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Great Reading for Middle Grades
Welcome to the SB&F Editor's Blog. I am Maria Sosa, Editor-in-Chief of SB&F. Through this blog I hope to interact with the SB&F community and post news and information related to science books, videos, authors, opportunities and other topics of interest to our readers. I hope you find the blog useful and entertaining. Please, join the conversation by posting a comment on our Facebook page. I'd love to hear from you!


Are you looking for middle grade books to support learning in the content areas, especially science? If so, the finalists and commended books identified for the 2016 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prizes deserve your consideration.  

Students in the middle grades are ready to delve into interesting topics in more depth. Presenting them with interesting and challenging nonfiction can make reading pleasurable and informative. The books on our list also provide great models of good writing which can help students become better writers.

To select the finalists and ultimate winner in the middle grades category, the judges use these criteria:

The book is appropriate for children in grades 5-8.

  • The book contains no serious errors or deficiencies in explanations of science content or processes.
  • The book has a clear purpose, is well-organized, and the scientific concepts are accurately presented.
  • In accordance with Project 2061's Nature of Science Benchmark, the book should engage early adolescents in science and encourage them to reflect on the science they are engaged in.
  • The science portrayed in the book is open to inquiry and should encourage the reader to ask questions.  
  • When fitting, the book shows that men and women of different ages and backgrounds are involved in science.  

So check out these great books. Click on the ISBN number to see their pages on Amazon. If you purchase from that link, SB&F will receive a small referral fee to help us continue to review and recommend the best science books for all ages!

Finalists - Middle Grades Science Books

Migration Nation: Animals on the Go from Coast to Coast, by Joanne O’Sullivan. Charlesbridge, 2015. 978-1623540500

The Octopus Scientists, by Sy Montgomery. (Illus. by Keith Ellenbogen.) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. 978-0544232709

Remaking the John: The Invention and Reinvention of the Toilet, by Francesca Davis DiPiazza. Lerner/Twenty-First Century, 2014. 978-1467726450

Trash Talk: Moving toward a Zero-Waste World, by Michelle Mulder. Orca Book Publishers, 2015. 978-1459806924

Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall, by Anita Silvey. National Geographic, 2015. 978-1426315183

Commended Books

Beetle Busters: A Rogue Insect and the People Who Track It, by Loree Griffin Burns. (Photos by Ellen Harasimowicz). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014.  978-0547792675

Digging for Tyrannosaurus Rex: A Discovery Timeline, by Thomas R. Holtz Jr. Capstone, 2015. 978-1491421253

Fire Birds: Valuing Natural Wildfires and Burned Forests, by Collard Sneed. Bucking Horse Press, 2014. 978-0984446070

How to Swallow a Pig: Step-by-Step Advice from the Animal Kingdom, by Steven Jenkins and Robin Page. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2015. 978-0544313651

Mad about Monkeys, by Owen Davey. Flying Eye Books, 2015. 978-1909263574

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery That Baffled All of France, by Mara Rockliff. (Illus. by Iacopo Bruno.) Candlewick, 2015.978-0763663513

Octopuses! Strange and Wonderful, by Laurence Pringle. (Illus. by Meryl Henderson.) Boyds Mill Press, 2015. 978-1590789285

Smart and Spineless: Exploring Invertebrate Intelligence, by Ann Downer. Twenty-First Century Books, 2015. 978-1467737395

Spidermania: Friends on the Web, by Alexandra Siy. (Illus. by Dennis Kunkel.) Holiday House, 2015. 978-0823428717

Posted 16 Nov 2015 1:01 PM by Maria Sosa