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Did You Know: Subaru Awards the Best Children’s Science Books Every Year

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Teacher parent reading to children books

Learning begins at a young age, and it’s important that future generations are ready for school even before they set foot in a classroom. Who would think that–of any organization–Subaru would be one to make that happen?

Subaru gives back to communities in many ways, cleaning up the environment and finding homes for animals. But one of the most important missions of Subaru is to improve education by supporting classrooms and providing resources.

Partnering with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Subaru has made many strides forward in science education, and one of the many ways it does so is the annual AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books.

AAAS Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books children book publication awards

Every year, the AAAS and Subaru team up to celebrate outstanding science writing and illustration books for children and young adults. Over a decade ago, they began handing out SB&F Prizes to exceptional books; after handing out retrospective awards in 2005 to recognize decades of previous works, 2006 kicked off a yearly honoring of recently-published books.

Winners have to not only present accurate and useful scientific information to readers in understandable ways, but be enjoyable to read–at any age. Each year consists of a round of nominations in several categories:

  • Children’s Science Picture Books
  • Middle Grades Science Books
  • Young Adult Science Books
  • Hands-on Science Books

Winners receive a cash prize and a plaque during the AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

In 2016, for instance, according to SB&F Editor in Chief Maria Sosa, 214 books were up for consideration, with 18 receiving nominations and one winner chosen in each category. With Subaru’s help, more than tens of thousands of copies of the books are donated each year to schools.

Here are the lists of previous winners. Subaru sells many of these on its official merchandise page, so pick one up for your family as a gift!


  • Children’s Science Picture Book: A Chicken Followed Me Home! Questions and Answers About a Familiar Fowl by Robin Page.
  • Middle Grades Science Book: The Octopus Scientists: Exploring the Mind of a Mollusk by Sy Montgomery.
  • Young Adult Science Book: How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction by Beth Shapiro.
  • Hands-On Science Book: A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens by Melissa Caughey.


  • Children’s Science Picture Book: Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes by Nicola Davies. (Illustrations by Emily Sutton.)
  • Middle Grades Science Book: Mission: Mars by Pascal Lee.
  • Young Adult Science Book: Extreme Medicine: How Exploration Transformed Medicine in the Twentieth Century by Kevin Fong.
  • Hands-On Science Book: The Kid’s Guide to Exploring Nature by Brooklyn Botanic Educators. (Edited by Sarah Schmidt.)


  • Children’s Science Picture Book: It’s Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden by George Ancona. (Photos by George Ancona).
  • Middle Grades Science Book: The Skull in the Rock: How a Scientist, a Boy, and Google Earth Opened a New Window on Human Origins by Lee R. Berger & Marc Aronson.
  • Young Adult Science Book: Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts by Emily Anthes.
  • Hands-On Science Book: Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate.


  • Children’s Science Picture Book: Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas by Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm.
  • Middle Grades Science Book: Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery.
  • Young Adult Science Book: The Odyssey of KP2: An Orphan Seal, a Marine Biologist, and the Fight to Save a Species by Terrie M. Williams.
  • Hands-On Science Book: Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery From Your Own Backyardby Loree Griffin Burns with photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz.


  • Lifetime Achievement: Vicki Cobb.
  • Children’s Science Picture Book: Seabird in the Forest: The Mystery of the Marbled Murrelet by Joan Dunning.
  • Middle Grades Science Book: The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frog: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle.
  • Young Adult Science Book: Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle by Thor Hanson.


  • Children’s Science Picture Book: The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge by Joanna Cole. (Illus. by Bruce Degen; from the Magic School Bus Series.)
  • Middle Grades Science Book: The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe by Loree Griffin Burns. (Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz; from the Scientists in the Field Series.)
  • Young Adult Science Book: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • Hands-On Science Book: The Book of Potentially Catastrophic Science by Sean Connolly


  • Lifetime Achievement: Robert Gardner
  • Children’s Science Picture Book: Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life by Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm.
  • Middle Grades Science Book: The Frog Scientist by Pamela S. Turner. (Photographs by Andy Comins; from the Scientists in the Field Series.)
  • Young Adult Science Book: Invisible Kingdom: From the Tips of Our Fingers to the Tops of Our Trash, Inside the Curious World of Microbes by Idah Ben-Barak.
  • Outstanding Science Series: Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out. Published by HarperCollins.


  • Lifetime Achievement: Jean Craighead George
  • Children’s Science Picture Book: Sisters & Brothers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World by Steven Jenkins & Robin Page
  • Middle Grades Science Book: How We Know What We Know about Our Changing Climate: Scientists & Kids Explore Global Warming by Lynne Cherry & Gary Braasch
  • Hands-on Science Book: True Green Kids: 100 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet by Kim McKay & Jenny Bonnin
  • Young Adult Science Book: Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life by Sandra Aamodt & Sam Wang


  • Children’s Science Picture Book: Where in the Wild? Camouflaged Creatures Concealed and Revealed
  • Middle Grades Science Book: Dinosaur Eggs Discovered! Unscrambling the Clues by Lowell Dingus, Luis M. Chaippe, and Rodolfo Coria
  • Hands-on Science Book: A Taste of Exploratopia by Pat Murphy
  • Young Adult Science Book: Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring by Richard Preston


  • Children’s Science Picture Book: An Egg Is Quiet by Dianna Aston, with illustrations by Sylvia Long
  • Middle Grades Science Book: Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh
  • Hands-on Science Book: Thomas Edison for Kids: His Life and Ideas: 21 Activities by Laurie Carlson
  • Young Adult Science Book: Tigerland and Other Unintended Destinations by Eric Dinerstein


  • Children’s Science Picture Book: Stars Beneath Your Bed: The Surprising Story of Dust by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Ann Jonas.
  • Middle Grades Science Book: Prairie Builders: Reconstructing America’s Lost Grasslands, written and photographed by Sneed B. Collard, III.
  • Hands-on Science Book: The Amateur Naturalist by Nick Baker
  • Popular Science Book: Invisible Allies: Microbes That Shape Our Lives by Jeanette Farrell


  • Lifetime Achievement in Children’s Science Book Writing: Patricia Lauber
  • Lifetime Achievement in Children’s Science Book Writing: Laurence Pringle
  • Lifetime Achievement in Children’s Science Book Writing: Seymour Simon
  • Lifetime Achievement in Hands-on Science Book Writing: Bernie Zubrowski
  • Lifetime Achievement in Children’s Science Book Illustrating: Jim Arnosky
  • Lifetime Achievement in Popular Science Book Writing: James Trefil

Sources: AAAS, Science Net Links