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Literary Science 2: Reading Selections for Grades 6-12

Compiled by Megan Schliesman
© 2012 Cooperative Children's Book Center; updated annually

The Next Generation Science Standards under development emphasize four broad areas of science education:

  • Life Science
  • Earth & Space Science
  • Physical Science
  • Engineering & Technology


  • This bibliography identifies children's and young adult literature across these four broad areas for grades 6-12.* The purpose is to suggest books that can engage students in science and technology subjects or research, or in critical thinking on ethical issues in science and technology. Some of these books may connect directly to what is being taught in the classroom, others invite students to make connections between the subject of the book and what they are learning in and beyond their science or technology classroom.

    This list is not meant to be exhaustive or to incorporate every science/technology concept that is taught in middle and high school. Instead, it is meant to suggest ways of integrating high-quality children's and young adult literature with the science curriculum--books that can foster interest, invite discussion, and connect science and technology to literature and reading. Titles on the list include both fiction and non-fiction.

    It should be noted that while the first two NGSS categories, Life Science and Earth & Space Science, offer many rich possibilities in children's and young adult literature, the other two categories, Physical Science and Engineering & Technology, present more of a challenge. Therefore, these two have been combined into a single category on this list.

    See the CCBC bibliography 50 Books about Science and Scientists for additional science-related titles. Additionally, Wisconsin librarians and teachers looking for children's and young adult trade literature that connects to specific areas of the science curriculum can email the CCBC with your request. While there aren't always trade books to meet specific science curriculum need, we are happy to search and see if we can recommend, or at least suggest, some titles.



    *This list specifically address the NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas (Dimension 3) of the standards. But the standards also articulate Practices (Dimension 1) and Crosscutting Concepts (Dimension 2). In order to facilitate students' learning, the three dimensions should be woven together--suggestions for ways to do so are beyond the scope of this bibliography. (Thank you to Kathy Huncosky, science resource teacher for the Madison Metropolitan School District, for her assistance in identifying and understanding dimensions of the NGSS standards and for her input on the scope of this project.)


    Click on underlined book titles to see the CCBC review of the book, and/or the cover image.
    Complete list of CCBC bibliographies


    Life Science

      Brown, Don. The Great American Dust Bowl. Houghton Mifflin, 2013. 80 pages. Age 10 and older

      Burns, Loree Griffin. The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe (Scientists in the Field) . Photographed by Ellen Harasimowicz. Houghton Mifflin / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. 66 pages. Ages 10 - 15

      Dendy, Leslie and Mel Boring . Guinea Pig Scientists : Bold Self-Experimenters in Science and Medicine. Illustrated by C.B. Mordan. Henry Holt, 2005. 213 pages. Ages 10-15

      Heiligman, Deborah. Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith. Henry Holt, 2009. 268 pages. Ages 14 and older

      Hopkinson, Deborah . The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel. Alfred A. Knopf, 2013. 249 pages. Ages 8-12

      Jarrow, Gail. Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat. Calkins Creek / Highlights, 2014. 192 pages. Ages 12 and Older

      Jenkins, Steve and Robin Page . How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships. Houghton Mifflin / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. 32 pages. Ages 9 - 13

      Marrin, Albert. Little Monsters: The Creatures That Live on Us and in Us. Dutton, 2011. 152 pages. Ages 10–14

      Martin, Russell and Lydia Nibley . The Mysteries of Beethoven's Hair. Charlesbridge, 2009. 120 pages. Ages 12 and older

      Pearson, Mary E.. The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Henry Holt, 2008. 266 pages. Age 12 and older

      Peters, Marilee. Patient Zero: Solving the Mysteries of Deadly Epidemics. Annick Press, 2014. 166 pages. Ages 11 and Older

      Pringle, Laurence. Billions of Years, Amazing Changes: The Story of Evolution. Illustrated by Steve Jenkins. Boyds Mills Press, 2011. 102 pages. Ages 9-14

      Sidman, Joyce. Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors. Illustrated by Beckie Prange. Houghton Mifflin / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. 32 pages. Ages 9-13

