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STEM literacy links: Visual book browser

Each peach pear plum

A perfect book to spy with your little eyes! Rich in illustrations and full of wonder, it takes the children from fairy tale to fairy tale and invites them to spot nursery rhyme characters…

Waddle Giggle Gargle

There are suggestions that the 2020 magpie swooping season may be more stressful for both magpies and humans in Victoria as the birds struggle to recognise people wearing face masks! How can technology help humans and animals to live together?

What to do with a problem

Whist dealing with problems is an important topic in general, it is also a central topic in technology education. While designing a production process, building a vehicle or setting up an exciting obstacle course, many problems must be identified and tackled. Seeing each of these as an opportunity is a good mindset for the young engineers in your care…

Ten little pirates

Go beyond the obvious STEM-relevant counting backwards from ten. There is a wealth of discussion points in this story, such as different weather phenomena and dangerous animals at sea. You can look into cause and venture into the world of acoustics by creating some of the sound effects from the story…

Alfie gets in first

The story is a wonderful demonstration of cause and effect and the relationship between events. It is also a great starting point to explore the fundamental method of problem-solving – trial and error…

Mr Seahorse

This is the colourful story of Mr Seahorse, who takes good care of the eggs that Mrs Seahorse has laid in his pouch. The children may find parallels not only with their parents’ love and guidance but also with the support they receive from their educators and the trust in their abilities that the children experience in their daily lives.

Avocado Baby

The baby in this story grows ridiculously strong from eating avocados, so much so that he can fight off burglars and move furniture around. Discuss some of the topics touched on by the story. What makes you strong? What can and can’t babies do? Do certain types of food make you strong?…

Elmer

Celebrating difference and reminding us that we are happiest in our own skin, this story can help strengthen children’s confidence and acceptance of differences and is also a great starting point to discuss the role of colour and camouflage in the animal world.

Rosie’s walk

This quick and simple story will help you get the attention of all children and works well with the younger ones. Encourage them to map a course for Rosie through the centre, with traps and hurdles for the fox. This is a great opportunity to expand on the language…

Where’s My Mom?

Join this unlikely pair of animals in their search for the monkey’s mum. Starting with size, the monkey declares that his mum is bigger than him and the butterfly takes him to an elephant. The story itself is one of inquiry-based learning. As the educator, you can take a step back and observe the children learning to work together through trial and error.

Our home, our heartbeat

Belonging, Being and Becoming are such important aspects of children’s lives and are beautifully conveyed by the children featured in this book, who are inspired by Aboriginal legends past and present: “My history is my strength, my future is my own.”

Isaac and his amazing Asperger superpowers!

Isaac’s brain works a bit differently, which gives him “superpowers”, such as being able to remember lots of things, having lots of energy and hearing noises that other people can’t hear.

The crow and the pitcher

When a thirsty crow can’t get its beak inside a pitcher to drink the water, it collects pebbles and drops them into the pitcher. Once the water level has risen to the top, the clever crow finally manages to quench its thirst, proving that necessity is indeed the mother of invention…

Mr Archimedes’ bath

Mr Archimedes’ bath overflows when he and his friends hop in, so he starts taking measurements and doing experiments to try and understand why. When Mr Archimedes and the animals finally work out that they all together cause the overflow, instead of fixing the problem, they revel in their power and keep hopping in and out to make the water levels rise and fall again and again.

Compost Stew

Use this book as a starting point for your next compost project in your service. If you don’t have the possibility to make a compost in your service let the children draw their own compost stew. What ingredients can and can’t they put into a compost? Why? What do they think happens…

The day the crayons quit

‘The day the crayons quit’ is a wonderful starting point to talk about colours and what they mean to the children. Take out a box of crayons and ask the children about their favourite colour. Are there any rules about which colour should be used for certain things? Which colour would they use for something hot? Which for something cold? Can animals see colours, too?

Twig

A gentle story about friendship and how differences and abilities enrich our lives. The author Aura Parker, takes young readers to a busy bug school where we meet Heidi, a stick insect who is long and tall and camouflages very well with the trees, almost too well, as no one else notices her at first…

Breathe

In the face of the stresses and uncertainties of the current world, educators and carers can help children to learn about techniques and strategies to release stress and to calm the body and mind.

