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Sharing Science Through Art: Honoring Excellence in Children’s Books

A collage of four children's science book covers
The winners of the 2021 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books reflect the diversity of scientific subjects honored by the awards. | From left, courtesy Charlesbridge, Greystone, Charlesbridge and MIT Press

A three-part series looks at the AAAS programs that communicate the power of science and technology though creative approaches: visual art, dance and literature.

Writers and illustrators of science books for children use their creative skills – powerful writing and beautiful illustration – to capture young readers and illuminate their understanding of science.

One AAAS program, in partnership with Subaru of America, Inc., recognizes outstanding science writing and illustration for children of all ages with the aim of encouraging the creation of even more quality books to foster children’s understanding and appreciation of science. Since 2006, the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books has awarded prizes in four categories: children’s science picture book, middle grades science book, hands-on science book and young adult science book.

In 2021, like in years past, the winning books spanned a range of subjects, from how trees communicate with one another to the story of a chemist who fought to protect the planet. Nominations for the 2022 awards are open now.

“The awards honor books that help foster kids' natural curiosity about our world and highlight inspiring people,” said Sarah Ingraffea, awards manager of the prize at AAAS. “We want kids to understand science, how it works, and know the people behind the discoveries. We hope they can seem themselves in these stories.”

AAAS and Subaru have also worked together on related efforts to advance their broader mission of impacting education and STEM literacy. At AAAS Annual Meetings, AAAS and Subaru have held professional development and networking opportunities for educators and authors of prize-winning books, and Subaru has taken part in AAAS Family Science Days with a reading lounge, author meet-and-greets and hands-on experiments. The Subaru Loves Learning partnership has also donated more than 275,000 award-winning science books to schools around the country alongside AAAS-developed educational resources.

AAAS has also brought these resources directly to educators and families through their website. Among the more than 100 resources and blog posts are interviews with scientists and science writers, hands-on activities about timely subjects like cicadas, instructions for creating a toy for pets using principles of engineering and a list of prize-winning books written by African American authors or featuring African American characters

Said Ingraffea, “Kids are natural scientists. We celebrate books that help them expand their understanding of the world and introduce them to the many different people doing science.”

[Associated image: annata78]


Andrea Korte

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