Fresh Middle-Grade STEM Reads

Inspire an interest in STEM in your middle grade readers!

Are You Ready to Hatch an Unusual Chicken?

Are You Ready to Hatch an Unusual Chicken? By Kelly Jones; illustrated by Katie Kath

Twelve-year-old Sophie Brown is finally settling into her new home and her new role as keeper of some highly unusual chickens—chickens with secret superpowers!

But the arrival of two new magical chickens for her flock and some unusual eggs to be incubated and hatched (what will their superpowers be?), plus an impending inspection from the Unusual Poultry Committee (who even knew this existed?) has Sophie feeling pretty stressed out. Her older cousin, Lupe, is coming to stay with her family, which is great–but will Lupe like chickens too? And on top of it all, Sophie’s first day at her new school is rapidly approaching!

In this wildly funny and quirky novel told in letters and lists and quizzes, Sophie learns that even an exceptional poultry farmer can use some help.

Endurance, Young Readers Edition

Endurance, Young Readers Edition By Scott Kelly

Prepare to blast off with astronaut Scott Kelly as he takes readers on a journey through his year aboard the International Space Station and his life prior to becoming a true American hero.

Discover the extreme challenges of long-term spaceflight, the pressures of living in close quarters with people from many countries, the extremely dangerous risk of colliding with space junk and the unnerving feeling of not being able to help if tragedy strikes at home. Find out the story of Kelly’s childhood, his struggles in school, and ultimately the inspiration that sparked his incredible career, and the training to become a test-pilot and then astronaut.

How I Became a Spy

How I Became a Spy By Deborah Hopkinson

Bertie Bradshaw never set out to become a spy. He never imagined traipsing around war-torn London, solving ciphers, practicing surveillance, and searching for a traitor to the Allied forces. He certainly never expected that a strong-willed American girl named Eleanor would play Watson to his Holmes (or Holmes to his Watson, depending on who you ask).

But when a young woman goes missing, leaving behind a coded notebook, Bertie is determined to solve the mystery. With the help of Eleanor and his friend David, a Jewish refugee—and, of course, his trusty pup, Little Roo—Bertie must decipher the notebook in time to stop a double agent from spilling the biggest secret of all to the Nazis.

One-Third Nerd

One-Third Nerd By Gennifer Choldenko; illustrated by Églantine Ceulemans

Fifth grade is not for amateurs, according to Liam. Luckily, he knows that being more than one-third nerd is not cool. Liam lives in the Bay area near San Francisco with his mom and two younger sisters. Dakota is fascinated by science and has a big personality but struggles to make friends; Izzy, a child with Down syndrome, makes friends easily and notices things that go past everyone else. Dad lives across town, but he’s over a lot. And then there’s Cupcake, their lovable German shepherd, who guards their basement apartment.

Recently, Cupcake has a problem—she’s peeing in the house. The kids need to make enough money to take her to the vet before their landlord upstairs finds out. And Mom and Dad have said if Cupcake doesn’t stop, they will find her a new home. But the kids will never let Cupcake go. Can they save her?

Song for a Whale

Song for a Whale By Lynne Kelly

From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she’s the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she’s not very smart. If you’ve ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be.

When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to “sing” to him! But he’s three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him?

Full of heart and poignancy, this affecting story by sign language interpreter Lynne Kelly shows how a little determination can make big waves.

The Third Mushroom

The Third Mushroom By Jennifer L. Holm

Ellie’s grandpa Melvin is a world-renowned scientist… in the body of a fourteen-year-old boy. His feet stink, and he eats everything in the refrigerator—and Ellie is so happy to have him around. Grandpa may not exactly fit in at middle school, but he certainly keeps things interesting. When he and Ellie team up for the county science fair, no one realizes just how groundbreaking their experiment will be. The formula for eternal youth may be within their reach! And when Ellie’s cat, Jonas Salk, gets sick, the stakes become even higher. But is the key to eternal life really the key to happiness? Sometimes even the most careful experiments yield unexpected—and wonderful—results.