12 Summer Wonder-full Books to Make Kids Even More Curious about the World
Have you seen the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope? NASA unveiled the spectacular full-colour pictures on July 12. It's difficult to describe the vast beauty and mystery of the universe, and how it makes us feel. Does gazing at cosmic cliffs fill you with curiosity and wonder? Maybe with some existential dread and melancholy in the mix? Amazed, excited, inspired?
Share these images at home and in the classroom to spark discussion and learning! Kids love asking questions about space. It's also a popular topic with parents, caregivers and educators because of all the STEM connections you can make. Astronomy books are one of most frequented sections in children's nonfiction. We get lots of questions from kids on our Wonder Wall about black holes, extraterrestrial life, stars and solar systems.
Did you know the Mars rovers Curiosity and Perseverance were both named by kids who won essay contests? Clara Ma was 12 years old when she wrote:
Curiosity is an everlasting flame that burns in everyone's mind. It makes me get out of bed in the morning and wonder what surprises life will throw at me that day. Curiosity is such a powerful force. Without it, we wouldn't be who we are today. ...Curiosity is the passion that drives us through our everyday lives. We have become explorers and scientists with our need to ask questions and to wonder. Sure, there are many risks and dangers, but despite that, we still continue to wonder and dream and create and hope. We have discovered so much about the world, but still so little. We will never know everything there is to know, but with our burning curiosity, we have learned so much.
The power of curiosity can take you to incredible places! Mattea Roach is a Jeopardy! super champ who won 23 games earlier this year. She made history as the most successful Canadian to ever compete on the trivia quiz show. During an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, she was asked what advice she would give to a kid.
My advice to kids who want to be on Jeopardy someday would be to find joy in learning new things and to have that joy of discovery be your primary motivation for learning, because then you'll actually want to do it. The subjects I'm weak on on Jeopardy and in real life are all things that I've never personally found that much fun to learn about, so I've never bothered to read about them in any depth or retain information about them. By contrast, the things I do better on (like music and politics) are things that were first introduced to me in ways that I found fun and interesting, and so I've continued to enjoy learning more about those topics in more depth on my own.
Visit the library this summer and explore together as a family! You don't have to be an astrophysicist to introduce your child to the wonders of space. Discover new facts and ideas about nature and science, history and technology. Children's nonfiction books provide accessible introductions to various topics.
Everything & Everywhere: A Fact-Filled Adventure for Curious Globe-Trotters by Marc Martin
From Hong Kong to Reykjavík, Ulaanbaatar to New York City, embark on a trek around the world.
The How and Wow of the Human Body by Mindy Thomas, Guy Raz and Jack Teagle
A hilarious illustrated journey through the human body, from your tongue to your toes and everything in between.
In the Dark: The Science of What Happens at Night by Lisa Deresti Betik and Josh Holinaty
Why do we dream? How do bats use echolocation? What blooms in the moonlight? Why do stars twinkle? Find out what happens while we're asleep! A 2022 Yellow Cedar Award nominee.
Looking Up: An Illustrated Guide to Telescopes by Jacob Kramer and Stephanie F. Scholz
All over the world, people have built fantastic structures for looking up into the sky. Discover different shapes and sizes of these monuments to curiosity and collaboration!
Myths and Legends of the World by Alli Brydon and Julia Iredale
Meet gods, goddesses, serpents, talking fish and clever spiders in 21 extraordinary stories from peoples and cultures around the globe. A TD Summer Reading Club recommended read.
Packing for Mars for Kids by Mary Roach
Blast off into a wormhole of strange, gross and delightful facts! How do astronauts go to the bathroom? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a spacewalk? Can farts really be deadly in space?
Why Don't Cars Run on Apple Juice? by Kira Vermond and Suharu Ogawa
What keeps the stars from falling from the sky? Why do metal boats float? Find the answers to more than 50 questions asked by kids.
You can also sign up for one of our Wonder Workshops this summer! These hands-on programs challenge kids to create solutions to real problems. Using design-thinking principles, participants can brainstorm, create and test a prototype. Check out the books which inspired these workshops!
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba, Bryan Mealer and Elizabeth Zunon
William built a windmill out of scrap metal and old bicycle parts, bringing electricity to his home and changing his family's lives. Learn about wind energy and sustainability and get inspired to design and build your own invention.
Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover by Markus Motum
Follow Curiosity's journey from construction to touchdown! Take our Mars challenge and brainstorm ways to explore the Red Planet.
Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King
In this novel, Obe discovers a strange creature that only eats plastic. Delve into the book's themes and devise a method of fighting plastic pollution.
Nibi’s Water Song by Sunshine Tenasco and Chief Lady Bird
Nibi is thirsty, but the water from her tap is brown. Her search for clean water inspires change and action, in this picture book that introduces an important topic to young readers.
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
Can a robot survive in the wilderness? Wall-E meets Hatchet in an action-packed sci-fi adventure. In the Wonder Workshop based on this novel, kids can learn about amazing adaptations, design their own creature and brainstorm creative solutions to survival challenges.
No matter what kids are interested in, the library can be their portal to fun, learning and discovery. Our Summer Wonder programs run until September 3. We'd love to see what your family creates! Snap a photo of your tinkering and inventions and share it with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #TPLSummerWonder.
Track all the books you read this summer using a free app called Beanstack. Register your family by visiting tpl.ca/readingapp or by downloading the Beanstack Tracker app for your device. Complete challenges, earn badges and get more book recommendations to make kids curious about the world!