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Growing Reader

Tween

11 Earth Science Books for Curious Kids

by Lindsay Barrett

earth-science-books
Photo credit: Jamie Grill, tetra Images/Getty Images

“What are clouds made of?”
“What’s inside the earth?”
“What makes a volcano erupt?”

Kids ask great questions, but crafting satisfying and accurate answers to their queries gets tricky unless you have a background in science. My kids have come to expect my stock response: “Great question! We should read about that!”

If you’re an educator with earth science standards to teach or have a budding geologist or meteorologist at home, you’ll want to check out these top earth science books for kids.

  • Hey, Water!

    by Antoinette Portis

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    This is a favorite title for encouraging young kids to think about a familiar natural resource in new ways. The vocabulary is outstanding; a read-aloud gives the chance to talk about what water sounds like, where to find it, what to do with it—even how you could draw or paint it! It surprises some kids that familiar water forms like the showers, oceans, and lakes turn into steam, clouds, fog, and icebergs. The back matter on water forms, the water cycle, and conserving water can be read aloud or used to help adults put concepts into kid-friendly language.

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  • Old Rock (is not boring)

    by Deb Pilutti

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    Stories with unique points of view are fun to share with kids. This one will get them thinking about everything a rock has “seen” in its long existence. The forest creatures think Old Rock’s life must have been pretty mundane. Still, he piques their interest as he talks about erupting from a volcano, living among dinosaurs and woolly mammoths, and witnessing the landscape change around him. Old Rock’s life timeline at the end attaches earth science vocabulary to the story events.

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  • What's the Weather?

    by Shelley Rotner

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    This book sparks conversations about kids’ experiences with the weather, and it builds their knowledge of critical weather-related concepts like seasons and types of precipitation. (The text is spot-on; you can tell the author is a former kindergarten teacher!) All the fun photographic perspectives—like clouds of different shapes and dogs in raincoats—might inspire kids to take their own weather-related photos!

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  • The Rhythm of the Rain

    by Grahame Baker-Smith

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    The water cycle feels like magic, and this book appeals to its wondrousness. Isaac dumps a jar of water into a mountain pool and imagines it tumbling into the mountain stream and down the river. Where does the water go after that? Perhaps through a city? Into the mouth of a whale and out through its blowhole? Does it evaporate as the sun warms the surface of the ocean? The gorgeous illustrations appeal to kids’ imaginations to help them envision this necessary earth science process.

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  • I'm Trying to Love Rocks

    by Bethany Barton

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    Do you think studying rocks is boring? This celebration of geology will prove you wrong. With the perfect balance of content and fun that’s a hallmark of Bethany Barton’s I’m Trying to Love… books, this informational title explains that geology is about more than rocks. It’s about the stories rocks tell about the earth, and those stories are pretty interesting. Kids love the speech bubbles, witty quips, and cartoon-style illustrations in this book.

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  • Volcanoes

    by Gail Gibbons

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    Gail Gibbons is an expert at speaking to kids about numerous topics, so it’s no surprise that her new teaching title about volcanoes pulls young scientists right in. Did you know that the word volcano comes from the name of the Roman god of fire, Vulcan? Me, neither! Labeled diagrams and explanations bring this fascinating science phenomenon to life for kids. (Plus, they help grown-ups answer kids’ tough science questions!)

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  • DKfindout! Earth

    by DK

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    The straightforward sections in this guidebook to our planet make it easy for kids to find the information they want—and spark new earth science interests. Readers learn from colorful photos and nonfiction text about the earth’s structure, landforms, changes to the planet, and more. This is an excellent resource for curious kids.

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  • What's the Weather? Clouds, Climate, and Global Warming

    by Fraser Ralston and Judith Ralston

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    This next-level guidebook is perfect for older kids ready to dive deeper into weather science. It’s written by a BBC weather broadcaster and a seasoned meteorologist. It includes a vast range of easy-access sections about topics like types of weather, predicting the weather, climate change, and animal weather adaptations. The surprising and weird facts and photos included throughout provide that appealing “wow” factor.

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  • Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up

    by Sally M. Walker, illustrated by William Grill

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    These haiku are full of earth science vocabulary! Kids will learn about the earth’s makeup, rocks and minerals, volcanoes, earthquakes, glaciers, and other earth science concepts. Enjoying and discussing these poems is a unique way to solidify their understanding of these topics. The informational back matter helps fill in missing pieces.

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  • Water Cycles: The Source of Life from Start to Finish

    by DK

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    My kids complain about drinking it, but water is pretty impressive, and this book makes an excellent case for it. With a deeper level of content for older and more curious readers, this comprehensive resource uses photos, diagrams, and short text sections to teach how water is integral to the earth’s landscape, plants, animals, and humans.

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  • When the Earth Shakes: Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Tsunamis

    by Simon Winchester

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    A geologist shares stories, photos, and explanations of significant weather events. This book will inspire upper elementary and middle school students interested in history, geography, and science writing.

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