Seminar on Lit for Youth: STEM
Watch the video, then read the page.
STEM standards for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. They represent major areas of the nonfiction collection as well as K-12 school subjects.
Browse the Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007. Pick out a few to read. Also check out the AAAS SB&F Summer Reading List: 2013.
When selecting science materials for youth, look for quality documentation that has been supported by research. Also, seek materials that make effective use of primary source materials. In addition to readability, also look for how visuals are used to enhance the reading experience including the use of photographs, diagrams, maps, infographics and other visual representations.
Let's use Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion by Loree Griffin Burns as an example. The book tells the story of oceanographer Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer as he monitors trash that has been spilled into the ocean. Designed for grades 6-8, it has a 1200 Lexile Measure and 10.9 reading level equivalent. Part of the Smithsonian "Scientists in the Field" series, the book combines an engaging narrative with quality photographs, maps, and diagrams.
Be sure to explore science resources specifically designed for the young adult audience such as How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction by Beth Shapiro.
Many educators are concerned about the current state of science and the importance of quality nonfiction works for children.
Read Jenkins, Steve (March/April 2011). The importance of being wrong. The Horn Book Magazine, 87(2), 65-68. IUPUI students can view the article online.
Reading science books is an excellent way to develop reading strategies that are useful across subject areas.
Read Lee, Alice (2010). A way of understanding the world of science informational books. The Reading Teacher, 63(5), 424-428. IUPUI students can view the article online. Can you think of other examples of science books that could be used to teach reading strategies?
Being able to read in the scientific disciplines requires a different set of skills than other types of reading. Gina Cervetti (2013) notes that a focus on basic reading skills has not prepared adolescents for the rigor of content-area reading. Recent research suggests that reading is situated and dependent on the nature of the text. In the sciences, readers are likely to be faced with reading more reports, procedures, and explanatory works than in other subject areas. These works demand a specific set of reading skills. Cervetti (2013, 372) suggests that readers be taught to use the following features of informational texts:
- "Make sense of technical vocabulary and complicated syntax, such as long noun phrases.
- Make sense of visual elements, such as diagrams, drawings, photographs, and maps.
- Use textual structures, such as cause-and-effect and sequential structures, to understand text.
- Search text to find information related to their purpose for reading.
- Read key parts of texts with exactitude - for example, noting even small differences in research results."
A growing number of books are including infographics. These visual representations of complex data are attractive, but they still require skills to analyze. Energy and Waves through Infographics by Rebecca Rowell is part of a new SuperScience Infographic series that incorporate many of these graphics. Other titles include Natural Disasters, Weather and Climate, Life Cycles, Forces and Motion, and The Solar System.
When reading scientific reports, students need to be able to analyze what they are reading including the purpose of the investigation, choice of research design, use of existing literature, appropriateness of data collection, strengths and weaknesses of the approach, potential sources of bias, and whether the findings match that the data.
The key to scientific reading involves readers asking questions about what they are reading and using evidence to support their conclusions. Reading in the sciences involves synthesizing information collected from various sources and making inferences based on evidence.
Designed for grades 4-8, Journey into the Deep: Discovering New Ocean Creatures (2011) by Rebecca L. Johnson takes readers on real journeys with scientists exploring marine life. Like many new informational texts, the book provides a bibliography that can be used to locate additional sources of information students can use to collect additional evidence to support their conclusions.
In the sciences, students often need linguistic scaffolds to help them understand informational texts. In many cases hands-on investigations with real objects and materials are helpful in understanding. Combining text with photographs, diagrams, drawings, and other images can be useful in providing different ways to think about the text. In addition, books like Journey into the Deep provides a glossary to support reading.
Cervetti (2013) notes that one of the ways to tie literacy with science is through the use of inquiry-based activities that actively engage readers in scientifically oriented questions, gathering of evidence, and hands-on activities. She found a strong connection between reading about science and "doing" science. Cervetti notes that "reading in the interest of answering compelling scientific questions - particularly when combined with hands-on experiences - offers the kind of reason for reading that has been shown to promote more active engagement with texts."
