STEM Stories

Stories featuring scientists and curious characters might inspire readers to explore and experiment with things they encounter. Find some suggestions below, then find an adult who can assist with your own observations and search for answers. Do you get the same results as the characters you read about?

NOTE: While we have divided the titles into groups for children in grades 2-5 and children in 5th grade and older, we recognize children read at different levels at different times in their lives. It is up to the child and their parent to determine which of these suggestions are appropriate for them.

Image of STEM chalkboard by Colleen Simon for is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Grades 2-5

Lunch walks among us by James K Benton

Franny K. Stein is a mad scientist who prefers all things spooky and creepy, but when she has trouble making friends at her new school she experiments with fitting in--which works until a monster erupts from the trashcan.

While working on a school science fair project, Babymouse discovers Squish, a new species of amoeba that talks and eats cupcakes.

"Three second-graders who love science get thrown in a wild spiral of adventures after meeting their reclusive neighbor, Dr. Gustav Bunsen. When Dr. Bunsen's growth ray hits a crate of animal figurines, the toys not only start growing, but also come to life"--.

The chicken doesn't skate by Gordon Korman

Wild things happen at the South Middle School when Milo's science project, Henrietta the chicken, becomes the hockey team's mascot and their only chance for a winning season.

Benjamin Franklinstein lives! by Matthew McElligott

While working on a science fair project, a Philadelphia school boy discovers both a secret laboratory in his basement and Benjamin Franklin, who comes to life after receiving a jolt of electricity.

Traveling to Antarctica for a prestigious science competition, twelve-year-old Jack and his genius foster siblings, Ava and Matt, become caught up in a mystery involving a missing scientist.

When Tom's big brother decides to become an Evil Scientist, his first experiment involves dunking Frankie the goldfish into toxic green gunk. Tom knows that there is only one thing to do: Zap the fish with a battery and bring him back to life! But there's something weird about the new Frankie. He's now a BIG FAT ZOMBIE GOLDFISH with hypnotic powers and he's out for revenge!--Amazon.

Project Mulberry : a novel by Linda Sue Park

While working on a project for an after-school club, Julia, a Korean American girl, and her friend Patrick learn not just about silkworms, but also about tolerance, prejudice, friendship, patience, and more. Between the chapters are short dialogues between the author and main character about the writing of the book.

Waylon! : one awesome thing by Sara Pennypacker

Waylon, a boy with the mind of a scientific genius and the vulnerable heart of an eight year old, is trying to understand his older sister and deal with changes among the kids at school.

Billy Sure, twelve-year-old genius inventor and CEO of Sure Things, Inc., hosts a contest for fellow kid innovators to share their own inventions, but he has a difficult time choosing a winner while helping other kids achieve their dreams.

Grades 5 and up

The president of Kprshtskan is plotting to infiltrate the science fair at Hubble Middle School in Maryland in order to take over the United States government, but when Toby Harbinger, an ordinary student, makes up his mind finally to win the fair, the terrorists' plans go awry.

Biracial Brendan Buckley faces new challenges when he enters middle school and, while he deals with issues with his African American father, a new girl at school, and his changing friendship with his best friend, Brendan must decide on an experiment for the national science competition.

In central Texas in 1899, eleven-year-old Callie Vee Tate is instructed to be a lady by her mother, learns about love from the older three of her six brothers, and studies the natural world with her grandfather, the latter of which leads to an important discovery.

Ungifted by Gordon Korman

Due to an administrative mix-up, troublemaker Donovan Curtis is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, a special program for gifted and talented students, after pulling a major prank at middle school.

Nerdy sixth-grader Simon Bloom finds a book that enables him to control the laws of physics, but when two thugs come after him, he needs the formulas in the book to save himself.

The summer experiment by Cathie Pelletier

"A boring summer vacation turns unexpectedly interesting when mysterious lights appear over Roberta's hometown in northern Maine. Roberta is convinced she and her best friend Marillee can win the Maine State Science Fair if only they can find an amazing project to showcase. Communicating with aliens would certainly do the trick"--.

After moving in with their eccentric uncle, Nick and Tesla encounter strange occurrences in their new neighborhood and build gadgets using simple household objects to help them solve the mysteries.

Stealing air by Trent Reedy

Three sixth-grade boys band together to build an experimental aircraft, enduring social and practical difficulties in the process.

Tesla's attic by Neal Shusterman

"With a plot combining science and the supernatural, four kids are caught up in a dangerous plan concocted by the eccentric inventor, Nikola Tesla"--.

Ninjas, piranhas, and Galileo by Greg Leitich Smith

Honoria, Shohei, and Elias, who are "united together against That Which Is The Peshtigo School," face conflict over their budding romantic interest and a science project gone awry.