Looking for books for K-12 students who are interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) concepts and careers? Encourage your kid(s) to visit their school or classroom library and/or your local public library.
The Free Library of Philadelphia is one of the largest public library systems in the country. A "Free Library of Philadelphia" card is available at no cost to anyone who lives, works, pays taxes, or goes to school in the City of Philadelphia. In addition, anyone who lives in the state of Pennsylvania can obtain a Free Library card without charge. Out-of-state residents can obtain a card by paying an annual fee of $50.00.
The books listed on this guide are available at the Free Library of Philadelphia unless otherwise listed and may be available at school libraries as well as public libraries outside of the city. Need help finding a book? Talk to a librarian at your local public library.
This list was created in collaboration with Jennifer Berry, MLIS, a youth services librarian at the Morris County Library in New Jersey. For more book suggestions, check out Jennifer's STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) Booklists on Pinterest.
In addition, check out Aman's list titled "Children's Books about Engineering" on the Free Library of Philadelphia website.
If you would like to suggest a book to add to this list, please contact Aman.
The elements of pop-up : a pop-up book for aspiring paper engineers by James Diaz and David A. Carter
Every aspect of the creation of a pop-up, known as paper engineering, is clearly and thoroughly covered. All types of parallel folds, angle folds, wheels, and pull tabs are accurately detailed verbally and visually, flat and in dimension; grades; grades preK-8
Curious Jane : science + design + engineering for inquisitive girls illustrations by Elissa Josse and Bethany Robertson
Provides imaginative projects for girls who love to tinker and create, including such creations as washi tape frames, mini catapults, invisible ink, and watercolor pillows; grades 1-6. (Not available at the Free Library of Philadelphia)
Tiny LEGO wonders : build 40 surprisingly realistic mini-models! by Mattia Zamboni
A collection of miniscale models built from LEGO bricks. Models include trains, aircraft, fire trucks, construction vehicles, cars, ships, and spacecraft. Features detailed step-by-step building instructions; grades 2+.
Out of the box by Jemma Westing and illustrated by Edward Byrne
Provides step-by-step instructions for creating objects out of such cardboard materials as boxes and tubes, including a zebra mask, a theater, a penguin family, and a pirate ship; grades 2-5.
Bridges: an introduction to ten great bridges and their architects by Didier Cornille
In this latest addition to his popular Who Built That? series, Didier Cornille presents ten of the most important bridges in the world, from the Brooklyn to the Golden Gate; from the first in cast iron to the longest in concrete; from small footbridges to the tallest in the world; grades 2-7.
I want to be-- an engineer by Catherine O'Neill Grace
Discover various careers in engineering, including civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering, as well as robotics and animatronics, which are used to create many of the special effects used in movies; grade 3+.
Build it! by Caroline Alliston
Explore the science behind construction, from how zip wires move to how marble runs work, with these hands-on experiments. Using easy-to-find objects and tools, each fun project-including a lolly bridge and a 10-second marble challenge-can be constructed at home; grades 3+.
Cool Engineering Activities for girls by Heather E. Schwartz
Provides step-by-step instructions for activities demonstrating engineering concepts and scientific explanations for the concepts presented; grade 3-4.
Engineered! : engineering design at work by Shannon Hunt
In Engineered! bestselling author Shannon Hunt explores nine feats of engineering and the step-by-step process that engineers followed to get to a winning solution; grades 3-7.
Cities : discover how they work by Kathleen M. Reilly
Profiles the systems that work together to keep urban areas running safely, discussing how cities have evolved while outlining projects that explain facts about transportation, water systems, and architecture; grades 3-7.
3-D engineering : design and build your own prototypes with 25 projects by Vicki V. May and illustrated by Andrew Christensen
In 3D Engineering: Design and Build Your Own Prototypes, young readers tackle real-life engineering problems by figuring out real-life solutions. Kids apply science and math skills to create prototypes for bridges, instruments, alarms, and more; grades 3-7.
The Ben Franklin book of easy and incredible experiments from the Franklin Institute and by Cheryl Kirk Noll
This fun and educational text focuses on subjects that were of particular interest to Ben Franklin. It contains activities that are simple to perform and require only easy-to-find materials; grades 3-7.
3D printing : science, technology, engineering by Steven Otfinoski
The idea of downloading and printing out a three-dimensional physical object using a personal computer might seem like something out of a science fiction story. However, the latest 3D printing technology is making this incredible dream into a reality; grades 3-7.
Genetic Engineering by Michael Burgan
The fast-changing field of genetic engineering is highlighted, inviting readers to explore multiple solutions and implications for society; grades 3-7.
