8 Books Nominated for the 2013 de Bary Outstanding Children’s Science Book Awards


These are the 8 titles and some comments about the books that were longlisted for the 2013 de Bary Children’s Science Book Awards. I hope to cover ALL these books over the coming days.

10 Plants that Shook the World by Gillian Richardson   (Winner of Older Readers Category)

This book discusses 10 economically or historically important plants in a chatty episodic format. It covers a lot of information in an edgy style (with edgy illustrations) that sarcastic children will enjoy, and mentions many important plant pathogens along the way. (Ages 10 and up)

Redwoods by Jason Chin  (Winner of Young Children Category)

A boy goes on a magic trip to the redwood forest and learns about its ecology. Very nice book for younger readers. Beautiful illustrations, good up-to-date science. (Ages 4-8)

Micro Mania: A Really Close-up Look at Bacteria, Bedbugs & the Zillions of Other Gross Little Creatures That Live In, On & All Around you! by Jordan D. Brown

This a good inexpensive book on general (or even “random”) biology in an encyclopedia format good for continued perusal. It has a high gross factor for kids who like that, but also discusses molecular biology techniques. (Ages 9 and up)

The Snake Scientist by Sy Montgomery

The book discusses the communal -hibernation of garter snakes in Canada, with many startling photographs of tangles of hundreds of snakes. The snake pictures will excite any child, but the book is uniquely good at explaining how scientists do their job and why. (Age 10 and up)

Extreme Biology: It’s Life but Not as We Know It by Simon Basher

The smallest, the toughest, the ickiest microbes.  Kids won’t notice they’re learning things because of the cartoony illustrations and gross-out facts. Inexpensive. (Ages 10-15)

Rotten Pumpkin: A Rotten Tale in 15 Voices by David M. Schwartz

A jack-o-lantern slowly rots, and we hear from the squirrels, snails and fungi as they do their job. Good photographs; needs a parent with acting skills to bring out the “15 voices.” (Ages preschool-7)

Bang! How we came to be by Michael Rubino

A monumentally ambitious book about what’s happened in the last 16 billion years. The science is up-to-date, and once life emerges on Earth, whatever is being discussed (worm, fish or dinosaur) is always charmingly referred to as “we.” The book has nice illustrations that aren’t always adequately captioned—parents may need to be prepared to explain astrophysics and palaeontology. (Ages 13-16)

Jimmy’s Gone Green by Kathy Cane

A boy is rumored to have turned green, but it turns out he’s simply learned about recycling. Not much science, so it doesn’t fit our de Bary criteria, but good for teaching about responsible living. (Ages 5-10)

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