Booklist: New Nonfiction Science

It’s been a very science-y week so far! The Hub kicked off Monday with funny science books for teens, and yesterday was the delicious Pi Day (not to mention Einstein’s birthday). Today I’ve got a sampling of some new nonfiction science books available for teen readers. For information on STEAM vs. STEM programming, check out this post on the YALSAblog, or for more inspiration on science programming, check out Anyone Can Do Science! which has lots of fun ways to incorporate science into your regular programming schedule.

Put on your lab coats and take a look — and don’t miss a PDF of this list at the end.

New nonfiction science for teens


The Story of Seeds: From Mendel’s Garden to Your Plate, and How There’s More of Less to Eat Around the World, by Nancy F. Castaldo

Discusses the impact of seeds on food supply, and their importance in everything from biodiversity to the global economy.

It’s Getting Hot in Here: The Past, Present, and Future of Climate Change, by Bridget Heos

Examines the history of climate change on our planet, including humanity’s role and current politics, and how young readers can take action. To add to an environmental discussion, pair with Fuel Under Fire: Petroleum and Its Perils, by Margaret J. Goldstein.

The Ebola Epidemic: The Fight, the Future, by Connie Goldsmith

An up-to-date look at the history and treatment of this virus, including the 2014 outbreak in Liberia and surrounding countries. For slightly younger readers, also try Ebola: Fears and Facts, by Patricia Newman.

Inside Biosphere 2: Earth Science Under Glass, by Mary Kay Carson

This is the latest book in the Scientists in the Field series, which presents the firsthand experiences of contemporary scientists at work. I’ve found this series to be great for booktalking to teens, especially reluctant readers. And if you’re like me and remember Biosphere 2 as a 1990s science experiment with humans living inside, you’ll love reading about its continuing work as a research lab.

Smart and Spineless: Exploring Invertebrate Intelligence, by Ann Downer

Animals don’t have to have a huge brain, or even a spine, to do some pretty smart things. Read about jumping spiders, octopuses, and worms doing more than we usually give them credit for. For more cool animal science, check out Bioluminescence: Nature and Science at Work, by Marc Zimmer, which discusses living creatures that create their own light.

The Manga Guide to Physiology, by Etsuro Tanaka

This is the newest title (2015) in the science and math offerings from No Starch Press’s Manga Guides. Student Kumiko and professor Kaisei go over each human body system in a chapter, illustrated with manga-style comic panels. For younger readers, try the graphic novel Human Body Theater, by Maris Wicks.

Bubonic Panic: When Plague Invaded America, by Gail Jarrow

No, it’s not medieval Europe — it’s 1900s San Francisco! Read about America’s experience with a resurgence of the bubonic plague, from racial discrimination, to rats and fleas, to gruesome photos. Preceded by two other titles in the “Deadly Diseases” trilogy: Red Madness and Fatal Fever.

Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know: Young Readers Edition, by Alexandra Horowitz

Teens have the option of reading this middle-school-level adaptation, or the original text. Both detail what cognitive scientist Horowitz has found in her research about what dogs are really thinking and feeling.

There you have it — some new titles to appease the science readers in your life! Grab a copy of this list here. Let me know in the comments if you’ve come across any others to share.

— Rebecca O’Neil, currently reading The Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler