HUGE List of Living Science Books for Elementary and Middle School

Are you struggling to find living science books to use with your literature-based homeschool curricula? Here's a great list of living books for science for elementary and middle school students.

When I taught second grade in a small, private school before my kids were born, science consisted of reading from a dry textbook that was part of our structured curriculum. I forced myself to have the kids take out those textbooks several times a week. And then we read.

Kids took turns reading paragraphs or sections of that day's chapter. And you could see kids' eyes glass over as other students were reading. The writing was dull and stilted, written down to the “reading level” of grade two. Even immediately after reading, most of the kids couldn't tell you much about that day's chapter.

In contrast, we've read some of the living science books below in our homeschool. They drew us in- not just the kids, but me as well. The writing was well-constructed and engaging. And we wanted to keep reading because we were interested in the narrative.

If you want to keep your family engaged when it comes to reading about science, here are some great living science books for your elementary and middle school aged kids. Of course, homeschooling is flexible. So, you can likely use them with younger or older kids as well. And I love reading books like this aloud to the whole family because we get the chance to discuss – which means that kids assimilate the information and make sense of it more easily.

I've divided the books into different science topics and given a suggested grade level. I've also included some great textbooks that read more like living books.

Living science books
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Living Science Books

One important thing to remember when you're using living books for science is that reading living books for a subject helps you to go deeper into a subject. But you won't read as broadly. And that is okay.

Think about that boring science textbook I mentioned above. That textbook covered a new science topic in every chapter. So, over the course of the year, we probably read about twenty or more science topics. Yet, the kids didn't remember a single one!

When you take the time to read real living books for science, you may only read a few throughout your school year. But your kids- and you- will enjoy and remember what you read about. And that's a win. 

Living Science Books for Biology/Life Science

Galen and the Gateway to Medicine (age 10+)- the history of science and the study of the human body

Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas (elementary)- a look at the life of Gregor Mendel and his story of genetics

The Burgess Animal Book for Children (primary and elementary)- life science animal stories that give details about the animals and their interactions with environment and each other

The Burgess Bird Book for Children (primary and elementary)- more life science stories, this one focusing on birds, their characters, and environments 

The Burgess Seashore Book for Children (primary and elementary)- this one describes coastal environments as the author tells children about areas along the Atlantic coast – life science

George Washington Carver: Man’s Slave Becomes God’s Scientist (upper elementary)- a biography of George Washington Carver and his scientific discoveries

Living Science Books for Physics

The Secret of Everyday Things (upper elementary)- stories that look at the science behind everyday things

Great Inventors and Their Inventions (upper elementary)- twelve stories of famous inventors and their inventions

The Story of Inventions (upper elementary)- covers a wide range of inventions and their functions

Living Science Books for Chemistry

The Mystery of the Periodic Table (upper elementary+)- a look at and explanation of the elements, along with information about scientists who discovered them-chemistry

The Wonder Book of Chemistry (upper elementary)- stories of chemistry basics and description of experiments to aid understanding of chemical science

Living science books for elementary and middle school

Living Science Books for Nature Study

The Story Book of Science (upper elementary)- a classic written by a popular scientist of the times; looks at plants, insects, and the natural world and explains things so that kids can understand

Parables From Nature (primary and elementary)- children’s stories that deal with things seen in nature

By Pond and River (elementary)- explores the habitat of ponds and rivers – natural science

Living Science Books for Earth Science

Madam How and Lady Why (elementary)- a classic for children; deals with natural and earth science

Elementary Geography (primary and elementary)- classic written by Charlotte Mason that tells geography like a story and deals with some topics of earth science

Living Science Books for Astronomy

Archimedes and the Door of Science (age 10+)- the story of Archimedes and his contributions to math and early science

Along Came Galileo (age 10+)- contributions of Galileo to the study of astronomy and physics

Great Astronomers (upper elementary – middle school)- stories of astronomers and their work

Johannes Kepler: Giant of Faith and Science (upper elementary)- a biography of Kepler and his discoveries of astronomy 

Living science books

Living Science Textbooks 

Sometimes it’s good to have a well-written textbook that ties together some of the great science that kids are learning from living books. Sometimes these can be used like a spine, reading chapters from a textbook and then digging deeper into the topic with living books. We’ve found a few that are more interesting and more like reading a living book than a dull, dry text.

Apologia- Apologia’s science books for elementary- and high school – read more like a living book than like a textbook. Information is rich and meaty and is presented in a way that holds kids interest.

God’s Design for Science Series (Answers in Genesis)- This elementary and middle school curriculum is well-written and easy to read.

Bonus: Living Science Book Unit Study

If you want to dig deeper into a living science book for elementary-aged kids, take a look at my literature unit study for Along Came Galileo. This complete unit study for the book Along Came Galileo by Jeanne Bendick is the perfect resource for you! With this study, kids will learn about and practice writing a biography, study the country of Italy, explore the solar system, learn about the music and art of the Renaissance, and much more. This study includes everything you need, including lesson plans, for a four-week unit study covering language arts, history, STEM, and handicrafts. You can check it out in the shop here.

Along Came Galileo Literature Unit

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