What would be called the formal living room in our house is called the library, for good reason.  I had one person comment on how I decorate with legos, but there are more books than legos on the shelves… I think.    Here are some books that have been a real hit with my kids and others in my classes.

wonderful elements1.  Wonderful Life with the Elements: The Periodic Table Personified by Bunpei Yorifuji.  This book is translated from Japanese and is a very  unique book on the elements. The kids loved it when I used it in chemistry class to explain how the different elements behaved.  The author has made each element into a character and their age (when the element was discovered), shape (gases looks like ghosts in the leg area and heavier elements are overweight), hair (family in periodic table) , clothing (what its used for), represent different qualities of the element.  But we warned, not all elements are fully clothes and they are drawn anatomically correct… sort of.  It also comes with a fold out poster. I heard many kids in class asking their parents to buy this book.

Marie curie2.  Great Figures in History by Ykids.  These are manga style biographies of famous people; Albert Einstein, Gandhi, Marie Curie, DaVinci, Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela.  A lot of kids borrowed these to take home and read.  The books follow the main character from childhood to old age/death.  The stories are very interesting and the manga style with the exaggerated facial expressions grab the kids attention.  I just wish they had made more of these, but I think they went out of business because their website doesn’t work anymore. You can still find the books on Amazon.

the way things work3. The Way Thing Work by David Macaulay.  I have the original book, but it looks like there is a newer version, The New Way Things Work.  This book is a great ‘go to book’ when you kid asks, “How does a sewing machine work?”  The illustrations, complete with mammoths, explain how things work with great cut away views and explanations.   Topics include simple machines (gears, pulleys, levers, etc),  floating, flying, pressure, heat, jet engines, light, photography, sound, music and even electricity.  I’v gotten a lot of his books out of the library and have enjoyed them all.  The Motel of the Mysteries was especially entertaining since it was a tale of an archaeologist in the future finding a hotel and trying to figure out what all the things were used for – including a toilet which he believes is used for communicating with the gods!  I’m probably going to suggest that book for my Big History class.

the way science works4.The Way Science Works.   I really like this book and think it would stand as a spine for some basic science at home with middle school or younger.  Its a beautiful book with great explanations and experiments to do at home scattered through out.  It covers chemistry and physics:  matter, atoms, elements, forces, energy, heat, sound, light, color, electricity and magnetism.

stunning science5. The Stunning Science of Everything.  I already mentioned this book in another post.  Great book by Horrible Histories/Science that starts with the big bang and moves on from there.