Fogelberg, Satz and Skalinder (2013) stress that most people associate mathematics reading with textbooks. However students may also be reading informational books. They also need to be able to read documents found in daily life such as newspapers, coupons, and websites. In addition, many science concept books also contain mathematics content.
When you think about narratives, STEM books don't usually come to mind. However a growing number of narrative nonfiction is being produced.
Read Hill, Rebecca (February 2012). Narrative nonfiction for STEM. Teacher Librarian, 40(3), 31-35. IUPUI students can view the article online.
As a librarian, it's important important to understand the relationship between science books and scientific reading.
Choose ONE of the following to read.
Read Pappas, Christine (April-June 2006). The information book genre: its role in integrated science literacy research and practice. Reading Research Quarterly, 41(2), 226-250. Examine her approach to analyzing the literature. Could you apply her approach to a different area of research? IUPUI students can view the article online.
Read Mantzicopoulos, Panayota & Patrick, Helen (2011). Reading picture books and learning science: engaging young children with informational text. Theory Into Practice, 50(4), 269-276. IUPUI students can view the article online. Based on their research, create a set of selection criteria that could be used to choose science picture books for young children.
Skim Mikeska, Jamie N. (2010). Towards a more complex view of genre. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. IUPUI students can view the article online.
Skim Schussler, Elisabeth E. (2008). From flowers to fruit: how children's books represent plant reproduction. International Journal of Science Education, 30(12), 1677-1696. IUPUI students can view the article online.
Implications for Librarians
When offering books to children, encourage them to verbalize their questions about science.
Use these questions to generate enthusiasm and the quest for knowledge. If you were creating a fishing tackle box, what would go inside?
Develop areas for scientific investigation. Instead of your library being viewed as "a place where books are stored".
Encourage active learning and inquiry through interactive displays that combine books with artifacts, realia and activity. This might include a table that with fossil identification books along with fossils to explore, a bulletin board containing plastic toy dinosaurs that can be matched with the names of the dinosaurs, and a series of jars containing X numbers of objects along with a book about small and large numbers. Are there a hundred, thousand, more million paperclips in the jar?
Create a display focusing on the role of scientists and include the Scientists in the Field books. The Call of the Osprey (2015) by Dorothy Henshaw Patent is an example. Include objects that scientists use in their work.
Science books provide readers with a wide range of informational experiences. From exploring the bizarre habits of animals to investigating serious topics like climate change, science attracts many different types of readers.
Science books containing timelines, diagrams, maps, photographs, drawings, and other visual elements help reader of all levels. Let's use Meltdown: The Nuclear Disaster in Japan and Our Energy Future (2012) by Fred Bortz as an example. You can preview the book at Google Preview.
Many science books are organized around themes such as life cycles or classifications (Dorfman & Cappelli, 2009). As you explore the options, think about whether the organization makes sense for the topic. For instance Monarch and Milkweed by Helen Frost uses a life-cycle approach to discuss the butterfly and it's relationship to the milkweed plant. A survey approach such as All About Frogs by Jim Arnosky is another common technique for book organization. How-to books are useful in many scientific areas particularly in conducting science experiments. From identifying trees and rocks to discovering where to find particular bird species, identification books and field guides are also common.
A Chicken Followed Me Home! Questions and Answers About a Familiar Fowl by Robin Page uses a question and answer approach to convey information.
When selecting books, look for features that might be useful for teachers, librarians, parents, or other adults working with children. For instance, many of Steve Jenkins' books contain an informational section at the end of the book with additional explanations. For instance, My First Day (2013) by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page contains a section at the end of the book explaining the different baby animals.
Seek out books that connect to the interests of youth. For instance, Welcome to Mars by Buzz Aldrin takes readers step by step through what it would be like to live on Mars.
