Female scientists and dinosaurs feature on young people’s book prize shortlist
Six titles are in the running for the award that celebrates science books for under-14s.
A text about the most successful female scientists in history and an innovative dinosaur atlas are among the works vying for this year’s Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize.
The award is designed to celebrate books aimed at children aged under 14 years that communicate scientific topics in an engaging and accessible way.
Publishers submitted their best children’s science titles and an adult panel of five judges has whittled them down to a shortlist of six – which will now be judged by young people drawn from more than 300 schools, science centres, reading clubs and community groups, as well as scouts and brownies.
The prestigious award has been running for more than 25 years, with last year’s prize awarded to Home Lab by Robert Winston, which provided inspiration for experiments that can be carried out using household objects.
Among this year’s shortlisted books is Lonely Planet Kids’ Dinosaur Atlas, which details the geographic spread of dinosaurs while they were alive and the locations in which they were discovered.
Women In Science, meanwhile, celebrates the accomplishments of 50 female scientists throughout history, shining a spotlight on their crucial discoveries.
Other books on the shortlist focus on space exploration, optical illusions and the various different jobs within the sciences.
Professor Yadvinder Malhi, chairman of the judging panel and a Fellow of the Royal Society, said it was “fascinating” to see the quality of entries for the prize.
He said: “It was wonderful to see the range of new children’s science books coming out, and I enlisted the help of a neighbour and about 10 children, marshalled by my 12-year-old daughter, in whittling down my personal list of favourites.
“The books that really stood out for me were those that tried something different, that engaged the reader in a different way or presented the science on a topic that is rarely engaged with in children’s science books.”
The full list of shortlisted books is Curiosity: The Story Of A Mars Rover by Markus Motum, Exploring Space by Martin Jenkins, Lonely Planet Kids’ Dinosaur Atlas by Anne Rooney, Optical Illusions by Gianni A Sarcone and Marie-Jo Waeber, Scientist Academy by Steve Martin and Women In Science by Rachel Ignotofsky.
The winner of the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize will be announced at a ceremony in November 2018.