Guest blog by Cindy Welchko, Curriculum Associate for The NEED Project

This fall, NEED Teacher Advisory Board members completely overhauled our original “Energy Bibliography.” They researched suggested book lists from renowned children’s libraries, reviewed prestigious science book award winners, and did some good old fashioned hunting on amazon to compile a list of trade and text books focusing on a wide variety of energy topics. Drum roll please… introducing our revised and expanded database of energy themed books, retitled NEED’s Energy Booklist. The searchable database is posted on our website as a public resource. The link is:

You can search the Booklist to find book suggestions for your next energy lesson, classroom demonstration, reading group assignment or energy club project. NEED’s Energy Booklist includes information on book title, author, topic, reading level (primary, elementary, intermediate and secondary), ISBN number, copyright date, publisher, whether it is fiction or nonfiction, and, hooray!, now every entry includes a short summary. We are really excited to showcase books in some new topic areas, such as careers, demonstrations & experiments, biographies of inventors & scientists, and science fair project ideas. Of course you’ll find plenty of books focusing on each specific source of energy and many areas of science – over 300 books are included in the database.

  •  We have entertaining biography books for emerging readers. Your students may know all about Ben Franklin and the Wright Brothers, but have they heard of Elijah Otis? He invented the elevator (Going Up!: Elisha Otis’s Trip to the Top by Monica Kulling). Or Philo Farnsworth? (The Boy Who Invented TV: The Story of Philo Farnsworth by Kathleen Krull).
  • Students looking for fresh science fair projects? How about projects from the Mythbusters? (Mythbusters Science Fair Book by Samantha Margles).
  • The Booklist has some entertaining historical fiction, like a garbage barge circling the U.S. for 162 days. Remember that news story from 1987? Primary students will enjoy this stinky tale while learning not to generate so much trash (Here Comes the Garbage Barge! By Jonah Winter).
  • There are great new nonfiction books, too, like the story of the Danish island of Samso and how they’ve become completely energy independent using wind energy (Energy Island: How One Community Harnessed the Wind and Changed Their World by Allan Drummond) or perhaps your young students would like to start a school composting project (Compost Stew by Mary Siddals).

Whatever you’re looking for, we hope you and your students find NEED’s Energy Booklist a valuable resource. A big thank you to Amy Constant and Maureen Keene for their work developing the Energy Booklist.