WELCOME TO MARS: MAKING A HOME ON THE RED PLANET by Buzz Aldrin and Marianne Dyson takes an amazing look at the near-future reality of a human colony on Mars.
Readers are invited to become Martian pioneers as they work their way the information they’ll need to journey to Mars and build a permanent home.
This visually-rich, well-organized book includes short chapters dealing with key issues related to space travel and the colonization of Mars. Numerous fun activities, author side-bars, interesting fact boxes, stunning photographs, detailed illustrations, intriguing diagrams and primary source documents add to the appeal. A timelines and map of Mars are particularly interesting. The book concludes with book and website lists, a glossary, credits, and an index.
Librarians will find an eager audience for this timely work of nonfiction. With movie The Martian coming out in October, the book is sure to be a hit. Plan an event around this interest in Mars. Pair the book with the many NASA websites featuring information about Mars.
To learn more about Buzz Aldrin, go to http://buzzaldrin.com/.
To learn more about co-author Marianne Dyson, go to http://www.mariannedyson.com/.
Children love animal books. Seek out new and unusual approaches and topic. For instance, Water Babies is a series by Bearport. The book introduces young readers to baby water animals.
What do zombies, werewolves, and science have in common? The answer is the Monster Science series from Capstone Press. With an interest level of grades 3 through 9 and a reading level of grades 3-4, this series is a great way to draw youth into science. The books are filled with facts about important scientific concepts, but they use monsters and the comic book style to present the scientific information (image from series shown below). The series includes the following titles sure to appeal to youth.
- Aliens and Energy by Agnieszka Biskup
- Bigfoot and Adaptation by Terry Collins
- Ghosts and Atoms by Jodi Wheeler-Toppen
- Vampires and Cells by Agnieszka Biskup
- Werewolves and States of Matter by Janet Slingerland
- Zombies and Forces and Motion by Mark Weakland
From Benjamin Franklin to Stephen Hawking, youth enjoy learning about the people behind the science. Generally written using a narrative approach, these works are great for youth who prefer a story arc rather than simply a list of science facts. With science biographies, readers get to see the people behind the science.
Field scientists are particularly interesting from a youth perspective. They're associated with a sense of adventure. The Scientists in the Field series from the Smithsonian is an outstanding example. The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America's Largest Mammal (2013) by Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop follows a scientist trying to save the tapir. Other recent examples include The Octopus Scientists: Exploring the Mind of a Mollusk (2015) and The Great White Shark Scientist (2016).
Get to know Sy Montgomery. Explore her website.
Montgomery is know for her wide range of books exploring animals and people who work with animals.
Read one of her books.
Below is a list of some of the works of Sy Montgomery.
- (2013). The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America's Largest Mammal. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 10+)
- (2010). Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 10+) Activities
- (2009). Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 10+) Activities
- (2009). Quest for the Tree Kangaroo. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 10+)
- (2007). The Tarantula Scientist. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 10+) Activities
- (2007). The Snake Scientist. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 10+)
- (2004). The Man-Eaters of Sundarbans. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 8+)
- (2002). Encantado: Pink Dolphin of the Amazon. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 9+) Activities
- (2004). Search for the Golden Moon Bear: Science and Adventure in the Asian Tropic. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 9+)
Rather than reading a narrative, some young people prefer an explanatory approach to a subject. For instance, Nic Bishop is known for his high quality animal photos for books like Snakes, Lizards, Marsupials, Butterflies and Moths, Frogs, Spider, and more. He's also known for helping children discover science in their own neighborhood with books like Backyard Detective.
Another award-winning science author-illustrator is Steve Jenkins.
Get to know Steve Jenkins. Explore his website.
Jenkins is known for his high-quality books on a wide range of science topics for young people.
Read at least two books from the list below.
Below is a list of some of the works of Steve Jenkins.
- (2013). My First Day (with Robin Page). HMH. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
- (2013). Animals Upside Down: A Pull, Pop, Life & Learn Book! (with Robin Page). HMH. (pop-up, Ages 4-8)
- (2013). How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships (with Robin Page).
