By Jessica B.

Tuesday, March 2, is Read Across America Day, which celebrates the joy of reading. What could make celebrating reading even better? Combining STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) with books! Books have an incredible ability to inspire and spark your imagination. Not only can they take to worlds of make-believe, they can also encourage you to discover and create through experiments! Combining science and real-world experiences with literature is an amazing way to keep your young reader engaged while expanding and strengthening their learning. 

I still remember my first experience with connecting science to story. When I was in elementary school, my teacher read Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss. After she finished the book, she showed us how to make oobleck and the different ways to have fun with the Non-Newtonian fluid. I was amazed that I could make something real from a fictional story! Oobleck is a great introduction to a science experiment for little learners. 

Oobleck Recipe

  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup of water
  • Food coloring (optional)

Oobleck Instructions

  1. If you would like to color your oobleck, add the food coloring to your water.
  2. Mix the cornstarch and water together in a bowl.

Oobleck is not a solid or a liquid. When you apply pressure, it will feel hard. When you release the pressure, it will act more like water. 

Store in a sealed plastic bag or container. When you finish with your oobleck, do not dispose down the sink–it can cause clogs.

Here are some other wonderful books that you can connect to STEAM to encourage your learner to innovate and discover while building literacy skills.

STEAM Titles

Mix it Up by Hervé Tullet

Using no special effects other than the reader’s imagination, simple directions lead the reader to experiment with mixing and changing colors on the printed page.

  • A great introduction to color mixing which can be replicated with paints at home. 

Iggy Peck, Architect (Questioneers series) by Andrea Beaty

Ever since he was a baby, Iggy Peck has built towers, bridges, and buildings, which comes in handy when his second grade class is stranded on an island during a picnic.

  • After introducing the concepts of building, allow your child to experiment using a variety of materials you can find in your home.

Marsha is Magnetic by Beth Ferry

Marsha tries scientific experiments to attract friends she can invite to her birthday party, but concludes that the best way to draw others is by being herself

  • A fun story that utilizes the scientific method.

Huff & Puff by Claudia Rueda

Loosely based on the folktale about the three little pigs, these three pigs have a different surprise for the wolf who is trying to blow their houses down. The reader is asked to huff and puff into a die-cut hole in each page.

  • A fun and interactive telling of the classic tale of the Three Little Pigs. Follow up this story with an engineering challenge. What are the best types of materials to build a structure? Can you blow it down?

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

To an imaginative bunny, a box is not always just a box.

  • What can you create with a box? Use a real box, or one drawn on a piece of paper to spark your imagination.

How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk

“Pearl and her trusty rust-proof robot, Pascal, need to build a sandcastle before summer vacation is over, and they’re going to do it using code.”– Provided by publisher.

  • A great introduction to computer coding. What tasks can you code in your own home?

Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton

Chronicles the life and achievements of the NASA engineer and inventor, from his childhood to his accidental invention of the Super Soaker water gun.

  • After reading this inspiring story, you may be encouraged to create your own fun invention!

Pitter Pattern by Joyce Hesselberth

Lu and her friends spot patterns in their daily activities, including patterns found in music, weather, time, play, shapes, nature, math, and language.

  • Pattern recognition is an important skill in early education. Following this story, what type of patterns do you recognize in your own life?

Arithmechicks Add Up: A Math Story by Ann Marie Stephens

As the Arithmechicks slide down the slide, swing on the swings, and play hide-and-seek, they don’t realize that a lonely mouse is copying them, longing to join in. However, when their basketball becomes stuck, the chicks discover that a two-inch-tall new friend is exactly what they need. 

  • A fun introduction to arithmetic strategies and essential math for young children. 

Lia & Luís: Who Has More? By Ana Crespo

Two Brazilian American siblings, Lia and Luís, are always competing, even when it comes to their favorite Brazilian snacks from their family’s store; they want to know which of them has more, and they use various mathematical techniques to pick a winner–and then share the delicious results.

  • Part of the Storytelling Math series. Celebrate using math in your daily routines. This story offers a great way for grown-ups and children to use math together.

Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari is making a flying machine all by himself, but when it doesn’t work the way he imagined, he learns about perseverance and problem-solving. 

  • Can you create a flying machine? How can you use problem-solving in your own life?

All descriptions from Novelist unless otherwise indicated.

Jessica B.

Jessica B.

With 8 locations throughout Vanderburgh County, EVPL is ready to discover, explore, and connect WITH you! We encourage you to uncover new things, revisit old favorites, and to engage with us along the way.

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