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Announcing the 2016 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize Finalists

The AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books, now in its 9th year, celebrates outstanding science writing and illustration for children and young adults. Sponsored exclusively by Subaru, the prizes emphasize the importance of good science books and  encourage children and young adults to turn to science books, not only for information, but for enjoyment too.

It is with great pleasure that we announce the outstanding books that have been selected as Finalists for the 2016 Prize. 

This year a total of 214 books were submitted for consideration, the highest number of submissions since the prize's inception. Our selection panel had to choose four or five of those in each category to move on to the final judging.

The great diversity of subject matter, style, and approach of books published each year makes the selection process challenging. There are always titles that just miss the cut, and often only just barely and for reasons that have more to do with how closely they match our specific criteria rather than their overall excellence. Because of this we wanted to recognize as many outstanding books as possible. For the first time we are also including a list of  Commended Books in our announcement. 

The winners of the 2016 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prizes will be announced in early January of 2016 and honored at an awards reception on February 13th as part of the 182nd AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. 


Finalists - Children’s Science Picture Book Category

A Chicken Followed Me Home, by Robin Page. Beach Lane Books, 2015. 978-1481410281

Egg: Nature's Perfect Package, by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2015. 978-0547959092

High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs, by Lisa Kahn Schnell. (Illus. by Alan Marks.) Charlesbridge, 2015. 978-1580896047

Tree of Wonder, by Kate Messner. (Illus. by Simona Mulazzani.) Chronicle Books, 2015. 978-1452112480

When Whales Cross the Sea: The Gray Whale Migration, by Sharon Katz Cooper. (Illus by Tom Leonard.) Picture Book Windows, 2015. 978-1479561070

Commended Books

How to Spy on a Shark, by Lori Haskins Houran. (Illus by Francisca Marquez.) Albert Whitman & Company, 2015. 978-0807534021

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia, by Miranda Paul. (Illus. by Elizabeth Zunon.) Millbrook, 2015. 978-1467716086

Prices, Prices, Prices: Why They Go Up and  Down, by David A. Adler. (Illus. by Edward Miller.) Holiday House, 2015. 978-0823432936

Salamander Season, by Jennifer Keats Curtis and J. Adam Frederick. (Illus. by Shennen Bersani.) Arbordale,  2015.  978-1628555561

Spit and Sticks: A Chimney Full of Swifts, by Marilyn Grohoske Evans. (Illus. by Nicole Gsell.) Charlesbridge, 2015. 978-1580895880

Up and Down in the Dirt, by Kate Messner. (Illus. by Christopher Silas Neal.) Chronicle Books, 2015. 978-1452119366

Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold, by Joyce Sidman. (Illus. by Rick Allen.) HMH Books for Young Readers, 2014. 978-0547906508

Finalists - Middle Grades Science Books

Migration Nation: Animals on the Go from Coast to Coast, by Joanne O’Sullivan. Charlesbridge, 2015. 978-1623540500

The Octopus Scientists, by Sy Montgomery. (Illus. by Keith Ellenbogen.) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. 978-0544232709

Remaking the John: The Invention and Reinvention of the Toilet, by Francesca Davis DiPiazza. Lerner/Twenty-First Century, 2014. 978-1467726450

Trash Talk: Moving toward a Zero-Waste World, by Michelle Mulder. Orca Book Publishers, 2015. 978-1459806924

Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall, by Anita Silvey. National Geographic, 2015. 978-1426315183

Commended Books

Beetle Busters: A Rogue Insect and the People Who Track It, by Loree Griffin Burns. (Photos by Ellen Harasimowicz). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014.  978-0547792675

Digging for Tyrannosaurus Rex: A Discovery Timeline, by Thomas R. Holtz Jr. Capstone, 2015. 978-1491421253

Fire Birds: Valuing Natural Wildfires and Burned Forests, by Collard Sneed. Bucking Horse Press, 2014. 978-0984446070

How to Swallow a Pig: Step-by-Step Advice from the Animal Kingdom, by Steven Jenkins and Robin Page. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2015. 978-0544313651

