Chemistry books

There are some good to really exceptional chemists on here and it shows. Enough biscuit buttering.

My 7 year boy is extremely intelligent. I am looking for chemistry books that are good for him to start out with. He is reading A Brief History of Time, has read some by NGT and some other astrophysicists. The constant chemistry conversation keeps coming up and he is taking a liking to it as well.

What books give a good outline of basic chemistry and what books will give him advanced knowledge of the subject? He is 7, but don’t hold it against him. He reads well above his grade level, so much that he asked for a dictionary for christmas to help better understand the literal meaning of words instead of him figuring out what they mean in context.


This is a children’s book. Banned because some experiments are dangerous, but with proper supervision it is an invaluable learning tool.


I’ll make sure he supervises me as we go along. :slight_smile:

Thats the kind of thing I am looking for. He does like the “Amazon” chemistry set, but its for people with no ambition to nor make shit happen. Baking soda and vinegar doesn’t impress him.

$300 on Amazon. Christmas comes early I guess


Toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil in a 2 liter kept me interested all the way to high school. Wouldn’t be here without it IMO


Not that the books are really aimed to be educational but The Martian and Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir have quite a lot of physics, chemistry, and biology built in. The author does a lot of research and gets the science right most of the time. If there is a spark of interest these books will set it ablaze IMO.

Warning, there is some mature language.


I’m his dad and he just passes over it. Thanks for the heads up though. I usually read first and give him disclaimers.

Works bombs! My neighborhood used to sound like a gun range


Steps to his bunk bed. I am hoping the tissue is for his runny nose or I’m gonna have to get him some playboys.


Since he knows some Big Bang stuff, start with a book about how the elements were created, the notion of the Periodic Table. He’ll be able to recite it by eight years of age.

Chemistry is taught through several models and simplifications. You have a chance to bypass the K-shell, L-she’ll, etc., view of electron configuration. Go straight for the Quantum Mechanics description, Hund’s Rule, the Pauli Exclusion Principle, etc.

Have him balance inorganic reactions. Oxidation States will reinforce the importance of the PT, the QM basis.

Teach him about Electrochemistry, how batteries work. Colors we perceive, and why and how.

And if it was my kid, and knowing what I now know, I would guide his interest towards the Molecules of Life. Buy him many Model Sets, don’t make him disassemble his favorite molecules.

Pheromones, how insects communicate. Natural Products, why and how they fulfill their functions.

The Primordial Soup, RNA, DNA, proteins, chemical energy. Oxygen and carbon dioxide. Animals and plants. Symbiosis, evolution.


Love the molecule idea


I absolutely love this thread. Me and my wife have been trying for a kid for a few years now and it warms my soul to see parents thinking about allowing a child to explore science and reinforcing the idea of all these little processes and parts making up a bigger whole and a much more detailed picture of our world and the universe. I’ve kept a lot of the really good textbooks from college for exactly this reason. You’re all awesome! Great suggestions! :slight_smile:


Check out “The World of Chemistry” text book by John Netterville. It’s written for freshmen college level but with no prior science background.

Netterville was my High School teacher, and it’s one of the best intro chemistry texts out there.


All of mine are different and all of them have their moments. I push to their strengths, but not near as hard as I push them at their weaknesses.

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Good on ya! I feel like as a generality, that’s the best, and (at the end of the day) only thing a parent can do is support growth, learning, and interests.


“Chemistry 1 for dummies”.

Read that then give him 2. Then give him O-chem for dummies 1+2. After throw him some clinical that he is interested in and then talk to him about it.

This is what my dad did.


Get him a copy of the Merck Index to browse. Its a great book to have around.

and also this…

The Organic Chem Lab Survival Manual: A Student’s Guide to Techniques 10th Edition


Thanks for the extra books. He has a small library, but chemistry is what he always goes back to. Strange, but super fun kid he is.


NGT is an obnoxious human being, and a shitty replacement for Carl Sagan for Cosmos


The new editions of this book are have a different author

Not that anyone asked, but a little insight into my little braniacs last week.

He asked for a book on logic. Went to the local book store and he decided to get an LSAT test prep book on logic. He wanted to be able to argue his points with me in a quicker manner before I shut him down with…that isn’t even a logical argument. He thinks having more logical arguments is going to equate to him getting his way, or at least a better chance of me listening to his nonsensical ramblings.

I eventually asked why he chose the LSAT version and he said to see if it was something he was interested in and that it would also help later if he decided to become a lawyer. He also wants a test prep book for the MCAT’s. He is my intellectual challenge, everyday of his wonderful life.