I love science. I’m one of those people who used to drive my parents to despair as a child because I would take things apart in order to learn about them, to figure out how and why they worked. Which was fine, as long as I put them back together and they worked, or it wasn’t my mum’s hairdryer 5 minutes before she was due to use it. And even that wasn’t as bad as the time I microwaved tin foil to see what would happen to metal in a microwave…
Curiosity is vitally important if we are going to learn something new. We have to be interested, we need to want to know more; to investigate, explore, experiment. If I wanted to know something or find out more about a topic, I’d jump on my bike and go to the library. I’d usually end up coming home with something totally different to what I’d gone for, because I’d spot a book, think “that looks much more interesting,” and borrow that instead.
At school, children laugh when I say books were my information source. They have no concept of a world without Google. This is just one of the reasons I’m delighted to be chairing a Judging Panel for the Royal Society’s Young People’s Book Prize again this year. Apart from getting to read six amazing books about science, I also get to share non-fiction at it’s best. These are books that will delight, inspire and encourage children to foster not only a love of science, but books too. And what’s even better, is that they arrived in time for me to read them all first over half-term!
Here are this year’s shortlisted books, and I cannot wait to hand them over to the Judging Panel to see what they think…
100 Things To Know About Space by Alex Frith, Alice James & Jerome Martin, illustrated by Federico Mariani & Shaw Nelson
A First Book Of Animals by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Petr Horáček
Home Lab: Exciting Experiments for Budding Scientists by Robert Winston
If… by David J Smith, illustrated by Steve Adams
The Awesome Body Book by Adam Frost
The Little Pebble: A Look At Rock Cycles by Anna Claybourne, illustrated by Sally Garland