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Read Aloud Tips from Experts for World Read Aloud Day Wednesday 2nd February 2022 ❤️📚

Inspiring Children's Science Picture Books - By CSIRO

CSIRO publishing children's books at How we Montessori

Did you know that the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) publishes children's books? I only found out a year or so ago and since then we've been amassed a small collection of their books.

We love CSIRO children's books because:

  • they contain scientific terms and names - the storybooks all have science interwoven into the story. 
  • we can learn about lesser-known and often endangered animals  - like the Spotted Handfish or the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect. 
  • we can trust the science - many of the authors are scientists first that are writing about their area of professional expertise and interest. Who better to write about a topic than a scientist who works in that field. We can trust the details are scientifically correct and accurate.
  • we learn more about Scientists - and what they do. Yes to raising the profile of scientists and environmentalists! We can also learn more about what it means to be a Citizen Scientist. 
  • they encourage children to be intellectually curious - by asking questions and giving children resources for further exploration.  
  • many of them give us practical ways we can improve our environment, homes and behaviours to protect endangered animals and our planet.

CSIRO publishing children's books at How we Montessori

Our CSIRO book collection includes:

  1. The Way of the Weedy Seadragon - this is one of my all-time favourites. The images are gorgeous, almost whimsical, the Seadragons are depicted beautifully. This story focuses on the life and lifecycle of the intriguing Weedy Seadragon including their anatomy, how they breathe, their habitat, how they swim and how they reproduce. Includes a section in the back of facts about the Weedy Seadragon, about other Seadragon species, threats to survival and protecting Seadragons. You can read an interview about Science illustration with the illustrator Lois Bury here. For 4yrs+.
  2. The Forest in the Tree: How Fungi Shaped the Earth - recommended for children who are truly interested in science or are researching fungi, bacteria, symbiosis or soil health. This delves deep into the earth to look at the science behind fungi and how plants grow. Has detailed information on essential elements such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and phosphorous. Includes lots of illustrations, molecule diagrams, and even some microscopic photographs. Recommend for 8-9yrs+, younger for highly interested/science-minded children.
  3. A Hollow is a Home - this is all about tree hollows, what lives in hollows and why they are important. More than 340 species of Australian animals live in hollows and many of these species are featured. This is a reference book I recommend from 5-6yrs but my 4 yr old often flips through it and asks me to read him sections. It's easy to read parts that appeal to the child, we don't need to read it from start to finish in one go. Contains lovely photographs of the species mentioned and their habitats. Also includes ideas and suggestions on how we can create nesting sites for local species and Citizen Science activities. Highly recommend for classrooms too. 
  4. Hold On! Saving the Spotted Handfish - the Spotted Handfish is a walking fish on the IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species. We learn about the history of the Spotted Handfish, its threats and the path to survival. This is an uplifting and inspiring read. Children need stories about threatened species that are hopeful and real, and this is it. From 4yrs+.
  5. Phasmid: Saving The Lord Howe Island Stick Insect - a miraculous story of how scientists saved the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect (one of the rarest invertebrates) from extinction. This is a real-life example of how humans can impact a species. We learn that to save a species we first have to study and understand it. This is also a story about the impact of an invasive species (this example is Black Rats). The author works at Melbourne Zoo with the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect recovery breeding program. ❤️ For 4yrs+.
  6. Bee Detectives - learn about Entomologists, sonication and native bees like the Blue-banded Bee, Feathery Leioproctus Bee and Persoonia Bee. This is a story about native bees and I learnt so much about Native Stingless Bees, how to look after them and attract them to our garden. From 4yrs+. 🐝

The CSIRO has some exciting new picture books coming out this year. Look out for the upcoming picture books The Butterfly and the Ants and The Great Southern Reef!


CSIRO published books can be purchased direct from the CSIRO. We shop at our local book stores whenever possible. International links are provided. This post includes affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

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