STEM chapter books and STEM books for kids in general are close to my heart because of my STEM background. I love how accessible and possible they make that field for kids. In case you didn’t know, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics! So, you’ll find on this list, stories about kids who love science, coding, math, robotics, and the like. Although these STEM chapter books are geared toward younger readers, there’s no reason older kids can’t enjoy reading them too.
Best STEM Chapter Books for Kids Ages 5-8
Here are some of the best STEM chapter books for kids ages 5-8:
The Friendship Code: Girls Who Code
Published: August 22, 2017
Loops, variables, input/output – Lucy can’t wait to get started with the new coding club at school. Finally, an after school activity that she’s really interested in. But Lucy’s excitement turns to disappointment when she’s put into a work group with girls she barely knows. All she wanted to do was make an app that she believes will help someone very special to her.
Suddenly, Lucy begins to get cryptic coding messages and needs some help translating them. She soon discovers that coding – and friendship – takes time, dedication, and some laughs!
Jada Jones: Rock Star
Published: September 19, 2017
When Jada Jones’s best friend moves away, school feels like the last place she wants to be. She’d much rather wander outside looking for cool rocks to add to her collection, since finding rocks is much easier than finding friends. So when Jada’s teacher announces a class project on rocks and minerals, Jada finally feels like she’s in her element. The only problem: one of her teammates doesn’t seem to like any of Jada’s ideas. She doesn’t seem to like Jada all that much, either. Can Jada figure out a way to make a winning science project and a new friend?
Published: January 16, 2018
Ellie is an engineer. With a tool belt strapped over her favorite skirt (who says you can’t wear a dress and have two kinds of screwdrivers handy, just in case?), she invents and builds amazing creations in her backyard workshop. Together with her best friend Kit, Ellie can make anything. As Kit’s birthday nears, Ellie doesn’t know what gift to make until the girls overhear Kit’s mom talking about her present–the dog Kit always wanted! Ellie plans to make an amazing doghouse, but her plans grow so elaborate that she has to enlist help from the neighbor boys and crafty girls, even though the two groups don’t get along. Will Ellie be able to pull off her biggest project yet, all while keeping a secret from Kit?
Maya and the Robot
Published: July 13, 2021
Maya’s nervous about fifth grade. She tries to keep calm by reminding herself she knows what to expect. But then she learns that this year won’t be anything like the last. For the first time since kindergarten, her best friends Jada and MJ are placed in a different class without her, and introverted Maya has trouble making new friends.
She tries to put on a brave face since they are in fifth grade now, but Maya is nervous! Just when too much seems to be changing, she finds a robot named Ralph in the back of Mr. Mac’s convenience store closet. Once she uses her science skills to get him up and running, a whole new world of connection opens up as Ralph becomes a member of her family and Maya begins to step into her power. In this touching novel, Eve L. Ewing melds together a story about community, adapting to change, and the magic of ingenuity that reminds young readers that they can always turn to their own curiosity when feeling lost.
Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet (1) (Frankie Sparks, Third-Grade Inventor)
Published: June 18, 2019
The best thing EVER is happening in Frankie Sparks’s third grade class: They are getting a class pet! Their teacher, Miss Cupid, tells them they will vote on their pet, but it has to meet some “parameters.” Their pet must:
1. Fit in aquarium.
2. Cost less than $50.
3. Be easily portable.
4. Be able to be left alone for the weekend.
Frankie thinks that a rat—just like the rats in her beloved Aunt Gina’s lab—would be the perfect fit. But her best friend, Maya, doesn’t think a rat would be great at all. They are kind of gross and not as cool as a hermit crab, which is Maya’s top choice. Using her special workshop, can Frankie find a way to convince her teacher and her best friend that Team Rat is the way to go?
Recipe for Disaster
Published: July 21, 2020
Franny K. Stein isn’t a good baker. But when she sees that the fundraisers for the art and music departments at her school aren’t making enough money, she decides to take matters into her own hands.
Using her genius mind and kitchen, which is really just another type of laboratory, she sets out to create The Most Delicious Muffin On Earth!
Sales, of course, go through the roof. But bad things can happen when people become exposed to the best thing they’ve ever tasted. They can become…overenthusiastic.
Goldie Blox Rules the School! (GoldieBlox)
Published: May 23, 2017
When Goldie Blox accidentally blows off the roof of her school, she and her friends Val, Ruby, and Li have to work together and use their creative know-how to rebuild the school.
