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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Shhh! Science and Nature Bossy Book Gift Ideas

The Science and Nature Gift Ideas

I'll be sharing some Bossy book gift ideas on Fridays leading up to the holidays. I hope you'll find a book or two in these lists to delight you or someone you love!

I have a lot of people on my gift list who love science and nature, and these are the science and nature books I'm most excited to give as gifts this holiday season. With the exception of Sawbones, each of these books was published in 2022.

You might also like to check out the books on some of my many past Bossy Book Gift Guides:

A Bossy book-buying note: If you're buying books this holiday season, please support your local independent bookstore. They need and appreciate our business! (The book covers on this site link you to Bookshop, a site that supports the beloved indies that keep us swimming in thoughtful book recommendations and excellent customer service all year round.)


01 National Geographic Stargazer's Atlas: The Ultimate Guide to the Night Sky

I took a quick trip to Sedona recently, and a local astronomer in the Dark Sky area where we were showed us some amazing things through a telescope he built himself (!), including a clear view of Jupiter and also Saturn and its RINGS. I saw the RINGS OF SATURN with my eyeballs. I still can't get over this.

I'm probably the perfect audience to be wowed by this book, but I have my eye on this one (published in October) for someone else I think will lurv it even more.

This is a hardcover book full of gorgeous photographs, informational maps, and graphics "combining science, exploration, and storytelling" and is more of a coffee table wonder than a guide to take along stargazing. (A book I have my eye on for that purpose is the paperback National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Night Sky, 2nd Edition, which also offers photos, maps, key facts about black holes and other space phenomena--and a section about stargazing with children.)


02 Welcome to the Universe in 3D: A Visual Tour by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Here's some more star-related book love for the space-obsessed people in your life--this time by the science star (see what I did there?) himself, Neil deGrasse Tyson, along with other experts.

Welcome to the Universe in 3D shows the reader the universe through stereoscopic color images (a special viewer comes with the book) via cutting-edge research and fascinating astronomical observations.

The book promises to take you "from the Moon through the solar system, out to exoplanets, distant nebulas, and galaxy clusters, until you finally reach the cosmic microwave background radiation (or CMB), the most distant light we can observe."

The inclusion of the viewer and the science focus reminds me of a different but favorite book gift of mine for young adults and teens, This Book Is a Planetarium (listed on a past book gift idea list, Shhh! Book Gifts for Kids and Teens).


03 The Sawbones Book: The Hilarious, Horrifying Road to Modern Medicine by Sydnee McElroy and Justin McElroy

This is a 2020 revision of the book that spawned the popular Sawbones Podcast and its 300+ episodes, and the text explores various medical mishaps, misunderstandings, mayhem, and myths.

This paperback revision of The Sawbones Book addresses Covid-19, Parrot Fever, the Black Plague, vintage medical ads, homeopathy, bloodletting, various misguided approaches, gross and shocking methods, and much, much more as the McElroys trace the odd, amazing (and sometimes disturbing) path that has led to the modern-medicine era.

Another accessible science book I love and one I've given as a gift is Bill Bryson's The Body: A Guide for Occupants, which I mentioned in Shhh! Books I'm Giving as Gifts This Holiday.


04 What If? 2: Additional Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

Randall Munroe, the author of What If? and How To, returns with What If? 2, which offers more gross, absurd, fascinating hypothetical scenarios and their scientifically likely outcomes.

What If? 2 answers more bizarre questions from readers, using the latest research and developments in science and is further explained by clarifying and sometimes horrifying illustrations and diagrams.

What would happen if you rode a helicopter blade, built a billion-story building, made a lava lamp out of lava, or jumped on a geyser as it erupted? What If? 2 has the weird and wonderful answers.


05 An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us by Ed Yong

“A moth will never know what a zebra finch hears in its song, a zebra finch will never feel the electric buzz of a black ghost knifefish, a knifefish will never see through the eyes of a mantis shrimp, a mantis shrimp will never smell the way a dog can, and a dog will never understand what it is to be a bat. We will never fully do any of these things either, but we are the only animal that can try.”

An Immense World is the newest book by Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life.

In An Immense World, Yong explores the incredibly diverse ways in which animals perceive and experience their surroundings, showcasing animal wonders from the backyard to the lab to various locations around the world.

Yong's accessible narrative nonfiction style and extensive knowledge highlights the many magical, awe-inspiring aspects of his topic--and could rekindle a sense of wonder about our natural world for a recipient on your gift list.


06 Packing for Mars for Kids by Mary Roach

"Who knows what strange wonders the future may hold? To explore space is to keep the door open to that future."

Mary Roach (author of Stiff, Gulp, Bonk, Grunt, Fuzz, and the original Packing for Mars) is the queen of accessible science writing.

With humor, offbeat curiosity, vast knowledge, and a fascination with "what ifs" (What if you vomited in your space suit helmet? How to astronauts go to the bathroom? What is it like to float in the air?), this young readers' version of Packing for Mars (originally published for adults--another great gift idea) feels like a great bet for keeping curious young people engaged with science and space.


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