110_lme38_310How can we inspire the next generation of scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs?  Publishers across the UK have submitted their best recent science books for young people to the 2013 Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize and now a judging panel has narrowed them down to a shortlist of six.


Each of the shortlisted books should prove inspiring to their young readers and the winning book will be selected entirely by groups of young people from over 100 schools and youth groups across the UK.  These groups will judge all the shortlisted books and choose the final winner, which will be announced on 11th November 2013. In the meantime you can find out more about the Prize via Scribbles, our Young People’s Book Prize blog.

Professor John Goodby FRS, Chair of the judges said: “This year’s books have shown how science can become the subject of beautiful poems, be the object of wonderful works of art, and all the time stretching minds, young and old, into the “realms of imagination” and down-to-earth “model building”. Our eclectic collection of books have been truly enthralling, and our decisions on six candidates for “book of the year” have been incredibly difficult. Now we turn to the real experts in our young judging panels to give us a definitive result. We can’t wait!”

The six books shortlisted by the judges are: 

  1. Build the Human Body, by Richard Walker (Templar Publishing) 

The judges said: “A hands on, fun kit to help learn about the human body, accompanied by a well-illustrated, concise, clear book.” 

  1. Buzzing!, by Anneliese Emmans Dean (Brambleby Books Ltd) 

The judges said: “This book is buzzing with interesting science facts and wonderful poetry. Each page features a different British minibeast that you might find in your back garden, with a funny poem about them.” 

  1. Discover More: The Elements, by Dan Green (Scholastic Children’s Books) 

The judges said: “A good starting point for learning about the topic and full of rocking chemistry! Starting with what elements are and where they come from, the book goes through each element in turn with facts about their discovery and the science about how they impact our everyday lives.” 

  1. Don’t Flush: Lifting the Lid on the Science of Poo and Wee, by Richard Platt, Mary Platt, John Kelly (Kingfisher –an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Books) 

The judges said: “A light-hearted but informative look at the science behind the use of poo and wee throughout history to build houses, wash and dye our clothes, fertilize crops, treat illnesses, solve crimes, control pollution and create fuel, energy and explosives. A perfectly disgusting book: Kids will love it!” 

  1. Human Body Factory, by Dan Green (Kingfisher – an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Books) 

The judges said: “This book is intricately illustrated with tiny factory workers who explain how each part of the body works. It is the Where’s Wally? of the human body; you keep noticing comic little details such as the workers in dinghies mixing gastric juices in the stomach with a giant whisk! As well as being fun, we were also impressed by the level of accurate scientific detail. 

  1. Look inside space, by Rob Lloyd Jones (Usborne Publishing) 

The judges said: “A fantastically interactive book for younger children. Full of flaps to lift (and flaps under flaps) that reveal amazing facts about space!”

The judges on the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize panel this year who selected the six shortlisted books are: 

  • Professor John Goodby FRS – Chemist at the University of York researching liquid crystals. 
  • Dr Jenny Read – University Research Fellow at the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University researching visual perception. 
  • Grrlscientist – an evolutionary biologist, science writer and blogger. 
  • Shazia Lydon – Assistant Headteacher at Challney High School For Boys, Luton. 
  • Simon Watt – Science communicator and presenter of Inside Nature’s Giants on Channel 4.