- (2012). Living Color. HMH. (pop-up, Ages 4-8)
- (2012). Dogs and Cats. HMH. (pop-up, Ages 4-8)
- (2012). Sisters and Brothers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World (with Robin Page). HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
- (2012). The Beetle Book. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
- (2011). Just a Second. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
- (2011). Time to Sleep. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
- (2011). Time to Eat. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
- (2011). Actual Size. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
- (2009). Never Smile at a Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
- (2009). Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
- (2008). How Many Ways Can You Catch a Fly? (with Robin Page). HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
- (2008). What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? (with Robin Page). HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
- (2006). Move! (with Robin Page). HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
- (2005). Animals in Flight (with Robin Page). HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
- (2005). Prehistoric Actual Size. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
- (2005). I See a Kookahurra: Discovering Animal Habitats Around the World (with Robin Page). HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
- (2004). Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
- (2003). Looking Down. HMH. (animals, Ages 5-8)
- (2002). Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution. HMH. (animals, Ages 7-10)
- (2001). What Do You Do When Something Wants to Eat You? HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
- (2001). Slap, Squeak and Scatter: How Animals Communicate. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
- (1997). Biggest, Strongest, Fastest. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
While some children like to read about scientific investigations, others like to participate in wacky experiments.
Think about ways to set up displays that contain books along with interactive features that could involve young people in simple science experiments.
Seymour Simon's Let's Try It Out series focuses on early learning science activities for different environments including water, air, and towers and bridges.
Get to know Seymour Simon. Explore his website.
Simon has been writing outstanding science books for youth for decades.
Read one of his books.
Below is a list of some of the works of Seymour Simon.
- Extreme series including Earth, Oceans
- Planet books including Uranus, Saturn, Venus, Neptune, Mercury
- Smithsonian Collins series including Coral Reefs, The Sun, Butterflies, Snakes
- SeeMore Readers series including Killer Whales, Baby Animals, Super Storms
- See in 3-D including Snakes, Wild Weather, Sharks, Creepy Creatures
Whether identifying poop or collecting leaves for an art project, a wide range of books connect science with nature. The Take-Along Books are a great place to start. Some of the books include
- Fun with Nature: Take-Along Guide
- More Fun with Nature: Take Along Guide by Mel Boring
- Frogs, Toads, and Turtles by Diane Burns
- Caterpillars, Bugs, and Butterflies by Mel Boring
- Rabbits, Squirrels, and Chipmunks by Mel Boring
- Planets, Moons, and Stars by Laura Evert
- Tracks, Scat, and Signs by Leslie Dendy
- Trees, Leaves, and Bark by Diane Burns
- Wildflowers, Blooms, and Blossoms by Diane Burns
- Seashells, Crabs, and Sea Stars by Christiane Kump Tibbits
- Rocks, Fossils, and Arrowheads by Laura Evert
- Berries, Nuts, and Seeds by Diane Burns
- Snakes, Salamanders and Lizards by Diane Burns
Specifically, seek out books that contain engaging nature activities. Birdology by Monica Russo is an example. It contains 30 activities and observation ideas.
Other recent examples:
- The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest - and most Surprising- Animals on Earth by Steve Jenkins
- Bilby by Edel Wignell
- Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World by Steve Jenkins
- Welcome to New Zealand by Sandra Morris
- Wild at Heart by Terri Farley
Science has been a topic of interest throughout history. Rather than simply reading about science, some youth enjoy tracing the history of space exploration, explore the origins of ciphers and codes, or examine plagues or natural disasters through history.
Mysterious Messages: A History of Codes and Ciphers (2009) by Gary Blackwood explores the world of royalty and spies who have used codes through history.
Read Zarnowski, Myra & Turkel, Susan (2013). How nonfiction reveals the nature of science. Children’s Literature in Education, 44, 295-310. IUPUI students can view the article online.
