Camden, N.J., and Washington, D.C. — Subaru of America, Inc., in partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), today announced this year’s winners of the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books. This prize highlights outstanding science writing and illustration in books made specifically for children and young adults that can inspire and motivate our youngest minds, help them make connections to the world around them, improve their cognitive functions and give them the building blocks to one day thrive in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.
The 2022 prize winners include books covering biomimicry in nature, the history of vaccinations, important biological insights, and learning how to read and observe the sky in the name of discovery. This year’s winning titles will be added to an exemplary list of more than 64 books, which have been awarded since the prize’s inception in 2005. The prize winners will be recognized during the virtual AAAS Annual Meeting on February 17, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. ET.
Panels of librarians, scientists and educators evaluate the works to make sure they are age appropriate and present accurate science while not propagating misconceptions or stereotypes. The prize categories also include these criteria: picture books should strive to show how the natural world can pique the curiosity of younger readers, while books for older readers will drive understanding and discussions around scientific ideas. Hands-on science books should encourage problem-solving techniques and inquiry-based activities.
2022 prizes have been awarded to:
Children's Science Picture Book
Mimic Makers Biomimicry Inventors Inspired by Nature, by Kristen Nordstrom and illustrated by Paul Boston. Publisher: Charlesbridge.
Follows 10 real scientists, engineers and designers who practice biomimicry through imitating plants and animals to create amazing new technology. Panelists selected this picture book because it illustrates how scientists and engineers’ careful observations of nature lead to unique design and invention to solve real world problems. It gives young readers practical advice and prompts them to create their own solutions. “Nature’s secrets are waiting for you.”
Author Kristen Nordstrom is a founding member and full-time teacher at Ladera STARS Academy, a STEAM school, teaching biomimicry and other science topics. This Title One public elementary school was started by a group of dedicated teachers and a principal, to bring the power of hands-on science to second language learners and socio-economically challenged students. Illustrator Paul Boston is the author and illustrator of Map Your Way, Find Your Way Under the Sea, and several other children's books.
Middle Grades Science Book
A Shot in the Arm! Big Ideas that Changed the World, by Don Brown. Publisher: Amulet Books.
Explores the history of vaccinations and the struggle to protect people from infectious diseases leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling the science behind how our immune systems work, the discovery of bacteria and the anti-vaccination movement. Panelists shared that this graphic novel is a timely resource for kids, making important connections between science and its value to society.
Don Brown is the award-winning author and illustrator of many non-fiction graphic novels and picture books. His books have been called “masterful” and “a must for youth graphic collections.”
Young Adult Science Book
Great Adaptations: Star-Nosed Moles, Electric Eels, and Other Tales of Evolution’s Mysteries Solved, by Kenneth Catania. Publisher: Princeton University Press.
Telling the story of his biological detective work, Catania sheds light on the mysteries behind the behaviors of tentacled snakes, tiny shrews, zombie-making wasps and more. He shows not only how studying these animals can provide deep insights into how life evolved, but also how scientific discovery can be filled with adventure and fun. Panelists noted that this book is filled with curiosity, wonder, and exploration. The stories also convey the dedication and perseverance often required to do science, along with the thrill of learning something new.
Ken Catania is considered an expert in extreme animal behaviors and studies specialized species to reveal general principles about brain organization and sensory systems. Catania received a Bachelor of Science in zoology from the University of Maryland, a Ph.D. in neurosciences from the University of California, San Diego, and he is a Stevenson Professor of Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University.
Hands-On Science Book
Sky Gazing: A Guide to the Moon, Sun, Planets, Stars, Eclipses, and Constellations, by Meg Thacher. Publisher: Storey Publishing.
A highly visual guide to observing the sky with the naked eye, kids will delve into the science behind what they see, making tours of our solar system and deep space, and information on the formation of the earth’s moon, eclipses, northern lights and meteor showers, all accessible to children aged 9-14. Panelists commented that the book is an accessible introduction to astronomy for kids. It is a good balance of astrological information, age-appropriate activities and focuses on developing the skills needed to complete the activities. This is what a hands-on activity book should be.
Author Meg Thacher is a lab instructor in Smith College’s astronomy department and the academic director for the Summer Science and Engineering Program for high school girls at Smith. A regular contributor to national children’s science magazines, she teaches astronomy workshops for school groups and scout troops. She has a bachelor’s in physics from Carleton College and a master’s in astrophysics from Iowa State University.
“It’s our pleasure to continue our partnership with AAAS as a part of our Subaru Loves Learning initiative, and we know that the books on this year’s list will influence generations to come within the realm of science,” said Thomas J. Doll, president and chief executive officer, Subaru of America, Inc. “Ensuring children have access to these important resources is so critical to the future of our country to inspire more interest in STEM fields.”
“We’re proud to honor these winners with Subaru, celebrating authors and illustrators who are contributing greatly to science by educating and engaging children and young adults to spark their imagination in hopes of a brighter scientific future,” said Sudip S. Parikh, AAAS chief executive officer and executive publisher of the Science family of journals.
The Subaru and AAAS partnership extends beyond honoring the best science books for children. They have collaborated on projects and resources that foster connections between authors, readers and educators. With many students learning at home over the past two years, AAAS has created more than 120 resources, including hands-on STEM activities and blog posts, with career interviews with STEM professionals and profiles of prize-winning authors – some of which were translated into Spanish.
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About Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America, Inc. (SOA) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Subaru Corporation of Japan. Headquartered at a zero-landfill office in Camden, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of more than 630 retailers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. is the only U.S. automobile manufacturing plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. SOA is guided by the Subaru Love Promise, which is the company’s vision to show love and respect to everyone, and to support its communities and customers nationwide. Over the past 20 years, SOA has donated more than $200 million to causes the Subaru family cares about, and its employees have logged more than 63,000 volunteer hours. As a company, Subaru believes it is important to do its part in making a positive impact in the world because it is the right thing to do.
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About American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, as well as Science Translational Medicine; Science Signaling; a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances; Science Immunology; and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The nonprofit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. For additional information about AAAS, visit www.aaas.org.