Weird But True: 300 Outrageous Facts. (National Geographic Society, 2017)
One of those books you can open to a random page and make a trivia question out of what you see… and some of these are REALLY trivial!
Ruth Owen. Exploring Distant Worlds as a Space Robot Engineer. (Ruby Tuesday Books, 2016) [Get to Work With Science and Technology] With all our emphasis on teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), it is easy to forget that kids will teach themselves by reading so much more than we can ever teach them, if only we have the books to point them to. Where high-tech meets high-interest, that is where future scientists and engineers are born. Space Robot Engineer brings you inside the most advanced labs on Earth, and to the most desolate landscapes on Mars, not to show you a glimpse of the future but to portray amazing work going on today. Want kids to join a robotics club? Try showing them what real robots can do.
Other books in this series:
The Wild World of a Zoo Vet
The Wonderful Worlds of a Video Game Designer
“Afraid of the Water” (Series):
Natalie Lunis. Blue-Ringed Octopus: Small But Deadly. (Bearport, 2010)
Natalie Lunis. Boxed Jellyfish: Killer Tentacles. (Bearport, 2010)
Meish Goldish. Moray Eel: Dangerous Teeth. (Bearport, 2010)
Snakes. Snakes underwater. Huge snakes underwater, with big teeth that curve in so no prey can escape. They blend into their surroundings so you don’t know they are there, until it’s too late! Moray eels are just one of the nightmare creatures lurking in the deep in the series “Afraid of the Water”!
Natalie Lunis. Portugese Man-of-War: Floating Misery. (Bearport, 2010)
Meish Goldish. Shark: The Shredder. (Bearport, 2010)
Meish Goldish. Stonefish: Needles of Pain. (Bearport, 2010)
Steve Bloom. Big Cats: In Search of Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs, and Tigers. (Thames & Hudson, 2012) The pictures in this book on the world’s great cats are just stunning. There are words, too, with facts about the animals, but the pictures… Oh, and there is much to inspire young photographers, but still, the pictures… wow.
Sylvia Branzei. Animal Grossology. (Price Stern Sloan, 2004)
Sylvia Branzei. Grossology. (Price Stern Sloan, 2002)
Sylvia Branzei. Grossology and You. (Price Stern Sloan, 2002)
Sylvia Branzei. Hands-On Grossology. (Price Stern Sloan, 2003)
Karen Chin and Thom Holmes. Dino Dung: The Scoop on Fossil Feces. (Random House, 2004)
Marty Crump. Mysteries of the Komodo Dragon: The Biggest, Deadliest Lizard Gives Up His Secrets. (Boyds Mills Press, 2010)
Nicola Davies, illustrated by Neal Layton. Deadly!: The Truth About the Most Dangerous Creatures on Earth. (Candlewick, 2013) The spider that has killed the most people is much less famous – it’s the Brazilian wandering spider. It’s as big as a person’s palm, has the biggest poison glands of any spider, and likes to hide in shoes.
What could possibly go wrong?
“Disaster Survivors” (Series)
Stephen Person. Struck By Lightning! (Bearport, 2010)
Person manages to give a great deal of very real information without losing the wonder, the awe, the raw power of nature unleashed in bolts of pure energy that can travel more than 20 miles in the blink of an eye. This is the perfect setting for the big five questions: who does lightning strike? Where? When? How often? And most importantly, why? It’s all here in a slim volume with some spectacular photography and easily accessible text. Give a kid twenty minutes with this book and he will be running to the computer to find more, diving for another book in the series, or looking for a kite and a key.
Joyce L. Markovics. Blitzed By a Blizzard! (Bearport, 2010)
Stephen Person. Devastated By a Volcano! (Bearport, 2010)
Jessica Rudolph. Erased By a Tornado! (Bearport, 2010)
Laura DeLallo. Hammered By a Heat Wave! (Bearport, 2010)
Adam Reingold. Leveled By an Earthquake! (Bearport, 2010)
Miriam Aronin. Slammed By a Tsunami! (Bearport, 2010)
“Even More Super Sized!” (Series) (Bearport Press)
Leon Gray. Cane Toad: The World’s Biggest Toad. (Bearport, 2013)
Bigger isn’t always better, sometimes it’s just… bigger. Toads are cool, but when it is big enough to eat a opossum? And how big does a toad have to be before it can kill a dog. Holy poisonous warts, Batman!
English Mastiff:The World’s Heaviest Dog.
Flemish Giant Rabbit: The World’s Biggest Bunny.
Giant Pacific Octopus: The World’s Largest Octopus.
Giant Wetas: The World’s Biggest Grasshopper.
ing Cobra: The World’s Longest Venomous Snake.
Trumpeter Swan: The World’s Largest Waterbird.
Walking Sticks: The World’s Longest Insect.
