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Famous Scientists

Recommended children’s books about famous scientists

Discover the inspirational lives of scientists and learn about the groundbreaking discoveries and incredible inventions that made them famous!

This list of the best children’s books about famous scientists will introduce young readers to some of the most important scientific minds in history – from Einstein in On a Beam of Light to Stephen Hawking, and from Marie Curie and her Daughters to Rosalind Franklin.

This carefully curated collection of real-life science stories will help to bring scientific history to life, and help children to see scientific advances through the eyes of those inspirational people who made them happen.

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Children's books about famous scientists

Saskia Gwinn
 & Ana Albero
Picturebook
If all the scientists are saving the world… who is working on time travel?Scientists who are zooming through space, protecting the planet, singing with whales… and even learning how fast things travel through time.Get ready to meet more than 20 inspiring, real-life scientists, and discover how they started asking questions… just like YOU!
Rachel Ignotofsky
Non-fiction
A gloriously illustrated celebration of trailblazing women. Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, from both the ancient and modern worlds. The book also contains fascinating infographics and an illustrated scientific glossary.The extraordinary women profiled include well-known figures like the physicist and chemist Marie Curie, as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, the African-American mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists and beyond ...
J.P. Miller
Non-fiction
A celebration of the lives and achievements of inspirational black people through history who made a difference Black Stories Matter: Groundbreaking Scientists explores the important contributions that black people have made to the field of science throughout history, as well as today. From astronomer and inventor Benjamin Banneker to agricultural science pioneer Dr Segenet Kelemu and father of the internet Philip Emeagwali, each has enriched our knowledge of the scientific world with their sheer talent and resilience. Black Stories Matter is a powerful illustrated collection of stories of inspiring black personalities through history. Perfect for readers aged 9 and above. Contents: Main biographies Benjamin Banneker George Washington Carver Bessie Coleman Kenneth & Mamie Clark Philip Emeagwali Mae Jamison Dr Segenet Kelemu Maggie Aderin-Pocock Mary Seacole Daniel Hale Williams Mini biographies Marie Maynard Daly Dr Alan Goffe Ernest E Just Wangari Maathai Jesse Russell Sr David Unaipon Rachel Watkins Gladys West
Kate Pankhurst
Non-fiction
Prepare to be inspired with this fantastically great new series for young readers from bestselling author Kate Pankhurst, a descendent of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. In this first book, read the true stories of amazing scientists and discover things that are out of this world!Women have been responsible for many of the world's most groundbreaking scientific discoveries. These are the stories of incredible female scientists whose hard work and persistence changed our understanding of science, and transformed people's ideas of what women can do.Including comic strips, family trees, maps and more, Fantastically Great Women Scientists and Their Stories is a celebration of women who made some of the world's most important scientific breakthroughs.
Isabel Thomas
 & Jessamy Hawke
Non-fiction
The biggest scientific breakthroughs in history have something in common: super smart people who kept looking for the answers to some of the world's most interesting questions! The pages of this science book are filled with the stories of famous scientists such as physicists Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Stephen Hawking, biologist Marie Curie, palaeontologist Mary Anning and lesser-known trailblazers such as Chika Kuroda, who became Japan's first female Bachelor of Science.Filled with great detail and following a storytelling format, this is a thrilling book that will capture the imagination of young children and encourage them to explore the world of science. Beautiful descriptions of the scientists' lives are brought to life through stunning watercolour illustrations and fantastic photography highlights the detail of their discoveries.

