I'm looking for a book that would be appropriate for an advanced elementary school aged kids (say, 6-11 YO) describing the basics of physics (or sciences in general) in entertaining way.

  • The structure of the book should preferably (though not necessarily) be "Curious question" followed by entertaining-but-advanced for their-age physics answer.

    As a good example of a chapter/story I had in mind:

    "Why can the soap wash off dirt/grease?"

    "Why can the water be poured into containers?"

    "How does a plane fly?"

    "How does a rocket fly?"

  • The topics that must be covered are atoms/molecules, how they go together to make various matter etc...

  • Doesn't have to be 100% limited to physics - could include chemistry, biology, other natural sciences.

P.S. For those fluent in Russian, i'm looking for an English equivalent of the soviet popular kid's physics/science book "почему вода мокрая").


Before answering, please see our policy on resource recommendation questions. Please write substantial answers that detail the style, content, and prerequisites of the book, paper or other resource. Explain the nature of the resource so that readers can decide which one is best suited for them rather than relying on the opinions of others. Answers containing only a reference to a book or paper will be removed!

closed as primarily opinion-based by Brandon Enright, Emilio Pisanty, Waffle's Crazy Peanut, Manishearth Nov 15 '13 at 15:38

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Just a note: This is being closed for now, but since we have a new policy about recommendation qs that was recently released, we need to discuss how to handle the old questions. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Nov 15 '13 at 15:39
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to reopen this as it I believe it complies with resource and reference request guidelines. A friend of mine (Russian) was recently raving to me about "Why Water is Wet" and saying that she hasn't been able to find good English equivalents to this book for her children. IMO at least some recommendations for children's education should be part of every professional scientist's repertoire, so I think as a question this is quite important. $\endgroup$ – WetSavannaAnimal May 10 '15 at 6:50

English translation of Perelman's "Physics for Entertainment" may be found at amazon http://www.amazon.com/Physics-Entertainment-Book-Yakov-Perelman/dp/1401309216.


I should think an eight year old interested in physics would be able to handle Bill Bryson, "A Short History of Nearly Everything". Bill Bryson is of course a non physicist. But what I loved about this book is that, remembering being fascinated by science himself as a child, he delights in the how we know just as much as the facts themselves. The flavour of the book is very much about the scientific method, and for a non-scientist to capture this in so lively, and poetic, a way is astounding. The book opens with a description of himself as a seven year old looking at a cut open view of the inside of the Earth and being gobsmacked by the thought "How the hell do we know that?!". An example of the book's flavor is his description of the CBMR, which he adds poetry to by noticing parenthetically that it accounts for about 1% of the interference in the VHF television bands. So, he says, if you're bored and can't find anything on cable, you can always switch to an unused channel and watch the birth of the Universe!.


A good book (and accompanying website) is Flying Circus of Physics.


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