Mr Bear Branches and the cloud conundrum

Mr Bear Branches is a thinker, Lintfrey Longfellow is a dreamer and they are the very best of friends. Mr Bear Branches explains Lintfrey all about condensation and evaporation. But then he realises that exploring the wonders of the natural world can be magical, too…

The Man Who Loved Boxes

This lovely story offers a great opportunity to explore relationships, family, love and being different alongside an abundance of STEM topics, such as shapes and sizes, engineering, design and sustainability. We don’t usually think of engineering as an expression of love, do we? What if everything in the world was built to make others happy? Can you love…

Heads and Tails

Play a little guessing game as you’re shown just the tails of a number of insects alongside descriptions of their attributes, behaviours, habitats and movements. How many insects can the children recognise…

The crocodile who didn’t like water

This lovely story about finding the balance of trying to fit in while accepting your differences is a great starting point for discussing animal and human behaviours. Do cats and dogs like being in the water? Which animals like being in water? Which animals climb trees? Do you like being in the water? Do you sometimes feel different from…

Shh! We have a plan

This story is a great starting point for exploring the concept of sizes and numbers. Encourage the children to build a queue with the tallest at the front and the littlest at the end all facing one direction. Let the children count their position, starting from front to back.

Wednesday

This exploration of Little Round and Big Square’s friendship opens up a wonderful world of creativity and geometry. As much as the two friends love transforming into different shapes, at some point Little Round admits, “I’m too little, I can’t do that”, prompting the friends to start creating even more interesting shapes together. A great example of how co-construction…

Something Wonderful

The story is a great starting point for exploring loose parts play. Invite the children to move, carry, combine, redesign, line up, take apart and put back together different loose parts. Loose parts play supports invention, divergent thinking, problem solving and offers a sense of wonder to children.

How to clean a hippopotamus

Why does a giraffe let an oxpecker climb into its ear?” “Why does a crab wave an anemone like a pom-pom?” – Find the answers to these and other intriguing questions in this compilation of symbiotic relationships between animals big and small, on land, in the water or air, and all over the world.

Mirror

This book allows the children to experience a day in the lives of two boys and their families simultaneously, one in Australia and the other in Morocco. The wordless story introduces children to different cultures with different lifestyles, landscapes, clothing and habits and shows beautifully that, despite all these differences, families are…

Under the Stars

The beautiful illustrations in the book compliment the 46 factual stories about our sky and our amazing universe, combining to evoke a sense of adventure and exploration. From a place of calm and safety, girls and boys are encouraged to explore the planets, stars and galaxies and exercise their insatiable curiosity to ask…

Press Here

Press the yellow dot, turn the page … and be part of an interactive journey that will spark the children’s imagination. A brilliant book for introducing concepts such as cause and effect, Press here invites children to rub dots to change their colour, grow dots by clapping their…

Step Gently Out

The beautiful close-up photos allow the children to study a variety of bugs in great detail. Have they ever been able to study insects or spiders so closely? What types of bugs can they find in the garden? Do they look…

Milli, Jack and the Dancing Cat

This book is an encouragement and inspiration to all children who do things a little bit different. Unconventional problem-solving skills have been the starting point for many inventions…

Am I Yours?

A strong wind separates an egg from its parents and one by one the dinosaurs ask it questions to find out by process of elimination, which species it belongs to…

A Rat in a Stripy Sock

A rat finds a colourful sock on a grey day, crawls into it and imagines eating and dancing with the neighbours and flying away with balloons to pursue his dreams. He is still just a rat in the rain, but he is happy…

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Gerda Muller tells the Goldilocks story slightly differently with the porridge in the two bigger bowls both being too hot and the smallest just right. Which version makes sense? Try it out with the children! Serve hot porridge in different-sized bowls and check and compare the temperature as it cools. This can easily lead to further investigations…

Owl Moon

This book is all about experiencing with all your senses and being aware of the here and now. Ask the children if they have gone for a walk when it was dark outside. How did it feel? What did they hear? Does the night air smell differently? Did they spot any nocturnal animals? Use this story to go outdoors to explore the surroundings and encourage families to go on adventure walks…

Big Rain Coming

‘Big rain coming’ is a lyrical story about waiting for the rain. Old Stephen wisely predicts throughout the book that rain is coming.
Predictions can serve as hypotheses during scientific research. What do the children already know about rain and what stories shape their understanding? What do animals and people do when there is no water? What could they make or do to help save water…

Gregory, the Terrible Eater

This little satire of a child wanting healthy food while the parents are trying to coax him into eating junk (literally!), will easily draw the children into a discussion of healthy food and human and animal eating habits. What do parents usually want their children to eat? How often do you need to try something new before you like it? Why are vegetables good for you? What do goats really eat? What are omnivores? Does anyone really eat rubbish…

