Grab a Book for Science Literacy

Posted September 17, 2018

This week across Canada, scientists and science communicators are engaging with their local communities as part of Science Literacy Week—with over 800 events in 100 cities!  Nature NL is honoured to be a part of this National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)-supported event—we led a boreal forest hike on Saturday, shared our love of local animals at the Avalon Mall on Sunday afternoon, and will be hosting a public talk on coastal restoration on Thursday night (Sept. 20, 2018).


But don’t let your excitement about science wane when Science Literacy Week wraps up.  After all, what better way to keep exploring the world around you when the fog rolls in, than to curl up with a great science book and a cup of tea?  In celebration of Science Literacy Week and beyond, Nature NL board members and friends have compiled a list of our favorite science reads to share with you.



Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival by Bernd Heinrich

Sara says: “I had no idea how ALIVE the harsh northeastern winters were until I read this book.  It was like discovering a whole new world, and has made me so much more observant of what’s going on around me when I’m outside in the winter.”


Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey by Jane Goodall & Phillip Berman

Justin says: “This book an inspiring read if you’re interested in environmental issues and conservation success stories.  It highlights the fact that we need to share successes to give people a reason to hope and continue working on conservation”. 


The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben


Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms by Eugenia Bone 

Sara says: “Such an enlightening read about what’s going on under your feet.  I’m a hopeless mycophiliac now”.


Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl by Stacey O’Brien

Megan says: “This book is about a young researcher who raised a baby barn owl and the adventures they had while discovering the secrets of barn owls.”  A great read for anyone who likes owls, or birds in general.


Medicine, Microbiology & Genetics

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong

Prepare to be amazed — you are still you, but you are also an entire ecosystem for microbes.


Endless Forms Most Beautiful: the New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdon by Sean Carroll, Jamie w. Carroll, & Josh P. Klaiss


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot


The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee


Earth Science & Geology

The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester 

Sara says: “This book highlights one of the watershed moments in the development of geology as a science.  It also reminds us that important scientific breakthroughs are the result of careful observation by average people with inquisitive minds—just being interested in the world around you is the first step”.


Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester


Annals of the Former World by John McPhee


A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

The title pretty much says it all.  Plus, Bill Bryson writes with an uncommon wit.  Prepare to learn stuff, and giggle while doing it.


Other Science Favourites

Information is Beautiful by David McCandless


The End of Plenty: The Race to Feed a Crowded World by Joel K. Bourne 


The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum

Sara says: “a fun romp through early advances in forensics, chemistry, and lab-based scientific inquiry. Plus, there’s murder, intrigue, and bad driving—something for everyone!”


Family-Friendly Reads

National Geographic Science of Everything: How Things Work in Our World, compiled by the National Geographic Society


Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall Munroe

Randall Munroe tackles the task of explaining the technical side of science, engineering, and technology without using language that is…… technical.  Check it out to see how he does!


Nature Guidebooks

We’ve got a great list of useful guidebooks on our blog—everything you need for exploring our province by land or sea.



If you’ve already read our favorites, check out the Canadian Space Agency, Indigo, and Science Literacy Week founders’ recommendations.  Share your favorites reads with our community: #scilit and #naturenl, or tag us on Instagram with your go-to science read,


header photo: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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