Mad about Monkeys, by Owen Davey. Flying Eye Books, 2015. 978-1909263574

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery That Baffled All of France, by Mara Rockliff. (Illus. by Iacopo Bruno.) Candlewick, 2015. 978-0763663513

Octopuses! Strange and Wonderful, by Laurence Pringle. (Illus. by Meryl Henderson.) Boyds Mill Press, 2015. 978-1590789285

Smart and Spineless: Exploring Invertebrate Intelligence, by Ann Downer. Twenty-First Century Books, 2015. 978-1467737395

Spidermania: Friends on the Web, by Alexandra Siy. (Illus. by Dennis Kunkel.) Holiday House, 2015. 978-0823428717

Finalists - Hands on Science Books

Birdology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Birds, by Monica Russo. (Photographs by Kevin Byron.) Chicago Review Press, 2015. 978-1613749494

Experiment with What a Plant Needs to Grow, by Nadia Higgins. Lerner, 2015. 978-1467760775

Inventions That Could Have Changed the World . . . But Didn’t!  by Joe Rhatigan. (Illus. by Anthony Owsley.) Charlesbridge, 2015. 978-1623540241

A Kid's Guide to Keeping Chickens, by Melissa Caughey. Storey Publishing, 2015. 978-1612126487

Kirby's Journal: Backyard Butterfly Magic, by Charlotte Caldwell. University of South Carolina Press, 2015. 978-1611175530

Commended Books

Wild at Heart: Mustangs and the Young People Fighting to Save Them, by Terri Farley. (Photographs by Melissa Farlow.) HMH Books For Young Readers, 2015. 978-0544392946

Finalists - Young Adult Science Books

The Boy Who Played with Fusion: Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting, and How to Make a Star, by Tom Clynes. Houghton Mifflin, 2015. 978-0544085114

How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction, by Beth Shapiro. Princeton University Press, 2015. 978-0691157054

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the World of Consciousness, by Sy Montgomery. Simon and Schuster, 2015. 978-1451697711 (National Book Prize Finalist)

The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History, by Thor Hanson. Basic Books, 2015. 978-0465055999

Commended Books

The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis, by Ruth DeFries. Basic Books, 2014. 978-0465044979

Cosmigraphics, by Michael Benson. Abrams, 2014. 978-1419713873 

Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon, by Kim Zetter. Crown, 2014. 978-0770436179

The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth about Food and Flavor, by Mark Schatzker. Simon and Schuster, 2014. 978-1476724218

DragonFlies: Magnificent Creatures of Water, Air, and Land, by Pieter van Dokkum. Yale University Press, 2015. 978-0300197082

The Elephant Don: The Politics of a Pachyderm Posse, by Caitlin O'Connell. University of Chicago Press, 2015. 978-0226106113

Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist , by Chad Orzel. Basic Books, 2014. 978-0465074969

Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science and the World, by Rachel Swaby. Broadway Books, 2015.  978-0553446791

The House of Owls, by Tony Angell. Yale University Press, 2015. 978-0300203448

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, by Walter Isaacson. Gale Group, 2015. 978-1594138850

Island on Fire, By Alexandra Witze and Jeff Kanipe. Pegasus Books. 2015. 978-1605986746

The Magic of Math: Solving for X and Figuring Out Why, by Arthur Benjamin. Basic Books, 2015. 978-0465054725

The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will be Nature’s Salvation, by Fred Pearce. Beacon Press, 2015. 978-0807033685

Rain: A Natural and Cultural History, by Cynthia Barnett. Crown, 2015. 978-0804137096 (National Book Prize Longlist)

Rust: The Longest War, by Jonathan Waldman. Simon and Schuster, 2015. 978-1451691597

Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream, by Joshua Davis. FSG Originals, 2014. 978-0374183370

The Weather Experiment: The Pioneers Who Sought to See the Future, by Peter Moore. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015. 978-0865478091

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, by Randall Munroe. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014. 978-0544272996

Your Atomic Self: The Invisible Elements That Connect You to Everything Else in the Universe, by Curt Stager. St. Martin’s Press, 2014. 978-1250018847



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