The AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books celebrates
outstanding science writing and illustration for children and young adults. The
prizes, meant to encourage the writing and publishing of high-quality science
books for all age groups, are awarded in four categories: Children’s
Science Picture Books, Middle Grades Nonfiction Science Books, Young Adult
Science Book and Hands-on Science/Activity Book. We are pleased to announce the Finalists for the 2015 Prize
in the Young Adult category.
The books are appraised according to the
book has the ability to engage young adult readers in science.
book encourages the discussion and understanding of scientific ideas.
book contains no serious errors or deficiencies in explanations of science
content or processes.
book has a clear purpose and is well organized.
accordance with Project 2061’s Habits of Mind benchmark, the book should
enable high school readers to view science and technology thoughtfully,
being neither categorically antagonistic nor uncritically positive.
One book will be chosen as the winner in this
category, and the author will be honored at the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting in San Jose, CA.
This year’s finalists are:
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth
Kolbert. NY: Henry Holt, 2014.
Award winning journalist and author Kolbert
blends field reporting with natural and intellectual history to reveal the mass
extinction that is already taking place on our planet. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone,
others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral,
the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides
a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the
evolution of extinction as concept. For teen
audiences, the book should encourage the discussion and understanding of
scientific ideas through a writing style that is down-to-earth and full of
explanations of even the more potentially confusing aspects of the science,
such as the possible chemical reactions that lead to extinction.
Extreme Medicine: How Exploration Transformed
Medicine in the Twentieth Century, by Kevin Fong.
NY: The Penguin Press, 2014.
Fong’s strong narrative
voice and his belief that medical discovery is akin to extreme geographical
exploration bring the reader fully into a discussion of science, medical
practice, and innovation. He offers compelling stories of doctors and
patients that include just enough detail to contextualize and educate without
overwhelming. His passion for his work as a doctor and his clear compassion for
the ill (or harmed) shows in every case he describes. His curiosity taps the
reader’s curiosity. And, more than anything else, the unanswered questions invite
young readers into the challenge of charting the future path of medicine.
Shocked: Adventures in Bringing Back the Recently Dead, by David Casarett. NY:
Current/Penguin Random House, 2014.
Casarett recounts his
exploration of the science of resuscitation and shows how far the science has
come. His coverage of the history of resuscitation goes back to the 18th
century, when early attempts at resuscitation involved public displays of
barrel rolling, a form of horseback riding, and blowing tobacco smoke into the
patient’s various orifices. The colorful history of resuscitation is a topic
that is sure to be a fascinating one for young adult readers. Casarett
has included many first hand reports and stories that will appeal to young
adult readers. His writing style is lively and surprisingly humorous for
a book on this topic.
The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The
History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and
Recovery, by Sam Kean. NY: Hachette/Little, Brown and Company, 2014.
Beginning in the 16th
century with Henri II in France, and concluding with the 19th
century life of Phineas Gage, Kean traces the history of neurosurgery through a
series of biographical sketches covering individuals who have advanced our
knowledge of the brain and how it works. Kean ties each to a development in
neuroscience that leads to modern theories about the workings of the brain. Kean’s conversational and often humorous tone is
engaging and a rebus providing an overview of each chapter asks readers to
interact with the text. Cases build one upon the other and Kean deftly
draws connections between subjects and scientists across time.
AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books is
sponsored by Subaru.
The prizes began in 2005 when four lifetime achievement awards were given to
authors of children’s science books. It honored authors whose books promoted
science literacy. Today, the AAAS/Subaru SB&F
Prize for Excellence in Science Books continues to recognize stand-out science
14 Oct 2014 3:38 PM