seeking out the reader’s help to solve a series of exciting challenges. An interactive, reader-led story that takes the characters on a quest where STEM skills, such as coding, problem-solving, spatial perception and algorithms must be mastered along the way. Featuring stickers, gameplay, and vibrant illustration, this series is bound to improve confidence and inspire interest in STEM. A great activity book for children during the holidays.
When We Got Lost in Dreamland by Ross Welford
When two brothers come into possession of a special device, only their imaginations will limit what they can do, where they can go and who they will meet. But there are hidden consequences and one brother is forced to make difficult decisions to save the other. The “Dreaminator” machine powers this gripping, moving and spectacular science fiction story for 9-12-year-olds. If this book doesn’t spark imaginative ideas for your child’s creative writing, nothing will!
Forever End on a Friday by Justin Reynolds
A captivating novel for young teens that poses the question, what if we could bring someone back from the dead just long enough to say goodbye to them. Is the pull of closure and grief enough to justify bringing a life back only for that person to die again? A thought-provoking and accessible book that is ideal for reading groups and discussion in KS3.
Phoenix by SF Said
When Lucky finds out that he has an unimaginable superpower, he is thrust into an intergalactic adventure where humans are in danger from malevolent alien forces. Can he overcome misconceptions and prejudices to help save humanity? A cracking fast-paced sci-fi adventure for children aged 9-12.
Beegu by Alexis Deacon
A charming and heartwarming story about an alien puzzled by life on Earth. Finding her feet in a playground full of children, the grown-ups prove much more difficult to deal with. Fun to read in KS1, and also to discuss in KS2 PHSE, this picture book is a modern classic.
Trillions by Nicholas Fisk
When thousands and thousands of strange metallic objects appear out of the blue in Habourtown village, people have mixed views. Some are afraid of the unknown, some see them as a threat, and one boy interested in science works out what is going on. Can he help save the aliens from human forces bent on their destruction? Fast-paced with bite, this is classic children’s science fiction.
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs
The first in a trilogy, Dashiel, 12, is famous for being one of the first children to live on the moon. But extraterrestrial life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, living locked inside Moon Base Alpha. When there’s a dastardly crime committed, Dash is determined to solve it. This science-fiction whodunit is great lock-down reading for 9-12-year-olds.
Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar
A clever genre-defying story that marries suspense, humour, horror and science. When Marshall and Tamaya walk to school, they never go through the woods – except just once to evade the class bully. What awaits them is the unexplainable Fuzzy Mud, that soon threatens their whole world. A good book to provoke discussion about protecting the environment in KS2/3.
FloodWorld by Tom Huddleston
A compelling adventure set in a highly convincing alternative London beset by climate change and rising sea levels. Can Kara and Joe work out how to use a strange map, science and tech to help save the city from a devastating surge of water? With intrigue, villains, chases and a roller-coaster plot, this story will appeal to pupils in KS3.
Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
This classic adventure blends science, history, and tectonics with dangerous situations and a cracking fast-paced plot. When Professor Lidenbrock finds a mythical runic book he is determined to set off to try and decipher it and find a path to the centre of the Earth and the wonders within. A great book to engross children who are interested in science and mystery.
Bloom by Kenneth Oppel
When rampant weeds become airborne, take root spread with unstoppable force, humanity is suddenly threatened by poisonous and carnivorous plants. But three children, each connected by their allergies, appear to be protected. Can they work out how to save the planet? This eco drama thriller is bound to be a hit with KS3 pupils.
Runaway Robot by Frank Cottrell Boyce
A funny yet thought-provoking story about a boy who discovers a dilapidated and only partly working robot. The interactions challenge our perceptions about what defines friendship. Alfie’s new friend is more than a toy or project but seemingly less than a person, but only by working together can they help each other overcome their flaws and shortcomings.
Marvellous Machines by Jane Wilsher and Andres Lozano
The cleverly designed hardback lets children explore the workings of familiar and unfamiliar scenes, such as a kitchen, a car, a building site and a rocket. On each double-page spread, there are hidden facts to decipher using the supplied magic lens. Holding this up to the page not only reveals all but forces pupils to concentrate and look for the evidence. A great way to encourage reading for retrieval and comprehension in reluctant and less able upper KS2 readers.
Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club by Alex Bell
Ursula is a submarine engineer in this exciting underwater problem-solving adventure with strong female characters. The blend of realism, fantasy and mermaid mythology gives this book a unique feel that will appeal to imaginative children in upper key stage two. There’s also a depth of characterisation and crisp description that will appeal to literacy and English teachers.
Boot: small robot, BIG adventure by Shane Hegarty
When Boot, a robot, finds itself in a scrapyard, with fragmented memory, it thinks about Beth – its owner and how to find her again. Soon it also realises that the other robots don’t share these strange emotions, and don’t have feelings. Can Boot show the other robots how to feel and somehow reunite with Beth? A fast-paced and heart-warming illustrated adventure that will appeal to reluctant readers in Key Stage 2.
We also have lists of recommended reading books for children aged 3-11.
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