STEM is for everyone

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields have long been stereotyped as nerdy and, even worse, as a world only for boys. Here are some books that can help change those perceptions by celebrating the fun of STEM learning for all!

How It Works

Sometimes STEM-focused kids learn better through pictures and schematics than through narratives. This book’s simple, lucid visuals demonstrate how everything from straws to toilets (tee hee!) work. When you get stumped by a barrage of “Why?” questions, you and the little one can pull out this reference and discover the answer together! 

Ages 4–6 • $10.99

How to Code a Sandcastle

Coding may seem like an intimidating, arcane skill to many in our generation, but it doesn’t have to feel that way for our kids. The organization Girls Who Code was established to demystify the increasingly important ability, and it does so cleverly with this fun story of a girl trying to program a robot to build her a sandcastle. 

Ages 4–8 • $16.99

More Curious Jane

Learn how to make ice cream, a stomp rocket, greeting cards that light up, geode eggs, tutus, terrariums and of course, that persistently popular (to the chagrin of many parents) slime! Of course, despite the name, boys can also enjoy these dozens of crafty engineering challenges. 

Ages 5–8 • $16.95

Bathtime Mathtime

Danica McKellar, who played Winnie in The Wonder Years, has written a treasure trove of books encouraging kids to explore mathematics. This board book (a rare format for STEM themes) introduces the concept of addition using “counting on,” a method often taught in kindergarten. Older kids should try McKellar’s vibrant and engaging Do Not Open This Math Book.

Ages 2–5 • $8.99

Made by Maxine

Young Maxine wants to march her beloved goldfish, Milton, in her school’s pet parade. But how? She can’t exactly just put a leash on him. After dozens of failures, she finally cobbles some recycled odds and ends into an impressive “float” (pun intended). Her charming story can inspire kids to join the burgeoning Maker Movement. 

Ages 4–8 • $16.99 

Ed Dykhuizen is an associate editor at Minnesota Parent and father of three who lives in St. Paul.