Favorite Books about DNA and Genetics for Kids

Teaching about DNA and Genetics during the elementary years might seem like a strange idea, but even elementary kids love to learn about the code that writes our lives. Considering how often DNA and genetics make it into controversies in the news, it’s worth introducing them to these topics early.

I did a short homeschool biology unit on genes and DNA with my 3rd and 5th grader earlier this year. These are the books they enjoyed most.

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase any of my recommendations, I’ll receive a small payment in return. As always, see if your library has them first! That’s where we get most of our books.

cartoongeneticsThe Cartoon Guide to Genetics by Larry Gonick. This is a thorough and funny investigation of the history and science of genetics.  This might be too advanced for some elementary students, as I think it’s geared toward high school or college level, but my 5th grader got a lot out of it.

 

gregormendelGregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas by Cheryl Bardoe. If you want a rough overview of Mendel’s famous pea experiments, complete with easy-to-understand charts of the genetic variations, this is the book. Especially nice for younger kids, since the pictures are so peaceful and it’s a simple story.

Genes & DNA (Kingfisher Knowledge) by Richard Walker. This is a nice encyclopedic overview of Genes and DNA for children.

Have a Nice DNA by Fran Balkwill. This book provides cute illustrations and friendly text for children to learn about DNA.

strongerthansteelStronger than Steel: Spider Silk DNA and the Quest for Better Bulletproof Vests, Sutures, and Parachute Rope by Bridget Heos. This is a fascinating book for older kids! Through the lab of one scientist, you learn about the different ways the genes for spider silk are being used, including in the milk of goats. Wild.

Do you have any favorite books for a study of DNA for elementary biology? I’d love to know if there others out there that we missed.

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