Mia Marcotte and the Robot
Published: September 10, 2019
Filled with science, adventure and big dreams, this brand-new easy-to-read chapter book celebrates the power of friendship and perseverance and will be loved by fans of Zoey and Sassafras, Rosie Revere, and Jada Jones!
Mia Marcotte is a 9-year-old girl with a secret dream—to be an astronaut and fly to Mars. So when a field trip to the space center is promised for a successful participation in the school science fair, Mia is thrilled. The only problem: her attempt to build a mini-rocket in her backyard ends in a flop. But it also leads her to an extraordinary encounter—with Aizek, a curious robot who wants to learn imagination. Will Mia and her new friend be able to help each other get closer to their dreams?
Zoey and Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows
Published: March 14, 2017
With magical animals, science, mystery, and adventure — the brand new series Zoey and Sassafras has something for everyone! Easy-to-read language and illustrations on nearly every page make this series perfect for a wide range of ages.
In the first book of this series, Zoey discovers a glowing photo and learns an amazing secret. Injured magical animals come to their backyard barn for help! When a sick baby dragon appears, it’s up to Zoey and Sassafras to figure out what’s wrong. Will they be able to help little Marshmallow before it’s too late?
Each story in the Zoey and Sassafras series features a new magical animal with a problem that must be solved using science. There isn’t a set formula for each book; Zoey sometimes needs to run experiments, while other times she needs to investigate a mystery, and yet other times she needs to do research. Zoey models how to keep a science journal through her handwritten entries in each story. Each story is complete with a glossary of the kid-friendly definitions for scientific terms used. The series highlights child-led inquiry science and the topics covered align with both Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.
If the Hat Fits (1) (Miss Bunsen’s School for Brilliant Girls)
Published: August 1, 2019
It’s a new school year with the same old problems: the school is going to run out of money! A local engineering competition might just keep them funded for another year. Can Millie and her friends Pearl and Halinka invent a way out of the mess? With some guidance from their eccentric headmistress Miss Bunsen, anything seems possible.
Ruby Goldberg’s Bright Idea
Published: December 31, 2013
Ten-year-old Ruby Goldberg is determined to win her school science fair and beat her nemesis Dominic Robinson. She’s snagged second place for the last two years, and she’s set on claiming first prize. The only trouble is that Ruby has no ideas. When her grandfather’s beloved basset hound dies, Ruby thinks of the perfect thing that will cheer him up and win her first place—an innovative, state-of-the-art, not-to-be-duplicated Ruby Goldberg invention!
Before long Ruby is so busy working on her idea that she ignores everything else in her life, including her best friend, Penny. And what started out as simple turns into something much more complicated! Can Ruby get her priorities—and the mechanisms of her project—in order before it’s too late?
Sasha Savvy Loves to Code
Published: June 2, 2017
Sasha Savvy Loves to Code is an early reader chapter book (ages 7-10). The main character, Sasha Savvy, is a super smart 10-year old African-American girl, who lives in Washington, DC. Sasha must choose which class to take for summer camp. Her mom discovers that the camp is offering a new class for girls on how to code. Sasha thinks this will be boring and doesn’t believe that she is good at computer stuff. Despite this, she decides to give it a chance and convinces her best friends Gabby Reyes and Ashley Webster, to attend the coding camp with her. Sasha’s mom, a Software Developer, gives her a unique formula to help her remember how to code but will it be enough to get her through a challenging first day of camp with bugs everywhere, computing errors, that is.
Ada Lace on the Case
Published: August 29, 2017
Ada Lace—third-grade scientist and inventor extraordinaire—has discovered something awful: her neighbor’s beloved Yorkie has been dognapped!
With the assistance of a quirky neighbor named Nina (who is convinced an alien took the doggie) and her ever-growing collection of gadgets, Ada sets out to find the wrongdoer. As their investigation becomes more and more mysterious, Ada and Nina grow closer, proving that opposites do, in fact, attract.