Super cool tech : technology. invention. innovation written by Ian Graham and Tom Jackson
Explores some of today's most impressive technological innovations and how they are shaping the world; grades 3-7.
Maker lab : 28 super cool projects : build, invent, create, discover by Jack Challoner
Learn about science in your own home kitchen using everyday materials. Put together a school project or simply make something incredible to share with your friends; grades 3-8
Presents over two dozen outdoor science activities demonstrating such scientific properties as soil erosion, the water cycle, air pressure, and astronomy; grades 3 - 8. (Not available at the Free Library of Philadelphia)
Super Gear: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up by Jennifer Swanson
Swanson tells the story behind nanotechnology’s introduction and impact on sports; grades 3-8.
The stories of America's most magnificent canals, highways, dams, bridges, and skyscrapers, grades 3-8.
Basher Science: Engineering: The Riveting World of Buildings and Machines by Tom Jackson and Simon Basher
Crammed with mega machines, breathtaking buildings, and all the technology in between, this book has the real insider view on engineering, grade 4-6.
The building of the Golden Gate Bridge by Arnold Ringstad
Gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the building of the Golden Gate Bridge; grades 4-6
The invention of the cotton gin by Nikole Brooks Bethea
Gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the invention of the cotton gin; grades 4-6.
The invention of the airplane by Patricia Hutchison
Gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the invention of the airplane; grades 4-6.
Build it!: activities for setting up super structures by Keith Good
Presents projects for constructing and testing a variety of structures, including bridges, domes, and collapsible structures, and encourages readers to design their own; grades 4-6.
The story of buildings : from the pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and beyond written by Patrick Dillon and illustrated by Stephen Biesty
Examines how architecture has evolved over time by looking at buildings that typify each period, from the pyramids and the Parthenon to the Chrysler Building and the Sydney Opera House; grades 4-7.
In this second book in the Invention & Impact series, published in partnership with the Smithsonian, Newquist demonstrates how mobility has been vital to the growth of civilization; grade 5+.
The LEGO neighborhood book: build your own town! by Brian Lyles
Provides complete step-by-step instructions for multistory buildings, recliners, and traffic lights constructed with LEGO pieces; grades 5-6.
Steven Caney's ultimate building book by Caney, Steven
A wonderfully comprehensive exploration of design, construction, and invention that will stimulate the curiosity of children and adults alike, grades 5-6.
Inventions that Could Have Changed the World … But Didn’t by Joe Rhatigan and Anthony Owsley
A flying car, a bed that ejects sleepers when it is time to awaken, a toilet seat for cats—these are just a few of the imagined, creative, and sometimes patented inventions that did not change the world; grades 5-8.
Simple machines by Yoshihito Isogawa
The Technic models in "Simple Machines" demonstrate basic configurations of gears, shafts, pulleys, turntables, connectors, and the like and show readers how to create small, elegant machines like cranes, operable doors, motorized cars, a rubber band-powered rocket launcher, a hand-cranked drag racer, and even musical instruments; grades 5+.
This book is a history of flight told through approximately twenty-five historical milestones; grades 6-8.
A project-based book with full color illustrations, step-by-step instructions, supply lists, and templates that allow you to follow along with the book or devise something entirely new; grades 6-12.
Science Comics: Flying Machines by Alison Wilgus and illustrated by Molly Brooks
An introduction to the Wright Brothers and their achievements in aeronautics examines the experiments and machines the brothers designed that blazed a trail for the modern world's airplanes, jets, and helicopters; grades 3-7.
Robots and drones : past, present, and future written by Mairghread Scott and illustrated by Jacob Chabot
Presents the history of robotics, from the world's earliest mechanized robots to modern machines used in the home, in the military, and in space exploration, grades 3-7.
Robot, go Bot!: a comic reader by Dana Meachen Rau and illustrated by Wook Jin Jung
A young girl makes so many demands on the robot she has constructed that he runs away; grades 1-3.
Meet Rusty Rivets! by Mary Tillworth and illustrated by Donald Cassity
Meet Rusty Rivets and his bot friends; grades 1-3. (Not available at the Free Library of Philadelphia)
Sydney & Simon : full steam ahead!, story by Paul A. Reynolds and art by Peter H. Reynolds
Twins Sydney and Simon learn about the water cycle and use science, technology, engineering, arts, and math to solve the problem of their stuck window and thirsty flowers; grades 1-4.