From recycling plastic to saving the whales, many science-related informational books contain themes that include environmental activism. While some of these books are "how to" or procedural texts such as how to recycle in your neighborhood, others provide information and conclude with a call-to-action.
- Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa’s Fastest Cats by Sy Montgomery
- Every Last Drop: Bringing Clean Water Home by Michelle Mulder
Read Echterling, Clare (2016). How to save the world and other lessons from children’s environmental literature. Children’s Literature in Education. IUPUI students can view the article online.
Read Boggs, George L.; Wilson, Nance S.; Ackland, Robert T.; Danna, Stephen; and Grant, Kathy B. (2016). Beyond the Lorax: Examining children’s books on climate change. The Reading Teacher, 69(6), 665-675. IUPUI students can view the article online.
When you think of technology, computers may come to mind. However from farming to construction, the technology section of your library applies knowledge to a wide range of real-world applications.
Agriculture and Gardening
Involving youth in local gardening projects is an increasingly popular activity. A Green Kid's Guide to Composting by Richard Lay is part of A Green Kid's Guide to Gardening that also includes Watering Plants, Garden Pest Removal, Preventing Plant Disease, Soil Preparation, and Organic Fertilizers.
Medicine, Health, and Safety
Teaching water safety to first graders, exploring wilderness survival in middle school, and investigating healthy diets in senior high school are all activities that involve using books.
Look for publishers with expertise in particular areas. For instance, Nan, What's Cancer (2009) by Beverlye Hyman Fead is published by the American Cancer Society.
Also seek at fun and motivating books. Making Shelter (2012) by Neil Champion is a hit with kids. Part of the Survive Alive series, this book focuses on how to make a shelter in the wilderness.
Manufacturing and Construction
Many youth will be investigating careers in the various trade industries. Get them started in their chosen field through do-it-yourself books.
The TAB Guide to DYI Welding: Hands-on Projects for Hobbyists, Handymen, and Artists (2013) by Jackson Morley is a good example of a teen to adult cross-over book.
Increasingly works of nonfiction are available online. For instance, in the past, many libraries had large collections of Chilton's Car and Truck Repair Library books. However some of these resources are now electronic subscriptions including Chilton's, Mitchell On Demand, and Sams Photofact.
From books about Steve Jobs to early technology pioneers, seek out books that promote the individuals behind the technologies. Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark is an example that explores an often overlooked women in technology history.
From bridge building to solar cars, engineering is the application of science and mathematics to practical human problems and activities.
Since it was first introduced David Macaulay's The Way Things Work has been a hit. Since then, it has been updated and is now called The New Way Things Work.
About Time: A First Look at Time and Clocks by Bruce Koscielniak explores time and clocks through history.
Seek out "how-to" books that connect the concepts to practical creations like building a solar car or designing the perfect bridge. Janice VanCleave's Engineering for Every Kid contains endless activities that apply science to solve real-world problems.
Books about construction with Lego continue to be popular for both children as well as teens. The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide by Allan Bedford teaches teens how to become master builders. The book explains and demonstrates the keys to quality LEGO construction.
Seek books that provide a project-based approach but also lay the foundations in scientific principles. For instance, Explore Flight! With 25 Great Projects by Anita Yasuda includes history, scientific explanations of flight, and ideas for building flying objects.
Klutz is a popular publisher of activity books. However, many of their books contain consumable elements. When purchasing these types of book, it's important to consider whether they'll circulate and how they will be used. The Solar Car Book is an example.
Seek books that will attract a wide range of readers. For instance, The Good, the Bad, and Barbie (2010) by Tanya Lee Stone focused on the history and manufacturing of the Barbie doll.
Books in the How Flight Works: Lightning Bolt series will appeal to a wide range of readers. Titles include
- How Do Helicopters Work? by Jennifer Boothroyd
- How Do Parachutes Work? by Jennifer Boothroyd
- How Do Hang Gliders Work? by Buffy Silverman
- How Do Hot Air Balloons Work? by Buffy Silverman
- How Do Jets Work? by Buffy Silverman
- How Do Space Vehicles Work? by Buffy Silverman
Recently, authors and illustrators have begun using interesting visual and literary devices to bring math like for youth.
