Summer Reading List for Kids of Fun Books with Science and Math Concepts

Guest Post by the Pragmatic Mom.

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During the summer, the learning should be easy and fun. I like books with concepts that make math and science both fun and relatable. Am I being sneaky? Nah! Everyone wins and learns without realizing it! What are your favorite math or science picture or chapter books? Please share.

Math Curse by Jon Sciezska, illustrated by Lane Smith

“As close to genius as one gets in a picture book.”–USA Today

* An ABBY Honor Book

* ALA Notable Book

* ALA Best Books for Young Adults

* The Horn Book Fanfare

* Texas Bluebonnet Award

* Publishers Weekly Best Books of 1995

* School Library Journal Best Books of 1995

* Booklist: Editors’ Choice Award

If you get one book this summer, my pick would be Math Curse. Kids think it’s fun but it has great math concepts that even stumped me. Fibonacci numbers anyone? [picture book with math fun for ages 5 and up]

Science Verse by Jon Sciezska, illustrated by Lane Smith

“Amoeba”
Don’t ever tease a wee amoeba
By calling him a her amoeba.
And don’t call her a him amoeba.
Or never he a she amoeba.
‘Cause whether his or hers amoeba,
They too feel like you and meba.

What if a boring lesson about the food chain becomes a sing-aloud celebration about predators and prey? A twinkle-twinkle little star transforms into a twinkle-less, sunshine-eating-and rhyming Black Hole? What if amoebas, combustion, metamorphosis, viruses, the creation of the universe are all irresistible, laugh-out-loud poetry? Well, you’re thinking in science verse, that’s what. And if you can’t stop the rhymes . . . the atomic joke is on you. Only the amazing talents of Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, the team who created Math Curse, could make science so much fun.

My son loved Math Curse so much, we bought Science Verse because who can resist any book by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith? Jon takes nursery rhymes and poems and converts them to a science theme. This book is also lots of fun! [picture book with science silly poems for ages 6 and up]

Sir Cumference series by Cindy Neuschwander

A reader introduced me to these great math picture books. I don’t love the illustrations but my son still likes them. The concept is clever: math names and concepts are presented as a mystery or riddle to be solved. I especially love the names Lady Di Ameter, Radius, and of course, Sir Cumference. This is especially great for geometry concepts and appropriate for elementary school kids. [picture book series with lots of geometry concepts for ages 7 and up]

The Adventures of Munford beginning chapter book series by Jamie Aramini

Although he’s just two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, Munford is all adventure. He can be rain, snow, sleet, or steam. He has traveled the world in search of excitement. Throughout history, he has been present at some of the most important and world-changing events. Fun and educational, Munford will inspire your children to learn more about many of history’s greatest moments. These readers make a great addition to your learning experience in areas such as history, geography, and science. This book series is written on an elementary reading level, but provides plenty of read-aloud entertainment for the entire family!

In this adventure, Munford finds himself slap into the middle of the Klondike Gold Rush. He catches gold fever on this dangerous, yet thrilling, adventures. Meet some of the Gold Rush’s most famous characters, like gold baron Alex McDonald or the tricky villain named Soapy Smith. Take a ride on the Whitehorse Rapids, and help Munford as he pans for gold. This is an adventure you won’t soon forget!

The Klondike Gold Rush features beautiful full color illustrations and will make a great addition to your home library.

Munford is a water drop that can, of course, exist in 3 states (liquid, solid and gas) and it is in these 3 states that he moves backwards and forwards in time to meet miners during the gold rush, Lewis and Clark and Robert Fulton. It’s science meets historical fiction wrapped in the packaging of a beginning chapter book. [easy chapter historical fiction book series with a little science thrown in for fun, ages 8 and up]

I have a post on science-y books for kids here.

