Here are the books most recommended by the worlds best science teachers!

If you have a better description, some feedback, or would recommend reclassifying one or more books below - email me at

Mr. Shargel’s Reading List
Holes - A great book for young minds learning about foreshadowing… but I won’t give away the ending.
Around the World in 80 Days - a Shargel family favorite
The Martian - wow… up there with Ender’s Game… but not for younger kids… lots of bad language.
The Lorax
– Dr. Seuss - a powerful story of greed and the need for conservation
My Side of the Mountain - Jean Craighead George - a must read for all children! Two sequels as well.
Flotsam (beach), Tuesday (frogs) both by David Wiesner - no text - Illustrations only
Journey to the Center of the Earth - Jules Vern - THE original science fiction writer.
The Forces of Matter - Michael Farraday's - A hero of science! His transcribed lecture notes are a fun read when paired with repeats of his demonstrations and experiments.
Ender’s Game - Orson Scott Card - Every middle school student must read this book before highschool!
Ender’s Shadow - Orson Scott Card - The sequel that is even better than the first!
The Machine Stops
- EM Forster - Free online print and video versions - Excellent to read when integrated between lessons on simple machines and in history on the industrial revolution. Only 20 pages long!
A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson - Amazing and vivid descriptions of the history of science
Omnivores Dilemna - Michael Pollan - exploring the 'ecology of eating' to explain how our diets have evolved to the 21st century.
Einsteins Universe - Nigel Calder - an excellent and heady look at astrophysics
The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexander Dumas - Starts slowly but eventually drew me into a fantastic adventure! Much better than the already awesome movie! The abridged version however!
Hatchet - Gary Paulsen - Survival in the Alaskan wilderness after a plan crash - Some themes of divorce and how troubling it is for a child
Botany of Desire - Michael Pollan (split into three "plants" so could just assign one part of book to a class). Well written, full of "real" information and funny in parts!

Younger Readers
When the Wolves Returned - Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
Is My Dog a Wolf? - Jenni Bidner
Growing up Grizzly - Amy Shapira
Treasury for Children: Warm and Joyful Tales - James Herriot
All Creatures Great and Small - James Herriot
Hoot - Carl Hiaasen - middle school environmentalism
Island of the Blue Dolphins – Scott O’Dell
The Orchid Thief – Susan Orlean
Ring of Endless Light - Madeleine L'Engle - dolphin research - Newberry award winner
The Incredible Journey - Sheila Burnford & Carl Burger - The story of three domesticated animals that make their way through the Canadian wilderness trying to return to their family

Brave New World - Aldous Huxley - great connections to genetic technologies but very very not for kids.
Inherit the Wind
-A play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee - the Scopes Monkey Trial.
Guns, Germs & Steel - Jaren Diamond - A book claiming that geograhy and the environment have been the variables that have determined the course of human history.
Survival of the Sickest - Sharon Moalem & Jonathan Prince - Discusses the need for disease in the evolution of humans.
Parasite Rex - Carl Zimmer - a harder read but very interesting stories of life cycles of different parasites - guaranteed to stun students on how they get into the right host - read excerpts
Flu - Gina Kolata - about the 1917 flu epidemic - very interesting information about the flu....early in the book they describe how they tried to GIVE the flu to soldiers to figure out transmission...kind of would LOVE it and a great opening to questions about ethics!
Wickett's Remedy - Myla Goldberg - 1918 flu pandemic - quirky but really good when the story moves to flu research of the time
The Sea, The Storm and The Mangrove Tangle - Lynne Cherry - ecological + creative illustrations
The Great Kapok Tree - Lynne Cherry - ecological + creative illustrations
Crystal Singer - Ann McCaffery
The Sea Around Us - Rachel Carson
The Hungry Ocean, A Swordboat Captain's Journey - Linda Greenlaw, this is a true account of a fishing trip by the woman boat captain that is mentioned in The Perfect Storm
The Sixth Extinction: Patterns of Life and the Future of Humankind - Richard Leakey
Gorillas In the Mist - Dian Fossey
Blood Matters - Masha Gessen - A woman undergoes genetic testing, revealing that she is predisposed to ovarian & breast cancer. It follows the thoughts she has, decisions she must face, and actions she takes toward dealing with this knowledge.

The Radioactive Boy Scout by Ken Silverstein - a boy’s element collect gets out of hand
Uncle Tungsten - Oliver Sacks - what an amazing ‘chemical boyhood’ Sacks had. An autobiography of his childhood

The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury

The Perfect Storm - Sebastian Junger
Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer
The Life of Pi - Yann Martel - afloat on a raft in the pacific with zoo animals

The Monkey Wrench Gang - Edward Abbey - may contain inappropriate language and themes for school, but great content on ecoterrorism

Mountains Beyond Mountains - Tracy Kidder - modern medicine/developing countries
Genome - Matt Ridley - 23 chapters/essays about human genetics

