Earth Science and Meteorology Books for Kids
Here is a list of great books for kids on Earth Science and Meteorology. Start with one. Or two. You can't go wrong.
The Cloud Book. Tomie de Paola. Holiday House (1985). Introduces the ten most common types of clouds, the myths that have been inspired by their shapes, and what they can tell about coming weather changes.
Cloud Dance. Thomas Locker. Silver Whistle (2000). This masterful blending of art and science takes readers on a journey up to the heavens, through thick cumulous clouds that bring snow, wispy cirrus clouds that flutter in the wind, and wide stratus clouds that blanket the sky. Basic scientific information sheds light on the altitude, shape, and color of clouds, and Thomas Locker's luminous paintings and poetic text create an inspiring and enlightening book for everyone to enjoy.
A Cool Drink of Water. Barbara Kerley. National Geographic (2002). This striking picture book combines National Geographic photographs with poetic text to show that people all around the world are unified by their common need to use and conserve water.
Dirt. Steve Tomecek. National Geographic (2002). Informative text and playful illustrations explain how soil is made, how soil changes if you dig deep enough, what each layer of soil is called and its importance as a natural resource that living things need to survive.
Down Comes the Rain. Franklyn M. Branley. HarperTrophy (1997). How do raindrops get inside clouds? What is water vapor? What does the inside of a hailstone look like? These questions about
Earth's water cycle are answered in this title from the Let's-Read-And-Find-Out -Science series. Included are hands-on activities that children can do themselves in the classroom or at home.
Down the Drain: Conserving Water. Anita Ganeri and Chris Oxlade. Heinemann-Raintree (2005). Explains why we need water, how much water we use, where water comes from, how we can save water, and why clean water is so important.
Drip! Drop! How Water Gets to Your Tap. Barbara Seuling. Holiday House (2000). JoJo and her zany dog, Willy, explain the water cycle and the water treatment process. In the back of the book there are simple experiments about filtration, evaporation, and condensation.
A Drop Around the World. Barbara Shaw McKinney. Dawn Publications (1998). A clever poem follows a drop of water on the “Jet Stream Express” from a cloud near Maine. Symbols appearing throughout the book illustrate the different phases and transformations that the drop goes through on its journey. Also available is the teacher’s guide by Bruce and Carol Malnor.
Earth: Our Planet in Space. Seymour Simon. Simon and Schuster (2003). Stunning color photographs of Earth in space highlight the text which details how Earth’s unique position in relation to the sun makes it hospitable to life.
Earthquakes. Ellen Prager. National Geographic (2002). From the Jump into Science series, this colorful book provides basic information about earthquakes: what they are, why and where they occur, how they affect buildings, and what children should do when they feel the earth shake. The scientific facts are well focused and simply explained. The last double-page spread presents a simple activity simulating an earthquake with a pan of sand and a brick or rock.
Earthquakes. Franklyn M. Branley. HarperTrophy (1994). This Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science book includes information about how earthquakes occur, what happens during an earthquake, how it feels to be in an earthquake, and what safety measures to take.
Everybody Needs a Rock. Byrd Baylor. Aladdin Paperbacks (1985). Everybody needs a rock -- at least that's the way this particular rock hound feels about it in presenting her own highly individualistic rules for finding just the right rock for you. Not just any rock, Baylor is careful to note, but “a special rock that you find yourself and keep as long as you can--maybe forever.” Follow the reading by asking students to find their own rocks and then observe, describe, measure, sort, and classify the rocks.
Feel the Wind. Arthur Dorros. HarperCollins (1989). This Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out book explains what causes wind and how it affects our environment. It also includes instructions for making a weather vane.
Flash, Crash, Rumble and Roll. Franklyn M. Branley. HarperTrophy (1999). This Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science book (Stage 2) explains how and why a thunderstorm occurs and gives safety steps to follow when lightning is flashing.
Fossil. Claire Ewart. Walker and Company (2004). Claire Ewart’s inviting text and dramatic artwork transport readers back to the age of the dinosaurs to take flight with a majestic pterosaur that once soared through North American skies. The rich, rhyming text lyrically describes a typical day for the female pterosaur, following it from sunup to sunup. And when the pterosaur finally lives out its natural life, layers of Earth and layers of time work to transform this creature into a fossil-an amazing transformation that happens over millions of years.
*Grand Canyon: A Trail Through Time. Linda Vieira. Walker and Company (1997). The wonders of the Grand Canyon are depicted in detailed illustrations by Christopher Canyon that feature fluorescent shades of pink, orange, and purple. The text reveals the history in each boulder and butte and how numerous species thrive in this harsh terrain. The author makes it clear that the canyon continues to change, day by day and over millions of years. Endpapers give names and dates of rock layers and a timeline provides an additional frame of reference. A good general introduction to the subject.