      Sis, Peter. The Tree of Life: A Book Depicting the Life of Charles Darwin: Naturalist, Geologist, & Thinker. Frances Foster Books / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003. 32 pages. Ages 10 - 16

      Turner, Pamela S.. A Life in the Wild: George Schaller’s Struggle to Save the Last Great Beasts. Melanie Kroupa Books / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. 103 pages. Age 10 and older

      Turner, Pamela S.. The Frog Scientist. Photographed by Andy Comins. Houghton Mifflin / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. 58 pages. Ages 10-15

      Turner, Pamela S.. Crow Smarts: Inside the Brain of the World's Brightest Bird. Photographed by Andy Comins. Illustrated by Guido de Filippo. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. 73 pages. 9-14


    Earth & Space Science

      Atkins, Jeannine. Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science. Atheneum, 2016. 195 pages. Ages 10-13

      Bacigalupi, Paolo. Ship Breaker. Little, Brown and Company, 2010. 326 pages. Ages 13 and older

      Brown, Don. Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. 96 pages. Age 11 and older

      Burns, Loree Griffin. Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion (Scientists in the Field). Houghton MIfflin, 2007. 56 pages. Ages 8-12

      Carson, Mary Kay. Inside Biosphere 2: Earth Science Under Glass. Photographed by Tom Uhlman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. 79 pages. Ages 10–15

      Farr, Richard. Emperors of the Ice: A True Story of Disaster and Survival in the Antarctic, 1910-13 . Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. 217 pages. Ages 12 and older

      Jackson, Ellen. The Mysterious Universe: Supernovae, Dark Energy, and Black Holes. (Scientists in the Field) . Houghton Mifflin, 2008. 60 pages. Ages 9-14

      Mass, Wendy. Every Soul a Star. Little, Brown, 2008. 322 pages. Ages 10-14

      Parker Rhodes, Jewell. Ninth Ward. Little, Brown, 2010. 224 pages. Ages 9 - 13

      Pfeffer, Susan Beth. Life as We Knew It. Harcourt, 2006. 337 pages. Age 13 and older

      Turner, Pamela. Life on Earth--and Beyond: An Astrobiologist's Quest. Charlesbridge, 2008. 109 pages. Ages 10 and older


    Physical Science/Engineering & Technology

      Anderson, M.T.. Feed. Candlewick Press, 2002. 237 pages. Ages 14 and older

      Baillie, Allan. Little Brother. U.S. edition: Viking, 1992. 144 pages. Age 11 and older

      Byrd, Robert. Leonardo, Beautiful Dreamer. Dutton , 2003. 48 pages. Ages 10-14

      Castellucci, Cecil. First Day on Earth. Scholastic Press, 2011. 160 pages. Age 13 and older

      Delano, Marfé Ferguson. Genius: A Photobiography of Albert Einstein. National Geographic, 2005. 63 pages. Ages 10-13

      Fisher, Catherine. Incarceron (Incarceron, Book 1). U.S. edition: Dial, 2010. 442 pages. Ages 12 and older

      Glass, Andrew. Flying Cars: The True Story. Clarion, 2015. 118 pages. Ages 10–15

      Houtman, Jacqueline. The Reinvention of Edison Thomas. Front Street, 2010. 189 pages. Ages 9 - 13

      Kamkwamba, William and Bryan Mealer . The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Illustrated by Anna Hymas. Dial, 2015. 293 pages. Age 12 and older

      Macaulay, David. Built to Last. Houghton Mifflin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. 272 pages. Ages 10 and older

      Mariz, Rae. The Unidentified. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2010. 296 pages. Ages 13 and older

      Rusch, Elizabeth. The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity. Houghton Mifflin, 2012. 79 pages. Ages 9–14

      Sayre, April Pulley. Secrets of Sound: Studying the Calls and Songs of Whales, Elephants, and Birds. Houghton Mifflin, 2002. 64 pages. Ages 8 - 11

      Smith, Lane. It’s a Book. Roaring Brook Press, 2010. 32 pages. Age 7 and older

      Stead, Rebecca. When You Reach Me. Wendy Lamb Books / Random House, 2009. 208 pages. Ages 10 - 13



    This list may be reproduced and distributed by educational and/or nonprofit organizations so long as credit is given to the Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.



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