Little robot by Ben Hatke
When a little girl finds an adorable robot in the woods, she presses a button and accidentally activates him for the first time. But the big, bad robots are coming to collect the little guy for nefarious purposes, and it's all up to a five-year-old to save the day; grades preK-8
Science no fair! by Nancy Krulik and Amanda Burwasser and illustrated by Mike Moran
When Logan Applebaum's mother invents a robotic cousin for him, Logan thinks this may give him an edge in the third grade science fair but the Silverspoon twins have other ideas; grades 1-3.
Goldie Blox rules the school! by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Lissy Marlin
After an unfortunate incident involving launching the second floor of Goldie’s old school into orbit, Goldie’s sent to the prestigious Higgs Bozon Prep. HiBo’s rigid rules and conventional conformity are no fit for a wild, creative inventor like Goldie; grades 1-3.
Robot frenzy by Erik Craddock Stone
Rabbit and friends face their most frightening nemesis yet right in their own hometown: a ginormous shark robot; grades 2-5
Frank Einstein and the antimatter motor by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Brian Biggs
In his Grandpa Al's garage workshop, child genius Frank Einstein tries to invent a robot that can learn on its own, and after an accident brings wisecracking Klink and overly expressive Klank to life, they set about helping Frank perfect his Antimatter Motor until his archnemesis, T. Edison, steals the robots for his doomsday plan; grades 3-7.
Ellie, engineer by Jackson Pearce and illustrated by Tuesday Mourning
When Ellie, who loves to invent and build things, decides to build a doghouse as a gift, she needs to get past the boys-against-the-girls neighborhood feud and ask for help; grades 3-7.
Enginerds by Jarrett Lerner and illustrated by Jarrett Lerner
A gang of science nerds unwittingly unleashes a squadron of destructive robots and must engineer a way to save the town in Lerner’s debut novel; grades 3-7.
Nick and Tesla's high-voltage danger lab : a mystery with electromagnets, burglar alarms, and other gadgets you can build yourself by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith and illustrations by Scott Garrett
After moving in with their eccentric uncle, Nick and Tesla encounter strange occurrences in their new neighborhood and build gadgets using simple household objects to help them solve the mysteries; grades 3-8.
The wild robot by Peter Brown
Roz the robot discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island with no memory of where she is from or why she is there, and her only hope of survival is to try to learn about her new environment from the island's hostile inhabitants; grades 3-8.
Emmet’s Storm by Ann Rubino
In the context of his era, Emmet explores solutions to a community problem through persistence. grades 3-8. (Not Available at the Free Library of Philadelphia)
The invention of Hugo Cabret : a novel in words and pictures by Brian Selznick
When twelve-year-old Hugo, an orphan living and repairing clocks within the walls of a Paris train station in 1931, meets a mysterious toy seller and his goddaughter, his undercover life and his biggest secret are jeopardized; grades 3-8.
The case of the missing moonstone by Jordan Stratford and illustrated by Kelly Murphy Imagines an alternate 1826 London, where Ada Lovelace (the world's first computer programmer) and Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) meet as girls and form a secret detective agency; grades 3-8.
The gauntlet by Karuna Riazi
When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked into a mechanical board game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand, a puzzle game akin to a large Rubik's cube, they know it is up to them to defeat the game's diabolical architect in order to save themselves and those who are trapped inside, including her baby brother Ahmed; grades 3-8.
What color is my world? : the lost history of African-American inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Raymond Obstfeld and illustrated by Ben Boos & A.G. Ford
While twins Ella and Herbie help the handyman Mr. Midal work on their new home, he tells them about such inventors as Granville Woods, Dr. Henry T. Sampson, and James West, giving them a new view of their heritage as African-Americans.Includes biographical information; grades 3-8
House of robots by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein and illustrated by Juliana Neufeld
Fifth-grader Sammy Hayes-Rodriguez struggles to fit in when his inventor mother requires him to take her latest creation, a robotic 'brother,' to school with him to learn to become a student; grades 4-8.
The Templeton twins have an idea by Ellis Weiner and illustrated by Jeremy Holmes
Abigail and John, the Templeton twins, and their dog Cassie, foil a pair of inept kidnappers intent on stealing one of their father's newest inventions; grades 4-8.
Melonhead by Katy Kelly and illustrated by Gillian Johnson
In the Washington, D.C. neighborhood of Capitol Hill, Lucy Rose's friend Adam "Melonhead" Melon, a budding inventor with a knack for getting into trouble, enters a science contest that challenges students to recycle an older invention into a new invention; grades 4-8.
