Great STEM Content Can Reignite Support for Science

Just a few years removed from a global pandemic that saw the intense politicization of public health initiatives, the U.S. public’s faith in science has declined. Books that help students understand complex issues and inform them about important scientific advancements and the critical role that STEM plays in our society can help produce more informed citizens who support the need for scientific investment.



This is a busy time for science, technology, engineering, and math.

NASA is preparing to send astronauts to the moon for the first time in more than 50 years. Rapid advancements in artificial intelligence have organizations pondering how best to harness AI’s power—while preventing its misuse. And, last December, negotiators from nearly 200 countries recognized for the first time the need to transition away from fossil fuels during a U.N. climate change convention.

And yet, just a few years removed from a global pandemic that saw the intense politicization of public health initiatives, the U.S. public’s faith in science has declined.

According to the Pew Research Center, in October 2023 only 57 percent of American adults said they thought science has had a “mostly positive” effect on society—down from 73 percent in January 2019. That’s a sharp drop in only a few years, and it has troubling implications for public support of science and technology.

This decline points to the need for accurate scientific information that readers of all ages can navigate. Books that help students understand complex issues and inform them about important scientific advancements and the critical role that STEM plays in our society can help produce more informed citizens who support the need for scientific investment.

Here are some of the latest books for the school library market that can help students develop a healthy appreciation for STEM and its importance for our future.

Lerner Publishing Group

Lerner has been publishing books for pre-K–12 students for more than 60 years. “STEM is a very important part of our publishing focus,” says School and Library Marketing Director Lois Wallantine. The company is releasing 60 new STEM-related books in 2024, and it offers more than 800 STEM-based titles altogether at

A new partnership between Lerner and The Planetary Society®, the world’s largest space advocacy association, will result in 15 new titles focused on space science and exploration. The first of these is Casting Shadows: Solar and Lunar Eclipses with The Planetary Society® by Bruce Betts, January 2024, ISBN 9798765608975. 2024 will feature multiple eclipses observable from North America, including three lunar eclipses and two solar eclipses. In this timely book, Betts—who is Chief Scientist for The Planetary Society—explains the science behind these phenomena with engaging diagrams and photos, helping children ages 7–10 experience eclipses with a deeper understanding. The book includes an introduction from Bill Nye, CEO of The Planetary Society.

In The Lost Forest: An Unexpected Discovery Beneath the Waves, April 2024, ISBN 9781728493015, author and acclaimed science writer Jennifer Swanson brings readers ages 9–14 on a journey of scientific discovery under the ocean. After local fishers noticed a large swarm of fish in an unlikely area in the Gulf of Mexico, a team of divers found the remains of a forest deep beneath the waves. Swanson, who has written more than 40 science books for children, describes how scientists explored and mapped this surprising discovery.

“It’s a fascinating story of a scientific investigation that shows kids how the scientific process works,” says Carol Hinz, associate publisher of Lerner imprints Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books. “It’s important for students to know that things don’t always go according to plan—and to see how scientists go about solving the problems that arise.”

Wildfires have become more common as our climate changes. Although commonly seen as destructive, they’re a necessary part of forest ecosystems, as they refresh the land and allow for new plant growth. In Wildfire: The Culture, Science, and Future of Fire, April 2024, ISBN 9781728424002, environmental scientist Ferin Davis Anderson and author Stephanie Sammartino McPherson examine how Indigenous people, farmers, and forestry departments have used fire to manage resources, why climate change is affecting the frequency and intensity of wildfires, and what the future of fire might look like.

LibraryPass & Comics Plus

Comics, manga, and graphic novels are very popular among students today, and a growing body of STEM-related content is being produced in these formats to engage young readers in these important topics. Through a yearly digital subscription, Comics Plus brings unlimited access to both fiction and nonfiction comics and manga—including STEM material—to school and public library users.

Founded in 2020, LibraryPass curates digital comics and manga content for schools and libraries from more than 80 publishers, including leading educational publishers such as ABDO, Capstone, and Lerner Publishing Group. The company’s Comics Plus® service is being used in more than 3,000 schools worldwide, including the Irvine Unified School District (CA) and Gwinnett County Public Schools (GA).