Animal Math books

Panda Math: Learning About Subtraction from Hua Mei and Mei Sheng by Ann Whitehead Nagda

Learn about subtraction with the San Diego Zoo’s famous baby pandas

Hua Mei was the first giant panda cub born in the United States that survived more than a few days. She was born at the San Diego Zoo, and four years later her mother had another baby, Mei Sheng. Hua Mei and her brother, Mei Sheng, spend their days climbing on logs, lounging in trees, and eating bamboo.

A lot of things the pandas do can be thought of in terms of subtraction. Young readers follow the famous cubs as they grow from tiny infants to big, bouncing pandas and learn about subtraction along the way.

My older kids were obsessed with this series for a while and if your kids like baby animals, it’s a nice way to sneak in math. As a non-fiction book, this series also manages to engage older readers too! [non-fiction picture book series, ages 5 and up]

Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst

Last Sunday, Alexander’s grandparents gave him a dollar — and he was rich. There were so many things that he could do with all of that money!

He could buy as much gum as he wanted, or even a walkie-talkie, if he saved enough. But somehow the money began to disappear…

Readers of all ages will be delighted by this attractive new edition of Judith Viorst’s beloved picture book.

I love this book! It’s just plain funny and I think everyone feels like they’ve had a day like Alexander’s whether it’s a very bad, horrible day or a day when one’s fortune slips through one’s fingers. Personal finance, subtraction, and money are the math concepts secretly snuck in. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

A Second is a Hiccup by Hazel J. Hutchins

There’s never been a more charming explanation of time for young readers.

“How long is a second?”
“A second is a hiccup–the time it takes to kiss your mom, or jump a rope, or turn around.”

The newest book by acclaimed picture-book creators Hazel Hutchins and Kady McDonald Denton explains units of time in imaginative terms children can understand: A second lasts as long as a hiccup; a week is seven sleeps; and a year is the time it takes to grown into new shoes!

Any parent who’s been asked, “How long is a minute?” or any kid who’s wondered, “What does ‘an hour’ mean?” will enjoy this smart, simple, and surprising book.

My son received this for Christmas and, as a result, he never asks me how long is a minute or a second anyone. That’s worth gold! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

How Much is a Million? by David M. Schwartz

Children are often intrigued by or confused about (sometimes both) very large numbers. Here Schwartz uses concepts that are simple to help readers conceptualize astronomical numbers like a million, billion, and trillion.

My kids seem to think terms like gazillion and infinity are actual numbers. This book clears that right up. [picture book, ages 5 and up]

Doyle and Fossy, Science Detectives series by Michele Torrey

In this clever chapter book, the second in a new series, real science is seamlessly woven into four separate mysteries solved by Science Detectives Drake Doyle and Nell Fossey. No case is too big or too small for this dynamic duo, who never miss an opportunity to unravel evil plots surrounding the election for class president or expose the frauds behind the monster mysteriously rising from the depths of the local lake.

The snappy, funny dialogue and wacky scenarios are perfect for middle-graders, who will enjoy discovering the four science experiments at the back of the book, which focus on such concepts as static electricity, oil spills, ultraviolet light, and buoyancy. Each experiment corresponds to a case that Doyle and Fossey have solved-and will have readers scrambling for their own magnifying glasses and fluorescent thief-detection powder in no time!

Doyle and Fossy and two friends, girl and boy too!, who solve mysteries that hinge around science concepts. I like how each mystery and there are several in a book, are well paced and interesting. Mystery lovers will secretly learn science concepts without realizing it. [beginning chapter book series, ages 7 and up]

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green ones.With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, she figures out that the green grasshoppers are easier to see against the yellow grass, so they are eaten before they can get any larger. As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.
Debut author Jacqueline Kelly deftly brings Callie and her family to life, capturing a year of growing up with unique sensitivity and a wry wit.
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is a 2010 Newbery Honor Book and the winner of the 2010 Bank Street – Josette Frank Award.
I have this book on my shelf but still need to read it but every kid I met who has read this book has loved it. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

Pragmatic Mom blogs obsessively on children’s and young adult books when she’s not secretly trying to get her three children to learn math and science concepts through books and activities.

To view any book at Amazon, please click on image of book.

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