Richard Dawkins has written a beautifully illustrated book called The Magic of Reality.
I’ll let the book’s own blurb tell the story:
Magic takes many forms. Supernatural magic is what our ancestors used in order to explain the world before they developed the scientific method. The ancient Egyptians explained the night by suggesting the goddess Nut swallowed the sun. The Vikings believed a rainbow was the gods’ bridge to earth. The Japanese used to explain earthquakes by conjuring a gigantic catfish that carried the world on its back—earthquakes occurred each time it flipped its tail. These are magical, extraordinary tales. But there is another kind of magic, and it lies in the exhilaration of discovering the real answers to these questions. It is the magic of reality—science.
This would be a perfect book for a young person with an aptitude for science, but it’s rich with clear descriptions even for adults. With brief helpful explanations about how genes work, or stellar fusion, or plate tectonics, Dawkins contrasts the myths of ancient (and some modern) cultures with the real story of how things work. The result is a beautiful and informative introduction to this magical place we call reality.