Science titles for Middle and High School

During one of my reference internships at a public library, I remember looking for appealing science books for teens. Thinking it wouldn’t be that hard of a task, I searched through the stacks and found that many of the science-related books were 10-20 years old! Now I know that we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover (but I do anyway, to a point), but book covers need to be appealing in order for them to be used appropriately. Luckily the market has realized this, which is why I am sharing this amazing list of new science books that also have intriguing book covers. Introduce science in a whole new way, and be prepared for these books to fly off the shelves!

Join biology professor and arachnologist Greta Binford, on a journey to the Caribbean in search of the deadly recluse spider, the Loxosceles. Her mission is to use its venom to answer many scientific questions. Spiders are continuously misunderstood and feared, but Binford gives us a more positive perspective on these fascinating creatures. Kids will love this book for the intriguing story as well as the excellent full-color photographs.

Elephant Talk focuses on the way elephants use trumpets, growls, squeaks, chirps, and rumbles in order to communicate with one another. Not only do elephants communicate audibly, but they can also receive messages by using their feet to feel vibrations in the ground. These gentle giants are on the brink of extinction as a result of habitat loss and being illegally hunted for their ivory tusks. Researchers hope that learning more about elephant communication will save the species, but only time will tell. Students will love learning about these amazing creatures and may be interested in reenacting some of the communication styles in the classroom.

Two of the many misconceptions about  video-gamers is that they are ‘lazy’ or ‘not living in the real world.’ Jane McGonigal’s goal is to inform the reader on how gaming can be positive for our society. One example is that gamers are skilled problem-solvers and team-players, because they are able to cooperate with others in order to solve virtual game challenges. This hot topic will  interest gamers and non-gamers alike.

Because of their isolated habitat, polar bears are possibly the least understood of the great bears.  Stories throughout history characterize the viciousness of polar bears, but hunting of these bears has claimed a larger toll. Besides hunting, the polar bear’s environment is rapidly changing by melting ice. History, myth, and reality are encompassed in this gripping novel about the polar bear’s survival.

Journalist Donovan Hohn’s quest is to figure out what happened to 28,800 rubber duckies that fell off a ship in transit to Seattle in 1992. Who knew that his journey would begin with Eric Carle’s 10 Little Rubber Ducks and lead him to learning about the science of ocean currents! This environmental voyage shows us that rubber duckies are not quite as harmless as they may seem.


Elephant Talk: The Surprising Science of Elephant Communication by Ann Downer. 2011.

Great White Bear: A Natural and Unnatural History of the Polar Bear by Kieran Mulvaney. 2011.

Moby-Duck : The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea by Donovan Hohn. 2011.

Reality is Broken : Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal. 2011.

Silk & Venom: Searching for a Dangerous Spider by Kathryn Lasky. 2011.

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