Paul Fleisher. Parasites: Latching On to a Free Lunch. (Twenty-First Century Books, 2006)
Nancy Bo Flood. Sand to Stone and Back Again. (Fulcrum, 2009) For those young explorers who are obsessed with the question “How?”, here is a stunning look at the natural wonders of the desert. The words seem to gladly sink into the background as pictures of rock formations and minerals just dance across the page. It looks like fantasy, and reads like nonfiction. How can you go wrong?
Mike Flynn. The Ultimate Survival Guide. (Macmillan Children’s Books, 2010)
Ever since Piven and Borgenicht’s “Worst Case Scenario” series, there has been a rash of survival books, most disappointingly tame and little-related to the great outdoors. This is the real thing, a guide that talks about real life survival situations from your back yard to the harshest environments on earth. Complete with activities like building a solar water purifier and a bit of British humor, this is the book for all those boys who were sorely disappointed by The Dangerous Book for Boys.
Bruce Goldstone. That’s a Possibility: A Book About What Might Happen. (Henry Holt, 2013) Okay, I hate to jump on the STEM (Science, Technoloogy, Engineering, and Math) bandwagon, because we need to concentrate more on develoing the habit of reading than on skills, but this one is just fun! Possible, impossible, probable, not likely, not a chance! Cats batting around balls of yarn, dogs scarfing up treats, and gumballs – who could resist gumball-based math? All concepts and virtually no numbers, starting from the very basics and getting steadily more complicated, so you can do one page together, or try to get all the way through the brain teasers in the back. Pull it out with a three year old or a thirteen year old.
“Gross-Out Defenses” (Series):
Lori Haskins Houran. Bloody Horned Lizards. (Bearport, 2009)
A tiny lizard that scares off coyotes by shooting blood out of their eyes at them? If it wasn’t for the disgusting pictures I wouldn’t have believed it myself!
Jennifer Dussling. Deadly Poison Dart Frogs. (Bearport, 2009)
Meish Goldish. Disgusting Hagfish. (Bearport, 2009)
Catherine Nichols. Prickly Porcupines. (Bearport, 2009)
Catherine Nichols. Smelly Skunks. (Bearport, 2009)
Catherine Nichols. Tricky Opossums. (Bearport, 2009)
Kelly Milner Halls and William Grahasm Sumper. Saving the Baghdad Zoo. (Greenwillow Books, 2009) War destroys lives, and not just human lives. A handful of brave people, led by an American Army officer, took on the challenge of saving the animals in zoos all over Baghdad during the Iraq War. With bullets flying around them, they wrangled lions, alligators and many more animals. Heroes come in some surprising shapes.
Anders Hanson and Elissa Mann. Biggest, Baddest Book of Beasts. (ABDO, 2013) Big, fast, fanged, venomous, and armed. Right up close. Come face to face with nothing but the beastliest of the beasts.
Thomas R. Holtz and Luis V. Rey. Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages. (Random House, 2007)
Steve Jenkins. The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest and Most Surprising-Animals on Earth. (Houghton Mifflin, 2013) I have been reading animal books that were clearly “designed” to appeal to kids. Big headlines, outrageous text, wild pictures. All of which would be insulting to that kid who REALLY knows his animals. You know the kid. He soaks up animal facts and understands ecosystems. This encyclopedic treatment of animals is just what that kid wants and needs. There are webs of interaction and predation, chapters formed around behaviors and defense systems, and an ambitious chapter on the history of life on Earth. Budding naturalists will leap for joy.
Tanya Lloyd Kyi. 50 Poisonous Questions: A Book With Bite. (Annick Press, 2011) Half this book is about cool poisons in nature, fangs, warts, and clicking mandibles. Very cool. The other half is about the poisons we humans put into the world and use on each other. Infuriating. All of it is worth the read.
Steve Jenkins. Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World. (Houghton Mifflin, 2014) The endless variations on how animals see, and just enough general information to see how it all fits together. For those kids who can name EVERY animal at the zoo, Jenkins consistently finds new and fascinating corners of the natural world.
Kathleen Kudlinski. Boy Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs. (Dutton, 2005)
David Macaulay, with Sheila Keenan. Toilet: How It Works. (MacMillan, 2013) It’s such a simple thing. a toilet… or os it? Inquiring little minds want to know. And for those visual learners, nobody is better than David Macaulay. Follow this picture journey down the… well, you know.
Kenneth Mallory. Adventure Beneath the Sea: Living in an Underwater Science Station. (Boyds Mill Press, 2010) Dreaming of exploring another world? You don’t have to wait until you can fly to Mars, there are unexplored worlds here on Earth. Forget being an astronaut, why not try being an aquanaut?