Natural History
Grizzly Years - Doug Peacock - recommended by Prof. Bradshaw
Moby Dick by Herman Melville - recommended by Prof. Bradshaw
Ravens In Winter by Bernd Heinrich - recommended by Prof. Bradshaw
Silent Spring - Rachel Carson - a classic on chemicals in the environment
The Winter World - Bernd Heinrich - great biology of animals in winter
A Sand County Almanac, With Essays on Conservation from Round River - Aldo Leopold
Jaguar - Roland Smith
Deep Dream of the Rain Forest by Malcolm Bosse
California Blue - David Klass
The Education of Little Tree - Forrest Carter
Mosquito Coast - Paul Theroux
Canaries on the Rim - Chip Ward
White Fang - Jack London
Suburaban Safari: A Year on the Lawn - Hannah Holmes
The Hot Zone - Richard Preston
The Just So Stories - Rudyard Kipling
Einstein's Dreams - Alan Lightman
Galapagos – Kurt Vonnegut
Cross-pollinations - Gary Paul Nabhan
The Reluctant Mr. Darwin, Flight of the Iguana - David Quammen
Song for the Blue Ocean - Carl Safina

Older readers
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley - one section can be read as an intro to human biology

Not Sorted Yet
Winter Wheat - Mildred Walker - here is an article on the author
The Talking Earth
- Jean Craighead George - A young girl feels caught between the old ways of her Seminole tribe and the modern world of pollution, nuclear war & devestation. Feeling disconnected from both, she ventures into the Everglades to reconnect with the earth.
No Child's Game - Andrea White - In a world that revolves around t.v. education and reality shows, children are sent on an expedition that re-enacts Robert E. Scott's 1912
trek to thh South Pole.
The Seven Daughters of Eve - Bryan Sykes - A scientists describes how he linked DNA from a 5,000 year old man to modern-day relatives in England, stating that all people
today can trace their genes back to seven primeval women - discusses mitochondrial DNA
The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger - Lois Lowry - All are juvenile fiction portraying the future of the human race as being highly selected for certain talents and characteristics in an effort to rid people of flaws - can be used to discuss eugenics
Genome - Matt Ridley - He tells the 'story' of one newly discovered gene from each of our 23 chromosomes - discussing the scientific, philosophical and moral issues that result from mapping the human genome.
The Agile Gene, How Nature Turns on Nurture - Matt Ridley - Discusses the nature-nurture debate over time & how it relates to the human genome.
Connections - James Burke - Based on a popular t.v. documentary series, it discusses the eight biggest inventions that changed the world, humanity, and how they are all
linked. Could be used in physics as well as life sciences.
The Diversity of Life - Edward Wilson E.O. Wilson - Discusses how the diversity of species is greatly threatened unless we act quickly to save our ecosystem.
Time for the Stars - Robert A. Heinlein - With Earth overpopulated and humans searching for other habitable worlds, scientists explore human telepathy as a method of
keeping space ships and contact with the Earth because time is running out. It revolves around two twins- one venturing into space & the other staying behind. It centers the
consequences of technology on the human race and earth.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell (native girl left behind alone on an island/survival)
There's an Owl in the Shower - Jean Craighead George
Missing 'Gator of Gumbo Limbo - Jean Craighead George
Who Really Killed Cock Robin? - Jean Craighead George
In the Heart of the Sea: The Tradegy of the Whaleship Essex - Nathaniel Philbrick
The Best American Science and Nature Writing - these are short stories, but work great with my students.
Forensic Science of CSI - Katherine M. Ramsland
The Double Helix - James Watson
The Long Walk: The True Story of a Walk to Freedom - Slavomir Ramicz
My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
Out Among the Wolves -Edited by John Murray - collection of short essays by famous authors (all about wolves). It might be a great resource for short reading
assignments...little less intimidating than a whole book!
Call of the Wild - Jack London
The Warrior Series - Erin Hunter
The Redwall Series - Brian Jacques
The Rats of Nimh - Robert C O'Brien
Watership Down - Richard Adams
The Diversity of Life, The Ants - Edward O. Wilson (or almost any others by him)
Collapse - Jared Diamond
The Condor's Shadow - David S. Wilcove
Microbe Hunters - Paul de Kruif (a little dated in its cutural references)
Arrowsmith - Sinclair Lewis
Raptor Red - Robert T. Bakker
Jurassic Park and Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton - Eaters of the Dead is an interesting foray into what life might have been like when/if Homo sapiens co-existed
with Homo neanderthalis
Summer of the Monkeys--Wilson Rawls
The Yearling--M. Rawlings
The Sea of Cortez - John Steinbeck
Wild Animals I have Known - Earnest Thompson Seton
Today I Baled Some Hay to Feed the Sheep the Coyotes Eat - Bill Stockton
Unweaving the Rainbow - Richard Dawkins (selected sections for high school)
Children of the Frost - Jack London
Isaac's Storm - Erik Larson - Adventure/Science/History/Weather
The Voyage of the Frog - Gary Paulsen
Riddle of the Sands - Erskine Childers
Build Me An Ark: A Life With Animals - short stories of Brenda Peterson research with wild animals.
Endurance:Shackleton's Incredible Voyage - Alfred Lansing - great biology and earth science about Shackleton's voyage and trip across Antarctica.
The Lazarus Syndrome - Rodney Davies - stories about premature dissection, cremation and embalming of the living. Basically it discusses how people who sometimes
don't seem to be alive actually are and "come back to life". Most of the stories are from 100 years or more ago, but definitely can lead to some interesting human anatomy
Daring the Sea: The True Story of the First Men to Row Across the Atlantic Ocean - David W. Shaw.
Next - Michael Crichton's - genetic research and the mass marketing of genes.
Biography of a Germ - Arno Karlen - This is a little dry - I definitely would not have my students read the entire thing, but some sections are pretty interesting.