"the Mathical Book Prize aims to find stories which inspire a love of mathematics in the everyday world. Each year's winners and honor books join a selective and ever-growing list of fiction and non-fiction titles for kids of all ages."
While many of the Mathical winners are fiction, others are nonfiction. Some recent winners include:
- An Animal Alphabet by Elisha Cooper
- Max’s Math by Kate Banks
- The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah Heiligman
- Just the Right Size: Why Big Animals are Big and Little Animals are Little by Nicola Davies
- Really Big Numbers by Richard Evan Schwartz
Explore the Mathical Book List.
Think about ways to connect readers to math.
Math and Fun
Greg Tang is known for his fun approach to math.
Math-terpieces: The Art of Problem-Solving by Greg Tang uses works of art to bring math alike. In the image below left he used a work by Edgar Degas. In The Grapes of Math, Tang introduces readers to "mind-stretching math riddles" (shown on right).
Below is a list of some of the works of Greg Tang.
- (2007). Math Fables Too: Making Science Count. Scholastic Press. (math, Ages 7-10)
- (2005). Math Potatoes: Mind-Stretching Brain Food. Scholastic Press. (math, Ages 7-10)
- (2004). Math Fables: Lessons that Count. Scholastic Press. (math, Ages 7-10)
- (2003). Math-terpieces: The Art of Problem-Solving. Scholastic Press. (math, Ages 7-10)
- (2003). Math Appeal: Mind-Stretching Math Riddles. Scholastic Press. (math, Ages 7-10)
- (2002). The Best of Times. Scholastic Press. (math, Ages 7-10)
- (2002). Math for All Seasons: Mind-Stretching Math Riddles. Scholastic Press. (math, Ages 7-10)
- (2001). The Grapes of Math. Scholastic Press. (math, Ages 7-10)
Math and Biography
Although designed for children, The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos (2013) by Deborah Heiligman is a wonderful example of a book that could be used with middle or high school students. The author and illustrator notes provide insights into the ways that mathematics was embedded in the biography. The author's website provides links to wonderful resources that can expand understanding of both the story and the mathematics.
A number of books written over the past decade can be read at two levels. At one level, it's a picture book designed for young children, but at another level it contains riddles, hidden content, satire, and/or deep meanings intended for more mature readers.
Jon Scieszka is an example of an author known for his satirical works including The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man and Fairly Stupid Tales that can be read at different levels. In the area of math, Scieszka's Math Curse (1995) and Science Verse are other examples.
Graeme Base (Uno's Garden) and Chris Van Allsburg (The Z Was Zapped) are other authors who sometimes writes at multiple levels.
Browse (click LOOK INSIDE on the book cover) The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman. Read John DuPuis' analysis of the book at Confessions of a Science Librarian. Do you think this "dual purpose" is effective and appropriate? Why or why not? Provide examples. They don't need to be related to math, but they should be nonfiction works. Find another nonfiction work with a similar "duel" appeal. Is it more or less effective than Heiligman's approach? How are the "author/illustrator notes" used for extending the book's impact?
Math Across the Curriculum
David Adler writes across subject areas. However in the past decade he's written a number of well-received books in the area of math.
Get to know David Adler. Explore his author website.
Adler is known for his books across content areas.
Read one of his math books.
Below is a list of some of the works of David Adler.
Adler, David A. (author website)
- (2013). Millions, Billions, & Trillions: Understanding Big Numbers (with Edward Miller).
- (2012). Mystery Math: A First Book of Algebra (with Edward Miller).
- (2012). Perimeter, Area, and Volume (with Edward Miller).
- (2011). Time Zones (with Edward Miller).
- (2011). Fractions, Decimals, and Percents (with Edward Miller).
- (2010). Fun with Roman Numerals (with Edward Miller).