Andrea Mills
Non-fiction
From brainy biologists and clever chemists, to magnificent mathematicians and phenomenal physicists. Discover 100 remarkable scientists who shaped our world.Containing a universe of knowledge, this amazing kids' educational book tells the story of the extraordinary people who revolutionised our understanding of the world. A stunning way for children to meet science's most important people.Read through information-packed mini-biographies of 100 brilliant scientists and innovators who have shaped our society and how we see the world around us. A perfect "everything you want to know in one place" about the history of science for children aged 8-12.Readers learn about discoveries that laid the groundwork for some of the most impressive innovations in history. Biologists, chemists, physicists, doctors, coders and astronauts are all featured including Hippocrates, Da Vinci, Alan Turing, Stephen Hawking, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and more.An attractive and engaging kids book that may inspire the next Einstein or Curie! Made for those always curious children and those who need encouragement to aspire to greatness and see the marvels of science.Put children inside the minds of scientific heroes through clever speech bubbles alongside portraits with first-person fun facts about their lives. It's a cool way to personalise these incredible people and engage children while giving them a solid base in science.Did you know that Marie Curie's notebooks are still radioactive? They're too dangerous to touch and even glow! And Louis Pasteur, who furthered the development of vaccinations and more, liked to paint in his spare time? Who knew!

Recommended children's stories about space scientists

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock & Chelen Ecija
Non-fiction
This mind-blowing book invites readers to join BBC presenter and renowned space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock (MBE) on an epic journey through the Solar System - visiting planets, moons, asteroids and satellites, and travelling to places where no human has been before.Along the way, kids can discover how we could live on Mars, learn about the hunt for a mysterious super-Earth, have a snowball fight on Mercury, climb the tallest mountain in the Solar System and much, much more. From spotting solar flares on the Sun to exploring objects at the edge of the icy Oort Cloud, this fun, action-packed title leaves no question unanswered and no meteorite unturned.
Libby Jackson
Non-fiction Short story collection
From small steps to giant leaps , A Galaxy of Her Own tells fifty stories of inspirational women who have been fundamental to the story of humans in space, from scientists to astronauts to some surprising roles in between.From Ada Lovelace in the nineteenth century, to the women behind the Apollo missions, from the astronauts breaking records on the International Space Station to those blazing the way in the race to get to Mars, A Galaxy of Her Own reveals extraordinary stories, champions unsung heroes and celebrates remarkable achievements from around the world.Written by Libby Jackson, a leading UK expert in human space flight, and illustrated with bold and beautiful artwork from the students of London College of Communication, this is a book to delight and inspire trailblazers of all ages.Packed full of both amazing female role models and mind-blowing secrets of space travel, A Galaxy of Her Own is guaranteed to make any reader reach for the stars.
Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
 & Janna Morton
Non-fiction

This book by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara is one of the books in the best-selling series, Little People, BIG DREAMS. These books explore the lives of people who achieved great things, but focus on when they started out as children with a dream.

Mae Jemison became a scientist and the first black woman to be admitted to the astronaut programme at NASA, later becoming the first African-American female astronaut in space. As a child, Mae dreamed of going in a real space rocket and the story shows how she pursued her dreams and overcame obstacles to reach for the stars.

Young children love stories about explorers and space, and this book based on an inspirational true life story has both.

Children's books about physicists, mathematicians and computer scientists

Jennifer Berne
 & Vladimir Radunsky
Picturebook

On a Beam of Light celebrates curiosity and the powerful mind of a quiet little boy called Albert. Albert watched the world in silence – speaking at all as a young child. Then one day he is given a magnetic compass, and it sparks a lifetime of exploration.

This book is a glorious introduction to Einstein’s ideas about atoms and motion, and space and time. We learn too about Einstein’s creativity and sense of fun: his habit of playing the violin while wrestling with tricky ideas, his love of cycling and of walking barefoot through town, eating ice cream. The artwork seems to echo Einstein’s thoughts and calculations, and captures his sense of wonder about the universe. Possibly my favourite illustrated non-fiction book in the world!

