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Rocks, Soils and Fossils Topic

Best children’s books about rocks, soils and fossils

The study of rocks is known as geology and is a component of the science curriculum in primary schools. From rock cycles and different soil types to exciting discoveries of important fossils, learning about how the ground beneath our feet can tell us more about the world is a fascinating topic. We’ve put together a list of the best children’s books about rocks, soils and fossils…

Non-fiction books about rocks, soils and fossils

Jacqui Bailey
 & Matthew Lilly
Non-fiction
This series uses cartoon-style illustrations and humorous narrative text to make key topics in Science and Geography accessible and engaging. This approach encourages children to read about and understand complex ideas. This is the story of how a special sort of stone formed deep inside the Earth, and came to the surface thousands of millions of years later. The Rock Factory looks at how minerals turn into rock crystals, how the Earth is structured and how volcanoes happen. This book also contains an experiment, useful websites and an index.
Emily Dodd
 & Robbie Cathro
Non-fiction
Discover how geology is part of our daily lives with Everyday STEM Science - Geology. Explore the wonders of Earth and see how geology is all around us, from natures materials that are used to build roads and buildings to the minerals found in your mobile phone and drinks can. Witness a volcanic eruption, find out if there is water on Mars, unearth a dinosaur and meet the geologists and scientists who brought geology to life. Readers can also carry out geology experiments at home. With easy-to-understand text written by Emily Dodd, fun callouts and lots of colourful artworks, photos, and diagrams, readers can best explore where we encounter geology and why it's even important at all.
Kirsty Holmes
Non-fiction
There's so much to see up here on the street, but it's even more interesting under our feet! This informative title looks at our ancestors, and what their ancient bones tell us about the living, breathing people they were. From stone age man to a terracotta army, we know ourselves because we know the people under our feet.
Dianna Hutts Aston
 & Sylvia Long
Non-fiction
This is the perfect accompaniment to a rocks and soils topic. This beautifully illustrated non-fiction text showcases different types of rocks and gemstones in all their splendour, using the stunning pictures as a way in to explaining the science behind how they appear. If it never occurred to you to appreciate how beautiful rocks can be, it will after reading this!

Charlotte Guillian
 & Yuval Zommer
Non-fiction
​I'd like to recommend this beauty. I recently used it to introduce Class 3's 'Under Our Feet' topic and there were gasps from the children. Sublimely illustrated, its concertina-style pages fold out into a long cross section of the Earth: in one side and out the other. It contains a wealth of information and opportunities for further questions from curious young minds. Just stunning. (Recommended by Louise Gall (@mrsgclass3), Year 3 teacher).
Aleksandra Mizielinski & Daniel Mizielinski
Non-fiction
A highly-recommended non-fiction text all about what lies beneath the surface. The book can be flipped open in two directions, with one side exploring different things that exist underneath the earth and the other side exploring under the sea. The information is presented in a visually appealing way and is accompanied by engaging illustrations. A popular choice for KS2. There are also accompanying activity books from the same authors.
Royal Horticultural Society (DK IPL)
Non-fiction

From the moment you touch the wonderfully textured cover of ‘Under Your Feet’, you realise that you are on a sensory journey of discovery.

The book, created in conjunction with The Royal Horticultural Society, gives children the chance to really ‘dig deep’ into life under the soil. Dr Jackie Stroud’s comprehensive knowledge of the subject matter (she has a twitter handle worth following – @wormscience) gives the book the level of detail and understanding without overwhelming younger readers. It is clear that she has a passion for soil which shines through every lovingly researched page.

When you open the book, each double-page spread details a different aspect of soil and our relationship with it; from information on why we need soil to looking at soil around the world (there’s even a couple of pages about soil in outer space!). The information is written in a very accessible style, with small captions dotted around each page and a useful glossary at the back.

The illustrations make this book particularly engaging. As you can imagine, a book about soil will have a colour palette of browns, greens and oranges. The illustrator, Wenjia Tang, has used pencil drawings, combined with photographs to create gorgeous images that give the reader a sense of what the world under our feet truly feels like.

For those children who enjoy getting their hands dirty, there are ideas for practical activities, such as making a ‘microbe meal’ in a sock! It is a great resource and would be perfect for accompanying geographical or environmental topics, as well as forest school in KS1 or lower KS2.

Fiction books about rocks, soils and fossils

Anthea Simmons
Chapter book
Winner of the middle grade STEAM Book Prize, this chapter book is based on the life of fossil hunter Mary Anning. One stormy night, a group of villagers are struck by lightning. The only survivor is a baby - Mary Anning. From that moment on, a spark is lit within her. Growing up poor but proud on the windswept Dorset coast, Mary follows after her father, hunting for fossils uncovered by waves and landslips: ancient creatures, turned to stone. Ignoring other people's taunts, Mary faces danger to bring back valuable treasures to help feed her family. But tragedy and despair is never far away. Mary must depend upon her unique courage and knowledge to fulfil her dream of becoming a scientist in a time when girls have no opportunities for such ambitions. With a factual section about Mary Anning, her life, and the discoveries she made.
Berlie Doherty
 & Alexandria Neonakis
Chapter book Dyslexia-friendly
The Queen of Darkness lives deep underground beneath a mountain with her child, Blue John, a boy she made from the blue of the glacier and the hot yellow light of the sun. Blue John is forbidden to leave his mother's side, but the lure of the light above is too strong. When a singing, dancing girl comes to the caves, Blue John must make a choice between darkness and light. A heart-warming story that embraces the beauty and colours of the natural world. High quality cream paper and a special easy to read font ensure a smooth read for all.
Laurence Anholt
 & Sheila Moxley
Picturebook
Discover the story of Mary Anning, the world's best-known fossil hunter. As a baby, Mary was struck by lightning, then as a little girl she found a fossilised sea monster, the most important prehistoric discovery of its time. This spectacular tale of a little girl who dared to be different and who followed her dreams will inspire young children. Beautiful illustrations and narrative text help children to learn how Mary discovered new fossils - and how her observations rocked the natural history world. Be inspired by Mary's work as a woman in the field of science - especially as her achievements weren't recognised until after her death. Perfect for kids interested in dinosaurs and rocks, and for parents looking for strong female role models in science.

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