I Face the Wind. Vicki Cobb. HarperCollins (2003). From the Science Play series, this engaging book encourages children to observe, experiment, and learn about wind and air. The illustrations are eye-catching, and the combination of information and experimentation is appealing. This book from the Let’s-Read-and-Find- Out Science series explains how and why a thunderstorm occurs and gives safety steps to follow when lightning is flashing.
I Have a Friend. Keiko Narahashi. Aladdin (1998). A small boy tells about his friend who lives with him, who follows him, who sometimes is very tall, but who disappears when the sun goes down – his shadow.
If You Find a Rock. Peggy Christian. Harcourt Brace (2000). Poetic text and thoughtfully composed, hand- tinted photographs combine to explore the variety and purposes of rocks. A good selection for introducing primary geology units or setting the mood for creative writing.
Let’s Go Rock Collecting. Roma Gans. Harper Collins (1997). Children collect rocks and learn about the formation and characteristics of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks in this Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science book.
Me and My Place in Space. Joan Sweeney. Dragonfly (1999). Where is the earth? Where is the sun? Where are the stars? This book takes on the simplest questions about the universe and gives answers that young children can easily understand. Using clear language, drawings, and diagrams, space unfolds before a child's eyes. With our world as the starting point, we are taken on a tour past each planet and on to the stars--all through the eyes of a young girl. A glossary, included for further information, helps to provide an enjoyable, easy-to-read, and easy-to-use introduction to the universe.
Ohio Thunder. Denise Dowling Mortensen. Clarion Books (2006). Lyrical verse and stunning illustrations vividly bring to life the speed and drama of a summer storm on a midwestern farm. This remarkable pairing of word and pictures conveys a sense of wonder about the natural world and makes for a picture book any child who has ever been frightened by a storm will respond to.
On the Day You Were Born. Debra Frasier. Harcourt Brace (1997). This book celebrates the cycle of birth and the human connection to the earth. In the final pages, each illustration and theme in the book (migrating animals, gravity, glowing moon, rising tide, etc.) is explained in simple and direct language tat can be used to teach older children how nature works on our planet, and how Earth works in the universe.
Planet Earth, Inside Out. Gail Gibbons. Morrow Junior Books (1998). From its red-hot core to the highest mountain peak, come see Earth as you’ve never seen it before in a colorful introduction to the powerful forces shaping our home.
Rain. Manya Stojic. Crown Books for Young Readers (2000). When rain comes to the parched African savanna, the animals use all their senses to track the storm. The porcupine smells rain in the air. The zebras see lightning. The baboons hear thunder. The rhino feels the first drops. And the lion tastes the cool water. For a time, the grasslands abound with new green leaves, juicy fruits, and fresh pools of water. But soon the hot sun dries out the land, and the animals must again wait for the next big rain.
Recycle! A Handbook for Kids. Gail Gibbons. Little, Brown, and Company (1992). This NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children selection illustrates the contents of a landfill and how to recycle various products to cut down on the need for landfills--for which space is already in short supply. Describes how to recycle, why it's necessary, and its benefits. The plea is to make our planet a safer and healthier place to live with a habit that is fun and easy--recycling.
Rocks: Hard, Soft, Smooth, and Rough. Natalie Rosinsky. Picture Window Books (2003). Simple text and cartoonish illustrations provide information on igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks.
Rocks and Minerals Series. Melissa Stewart. Heinemann Library (2002). This seven book series includes rock types, mineral composition, and fossil fuels. Includes titles such as: Igneous Rocks, Metamorphic Rocks, Sedimentary Rocks, and Minerals.
Seasons series: Fall, Spring, Summer, Winter, Seasons 123, Seasons ABC. Patricia Whitehouse. Heinemann (2003). This series examines seasonal changes from a child-centered point of view. Each book focuses on things that children notice in their environment, including the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of each season.
Snow. Manya Stojic. Crown Books for Young Readers (2002). As autumn blends into winter, and then snow begins to fall, Moose, Bear, Fox, and other forest creatures prepare for the long winter ahead. A gentle story describing how animals adapt to changing seasons.
Soil. Chris Oxlade. Heinemann (2002). A simple presentation of information about soil, including its composition, properties, and some of its uses. It includes fascinating photographs and a helpful glossary.
Soil: A True Book. Christin Ditchfield. Children’s Press (2002). Labeled pictures, clear text, and full-color photographs describe properties, soil types, uses, conservation, and fun facts. Includes a glossary, additional resources, index, and meet the author.
