With holiday shopping in full swing, AAAS has announced four winners in the annual AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books awards, which include science books for young children up to young adults. The books are examples of great science writing that encourages a better understanding of science topics.
The 2010 winners are:
Children’s Science Picture Book: The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge, by Joanna Cole, illustrated by Bruce Degen.
Middle Grades Science Book: The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe, by Loree Griffin Burns. illustrated by Ellen Harasimowicz.
Young Adult Science Book: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot.
Hands-on Science Book: The Book of Potentially Catastrophic Science, by Sean Connolly.
The award began in 2005 when four lifetime achievement awards were presented to authors of children’s science books. It honored authors whose books worked to promote science literacy. Six years later, the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books continues to recognize stand-out science books.
“We’re trying to show that science books are fun,” said Heather Malcomson, the AAAS senior project associate who administers the AAAS/Subaru award. “We’re trying to promote the great ones.”
Each category targets a certain age group. The prizes are awarded in four categories: children’s science picture books (for children grades K to 4), middle grades science books (grades 5 to 8), young adult science books (9 to 12) and hands-on science or activity books (K to 12).
The finalists were selected by a group of judges made up of librarians, scientists, and science literacy experts. The judges selected the 16 finalists out of nearly 175 books up for consideration across all four categories.
Malcomson believes certain science books stand out from the rest of the group. “I think one thing a lot of the finalists have is a storyline,” she said. “I think it’s important that the book contains a storyline that keeps the kids interested and engaged.”
The award also works towards breaking stereotypes attached to reading science literature.
“A lot of the time people think of nonfiction as dry or boring,” Malcomson said. “These books have fun pictures and great stories, and we’re trying to get more eyes on them.”
Malcomson said the hands-on books that shine are those that allow readers to think for themselves. The activities in the books should be inquiry-based and go beyond the basic step by step procedure. The hands-on books help kids explore topics in ways beyond just reading the book.
The winner from each category will receive a plaque and a $1,500 cash award. They will also receive free travel to the AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. in February, where they will be honored for their great achievements in promoting science literacy.
Click to view an interactive feature showcasing summaries for each AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books finalist.
Read the full list of finalists’ summaries at Science magazine.