Gift Guide 2017

51 Nerdy Books That Every Nerd Will Love This Holiday

Nerdy Books

2017 Raising Nerd Mega Holiday Wish List:
BONUS Books Edition Part 1


His library was a fine dark place bricked with books, so anything could happen there and always did. All you had to do was pull a book from the shelf and open it and suddenly the darkness was not so dark anymore.”    ― Ray Bradbury, Farewell Summer

Looking for the perfect science books for your kids? Want to inspire your Nerds with some amazing stories of famous Nerds? Or just want to have them learn more about the world around them. We have your Nerdy Books list!

Here for your holiday shopping convenience are our top picks for the perfect STEM/STEAM-related book gifts that will mesmerize and inspire all the Nerds on your list. Below you’ll find fiction and non-fiction titles for young Nerds ages 8 and under.

Without the library, you have no civilization.”  – Ray Bradbury

Of course, a great alternative (or supplement) to buying new books as gifts is to have your Nerd apply for or use a library card. It’s absolutely free!

In fact, many books on this year’s Wish List may soon or already be on library shelves – or even in a Little Free Library around your neighborhood – just waiting to be discovered! Whatever method you use to acquire your books, we’re sure your Nerds will find something on our list that will inspire wonder, excite their senses, and fuel their imaginations.


Nerdy Books for Little Nerdlings UNDER 3

ABCs of Mathematics, General Relativity for Babies and Optical Physics for Babies (Baby University series) by Chris Ferrie
With a tongue-in-cheek approach that adults will love, the Baby University board book series is the perfect way to introduce basic concepts to even the youngest scientists.

Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering (Baby Loves Science series) by Ruth Spiro and Illustrated by Irene Chan
Accurate enough to satisfy an expert, yet simple enough for baby, this book explores the basics of flight – from birds, to planes and rockets – and ties it all to baby’s world.

Hello World! Solar System by Jill McDonald
Every young child loves to look up at the moon in the night sky. Now here’s a board book that can teach toddlers all about the sun, moon, stars, and planets—with colors, shapes, sizes, and super-simple facts.


Nerdy Books For Emerging Nerds AGES 3 to 5

Nerdy Books

Nerdy Fiction Books

7 Ate 9 by Tara Lazar
The author imagines this popular schoolyard joke coming to life with a humorous whodunnit. What if 6 went to a Private “I” in the “Capital” city, determined to discover how 9 disappeared?

R is For Robot: A Noisy Alphabet by Adam Watkins
In this noisy alphabet book, Adam F. Watkins’ silly robots are building the alphabet. It features hilarious robots making goofy noises.

Little Changes by Dr. Tiffany Taylor
This story helps teach little Nerds about the wonders of evolution, and gets them asking questions about the world they live in.

Questions Asked by Jostein Gaarder (Ages 3-7)
Questions Asked shows confidence in a curious child’s capacity to think deeply and read between the lines. A little boy travels alone in an open landscape. Soon we realize he is on a journey of thoughts and dreams, asking questions about loss, myth, language, magic, and what it means to be a human being.

Nerdy Books

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires (Ages 3-7)
Award-winning author and illustrator Ashley Spires tells the story of an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea to create something “magnificent,” and knows just how it will look and how it will work. All she has to do is make it. But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, she gets so mad that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it right. This funny book demonstrates the rewards of perseverance and creativity.

The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires (Ages 4-7)
This story depicts what kids go through when confronted with something difficult. The author sensitively portrays Lou procrastinating, making excuses, imagining alternatives and denying she cares. Ultimately, Lou faces her fear, and although she fails, the effort empowers her, encouraging a growth mindset.

Coppernickel: The Invention by Wouter van Reek (Ages 3-7)
This is a timeless tale of imagination and friendship. Coppernickel the bird and Tungsten the dog, set out to invent a machine for picking hard-to-reach elderberries.

Anything is Possible (Ages 4-7) by Giulia Belloni
Through perseverance and the process of trial and error, the sheep and wolf manage to create a winning design, brought to life by architecturally and mathematically inspired paper collage art.

There’s Nothing to Do on Mars (Ages 4-8) by Chris Gall
When Davey Martin’s family moves to Mars, he discovers that there’s nothing to do–at least until he and his robot dog Polaris learn to seize the spirit of adventure.

