Non-Fiction Friday – Science

There are such an amazing selection of non-fiction books available, so I wanted to start sharing some of these brilliant books with you all which may help you teach a range of subjects in – and out of! – your classroom. First up: Science!

Big Questions About the Universe – Alex Frith & Alice James

The questions in this book were curated by the staff at London’s Royal Observatory, to address all the most common – and a few uncommon – things that children want to know about space. Planets, moons, exploration and even some really BIG questions such as ‘How do Black Holes work’, ‘Is it worth going to space?’ and ‘What’s going to happen at the end of time?’

There is a wealth of knowledge in this question-and-answer style book. Children are given explanations to big questions that they can understand, allowing them to access key knowledge about the universe. The book is split into a range of sections which children can navigate through the easy-to-read contents page. I love the bright and colourful diagrams and illustrations which help to add even more detail to the answers.

The Stardust That Made Us – Colin Stuart & Ximo Abadía

Imagine that Nature has an unseen cookbook full of different recipes for making everything you’ve ever encountered, from fish to fingernails and sand to Saturn. The ‘ingredients’ are known as chemical elements and there are 118 that we know about so far, which are organised in a grid called the periodic table. Some occur in nature, some are man-made, some are dangerous, some even glow blue!

Stunning surrealist artwork by Ximo Abadía meets easy-to-read informative text by science writer Colin Stuart to create highly engaging content that will inspire future scientists.

This book is not only packed with amazing information about the universe and what makes it – including the Big Bang and the Periodic Table – but illustrated with incredible illustrations, too. It is colourful and engaging, with information broken down into small chunks to make it easily accessible to its readers. I loved that it mentioned links to ‘Pioneering Women, ‘Myths and Legends’ and ‘Capital Cities’, showing how Science can link across a number of different subjects and areas.

Microbe Wars – Gill Arbuthnott & Marianna Madrid

These tiny organisms can spread terrible diseases. Ramses V, Pharaoh of Egypt may have died of smallpox; in 1918 a new illness called the Spanish Flu killed 50 million people in 18 months; and in the fourteenth century the black death killed more than a quarter of the population. In more recent times Covid 19 has changed the way we live. 

But there’s good news too! Human scientists have learned to fight back. In the 18th century edward Jenner developed the first vaccine, and since the 1930s penicillin has saved millions of lives. And many microbes are helpful. They help our digestion, give us powerful medicines and even food. 

This is the Microbe Wars. It’s good, it’s bad sometimes it’s ugly, but it’s a scientific journey filled with innovation and hope.

I thought this book was especially relevant given the raised understanding of illness and germs for children, after the pandemic they have already lived through, which is even included in the book. The fun illustrations allow the children to access the learning – I especially enjoyed the ‘how vaccination works’ page. The links to geography and history were also very interesting; this book could be usefully used across a range of subjects.

Beyond Belief – Alex Woolf & Jasmine Floyd

Today’s innovators are often inspired by the futuristic visions of science fiction… worlds in which humans can travel through time, teleport, upload their minds to a computer and create artificial life. But did you know that many of these strange and far-fetched ideas could one day emerge as real technologies?

Learn what steps scientists are taking to make these dreams real, and what the implications may be for humanity.

With its links to the future, this book shows children not only how science affects our lives now but how it can change the future as well. It covers a range of different topics such as simulations, altering genes and x-rays. Not only does it cover what we can do with science, it also discusses what we should do and the morality of our decisions. Should we ‘design’ our babies, for example? This was a particularly interesting aspect for a non-fiction book.

Emily x

📚 Books gifted

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