100+ Science Picture Books to Help You Homeschool

We follow a four-year cycle for teaching science. In the elementary years, science picture books have helped me introduce and explain scientific topics so well that I consider them as much curriculum as anything else we use to teach science.

How We Learn Science

While we do use the occasional science textbook during the elementary years, much of the learning takes place through three modalities:

Nature Study

Nature Study covers most of the biology and earth science topics. We consider nature walks to be our outdoor science labs and spend indoor hours reading, researching, and sometimes completing hands-on projects.

Unit Studies

Unit Studies cover most of the chemistry and physical science topics. We spend plenty of time reading, completing experiments, and sometimes preparing show-what-you-know projects.

Living Books

Living Books support us through all the nature studies and unit studies. They connect us to real-life science, demonstrate concepts, and even serve as the teachers of information for all of the sciences. We use them before, during, and/or after nature studies or unit studies.

Since science picture books have been such a wonderful thread of learning over the years for us, I thought it was high time to pull together a mega list of our tried and true favorites.

This gigantic list of science picture books is perfect to help you homeschool in the elementary years. #homeschool #science #picturebooks #livingbooks

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Using Picture Books for Science

You’ll find most of these books appropriate for 1st-6th graders. However, some will be a little too easy for the older group and some will be a little too difficult for the younger group. Never fear. If something is too easy, have your student read it through quickly if you like – or not. If something is too hard, you can try rephrasing things as you read aloud or just hang on to the book for another year. The topic will come around again whether you follow four-year science cycles or not.

I have broken the booklists below into the four-year cycles that we follow. You don’t need to follow a four-year cycle to use this list. Just pick and choose what works with your current plan of study.

Note that living science books can be used even if you have a textbook curriculum you’re pleased with! Consider the books an extra bit of goodness during science – or even just as great selections to use during read-aloud or quiet reading time.

Science Series Worth Reading

The following series each include several books on a wide variety of science topics. Rather than include each of the books in the cycle lists below, I’ll link to pages where you can peruse all the titles in each set. (I’ve only included a very small sampling of their topics in the images.)

Franklyn M. Branley Books

What Makes Day and Night (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)Gravity Is a Mystery (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)What Makes a Magnet? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)Air Is All Around You (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1)


Franklyn M. Branley – K-3rd

Gail Gibbons Books

SpidersBats (New & Updated Edition)The Reasons for Seasons (New & Updated Edition)Tornadoes! (New Edition)


Gail Gibbons – K-3rd

Jim Arnosky Books

The Brook BookWild Tracks!: A Guide to Nature's FootprintsEvery Autumn Comes the BearRaccoon On His Own (Picture Puffin Books)


Jim Arnosky – 1st-4th

Magic School Bus Books

The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth (Magic School Bus)The Magic School Bus on the Ocean FloorThe Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar SystemThe Magic School Bus At the Waterworks


Magic School Bus  – 1st-5th

Seymour Simon Books

Volcanoes (Smithsonian-science)Coral ReefsLightning (Smithsonian-science)The Brain: All about Our Nervous System and More! (Smithsonian-science)


Seymour Simon – 2nd-6th

Max Axiom Books

A Crash Course in Forces and Motion with Max Axiom, Super Scientist (Graphic Science)The Solid Truth About States of Matter With Max Axiom, Super Scientist (Graphic Science)The Basics of Cell Life with Max Axiom, Super Scientist (Graphic Science)The World of Food Chains with Max Axiom, Super Scientist (Graphic Science)