Nerdy Books
Nerdy Non-Fiction Books

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers
A user’s guide to life on Earth created especially for the author’s son, yet with a universality that embraces all children and their parents. Be it a complex view of our planet’s terrain, a deep look at our place in space, or a guide to all of humanity, Jeffers’ wit and humor combine with a value system of kindness and tolerance.

Sun, Rain, Snow, Wind, Rainbow, and Clouds (Weather Ready-to-Read books) by Marion Dane Bauer and Illustrated by John Wallace
Newbery Honor recipient and New York Times bestselling author Marion Dane Bauer teaches beginning readers about various weather elements.

Roaring Rockets by Tony Mitton
Get ready for blast-off to learn all about rockets! Roaring Rockets follows the animal crew as they become astronauts heading to the Moon.

Space Walk and Deep Sea Dive (Lift-the-Flap Adventures) by Salina Yoon
Interactive board books let kids explore the underwater world to learn about deep-sea creatures and blast off into space on a cosmic adventure through our solar system.

Nerdy Books

Art Lab for Little Kids: 52 Playful Projects for Preschoolers by Susan Schwak
Hands-on fine art experiences for kids 4-6 years old. Each Lab features the work of a prominent artist for inspiration. The book begins with an introduction on materials and setting up a space for making art. The lessons that follow are open-ended to be explored over and over – with different results each time. This motivational book is a unique reference for creating fine art with children while helping them find their own voice.


National Geographic KIDS: Hey, Baby! A Collection of Pictures, Poems, and Stories From Nature’s Nursery (Ages 4-8) by Stephanie Warren Drimmer
Join National Geographic Kids on a trip around the globe to celebrate nature’s nursery. Get up close to adorable baby animals — from the teensiest turtle hatchling to the biggest baby whales; from black bear cubs frolicking free in the Rocky Mountains to a kangaroo joey lounging safely in its mother’s pouch.

Our Solar System (Ages 3-6) by Connie and Peter Roop
Young astronomers can journey into outer space in this fun, basic introduction to the solar system. The unique format presents our sun and planets in order with graduated flaps – kids can turn the flaps to reveal fascinating facts on each celestial body, and even the Milky Way!

Nerdy Books

Creature Features: Twenty-Five Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do (Ages 4-7) by Steve Jenkins
Packed with many cool facts and visuals on where certain animals live and what they eat, this book captures twenty-five humorous—and very true—explanations of why animals look the way they do in order to exist in this world.

Rocks: Hard, Soft, Smooth and Rough by Natalie M. Rosinsky and Illustrated by Matthew John
Complete with activities and experiments, this book is perfect for introducing little Nerds to geology.

Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea (Ages 4-7) by Steve Jenkins
More people have stood on the surface of the moon than have visited the deepest spot in the ocean.  Travel down, down, down, from the surface to the bottom of the sea with award-winning author-illustrator Steve Jenkins. Along the way, Nerds will see jellyfish that flash like a neon sign, creatures with teeth so big, they can’t close their mouths, and even a squid as long as a bus, which battles to the death with a sperm whale, the largest predator on earth.

Human Body Theater: A Non-Fiction Review (Ages 4+) by Maris Wicks
Welcome to the Human Body Theater, where your master of ceremonies is going to lead you through a theatrical revue of each and every biological system of the human body! Starting out as a skeleton, the MC puts on a new layer of her costume (her body) with each “act.”

Nerdy Books For New Nerds AGES 6 to 8

Nerdy Books

Nerdy Fiction Books

Disney Pixar: A Pop-Up Celebration by Matthew Reinhart (Ages 6+)
Did you know, there are many hidden “Easter eggs” in every Pixar movie? But what about Easter eggs in every pop-up? Featuring five spreads with more than 30 pop-ups from New York Times best-selling author, artist, and pop-up master Matthew Reinhart, this breathtaking work of art revisits Pixar’s impressive history. Like each Pixar movie, each pop contains Easter eggs! Learn more about this awesome paper engineer by reading our Raising Nerd Profile interview with Matthew HERE.

