2017 The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize Nominees
These awards for great science kids’ books will be announced next month. Check out the nominees! For more information, click here.
The Awesome Body Book by Adam Frost
How long are your intestines? How many mites live in your eyelashes? Do all adults wear clean underwear? And much more! Find out disgusting, hilarious, weird and wacky facts about your body with this awesome book! Are you ready for another EPIC book from the winner of the Blue Peter Book Award 2016 (Best Book with Facts)?
The judges said: “It’s awesome of course, because it’s our body. This book explains the magic of our body, except it’s not magic, of course, it’s science. It helps us see how things that are amazing can be explained scientifically and how they work. From things we don’t think about like breathing, to things we actively do, like running. It puts what’s awesome about our bodies into perspective too. Why have we evolved in a certain way and how they compare to other animals? We can learn what’s going on in our bodies and how we perceive the world.”
A First Book of Animals by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Petr Horáček
A dazzling collection of poems by Nicola Davies, featuring over fifty different kinds of animals – beautifully illustrated by Petr Horacek. Nicola Davies, the award-winning author of A First Book of Nature, presents a spellbinding treasury of poems about the animal world, illustrated in breathtaking detail by Petr Horacek. Polar bears playing on the ice, tigers hunting in the jungle, fireflies twinkling in the evening sky and nightingales singing in the heart of the woods – there are animals everywhere. From blue whales to bumblebee bats and everything in between, A First Book of Animals takes you all over the planet to visit all kinds of different creatures. This book is a glorious celebration of life in the wild in all its variety and splendour, and belongs on every child’s bookshelf.
The judges said: “It is an absolutely stunning book. Children will be riveted by this book. It is beautifully illustrated and the text is basically poetry. I can imagine young children sitting listening to that being read to them. This book will get more children interested in science and interested in asking questions about the world around them. Some children do not naturally gravitate towards conventional science books or text books but you would struggle to find a young child who would not be absolutely engrossed in this book.”
Home Lab: Exciting experiments for budding scientists to do at home by Robert Winston
Stir up some sticky slime, build a Solar System with rubber bands, power a speed boat using soap, and construct an erupting volcano, all with Home Lab, exciting experiments for budding scientists. Including a foreword by Professor Robert Winston, Home Lab is packed with 28 brilliant projects, using clear step-by-step instructions, everyday ingredients that can be found around the house and amazing photography to guide you from start to finish. Plus fact-filled panels explain the science behind every experiment, as well as real-world examples providing a context to better understand scientific principles. Perfect for budding scientists and crafters, Home Lab will keep children entertained for hours.
The judges said: “Science isn’t just a theoretical study, but it’s actually for young people to get their hands stuck in, ask questions and find out what’s going on in the world around them. Home Lab contains wonderful experiments – I have done some with school children I work with and they have really enjoyed them. I think it’s very important to show that science is not just done in a laboratory and it isn’t only studied at university – you can do it yourself and it quite simple ways and with simple materials. The book has very easy to follow instructions, which anyone can follow. It’s interactive and I think it’s important to have that element in the shortlist.”
IF… A Mind-Bending Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers by David J Smith, illustrated by Steve Adams
“Some things are so huge or so old that it’s hard to wrap your mind around them. But what if we took these big, hard-to-imagine objects and events and compared them to things we can see, feel and touch? Instantly, we’d see our world in a whole new way.” So begins this endlessly intriguing guide to better understanding all those really big ideas and numbers children come across on a regular basis. Author David J. Smith has found clever devices to scale down everything from time lines (the history of Earth compressed into one year), to quantities (all the wealth in the world divided into one hundred coins), to size differences (the planets shown as different types of balls). Accompanying each description is a kid-friendly drawing by illustrator Steve Adams that visually reinforces the concept. By simply reducing everything to human scale, Smith has made the incomprehensible easier to grasp, and therefore more meaningful. The children who just love these kinds of fact-filled, knock-your-socks-off books will want to read this one from cover to cover. It will find the most use, however, as an excellent classroom reference that can be reached for again and again when studying scale and measurement in math, and also for any number of applications in social studies, science and language arts. For those who want to delve a little deeper, Smith has included six suggestions for classroom projects. There is also a full page of resource information at the back of the book.
The judges said: “This books shows really innovative ways to present data, for example, if time were one month, what would have happened across that time? It includes things that you wouldn’t think of as science, but actually it’s data and the way we collect and present data should be scientific.”
100 things to know about Space by Alex Frith, Alice James and Jerome Martin, illustrated by Shaw Nielsen and Federico Mariani
A fun and informative book packed with 100 fascinating things to know about space, from how to escape a black hole to why astronauts learn wilderness survival skills. With bright, infographic-style illustrations, detailed facts on every page, a glossary and index, and internet links to specially selected websites for more information.
The judges said: “I was surprised to learn so much from this book. What I really like about it is that it’s full of unexpected things, it doesn’t shy away from discussing even some of the big questions that we don’t know the answers to just yet. I love that it talks about how astronomers figure things out. For example, how do we know what the sun is made out of in the inside? – we can’t go there and dig a hole, we have to use all sorts of other clever methods. Science is not just facts, it’s a process, and this book addresses all of that in a very engaging way.”
The Little Pebble by Anna Claybourne and illustrated by Sally Garland
This Little Pebble begins with a child finding a small, forgotten pebble in his pocket. It uses this simple premise as a jumping-off point to explore what rocks are, where they come from and how fundamental they are to life here on Earth. For readers aged six and up, This Little Pebble uses beautiful artwork to show the rich diversity of rocks all around us, with friendly, narrative text by award-winning children’s writer Anna Claybourne making the book feel like a journey. It explores topics as fascinating and as wide-ranging as Earth’s formation, the rock cycle, volcanoes and earthquakes, where precious stones come from and what fossils are. It also provides great support for for the topic of rocks in both the geography and science curriculum.
The judges said: “One of the reasons we chose this book was the wonderful way it is told from the perspective of a child. It starts with a small boy and a pebble, and it takes this pebble and it gives you the story of this object, which of course is an amazing story itself – it involves volcanoes, tectonic plates, waterfalls, climate change. But ultimately it’s pebble and it’s something the reader of the book could pick up and look at themselves. There are also lots of facts in the book, about the rock cycle, different types of rocks and where you can find them. It’s a really interesting and imaginative way to introduce geology to young readers.”