Max Axiom – 3rd-7th

Holling C. Holling Books

Paddle-to-the-Sea (Sandpiper Books)PagooMinn of the MississippiTree in the Trail


Holling C. Holling – 3rd-7th

Science Picture Books for Biology

Picture Books About Plants 

Bamboo Valley: A Story of a Chinese Bamboo Forest (The Nature Conservancy Habitat)The Bee BookBlueberries for SalCorn Is Maize: The Gift of the Indians (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)The Dandelion Seed: A Life Cycle Nature Book for Kids (Plants For Children, Science For Kindergarten)The Ever-Living Tree: The Life and Times of a Coast RedwoodGregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew PeasHow the Forest GrewIn a Nutshell: A Life Cycle Nature Book for Kids About Change and Growth (Plants for Children, Gardening for Kids)Log HotelMiss Lady Bird's Wildflowers: How a First Lady Changed AmericaMiss RumphiusPick, Pull, Snap!: Where Once a Flower BloomedPlants That Never Ever BloomThe Reason for a Flower: A Book About Flowers, Pollen, and Seeds (Explore!)A Seed is a PromiseA Seed Is Sleepy: (Nature Books for Kids, Environmental Science for Kids)A Tree Is a Plant (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1)A Tree Is GrowingA Tree Is Nice (Rise and Shine)Tops & Bottoms (Caldecott Honor Book)


Picture Books About Animals

Animals Born Alive and Well: A Book About Mammals (Explore!)Ant Cities (Lets Read and Find Out Books) (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)The Armadillo from AmarilloA Bold Carnivore: An Alphabet of PredatorsThe Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon (Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12)Butterfly HouseChickens Aren't the Only Ones (World of Nature Series)Ducks Don't Get WetEliza and the Dragonfly: A Nature Book for Kids About Insect Life CyclesThe Extinct Alphabet Book (Jerry Pallotta's Alphabet Books)Fish is FishHanna's Cold WinterA House for Hermit Crab - 3.9 x 0.3 x 5.5 inchesIt's a Frog's LifeOwl MoonPass the Energy, Please!: Learn the Basics of the Food Chain and the Transfer of Energy with an Upbeat Rhyming StoryThe RaftSalamander Rain: A Lake and Pond Journal (Sharing Nature With Children Book)The Salamander Room (Dragonfly Books)Sam the Sea Cow (Reading Rainbow)Mallard Duck at Meadow View Pond - a Smithsonian's Backyard Book (Mini book)Snakes Are Hunters (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)Waiting for Wings (Rise and Shine)Who Eats What?: Food Chains and Food Webs (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)Wiggling Worms at Work (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)


Picture Books About the Human Body

Body BattlesA Drop of Blood (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)Germs Make Me Sick! (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)Oh, The Things You Can Do That Are Good for You: All About Staying Healthy (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)Ouch! by Melvin Berger (1991-08-01)The Skeleton Inside You (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)What Happens to a Hamburger? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)Why I Sneeze, Shiver, Hiccup, & Yawn (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)


Picture Books for Earth Science

Picture Books About Geology 

Alejandro's Gift (Rise and Shine)Dirt: The Scoop on Soil (Amazing Science)Everybody Needs a Rock (For the Junior Rockhound)How Mountains Are Made (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)If You Find a RockJump Into Science: DirtJump Into Science: SandLet's Go Rock Collecting (Let'S-Read-And-Find-Out Science. Stage 2)The Mountain That Loved a BirdRocks in His Head (Avenues)The Sun, the Wind and the Rain (Owlet Book)


Picture Books About Weather & Water

The Big SnowBringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain (Rise and Shine)The Cloud BookCloud DanceCloudy With a Chance of MeatballsCrawdad CreekA Drop Around the World: The Science Of Water Cycles On Planet Earth For Kids (Earth Science, Science Books For Kids, Nature Books)Snowflake BentleyThe Snowy DayStorm in the NightThe Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder (Weather Books for Kids, Winter Children's Books, Science Kids Books)Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe (Reading Rainbow Books)Thunder CakeWater's WayWhere the River Begins (Picture Puffin Books)