Here lies the librarian by Richard Peck
Fourteen-year-old Eleanor "Peewee" McGrath, a tomboy and automobile enthusiast, discovers new possibilities for her future after the 1914 arrival in her small Indiana town of four young librarians; grades 5-10.
Steampunk! : an anthology of fantastically rich and strange stories edited by Kelly Link
A collection of fourteen fantasy stories by well-known authors, set in the age of steam engines and featuring automatons, clockworks, calculating machines, and other marvels that never existed; 10-12.
Mrs. Yonkers is bonkers! by Dan Gutman and pictures by Jim Paillot
As the new computer lab teacher tries to bring Ella Mentry School into the twenty-first century with her peculiar inventions, second-grader A.J. struggles to survive without sugary snacks when Principal Klutz bans junk food; grades 1-5.
The Berenstain Bears lost in cyberspace by Stan and Jan Berenstain
When Brother Bear and his classmates get laptop computers as a school experiment, they become lost in cyberspace, cruising chat rooms, exchanging email, clicking onto websites, and neglecting their friends and family; grades 3-5.
Geek chic : the Zoey zone by Margie Palatini
With only 198 days before the start of sixth grade, Zoey Zinevich embarks on a zany journey of self-discovery in her quest to become "cool"; grades 3-6.
Benji Franklin : kid zillionaire written by Raymond Bean and illustrated by Matthew Vimislik
This book tells the story of Benji Franklin, a twelve-year-old genius who becomes an overnight zillionaire after writing a computer application that generates excuses--and soon discovers that a lot of people want him to solve their problems; grades 3-6.
The homework machine by Dan Gutman
Four fifth-grade students--a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker--as well as their teacher and mothers, each relate events surrounding a computer programmed to complete homework assignments; grades 3-7.
The friendship code, Girls who code book 1, by Stacia Deutsch
Looking forward to joining the new coding club at school so that she can develop her app idea, Lucy is disappointed by the lukewarm reception she receives from the club's other members, who work with her to decipher mysterious coding notes; grades 3-7.
Virtually perfect by Dan Gutman
When twelve-year-old Yip uses his father's new software to make a computer simulation of a boy his age, the creation breaks out of cyberspace into the real world and begins to complicate Yip's life; grades 3-8.
I, Freddy : book one in the golden hamster saga by Dietlof Reiche
Freddy, a remarkably intelligent golden hamster, learns how to read and how to write on a computer and escapes captivity to become an independent and civilized creature; grades 3-8.
Zap! by Martha Freeman
Luis and Maura investigate the cause of a long-term, city-wide power outage in Hampton, New Jersey. Includes facts about electric power and instructions for assembling an emergency kit; grades 3-8.
Mousenet by Prudence E. Breitrose
Sent to live with her chef father and his wife in Oregon after having stayed with her inventor uncle and scientist mother in Cleveland, ten-year-old misfit Megan is lonely until she starts working with some computer-savvy mice to try to save Mouse Nation--and the planet; grades 3-8.
A lost girl travels through a fantastical Alice in Wonderland–esque world filled with The Phantom Tollbooth–like computer-programming metaphors; grades 3-10.
Secret coders by Gene Yuen Lang & Mike Holmes
Welcome to Stately Academy, a school which is just crawling with mysteries to be solved! The founder of the school left many clues and puzzles to challenge his enterprising students. Using their wits and their growing prowess with coding, Hopper and her friend Eni are going to solve the mystery of Stately Academy no matter what it takes; graphic novel; grades 3-10.
The Flinkwater factor : a novel in five thrilling episodes by Pete Hautman
Thirteen-year-old Ginger investigates a series of weird events taking place in her home town of Flinkwater, Iowa, beginning with people falling into comas while using their computers; grades 3-10.
Only you can save mankind by Terry Pratchett
As twelve-year-old Johnny endures tensions at home, he watches television coverage of the Gulf War and plays a computer game called Only You Can Save Mankind. He is increasingly drawn into the reality of the alien ScreeWee; grades 3+.
Lost in cyberspace by Richard Peck
Meet Josh Lewis, a sixth grader at the elite Huckley School. When his best friend Aaron announces that he can time travel with his computer, Josh isn't fazed. But when Aaron actually microprocesses himself into cyberspace, the duo must deal with unexpected visitors from the past; grades 4-7.
Website of the warped wizard by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Jeff Shelly
Tired of being “killed” every 20 minutes playing “Gopher,” Jessica takes her friend Matthew’s advice and logs on to a new web game dubbed “Medieval Madness.” Suddenly she and Matthew are actually in the game, squired through a medieval forest by Dennis, a surfer-dude centaur who shows them the ropes, gives Matthew a magic wand; grades 4-7.