Layla and the Bots
Published: May 5, 2020
Meet rock star Layla and her team of Bots! Pick a book. Grow a Reader! This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line Branches, aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow! Layla and the Bots are in an awesome rock band! They also use problem-solving and creativity to build cool inventions. When a local amusement park is in danger of shutting down, Layla knows just how to bring in the crowds… build an amusement park for DOGS! But will cool doggie rides like the Rub-a-Dub Mud Slide and the Tummy Rubbing Machine be enough to keep the park open? With full-color artwork on every page and speech bubbles throughout, this early chapter book series brings kid-friendly STEAM topics to young readers!
Published: January 12, 2021
Val, aka Astronaut Girl, is just your typical eight-year-old scientist. She has her own laboratory and conducts experiments with her crew–her cat and baby brother. She loves science and knows everything about outer space. That’s why she’s surprised to learn that her new neighbor Wallace would rather talk about a fake space show than about real missions. But when Astronaut Girl, Wallace, and the Astro crew get lost on their own lunar adventure, they must all work together to find their way back home.
Diary of an Ice Princess
Published: July 30, 2019
Princess Lina has a life any kid would envy. She lives in a massive palace in the clouds. Everyone in her family has the power to control the wind and weather. On a good day, she can even fly! She loves making lemons into lemon ice, riding wind gusts around the sky, and turning her bedroom into a real life snow globe.
There’s just one thing Lina wants: to go to regular, non-magical school with her best friend Claudia. She promises to keep the icy family secret under wraps. What could go wrong? (EVERYTHING!)
Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor (Frank Einstein series #1)
Published: August 19, 2014
When a lightning storm brings his robot creations to life, science enthusiast Frank Einstein finds himself assisted by the wisecracking Klink and the overly expressive Klank as he works on an antimatter motor to defeat his arch-nemesis’ evil doomsday plot. By the author of the Time Warp Trio series.
Parker Bell and the Science of Friendship
Published: May 21, 2019
Budding scientist Parker Bell really wants to win the school Science Triathlon and follow in the footsteps of her idols, chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall and astronaut Mae Jemison. She’s sure that if she teams up with her trivia whiz BFF, Cassie, they will dominate the Science Bee, Egg Drop, and Animal Adaptation Presentation. When Cassie invites her new friend, Theo, to join their team, Parker is worried—that Theo won’t help them win and might steal her best friend. As the three work together, Parker learns that you don’t have to be the best to be a real scientist and a good friend.
Published: September 12, 2017
Ken is an EngiNerd: one of a super-smart group of friends—all nerds—who have been close since kindergarten.
They may be brainiacs, but they’re just like everyone else: they fight with one another, watch too much TV, eat Chinese food, and hate walking their dogs. Well, maybe not just like everyone because Ken’s best friend Dan has been building robots. He then secretly sent one to each of the EngiNerds, never letting them know he’s the mastermind.
At first Ken is awed and delighted: what kid hasn’t dreamed of having a robot all their own? Someone who can be their friend, clean their room, walk the dog, answer homework questions…how amazing is that?
But be careful what you wish for: Dan’s robot, Greeeg, may look innocent, but his ravenous consumption of food—comestibles—turns him into a butt-blasting bot. And once the other robots ‘come alive’ it’s up to the motley crew of EngiNerds to not only save the day, but save the planet!
Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere (Olga, 1)
Published: March 14, 2017
When Olga crosses paths with a weird creature and becomes the first kid to discover the species olgamus ridiculus, she is ecstatic! What does an olgamus eat? How does it poop? Why does its burp sound like the word rubber? With her trusty observation notebook and the help of a librarian, a shopkeeper, and some friends, Olga sets out to do science—learning the facts about her smelly, almost-furry pal and searching for him when he goes missing. The scientific method is the best way to discover anything!
The Computer Code Mystery (Celia Science & Anna Art)
Published: August 9, 2016
Celia (11) and Anna (7) are inquisitive sisters who solve mysteries – with science, art, technology, engineering and math. These girls rock! They use their brains, (and STEM) to figure out daring solutions to crazy problems.
When a mid-winter blizzard forces their school to shut down, they rebuild & amp up the family computer. Their favorite game becomes a supercharged adventure unleashing a chain of events involving the FBI, hidden computer code, a brilliant villain, and three dolphins with a score to settle.
There they are: 21 of the best STEM chapter books for kids, including several STEM chapter books starring girls (which can be a rarity).
Many thanks to today’s sponsor Tonya Ellis and her STEM chapter book, Sophie Washington: Code One. Thank you for supporting the authors and brands who keep Reading Middle Grade free for all readers.