Michael Lee Richardson
 & Freda Chiu
Non-fiction
Alan Turing was:A mathematicianA scientistAn inspirationAlan Turing was a mathematician, scientist and codebreaker who helped defeat the Nazis in the Second World War with his incredible decoding of secret messages from enemy soldiers.Discover his life story in this beautifully illustrated book, from his childhood as a quiet boy who loved maths, to becoming one of the most important scientists and codebreakers in history.
Diane Stanley
 & Jessie Hartland
Non-fiction Picturebook
From nonfiction stars Diane Stanley and Jessie Hartland comes a beautifully illustrated biography of Ada Lovelace, who is known as the first computer programmer. Two hundred years ago, a daughter was born to the famous poet, Lord Byron, and his mathematical wife, Annabella. Like her father, Ada had a vivid imagination and a creative gift for connecting ideas in original ways. Like her mother, she had a passion for science, math, and machines. It was a very good combination. Ada hoped that one day she could do something important with her creative and nimble mind. A hundred years before the dawn of the digital age, Ada Lovelace envisioned the computer-driven world we know today. And in demonstrating how the machine would be coded, she wrote the first computer program. She would go down in history as Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer. Diane Stanley's lyrical writing and Jessie Hartland's vibrant illustrations capture the spirit of Ada Lovelace and bring her fascinating story vividly to life.
Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
 & Alexander Mostov
Non-fiction
From the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Nikola Tesla, the scientist and inventor whose groundbreaking inventions we continue to use today.Since he was a young boy growing up in the Austrian Empire, Nikola was fascinated by science and numbers. His teachers knew he had a brilliant mind, but Nikola's irregular routines and fondness for playing cards meant that he was kicked out of school before he could finish his exams. However, after working for a spell at the Budapest Telephone Exchange, where he made several clever innovations to their electrical systems, he managed to get a job with Edison Machine Works in New York, U.S.A.In the United States, Tesla's inquisitive nature and ingenious mind spurred him on to keep exploring electricity, and he came up with several groundbreaking inventions during this time, including breakthroughs in alternating current and wireless remote controls. By the end of his life, the brilliant inventor had more than 300 patents for original and unique inventions, and had advanced scientific thought by a generation.This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the iconic scientist's life.
Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
 & Matt Hunt
Non-fiction
In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Stephen Hawking, the genius physicist and author.When Stephen Hawking was a little boy, he used to stare up at the stars and wonder about the universe. Although he was never top of the class, his curiosity took him to the best universities in England: Oxford and Cambridge. It also led him to make one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the 20th century: Hawking radiation. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the brilliant physicist's life.

Laurie Wallmark
 & Katy Wu
Non-fiction
Meet Grace Hopper: the woman who revolutionised computer coding, coined the term 'computer bug' and taught computers to 'speak English. An ace inventor and groundbreaker, Grace Hopper transformed the world of computer science. This book tells the inspirational story of this amazing woman with a passion for maths, an insatiable curiosity and the firm belief that "it's easier to ask for forgiveness than...to get permission."
Jake Williams
Non-fiction
Immerse yourself in the world of the spellbinding genius Leonardo da Vinci, master of art, architecture, engineering, mathematics and more. From his futuristic inventions to the breadth of his artistic skill, discover the fascinating life and legacy of the Renaissance man.The award-winning author and illustrator behind Darwin’s Voyage of Discovery and Really Remarkable Reptiles turns his attention to the Renaissance man: Leonardo da Vinci.Leonardo da Vinci was a master of art, architecture, engineering, mathematics and more. Discover his relationship with the natural world, his futuristic inventions and the breadth of his artistic skill in this spellbinding celebration of his genius.Follow his early years – born to a poor mother and receiving no formal education, it is amazing that an innate fire of curiosity and imagination fuelled this man to achieve extraordinary success and a place amongst history’s elite. Learn about his legacy today – the bewitching power of the world’s most famous portrait, the Mona Lisa – as well as the influence of his inventions in modern daily life.This gorgeous hardback is filled with Jake Williams' characteristically stylish illustrations.

