The K-12 education children's book committee would like to announce the creation of an award for outstanding children's science books, the DeBary Awards. This will be given out to children's books that best teach the concept of science and the wonder of scientific discovery. There will be a slight bias towards biological science, but books on all topics, from Astronomy to Zoology, will be considered. Eventually the award will be given out to recent books, but in this first year, all books are eligible. Nominators should submit the title and author of the book and briefly explain the merits of the book. Nominations can come from APS members or nonmembers. The committee will read nominated books and vote for a winner and two runners-up. The deadline to submit candidates is August 30; winners will be announced in November. To nominate a children's book, email firstname.lastname@example.org
“Life cycle of a pumpkin” by Patricia Walsh and Ron Fridell (2009) tells the story of a pumpkin from seed to fruit using excellent photographs, with a list of facts about pumpkins at the back.
“Hungry plants” (2000) by Mary Battan takes the coolest and grossest members of the plant kingdom (carnivorous plants like sundews and venus flytraps) and explains how they work and how they fit into their environments (low nitrogen habitats). Kids will enjoy reading about them and looking at the illustrations.
“Life Story” by Virginia Lee Burton (updated in 2009, for children 6-11) is a panoramic view of this part of the milky way from the birth of the sun to the present, with plenty of trilobites and dinosaurs and illustrated with theatrical verve. “The Bug Book” (2011, all ages) has striking graphics and huge numbers of facts about insects, making it a book that can be read and reread.
Some nominated books did not meet our definition for science books but were nevertheless worthy of recommendation. Monica Kulling’s books “ALL ABOARD! Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine” and “IT'S A SNAP! George Eastman's First Photograph” were more biographical than scientific, but they depict children from diverse backgrounds growing up to make the world a better place, with nice illustrations by Bill Slavin. Ruth Heller’s “Plants that never ever bloom” is more of a picture book than a science book but the illustrations were marvelous and would lead a young reader to want to know more.
Date of publication
A Log's Life
ALL ABOARD! Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine
biography of inventor
Sharon Werner & Sarah Forss
Blue Apple Books
From seed to plant
How a seed grows
Random House, NY
IT'S A SNAP! George Eastman's First Photograph
Life cycle of a pumpkin
Ron Fridell & Patricia Walsh
Virginia Lee Burton
Sandpiper; Updated edition
Plants that never ever bloom
Pumpkin circle: the story of a garden
Tricycle Press, Berkeley CA
The lonely pine
not a science book
Wiggling worms at work
Harper Trophy (Harper Collins publishers)
Next year: We are accepting nominations for next year’s DeBary Awards. Please nominate any recently published book that will inspire children to love and understand science, particularly in the plant sciences.