This is my favorite time of the year to be the editor of SB&F! It’s this time of year that I get to call publishers to let them know that one of their books have been chosen as winner of the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books. Sure, calling publishers is fun, they are always very excited to hear that their books are going to be honored by AAAS. But even more rewarding is talking to the authors, illustrators and photographers of these winning books. After reading through hundreds of science books each year, I relish the opportunity to hear the voice behind the book and share in their excitement. Every book that has been honored with the SB&F Prize shares at least one thing in common: an author with a passion for sharing exciting, engaging stories of science.
Along with honoring three outstanding science books this year, we are honoring one author with the SB&F Prize Lifetime Achievement Award for his important and lasting contributions to writing hands-on science books for children and young adults. And the accolades do not stop there. This year we are also giving an SB&F Prize to our first Outstanding Science Series. This series celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year and we are delighted to honor it with the SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books.
Before I announce the winners, I would also like to thank our sponsor, Subaru, for the conitnued support!
It is my pleasure to announce the 2010 SB&F Prize winners!
Lifetime Achievement Award
Robert Gardner, award-winning author of more than 100 hands-on science books for children and young adults.
Outstanding Science Series
2010 marks the 50th anniversary of this outstanding series created in 1960 by Franklyn M. Branley, Roma Gans, and Elizabeth Riley. Branley was an astronomer, teacher, and author, Gans was an educator, and Riley was a children’s book editor. Since its inception, the series has served as an introduction for children to a wide range of scientific subjects, combining read aloud narrative with appealing illustrations.
Children’s Science Picture Book
Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life. Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm. Blue Sky Press, 2009.
The Sun narrates a clear, lyrical account of photosynthesis and its fundamental roles in life on Earth. It sketches what happens at the molecular level as green plants capture solar energy in their chlorophyll, use it to break apart water, and build sugar from carbon dioxide. It explains that animals (people included) require the sugar and oxygen produced by plants, and that the carbon dioxide exhaled by animals when they combine these cycles back to the plants. Bang’s vibrant illustrations—with leaves, animals, and landscapes outlined in bright yellow—light up the pages.
Middle Grades Science Book
The Frog Scientist. Pamela S. Turner. Houghton Mifflin, 2009.
As a child in South Carolina, Tyrone Hayes liked to collect frogs, snakes, and turtles. Turner joins Hayes and his students in the field (a Wyoming pond) and laboratory while they test the hypothesis that the commonly used pesticide atrazine feminizes male leopard frogs. She describes how they design, carry out, analyze, and interpret their experiment. She also tells how Hayes struggled as an undergraduate at Harvard until he found his calling in a research lab. The book introduces colorful frogs and toads from around the world as well as some of the efforts to save them from extinction. The lucid text and numerous photos of Hayes, his young assistants, and amphibians combine to convey both the fun and importance of doing science.
Young Adult Science Book
Invisible Kingdom: From the Tips of Our Fingers to the Tops of Our Trash, Inside the Curious World of Microbes. Idah Ben-Barak. Basic Books, 2009.
Biofilms, antibiotic resistance, horizontal gene transfer, and the value of hand washing are among the vast range of topics Ben-Barak discusses in this introduction to microbes. The fact-packed chapters reveal how microbes develop, behave, and evolve and how life on Earth would cease without them. “Bonus tracks” offer additional fascinating stories, such as that of the “corrupted blood” epidemic in the virtual World of Warcraft. The author often mentions how scientists have developed our understanding of microbes, and he frequently raises unanswered questions and conflicting interpretations. Readers will find his chatty and humorous text offers a fun way to acquire a vast store of intriguing details about the small wonders that inhabit our world and our bodies.
7 Jan 2010 1:33 PM