Sandra Markle. The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs: A Scientific Mystery. (Millbrook Press, 2012) Tracking killers doesn’t just happen on TV shows or police stations. Scientists had to find the culprit who was killing the Panamanian golden frog before the species was wiped out entirely. See how dedicated detectives tracked down the killer in the jungles of Central America. Spoiler alert! The killer is still at large, but he’s been identified and the frogs have been saved from extinction. For the budding
scientist who doesn’t want to be trapped in a lab.
Sandra Markle. The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees: A Scientific Mystery. (Millbrook Press, 2014) A natural world mystery about the common and humble honey bee. Markle’s genius is to show us how un-common and un-humble the bee is, then show us why the fate of bees could spell disaster for humans and the rest of the planet.
Sandra Markle, illustrations by Mia Posada. The Long, Long Journey: The Godwit’s Amazing Migration. (Milbrook Press, 2013) How long can you flap your arms? Go ahead, try it. I’ll wait… What’s that? A few minutes? Well these birds don’t stop flapping for eight straight days! Find out how (and why).
Joy Masoff. Oh Yuck!: the Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty. (Workman, 2000)
Jennifer Morse. Guiness Book of World Records 2009. (Scholastic Reference, 2008)
Jim Murphy and Alison Blank. Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure. (Clarion Books, 2012) The human race is at war, and has been for thousands of years. More people have died in this war than all the ones ever fought with guns. The enemy? A microbe too small to see. Do you think we won the war
against Tuberculosis, the greatest of all biological weapons? Think again…
H.P. Newquist. Here There Be Monsters: The Legendary Kraken and the Giant Squid. (Houghton Mifflin, 2010) The only thing more exciting than a monster of myth is when the monster turns out to be real. This nonfiction, picture book format includes every known picture of the giant and colossal squids, as well as many of the fanciful pictures of the legendary Kraken. For everyone who likes real life adventure stories,
as well as those fans of a good creature feature.
“Nightmare Plagues” series:
Miriam Aronin. Tuberculosis: The White Plague! (Bearport, 2011)
William Caper. Typhoid Fever: Dirty Food, Dirty Water! (Bearport, 2011)
Stephen Person. Bubonic Plague: The Black Death! (Bearport, 2011)
Stephen Person. Malaria: Super Killer! (Bearport, 2011)
Adam Reingold. Smallpox: Is it Over? (Bearport, 2011)
Jessica Rudolph. The Flu of 1918: Millions Dead Worldwide! (Bearport, 2011)
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Special Edition 2009. (Scholastic, 2008)
Michael Sandler. “Fast Rides” (Series): It’s where gear-heads, speed-freaks, tree-huggers, and techno-nuts meet to say… “Wow!”
Dynamic Drag Racers. (Bearport, 2011)
Electrifying Eco-Race Cars. (Bearport, 2011)
Hot Hot Rods. (Bearport, 2011)
Jet Powered Speed. (Bearport, 2011)
Steve Sheinkin. Bomb: the Race to Build – and Steal – the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon. (Roaring Brook Press, 2012)
The atomic bomb would, without doubt, determine the outcome of World War II, and shape the world that would follow. America’s future depended on building the bomb before the Germans, and keeping the secret away from the Soviets. So the story of the bomb is not just one of scientists unlocking one of nature’s greatest secrets, but of daring commando raids and cloak-and-dagger spies that would put James Bond to shame.
Marilyn Singer. What Stinks? (Darby Creek, 2006)
Christopher Sloan. Baby Mammoth Mummy: Frozen in Time: A Prehistoric Animal’s Journey into the 21st Century. (National Geographic, 2011) Look inside a real mammoth with space age technology and across the ancient mammoth steppes.
Starting from the discovery of a perfectly preserved baby woolly mammoth and working backwards to the last ice age, National Geographic does what it does best: opens new worlds with amazing visuals.
Andrew Solway. What’s Living in Your Bedroom? (Heinemann, 2004)
Chris Woodford, et al. Cool Stuff and How it Works. (Dorling Kindersley, 2005)
Chris Woodford and Jon Woodcock. Cool Stuff 2.0 and How it Works. (Dorling Kindersley, 2007)
Chris Woodford. Cool Stuff Exploded. (Dorling Kindersley, 2008)
Chris Woodford and Jon Woodcock. The Gadget Book: How Really Cool Stuff Works. (Dorling Kindersley, 2007)
Chris Woodford. How Cool Stuff Works. (Dorling Kindersley, 2008)
Michael Worek. Weird Insects. (Firefly Books, 2013) The amazing photos make this look like a fantasy beastiary (a book of imaginary creatures), but these are real bugs. Real close-up pictures of real bugs in their six-legged, spiny, mandibled, poison-spiked
glory. How could these have not come out of someone’s twisted imagination? Or at least outer space?