Sarabella’s Thinking Cap by Judy Schachner (Ages 5-8)
Sarabella is always thinking. There is so much going on in her head that it can barely be contained. But there are times when daydreaming is decidedly not a good thing—like when you’re supposed to be doing multiplication tables. Luckily, Sarabella has an understanding teacher and with his encouragement, she comes up with her own idea to show everyone who she is. From the creator of the popular Skippyjon Jones series.

A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman (Ages 4-8)
Our world is full of constantly changing numbers: from a 100 billion trillion stars in space to 37 billion rabbits on Earth. Can you imagine that many of anything?

The playful illustrations from New York Times-bestselling artist Isabel Greenberg and the straightforward voice of the author illuminate some of the biggest and smallest numbers in the universe.

Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg (Ages 3-8)
This award-winning, best-selling, one-of-a-kind interactive book shows kids how every mistake is an opportunity to make something beautiful. Beautiful Oops! is filled with pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, tears, holes, overlays, bends, smudges, and even an accordion “telescope”— each demonstrating the magical transformation from blunder to wonder.

Nerdy Books

Doug Unplugged by Dan Yaccarino (Ages 5-9)
Doug is a robot. His parents want him to be smart, so each morning they plug him in and start the information download. After a morning spent learning facts about the city, Doug suspects he could learn even more about the city by going outside and exploring it. And so Doug…unplugs.

Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding by Linda Liukas
Ruby is a small girl with a huge imagination, and the determination to solve any puzzle. As Ruby stomps around her world making new friends, kids will be introduced to the fundamentals of computational thinking, like how to break big problems into small ones, create step-by-step plans, look for patterns, and think outside the box through storytelling. Then, these basic concepts at the core of coding and programming are reinforced through fun exercises and activities that encourage exploration and creativity.

Robo-Sauce by Adam Rubin and Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri (Ages 4-8)
Fans of the best-selling Dragons Love Tacos will devour this hilarious picture book about robots that magically transforms into a super shiny metal ROBO-BOOK.

Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen (Ages 4-8)
Violet is a science-loving girl inventor with a flair for the air! Fans of Ada Twist, Scientist and Rosie Revere, Engineer will love this classic underdog story by a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist.

Rosie Revere’s Big Project Book for Bold Engineers, Ada Twist’s Big Project Book for Stellar Scientists, and Iggy Peck’s Big Project Book for Amazing Architects by Andrea Beaty (Ages 5-7)
These activity books feature art from the popular picture book series. The books teach problem-solving and creative-thinking skills crucial to STEM fields while also providing opportunities for kids to try new things and, sometimes, to fail.

Nerdy Non-Fiction Books

The Big Book of Bugs by Yuval ZommerNerdy Books
From moths and beetles to worms and spiders, the world is crawling with fascinating bugs. The Big Book of Bugs is the first fact-filled book for children to explore the vast array of creepy-crawlies that share our Earth.

The Street Beneath My Feet by Charlotte Guillain and Illustrated by Yuval Zommer
This double-sided foldout book takes Nerds on a fascinating journey deep underground. One side shows the ground beneath the city, while the reverse side shows the ground beneath the countryside. Mixing urban and rural settings, covering subjects such as geology, archaeology, and natural history, The Street Beneath My Feet offers kids the opportunity to explore their world through a detailed learning experience. The book’s fold-out format extends to eight feet in length.

50 Things to See With a Telescope – KIDS by John Read
This colorful book explores the constellations, guiding kids to dozens of galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters. Every page features a helpful “telescope view,” showing exactly how objects appear through a small telescope or binoculars.

The Garden Classroom: Hands-On Activities in Math, Science, Literacy, and Art by Cathy James
Packed with garden-based activities that promote science, math, reading, writing, imaginative play, and arts and crafts, The Garden Classroom offers a whole year of outdoor play and learning ideas—however big or small your garden.

Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire Nivola
With stunningly detailed pictures of the wonders of the sea, Life in the Ocean tells the story of Sylvia Earle’s growing passion and how her ocean exploration and advocacy have made her known around the world. This picture book biography includes an informative author’s note that will motivate young environmentalists.


My Journey to the StarsNerdy Books by Scott Kelly and Illustrated by André Ceolin
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly was the first to spend an entire year in space! This picture book memoir (the perfect companion to his adult book Endurance) takes readers from Scott’s childhood as an average student to his record-breaking year among the stars.