Picture Books About Astronomy

Find the ConstellationsMeteor!A Moon of My Own: A World Travel Book for Kids (Includes an Introduction to World Geography and the Phases of the Moon)Postcards from Pluto: A Tour of the Solar SystemReaching for the MoonStarry Messenger: Galileo GalileiMoon, The (Starting with Space)There's No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)You Are the First Kid on Mars


Picture Books About the Ocean

The Big Book of the Blue (The Big Book Series)Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the SeaManfish: A Story of Jacques CousteauNight of the MoonjelliesAn Octopus Is Amazing (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2)One Tiny Turtle: Read and WonderOtis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the BathysphereShark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist (Women in Science Books, Marine Biology for Kids, Shark Gifts)Wings in the Water: The Story of a Manta Ray - a Smithsonian Oceanic Collection BookSolving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean FloorSponges Are Skeletons (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)The Underwater Alphabet Book (Jerry Pallotta's Alphabet Books)Very Last First TimeWhat's It Like to Be a Fish? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1)


Picture Books About Ecology

Farewell to Shady GladeThe Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain ForestThe Lorax (Classic Seuss)Just a DreamThe Wartville WizardOil Spill! (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science)A River Ran Wild: An Environmental HistoryThe Wump World


Picture Books for Chemistry & Physical Science

Bartholomew and the Oobleck: (Caldecott Honor Book) (Classic Seuss)The Berenstain Bears' Science FairEnergy Makes Things Happen (Rise and Shine) (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)Forces Make Things Move (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)George Washington Carver: Teacher, Scientist, and Inventor (Biographies)How Do You Lift a Lion? (Wells of Knowledge Science Series)I am Albert Einstein (Ordinary People Change the World)Leonardo: Beautiful DreamerLight: Shadows, Mirrors, and Rainbows (Amazing Science)Listen Up!: Alexander Graham Bell's Talking Machine (Step into Reading)Marie Curie (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Inventors & Scientists) (Library Edition)Atoms: (My First Science Textbook Book #3) (Volume 1) (My First Science Textbook, 1)Newton's Rainbow: The Revolutionary Discoveries of a Young ScientistNow & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin FranklinSimple Machines (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)Simple Machines: Wheels, Levers, and PulleysThe Story of SaltSwitch On, Switch Off (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)The Three Little PigsTheodoric's RainbowTimeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our LivesWhat Is the World Made Of?: All About Solids, Liquids, and Gases (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)What Makes a Shadow? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1)What's Smaller Than a Pygmy Shrew? (Wells of Knowledge Science Series)


Picture Books for Science Inquiry

Aesop's The Crow and The PitcherGreg's Microscope (I Can Read Level 3)How Big Is a Foot? (Rise and Shine)Measuring Penny (Rise and Shine)Tomie dePaola's The Popcorn Book (40th Anniversary Edition)Seven Blind Mice (Reading Railroad)


Would you like other living book lists? I have tons of them for you!

More About Living Literature

There are plenty of opportunities to learn how to use living literature in your homeschool in the Our Journey Westward Shop. Not to mention, almost all of the curriculum includes curated living literature lists so you don’t have to do the hard work of figuring out the best books for each topic!

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  1. There are so many books we have not heard of, and would be great for our homeshool journey. Thanks for sharing

  2. You’re very welcome, Clare. 🙂

  3. Deanna Germaine says:

    I love this post!!!! Once again you are such a blessing to my homeschool Cindy!!!!! Thank you!!

  4. Hi! I came across your page while searching for science living/picture books. Your book lists look amazing! Thank you so much for taking the time to compile them for us homeschooling mommas. I am wondering…do the books you mention support a creation/young earth view or are they written from an evolution standpoint? Thank you for your time!

  5. Hi Miranda! Thanks for the encouraging words. Sharing good books is one of my favorite things to do. 🙂 Most of the books on this list are completely neutral.

  6. Today is my first day visiting your website and I must share that I am very impressed! I’ve added many of your book recommendations to our library hold list. Thank you!

  7. I sure hope you enjoy each and every book! 🙂

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