Somewhere in the World Right Now. Stacey Schuett. Dragonfly (1997). Maps, paintings, and text chronicle simultaneous activities around the world as one child goes to bed in Boston. The book makes a charming introduction to the concepts of day/night, time zones, and rotation of the earth.
Thundercake. Patricia Polacco. The Putnam and Grossett Group (1990). When the air get heavy and dark clouds drift low over the fields of Grandma’s farm, her frightened granddaughter hides under the bed. But Grandma insists that this is Thunder Cake baking weather and the two are soon scrambling to gather the ingredients to bake a cake – and get it into the oven before the storm arrives. Includes the formula for determining the distance of a storm.
Volcanoes. Ellen Prager. National Geographic (2001). A fire-breathing dragon takes children on a grand adventure to learn more about volcanoes in this colorful book from the Jump into Science series. Venturing into an active volcano, kids discover how magma inside the Earth begins to bubble and push its way upward, causing steam to escape through cracks overhead. Young readers will travel to active volcano sites around the world to discover the different characteristics and behavior of various volcanoes.
Water. Frank Asch. Voyager Books (2000). This books points out to very young students that water is everywhere on earth from high in the sky to deep in the ground.
Water Dance. Thomas Locker. Harcourt Brace & Company (1997). This poetic, artistic, and unusual introduction to the water cycle features a free-verse narrative illustrated by landscape and seascape paintings that show water in various forms referred to in the text: "I am the waterfall," "I am the clouds," or "I am the thunderhead." At the end of the book each picture appears in miniature accompanied by a paragraph explaining that particular phase of the water cycle.
We Use Water. Robin Nelson. Lerner Publications (2003). This non-fiction book for very young readers shows the many ways people use water. Children will see themselves making ice cubes, washing their hands, fighting fires, and running on the beach.
Weather series: A Cloudy Day, A Rainy Day, A Snowy Day, A Sunny Day, A Windy Day. Robin Nelson. Lerner Classroom. Focusing on five different kinds of weather, this engaging series show emergent readers the basics of weather using short, simple, repetitive sentences.
Weather Words and What They Mean. Gail Gibbons. Scholastic (1990). This book offers simple explanations and colorful illustrations that teach children key words involved in weather forecasting.
What the Animals Were Waiting For. Jonathan London. Scholastic Press (2001). In simple, stirring verse, this stunningly illustrated picture book tells the story of how important rainfall is to the cycle of life on the African savannah.
What Makes Day and Night? Franklyn M. Branley. HarperCollins (1986). Branley offers a simple explanation of how the rotation of the earth causes day and night in this Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science book.
What Shapes the Land? Bobbie Kalman. Crabtree (2009). Presents various landforms and the processes that shape them, some rapid like volcanic eruptions, and some slow, like erosion and weathering. Includes labeled photographs, glossary, table of contents, and index.
What Will the Weather Be? Lynda Dewitt. Scott Foresman (1993).Clear prose and brightly-colored, cartoonish illustrations explain how forecasters predict the weather. Includes many vocabulary terms such as meteorology, barometer, anemometer, wind vane, and hygrometer. A good introduction to a complex topic.
Where Does the Garbage Go? Paul Showers. HarperCollins (1994). Explains how people create too much waste, and how waste is recycled or put into landfills.
Garbage. Robert Maass. Henry Holt and Company (2000). An informative photo-essay about the ways in which we dispose of garbage, and about the benefits of recycling. The last two pages contain a longer text, which discusses disposal of hazardous waste and creating compost heaps. An attractive book that will be useful for introductory units on garbage and recycling.
Just a Dream. Chris Van Allsburg. Houghton Mifflin (1990). Young Walter is a litterbug who believes sorting trash is a big waste of time. What’s more, he thinks his friend’s birthday present, a tree, is the most ridiculous gift he’s ever seen. When he has a dream about a future Earth devastated by pollution, Walter begins to understand the importance of taking care of the environment.
The Lorax. Dr. Seuss. Random House (1971). Published in 1971, The Lorax is an ecological warning that still rings true today amidst the dangers of clear-cutting, pollution, and disregard for the earth's environment. Seuss’ brilliantly whimsical rhymes and delightfully original creatures tell the cautionary tale of the Once-ler’s greedy harvesting of Truffula Trees against the warnings of the Lorax (who speaks for the trees “for the trees have no tongues”).
A River Ran Wild. Lynne Cherry. Houghton Mifflin (1992). This book follows the story of the polluting of the Nashua River to its cleanup, brought about by the determination of a local woman. Each double spread examines one period or topic in the life of the river and includes a brief, informative text, attractively bordered with miniature illustrations of significant wildlife, artifacts, and events. This book can inspire children to take part in environmental stewardship- they really can make a difference.