“We’re a reading platform,” says Chief Content Officer Guy LeCharles Gonzalez. “Most librarians look to us to support independent reading with high-interest content.



Comics Plus provides age-appropriate digital comics for elementary, middle, and high school libraries. The full collection of school-age content includes more than 17,000 titles, with new content added every week.

Schools and districts can subscribe to separate collections aimed at students in elementary school (ages 3–10), middle school (ages 8–14), or high school (ages 11–18). An annual subscription includes digital access for every student or patron—in school, in the library, and at home.

Every title is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for online or offline reading, with unlimited, simultaneous checkouts to support book clubs, reading programs, and classroom reading. “This gives schools maximum flexibility in how they leverage the platform,” Gonzalez says, “without worrying about escalating costs.”

Examples of STEM-related content within Comics Plus include Capstone’s “Max Axiom, Super Scientist” series, available in both English and Spanish. These nonfiction graphic novels target readers ages 10–14 and cover a range of STEM topics—from the science of sports to chemistry, biology, and climate change. Using powers he acquired in a freak accident, Max Axiom explains science in unique and accessible ways for students, such as by shrinking down to the size of an ant or riding on a sound wave. The collection includes 23 titles altogether.

Also included in Comics Plus is Lerner’s “The Climate Crisis” series, which explores the causes and effects of climate change—from fossil fuels and deforestation to rising sea levels and animal extinctions—in an accessible graphic format for younger to middle grade readers. The series, which was introduced in 2024, includes six titles.

Written and drawn by Akane Shimizu, Kodansha’s “Cells at Work!” is a manga series that takes place in the human body, where trillions of anthropomorphized cells work to keep the body healthy. The series focuses on two such cells in particular: a rookie red blood cell who often gets lost during deliveries and a relentless white blood cell who fights against any germs that invade the body. “There’s also an anime adaptation,” Gonzalez says, “so it's particularly popular with teen manga fans.”

The Comics Plus platform also includes many graphic biographies, including profiles of famous scientists and inventors. For instance, NBM Comics’ “Women Discoverers: Top Women in Science” profiles 20 women who made significant contributions in the STEM fields and features biographies of five of them: Marie Curie, Ada Lovelace, Hedy Lamarr, Rosalind Franklin, and Mae Jamison.

The service supports a number of different authentication methods, including SIP2 and SAML. School systems pay an annual subscription fee for each building.

Albatros Media

Based in the Czech Republic, Albatros creates innovative and whimsically illustrated, yet highly educational books for children. The company’s motto is “smart kids, smart books.” It publishes about 30 books per year in the United States, mostly nonfiction works for students in elementary through high school.

Published in July 2023 and aimed at students ages 9–12, How the New Seven Wonders of the World Were Built by Jiri Bartunek and Tom Velcovsky, illustrated by Jan Sramek, ISBN 9788000068435, explains how architectural marvels such as the Great Wall of China, Petra, the Colosseum, Chichén Itzá, Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal, and Christ the Redeemer were built centuries ago without the heavy machinery and modern technologies available today.

Bartunek is an archaeologist and historian from the Czech Republic who has a doctorate in ancient history. This book, a follow-up to a similar title that explored the construction of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection.

New this year, The Awesome Physics in Your Home from The Amazing Theatre of Physics, illustrated by Tomas Kopecky, June 2024, ISBN 9788000070940, makes science instruction highly accessible by linking basic physics concepts to students’ everyday lives, from the kitchen to the bathroom to even the garage. The book includes simple physics experiments that kids ages 9–12 can do in their homes, like finding out where their microwave oven heats up food the most (and least) and making a stream of water from the bathroom sink bend in response to an electrical charge.

The Amazing Theatre of Physics is an educational group that travels all over the world, performing science experiments to show people how the world works in a fun and entertaining way.

Another new book from Albatros this year is The Secret Life of the Forest: Trees, Animals, and Fungi by Jana Sedlackova, illustrated by Katarina Kratochvilova, July 2024, ISBN 9788000070957. Answering questions such as “where do seeds come from,” “what do trees eat,” “how do they breathe,” and “why do leaves fall in autumn,” this book for students ages 6–9 describes the forest as an environment in which every creature plays a pivotal role—and it explains how they all work together to sustain this interconnected ecosystem.



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