How the Birds got their Colours

When reading this story, invite your children to sit in a circle to enjoy every page, and use each one as an invitation to spark different paths of inquiry. Children might want to research more about the specific characteristics and habits of birds, or discover and observe different colours in the natural world. Try experimenting using different materials to create your own depiction of the book and explore how colours are formed…

Uno’s Garden

Uno’s story is a wonderful starting point for discussing a number of important issues and concepts with the children, such as numbers and their growth, cause and effect, ethics and action, and personal and communal responsibility for the environment with the children…

The Incredible Freedom Machines

The book ‘The incredible freedom machines’ takes the reader to a dusty town somewhere in Australia to a young girl that watches others using so-called freedom machines. She dreams about building her very own freedom machine but realises it takes time, effort, and determination to learn how to use it…

Malala’s Magic Pencil

Too often, we meet the attitudes of ‘I’m not good at STEM’, ‘I hated Math at school’ and ‘I just don’t have a sciencey brain’. This book is a great conversation starter for resilience, overcoming adversity and breaking out of the mould…

Bridges are to Cross

Take this opportunity to travel the world with the children, inspecting different kinds of wonderful bridges, each fulfilling a particular purpose, constructed using different methods and materials and located in a variety of settings…

Going Places

Maya’s friend Rafael can’t believe his eyes when he visits her before racing day. The cart doesn’t look like anything he has ever seen before. Maya followed her own imagination instead of the kit’s instructions in her attempt to fly like the bird she observed. It comes as no surprise that Maya’s flying go-cart wins the race…

The Squid, the Vibrio & the Moon

Just like any other book, this story can lead to many different explorations. It could get the children thinking and talking about symbioses they can observe or experience in their everyday lives and even inside their own bodies. They might want to research other interesting facts about sea animals or find out more about animal communication…

All the World

This openhearted poem captures the moods and beauty of everyday life and takes the reader to the core of human existence. Beauty, love and humanity is found in the simplest and smallest things. Be that a feather twirling in the wind, a beautiful old tree inviting children to climb in, a cosy kitchen filled with laughter and the smell of cupcakes, a thunderstorm rolling in and leaving people rushing to find shelter or a wave crashing against a rocky shore…

All the Ways to be Smart

Raise children’s self- esteem by talking about how they don’t need to be academic but that being practical, creative and empathetic are also ways to be smart. Choose one of the colourful pages and begin!…

Sarabella’s Thinking Cap

Children whose perception differs from the mainstream can find it challenging to connect to the world around them. Sarabella’s Thinking Cap is the story of a girl who is always daydreaming, thinking and imagining and has a hard time connecting with other children…

Alpacas with Maracas

Mary, our Little Scientists Quality Assessor, reads the delightfully appealing Alpacas with Maracas as part of National Simultaneous Storytime…

If I was Prime Minister

On the election weekend, we would like to hear from the children: What world do they want to live in? What would happen if they were in charge? The book ‘If I was Prime Minister’ investigates this thought further. Stimulating the children’s enthusiasm through fun and delightful and humorous illustrations from the author reflecting Australian culture we are drawn into children’s ‘wild imagination’…

Zero

Start the exploration of the number zero and its role by hearing its story from Zero herself. Upset that she doesn’t feature in the count and having failed to transform herself into a different number, Zero is trying to find her value and her place among the other numbers…

Papa’s Mechanical Fish

The book ‘Papa’s Mechanical Fish’ illustrates how children’s questions can lead to wonderful discoveries and new learnings.  Working collaboratively with their peers; children can explore many possibilities, evaluate their observations and help to solve everyday problems.  What questions and problems can you solve by encouraging a sense of wonder with children…

Who Says Women Can’t be Computer Programmers?

Although her mother tried to steer her towards mathematics and away from following her father, Lord Byron, down the dark path of poetry and imagination, Ada Lovelace found that creativity and logic go well together after all. Ada grew up to be a mathematician and is often regarded as the first to recognise the full potential of a “computing machine”…

Extra Yarn

The story is about Annabelle and her adventures in a cold and dark town using a never-ending box of colourful yarn to bring about transformation in this community with a variety of colourful yarn creations. Use the story as a platform to launch into a variety of explorations with the children…

Petra

Wonderfully depicting children’s love for playfully discovering the natural world around them, the book encourages them to see things differently. Celebrate children’s enthusiasm for thinking outside the box by finding new functions for a stick, dreaming up different futures for a sea shell or imagining the adventures of a gumnut…

