Big topics for little readers

Celebrating International Children’s Book Day with high-quality STEAM books for pre-K through high school

To mark International Children’s Book Day, we’re celebrating Candlewick Press and their imprints MIT Kids Press and MITeen Press—a one-of-a-kind partnership between a children’s publisher and a university press that shares reliable, science-based content in fun-to-explore books Inspire a lifelong love of science with the books below—including board books for the tiniest of tots to books on social topics for teens.

High Chair Chemistry by WonderLab Group, LLC and Jill Esbaum

Why wait for college when you can teach your toddler advanced science right now? After sterilizing your workstation, prepare to explore solids, which can be combined with liquids to form an optimal mixture. Now test your mixture. Eureka! Isn’t feeding time a total . . . gas? In a bright, graphic board book loaded with dry humor and comic timing, photos of happy, outrageously messy toddlers (and exhausted parents) complement a tongue-in-cheek running dialogue, interspersed with factual asides that define basic concepts of chemistry. So rest assured, with a high chair tray as a lab bench, your precocious little one can master chemistry multiple times a day!

Bath Time Physics by WonderLab Group, LLC and Jill Esbaum

Even Einstein started somewhere, so who’s to say your little genius-to-be won’t find inspiration in the bath? Gather up your gear: floating toys, fluffy towels, warm tub, favorite little lab partner (may take multiple attempts). Place your tiny tot in the tub (note water displacement), and proceed to explore buoyancy, gravity, and evaporation. Now it’s time to make waves and see that third law of motion in action. Go, baby, go! Wait, hold on . . . Stop, baby, stop! In a bright, graphic board book leavened with dry humor, photos of happy tykes and a tongue-in-cheek running dialogue are sprinkled with factual asides that define basic concepts of physics. 

How to Spacewalk: Step-by-Step with Shuttle Astronauts by Michael J. Rosen and Kathryn D. Sullivan

What is it like to walk in space—to use cutting-edge equipment and conduct experiments in a 280-pound space suit? How do you get there in the first place? Would-be spacewalkers will find enthusiasm, vibrant encouragement, and a host of amazing facts, photos, drawings, and descriptions in this engaging guide cowritten by three-time shuttle astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan and children’s book author Michael J. Rosen (who also provides illustrations). From detailed info about how to train (sometimes underwater!) to descriptions of the emotions spurred by seeing Earth from above, this guide will leave readers inspired and excited to start their own journeys into space.

Isabel and the Invisible World by Alan Lightman

There’s only one gift Isabel wants for her sixth birthday: a way to see invisible things. She can hardly think of anything else! Finally, the day of her party arrives. Unwrapping a big box, Isabel finds a surprise inside—a glass prism—and a dazzling world of previously invisible color emerges, lighting up the room around her. What else could be out there, waiting for her eyes to discover? In simple, engaging language, complemented by luminous artwork from best-selling illustrator Ramona Kaulitzki, author and physicist Alan Lightman unveils the hidden world of light waves—the ones you can see and the ones you can’t. Back matter delves briefly into the subject of wavelengths, radio waves, and X-rays for readers curious to know more.

Unseen Jungle by Eleanor Spicer Rice

Microbes are everywhere: outside, indoors, on your body, in your body. In fact, only about half of our bodies’ cells are human cells—the rest are microbes. Whether helping people digest their food or using mind-control techniques to lure mice into the path of hungry cats (no, really), microbes form an unseen jungle all around us. Through zany facts, hilarious and sometimes disgusting illustrations, and interviews with experts in their fields, aspiring young scientists (or kids who just want to be grossed out) will discover a hidden world in which your health depends on a myriad of microbes, houseflies get zombified by fungi, and termites are saving the planet one fart at a time. With such extras as sidebars, limericks, and even a lesson on how to draw E. coli, this “eww”-worthy treasure trove for kids is an engrossing romp into the microbe drama unfolding where you might least expect it.

Share Better and Stress Less by Ryan Milner and Whitney Phillips

We know that pollution damages our physical environments—but what about the digital landscape? Touching on everything from goat memes gone wrong to conflict in group chats to the sometimes unexpected side effects of online activism, this lively guide to media literacy draws on ecological, social justice, and storytelling frameworks to help readers understand how information pollution spreads and why. It also helps them make sense of the often stressful and strange online world. Featuring a hyperconnected cast of teens and their social-media shenanigans, reader-friendly text tackles the thorny topic of internet ethics while empowering—and inspiring—young readers to weave a safe, secure, and inclusive digital world. Readers are invited to delve further into the subject with the help of comprehensive source notes and a bibliography in the back matter.

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