Children's books about chemists and biologists

Imogen Greenberg
 & Isabel Greenberg
Non-fiction
Imagine someone told you that your dream could never come true. What would you do? Meet Marie Curie. Shy and reserved, she loved science more than anything else in the world. But she lived at a time when women couldn't be scientists. Marie followed her passion and is now remembered for her game-changing discoveries. But while she tinkered away with test tubes and experimented with a glow-in-the-dark chemical elements, Marie became a mother. Irene and Eve grew up to be fiercely independent and determined women just like their mother, and had many adventures of their own. Join these three incredible women in this gorgeously illustrated book as they save lives during WWI and WWII, win Nobel Prizes, overcome tragedies, travel all around the world and change the history of science forever. This uplifting and touching tale of strength, science and sisterhood, written and illustrated by two remarkable sisters Imogen and Isabel Greenberg, is a triumph of female empowerment.
Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
 & Shelly Laslo
Non-fiction
From the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Louis Pasteur, the French chemist and the father of modern medicine. Little Louis was born in France during a time when doctors were still trying to figure out what made people sick. During his teen years, he discovered a love for science and became famous for figuring out how to kill off damaging microbes. Through his curiosity and creativity (and lots of trial and error), his research led to the development of vaccinations, a vital tool in today's world. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the iconic chemist's life.
Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
 & Naomi Wilkinson
Non-fiction Picturebook
Little Rosalind was born in London to a Jewish family who valued education and public service, and as she grew up her huge intellectual abilities were drawn into the study of science. Having studied physics and chemistry at Cambridge University, Rosalind moved to Paris to perfect her life's work in X-ray crystallography. She then moved back to King's College London, where she would work on finding the structure of DNA with Maurice Wilkins. It was Rosalind's "photo 51" that was used by Wilkins to create the first ever double helix DNA model with Francis Crick, although he did not credit for her work due to a falling out between the two, and her work went unacknowledged until after her death.
Fiona Robinson
Picturebook

Anna Atkins is acknowledged to be one of the first women in the world to take a photograph, and one of the first people to publish a book of photographic images. In the book, the author’s own drawings and cyanotypes are combined with reproductions of Anna Atkins’ original work. This beautifully presented picturebook makes a great choice for KS2 children looking Victorian inventions and it makes a perfect illustration of the importance of the role that woman have played in the development of science and art, which is in this case nothing short of inspirational.

Children's books about plant and animal scientists

Patrick McDonnell
Picturebook
In his characteristic heartwarming and minimalistic style, Patrick McDonnell tells the story of a young Jane Goodall and her special childhood toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. As the young Jane observes the natural world around her with wonder, she dreams of 'a life living with and helping all animals,' until one day she finds that her dream has come true. One of the world's most inspiring women, Dr. Jane Goodall is a renowned humanitarian, conservationist, animal activist, environmentalist, and United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 1977 she founded the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), a global nonprofit organization that empowers people to make a difference for all living things. With anecdotes taken directly from Jane Goodall's autobiography, McDonnell makes this very true story accessible for the very young - and young at heart.
Jennifer Berne
 & Éric Puybaret
Picturebook
Once upon a time in France, a baby was born under the summer sun. His parents named him Jacques. As he grew, Jacques fell in love with the sea. He dreamed of breathing beneath the waves and swimming as gracefully as a fish. In fact, he longed to become a manfish. Jacques Cousteau grew up to become a champion of the seas and one of the best-known oceanographers in the world. In this lovely biography, now in paperback, poetic text and gorgeous paintings come together to create a portrait of Cousteau that is as magical as it is inspiring.
Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
 & Sally Agar
Non-fiction
In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Alexander von Humboldt, the botanist and adventurer.As a kid, Alexander wasn’t a great student. He had a naturally curious mind, but he saw the world differently to his teachers and fellow pupils, and just couldn’t quite fit in. But when he began collecting plants as an adult, Alexander realised he’d found his passion.From then on, he become a great explorer, travelling the world to document all kinds of plants and species. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the scientist.
Kate Winter
Non-fiction

The Fossil Hunter by Kate Winter is a gem of a book. It is a splendid addition for any child learning about Mary Anning, fossils, dinosaurs and what life was like for a working-class woman 200 years ago. The book is hardback, large and begins with a timeline of Mary Anning’s life with page numbers corresponding to different eras.