Cyberia by Chris Lynch
In a future where electronic surveillance has taken the place of love, a veterinarian is putting computer chips in animals to control them, and those creatures choose young Zane, who understands their speech, to release captives and bring them to a technology-free safety zone; grades 4-8.
Trackers, book one, by Patrick Carman
When the mysterious Glyphmaster tricks Adam into solving a puzzle and then hacks his computers, Adam, Finn, Lewis, and Emily are pulled into a mystery that is more trouble than they ever imagined; grades 4-8.
Urban outlaws by Peter Jay Black
A group of teenage misfits takes on the world of government conspiracy and digital terrorism in this series opener; grade 4-9.
Bully.com by Joe Lawlor
After being falsely accused of cyberbullying, a seventh-grade computer whiz must find the culprit; grade 5-10.
George's secret key to the universe by Lucy and Stephen Hawking with Christophe Galfard and illustrated by Garry Parsons
Follows the adventures of a young boy and his neighbor friend as they travel through a computer portal into outer space, where they explore such mysteries as black holes and the origins of the universe, while trying to evade an evil scientist; grades 6-8.
The software: virus on Orbis 1 by P.J. Haarsma
When twelve-year-old Johnny and his sister arrive on Orbis in a space ship of orphans, he finds he has a unique ability to communicate with computers; grades 6+.
Coding, bugs, and fixes, Kids get coding series, by Heather Lyons and Elizabeth Tweedale and illustrated by Alex Westgate
Learn coding basics in this kid-friendly, easy-to-follow book. It covers algorithms, loops, bugs, and fixes using real-world examples and fun illustrations; grades 1-4.
How to code : a step-by-step guide to computer coding, Book 1, by Max Wainewright
Intrigued by how things work? Read along as National Geographic Kids unplugs, unravels, and reveals how things do what they do; grades 2-5.
Video games : design and code your own adventure, Build it yourself series, by Kathy Ceceri
Video Games: Design and Code Your Own Adventure, young readers learn why games are so compelling. Kids will even create their very own video games using software such as MIT's Scratch; grades 3-7.
Create with code : build your own website by Clyde and the CodorDojo Foundation CoderDojo is the coding club that lets you hang out with other coders, learn new stuff and generally have fun with computers. This amazing CoderDojo book tells you everything you need to know to build your own website; grades 3-7.
Star Wars coding projects by Jon Woodcock
Star Wars Coding Projects is a step-by-step visual guide to designing and coding in Scratch. Your favorite Star Wars characters will guide you through fun projects, animations, and games as you learn how to create and code; grades 3-7.
Love coding? Make your passion your profession with this comprehensive guide that reveals a whole host of careers working with code; grades 3-7.
If you like playing computer games, why not create your own? This book has all you need to build thrilling racing challenges, crazy platform games, and fiendish puzzles; grades 3-7.
Understanding coding with Minecraft, Kids can code series, by Patricia Harris
Users love exploring and building within Minecrafts mind-bogglingly large environments. This game allows users to practice STEM skills while having fun; grades 4-6.
Girls who code : learn to code and change the world by Reshma Saujani and illustrations by Andrea Tsurumi
A guide to get girls into coding, written by Saujani, the founder of the Girls Who Code organization, with Hutt’s assistance; grades 4-10.
Cool Stuff 2.0 and how it works written by Chris Woodford and Jon Woodcock
Uses computer-generated images to explain how many devices and processes of modern technology work, covering such inventions as HDTV, game consoles, robot cars, space probes, and more; grades 5-12.
The Raspberry Pi is a credit card-sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. This book takes you step-by-step through many fun and educational possibilities; grades 6-12.
Steve Jobs thinking differently : an unauthorized biography by Patricia Lakin Visionary Pioneer. Little terror. Entrepreneur. Inventor. College dropout. Creative genius. These are just a few of the words used to describe the late Steve Jobs, cofounder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc; grades 3-7.
Who is Bill Gates? by Patricia Brennan Demuth and illustrated by Ted Hammond
Bill Gates, born in Seattle, Washington, in 1955, is an American business magnate, investor, philanthropist, and author; grades 3-7. (Not Available at the Free Library of Philadelphia)
Mark Zuckerberg : facebook creator by Marcia Amidon Lusted
This title examines the remarkable life of Mark Zuckerberg. Readers will learn about Zuckerberg's family background, childhood, education, and innovative work as the creator of the groundbreaking social networking site Facebook; grades 8-10. (Not Available at the Free Library