I have a 4 year old daughter and she asks a lot of questions about the world. Sometimes she asks questions that I can only kind of answer. It is sometimes challenging to break these big concepts down in ways she can engage with. As a result, we take a lot of children’s science books out of the library. As we read, I often appreciate how well the authors use pictures and simple explanations to make foundational science concepts interesting and accessible. It also occurred to me that these books would be a great way to support our students who are parents (or who have young people in their lives) to develop their own science background knowledge while reading to their young children.
The link above will take you to a Google Sheets spreadsheet with a list of elementary school books about topics in both science and math. The list includes the book title, the author and the science/math concepts each book explores. The list is not comprehensive – it just represents the greatest hits I’ve read with my daughter so far. There are so many great children’s science books out there, and I plan to add more as my daughter and I find them. Many of the authors here have other books I am excited to read (More by Molly Bang, Nicola Davies, Gail Gibbons are some to look for).
I created the spreadsheet as a live document because I want to crowd-source the resource. That means anyone can contribute to the list. I encourage teachers/parents to share their children’s favorites by adding a book, author, science topic and any additional comments about why they liked the book.
I am very interested in the different ways teachers share these books/lists with their students. Please let us all know in the comment box below. One idea I had is for teachers to go through the list and share the titles of the books that cover the same science concepts you’ll be exploring in class. I want to support students in engaging their kids in what they are doing in their ABE/Pre-HSE/HSE/ESOL classes. As all adult education teachers know, we learn things in a different way when we have to help someone else understand them. I also want to encourage students to bring the science questions their kids ask them into class.
All of the books I put on the list are available in the Brooklyn Public Library system, and are freely available to anyone with a Brooklyn Library card. Obviously that will not be true for any of your students who do not live in Brooklyn, but I mention it as something for teachers to consider when they share these titles with their students.