This eye-catching book is full of facts and perfect to dip into or read altogether. Topics are highlighted such as the challenge of being a woman, where recognition for scientific discovery did not happen and the unfairness of this, and why her story is important. Text is broken up into sections; there are very few large sections of text and is therefore inclusive for all types of readers. The glossary at the end of the book is accessible and interesting. Every page has watercolour illustrations which can spread across whole pages and there are beautiful panoramic fold-out pages where you find out more facts about fossils, dinosaurs or a look into Mary’s cabinet.

This is a great book to share with children (or any age!) about the inspirational Mary Anning and highly recommendable.

Jess Keating
 & Marta Alvarez Miguens
Picturebook
This is the inspiring story of real-life scientist Eugenie Clark, who loved sharks so much from a young age that she became determined to study them and show the world how wonderful the creatures actually are. Written by a zoologist, this is a great story representing girls who follow their aspirations in STEM careers.

Polly Owen
 & Gwen Milward
Picturebook

It is rare to find a book which gives a completely different and exciting perspective on a historical figure, particularly those aimed at younger readers, so ‘Darwin’s Super-Pooping Worm Spectacular’ is a particularly delightful read.

As the title suggests, the book tells the story of Darwin’s investigations into the humble earthworm. It is clear that the author, Polly Owen, has discovered her passion for this topic as it is written with such an enthusiastic tone; by the end of page one the reader is already convinced that earthworms are completely awesome!

The book recounts the range of experiments that Darwin is believed to have tried in order to uncover the mysteries of earthworm senses; from hearing, sight and taste. It is written in a very accessible style, with lots of humour. There is a worm on each double-page spread which gives a little more context and brings the reader back to the historical facts within the story. These small speech bubbles also direct the reader to some of the scientific vocabulary; useful to gather if using the book as a stimulus for writing projects or science discussions.

There are plenty of illustrations throughout the book to enjoy too. GwenMilward has captured the Victorian style perfectly and has drawn Darwin with a real sense of joy and wonder towards the worms; each page shows Darwin with real expression as he ponders these mysterious creatures.

If you are looking to add a book that is charming, insightful and has more than a few poo-based jokes, then this would be a perfect choice! Key Stage Two children will enjoy the book as much as their Key Stage One peers.

Patricia Valdez
 & Felicita Sala
Picturebook
Back in the days of long skirts and afternoon teas, young Joan Procter entertained the most unusual party guests: slithery and scaly ones, who turned over teacups and crawled past the crumpets... While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere - she even brought a crocodile to school!When Joan grew older, she became the Curator of Reptiles at the Natural History Museum. She went on to design the Reptile House at the London Zoo, including a home for the rumored-to-be-vicious komodo dragons. There, just like when she was a little girl, Joan hosted children's tea parties - with her komodo dragon as the guest of honour.With a lively text and vibrant illustrations, scientist and writer Patricia Valdez and illustrator Felicita Sala bring to life Joan Procter's inspiring story of passion and determination.
Leisa Stewart-Sharpe
 & Helen Shoesmith
Non-fiction
Journey through the jungle and coral reefs, across the African plains and icy poles, and even to the Galápagos Islands, as you discover all there is to know about the world's best-known and best-loved naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, in this beautifully illustrated picture book.From a childhood spent searching for fossils to his awe-inspiring work as a broadcaster and conservationist, learn about Sir David Attenborough's WILD life, as he goes further, higher and deeper than anyone ever before to share our incredible natural world, and embarks on a mission to protect it.A perfect gift for budding naturalists and fans of David's wildlife documentaries.

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