- (2009). Working with Fractions (with Edward Miller).
- (1997). Fraction Fun (with Nancy Tobin).
Math and Hands-on Activities
Get youth actively involved in math through connecting books with hands-on activities.
Loreen Leedy is another author known for her nonfiction books on math topics. After reading The Great Graph Contest, youth are able to create their own graphs and charts using construction paper and markers. Or, using of one of the many online program such as Create a Graph.
The author of Follow the Money (2002) Loreen Leedy suggests the following activity: Write your own version of the story. Choose a coin or bill to follow as it gets earned, saved, and spent. Where will it go all day?
Measuring Penny and Missing Math: A Number Mystery are other books by Leedy that lend themselves to hands-on activities. What if numbers disappear? What a wonderful premise for a children's book focusing on the importance of numbers in our lives. Watch the book trailer for Missing Math: A Number Mystery. Loreen Leedy suggests young people go on a scavenger hunt to find examples of people using numbers and math. Find a librarian cataloging books, a scorekeeper at a sports event, or a cashier at the grocery store. How many examples can be found in one day? For fun, check out early versions of Leedy's book at the I.N.K. blog.
The key to math is motivation. Seek math books that bring the topic alive through real-world applications.
Math in Sports is a grades 6-8 series focusing on math in various sports including football, baseball, hockey, soccer, and basketball.
Real World Math: Disasters is a series designed for students in grades 5-8. As youth explore shocking examples of disaster, they learn about the importance of real-world math. Topics include Tsunamis, Hurricanes, Volcanic Eruptions, Wildfires, Volcanoes, Floods, Mountains, Oceans, Tornadoes, and Earthquakes.
Boggs, George L.; Wilson, Nance S.; Ackland, Robert T.; Danna, Stephen; and Grant, Kathy B. (2016). Beyond the Lorax: Examining children’s books on climate change. The Reading Teacher, 69(6), 665-675. IUPUI students can view the article online.
Cervetti, Gina (2013). Integration of literacy and science. In B.M. Taylor & N.K. Duke (eds), Handbook of Effective Literary Instruction: Research-Based Practice K-8. Guilford Press.
Dorfman, Lynne R. & Cappelli, Rose (2009). Nonfiction Mentor Texts: Teaching Informational Writing Through Children's Literature. Stenhouse Publishers. Preview Available
Echterling, Clare (2016). How to save the world and other lessons from children’s environmental literature. Children’s Literature in Education. IUPUI students can view the article online.
Fogelberg, Ellen, Satz, Patti, & Skalinder, Carole (2013). Integration of literacy and mathematics. In B.M. Taylor & N.K. Duke (eds), Handbook of Effective Literary Instruction: Research-Based Practice K-8. Guilford Press.
Heiligman, Deborah (2013). The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos. Roaring Brook Press. (biography, math, Ages 3-8).
Hill, Rebecca (February 2012). Narrative nonfiction for STEM. Teacher Librarian, 40(3), 31-35. Available
Jenkins, Steve (March/April 2011). The importance of being wrong. The Horn Book Magazine, 87(2), 65-68. Available
Lee, Alice (2010). A way of understanding the world of science informational books. The Reading Teacher, 63(5), 424-428. Available
Mantzicopoulos, Panayota & Patrick, Helen (2011). Reading picture books and learning science: engaging young children with informational text. Theory Into Practice, 50(4), 269-276. Available
Mikeska, Jamie N. (2010). Towards a more complex view of genre. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Available
Pappas, Christine (April-June 2006). The information book genre: its role in integrated science literacy research and practice. Reading Research Quarterly, 41(2), 226-250. Available
Schussler, Elisabeth E. (2008). From flowers to fruit: how children's books represent plant reproduction. International Journal of Science Education, 30(12), 1677-1696. Available
Shanahan, T., & Shanahan, C. (2008). Teaching disciplinary literacy to adolescents: Rethinking content-area literacy. Harvard Educational Review, 78, 40-59. Available