Over the weekend, I was contacted by Melissa Townsend, an Arizona high school teacher, with this question:
Getting ready to assign spring reading to my students. What are your favorite non-fiction science books a HS kid can handle?
It’s an excellent question–there are some books that can open up the mind of a teenager, and leave an impression that lasts a lifetime. But when I got Townsend’s request, I was traveling to Washington to talk on a panel about blogging, so I was a bit scatter-brained. I therefore tossed the question out to the hive mind. When I read the responses, many of them made me think, “Yeah, what she said!”
Here is a selection of the answers. Add your own in the comment thread; I can update the list here accordingly.
Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, by Stephen Jay Gould
The Diversity of Life, by Edward O. Wilson
Under a Lucky Star, by Roy Chapman Andrews
E=mc2: A Biography of the World’s Most Famous Equation, by David Bodanis
A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson
A Primate’s Memoir: A Neuroscientist’s Unconventional Life Among the Baboons, by Robert Sapolsky
Microbe Hunters, by Paul deKruif
The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story, by Richard Preston
Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood, by Oliver Sacks
The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way>, by Joy Hakim (follow the link to the other two books in the series, too)
The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist, Richard Feynman
Why Evolution Is True, by Jerry Coyne