Imagine

Combine children’s creativity and imagination with learning about the natural world and broadening their vocabulary by learning the animals’ names, making their conversations and observations more specific. Imagine is a wonderfully illustrated book with a sense of wonder and abundance of colour…

The Book with No Pictures

Celebrating children’s appreciation of nonsense and giving them the power to make adults say silly things, The Book With No Pictures bravely leaves the realm of the picture book behind and focuses on sound instead…

Don’t Call Me Bear

This funny rant by Warren, a koala who is sick of being called a bear, is a great reminder that it is important to use correct terminology when speaking to children. You can also try to introduce more scientific language into the children’s vocabulary, for example, by talking about what makes a koala a marsupial…

Possum magic

Possums’ trip across Australia to find out how to make Hush visible again is a wonderful illustration of the joys of inquiry-based learning. Through trial and error and true hands-on experiences, they find the answer to their question, How do we make Hush visible again…

Ada Twist, Scientist

Ada Twist is full of questions about the world she lives in. When she comes across a mystery, she learns all she can on the subject, then comes up with a hypothesis and tests it.
The book is such a lovely illustration of what we at Little Scientists believe in so firmly: Every child is curious and needs to be given the opportunity to learn about the world in a hands-on way…

Shark Lady

The story of the Shark Lady is a great way to encourage children to find ways to pursue their dreams and their quest for knowledge. Eugenie Clark, the girl fascinated by her experiences at the aquarium, grows up to become the Shark Lady, discovering three new marine species and dispelling myths about sharks…

The Boy Who Loved Math

Dive into mathematician Paul Erdős’ life and experience his passion for numbers and solving problems. You can encourage the children to look for numbers and mathematical symbols in the text and illustrations. What rules do the children know? Which rules make them feel safe and which ones do they not like? Do they know any rules or patterns to do with numbers…

Where’s my teddy?

The children will notice that Freddy looks normal in size when Eddy is holding him but tiny in the bear’s hands. This is a great introduction to the mathematical concept of size. This is also a brilliant opportunity to combine STEM learning with promoting the children’s language development as they will be using their comparative and superlative adjectives of size: “How big is your teddy?” – “It’s bigger than yours. But’ Laura’s is the biggest…

Fish is Fish

One of the educational pillars of our program is co-construction – where educators and children work together and collaborate to build knowledge. We like to use this book in our Water workshop to talk about how important it is to recognise a child’s developmental stage and prior knowledge to give them the best support in their cognitive development…

Why I love Australia

Enjoy the rich colours and wonderful shapes in Bronwyn Bancroft’s magnificent celebration of country with the children. Which are their favourite pictures? What colours and shapes do they like? Which plants grow in this landscape and which animals live there? Which of the landscapes from the book can you see when you go outside…

Who Sank the Boat?

This book is an excellent choice if you would like to explore water displacement with the children. This could lead into projects on investigating the best ways to get into a boat or even building model boats and trying out how much weight these can carry and how it can be distributed…

Commotion in the Ocean

Dive into the colourful and exciting world of blubber, tusks, jaws and fins with this vibrant book. Can the children walk like crabs? How do other animals move? Learn how dolphins speak and think about how other animals communicate. From the anatomy and habitat of different creatures to food chains and colours, there is a lot to explore with your children…

Wombat Stew

Use this book to encourage the children to make their own wombat stew. Which ingredients dissolve and which don’t? Which ones float and which ones sink? Once the wombat stew has been cooked, the children can investigate how the Dingo could go about cleaning the water again…

Swimmy

Reading this story about one brave fish and his friends may inspire conversations about optical illusions, camouflage, food chains and how animals stay safe from predators. The story also has a message appropriate for little scientists: It is much more fun to explore the world as a group than on your own…

Zog

A picture book about Zog, the ambitious dragon and a princess who chooses a medical career over doing nothing whilst wearing frilly dresses…

The Nowhere Box

George dreams up a landscape completely made from cardboard. Could you build these things in real life? Which toys do the children have that are made from cardboard? What are other toys made of? What are the benefits of making toys from old boxes…

Perfect Square

The Perfect Square will have your kids thinking about shapes in a whole new way. Get creative by exploring what can happen when you take a square apart whilst exploring other shapes in the process…

Swirl by Swirl

This book is a fantastic starting point for discussing the beauty and usefulness of spirals in nature and can lead to a huge variety of questions such as: Where else can we find spirals? How are spirals different from circles? Which other shapes are useful in nature…

Waddle Wiggle Gargle

Pamela Allen tells us the story of three creative engineers who terrify the magpie with their invention. How else can children use their engineering skills to address real needs in their environment…

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