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson

The story of a curious boy who never stopped wondering: Carl Sagan. Star Stuff follows Sagan from his days stargazing from the bedroom window of his Brooklyn apartment, through his love of speculative science fiction novels, to his work as an internationally renowned scientist who worked on the Voyager missions exploring the farthest reaches of space.


A Little Bit of Dirt: 55+ Science and Art Activities to Reconnect Children with Nature by Asia Citro
Bursting with creative hands-on outdoor science and art activities, A Little Bit of Dirt is full of motivation to get outside and explore. Whether you and your Nerds are investigating the health of your local stream, making beautiful acrylic sunprints with leaves and flowers, running an experiment with your backyard birds, or concocting nature potions, you’ll be fostering an important connection with nature.

Nerdy Books

Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau and On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne
Poetic text and gorgeous paintings come together to create portraits of Cousteau and Einstein that are as magical as they are inspiring.

Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci by Joseph D’Agnese
As a boy in medieval Italy, Leonardo Fibonacci thought about numbers day and night. He was such a daydreamer that people called him a blockhead. When he grew up and traveled the world, he was inspired by the numbers used in different countries. Then he realized that many things in nature, from the number of petals on a flower to the spiral of a nautilus shell, seem to follow a certain pattern.

National Geographic KIDS Ultimate Dinopedia, Second Edition (Ages 7 -10) by “Dino” Don Lessem and Illustrated by Franco Tempesta
The new edition of the popular Nat Geo KIDS Dinopedia includes all the latest species and is the most complete, up-to-date dinosaur reference available.

Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space by Dominic Walliman
This book, filled with retro artwork, will tell your Nerds everything that there could be to know about our star, our planet, our solar system, our galaxy, and our universe.

Nerdy Books

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark
The inspiring story of Grace Hopper—the boundary-breaking woman who revolutionized computer science.

The Fly, The Worm, The Slug, and Head Lice (titles from The Disgusting Critters Series) by Elise Gravel
Here’s a collection of humorous books about disgusting creatures. Although silly and off-the-wall, The Disgusting Critters Series books contain factual information that ties into STEM curriculum.

Over and Under the Pond, Over and Under the Snow, and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner and Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
These books beautifully depict above- and below-ground cutaway views revealing habitats, vegetation, and the wildlife that dwells within them. These illustrated stories are perfect for giving your Nerds a greater appreciation of the natural world.

Burn: Michael Faraday’s Candle by Darcy Pattison (Ages 6-12)
Solid wax is somehow changed into light and heat. But how? Travel back in time to December 28, 1848 in London, England, when British scientist Michael Faraday encouraged kids to carefully observe a candle and try to figure out how it burned. Faraday’s passion was always to answer the basic questions of science: “What is the cause?” His fascinating lecture, “The Chemical History of a Candle,” continuously in print since 1861, has finally been adapted as a children’s picture book.

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating
In his Raising Nerd Profile interview, conservationist and filmmaker Philippe Cousteau cited oceanographer Eugenie Clark as one of his earliest career influences. Clark fell in love with sharks from the first moment she saw them at the aquarium. But she quickly discovered that many people believed sharks to be ugly and scary―and they didn’t think women should be scientists. Determined to prove them wrong, Eugenie devoted her life to learning about sharks. After earning several college degrees and making countless discoveries, Eugenie wrote herself into the history of science, earning the nickname “Shark Lady.”

Art Workshop for Children: How to Foster Original Thinking with More Than 25 Process Art Experiences by Barbara Rucci (Ages 7-10)
Art Workshop for Children is not just another book of straightforward art projects. The book’s unique child-led approach provides a framework for cultivating creative thinking and encourages the wonder that comes when children are allowed to freely explore the creative process and their materials.


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Coming up on soon, we’ll have Part 2 of our Bonus Books Edition with great Nerdy books for older Nerds ages 8-12 and 12 to adult.  And be sure to check out our main Raising Nerd Mega Holiday Wish List as well as the Bonus Stocking Stuffers Edition.

Wait! Before you go, let us know in the comments what YOUR favorite book was growing up and that you’ve shared or look forward to sharing with your Nerds.

Nerd on!

Nerdy Books


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