This month, we’re looking at award winning books. I decided to look at the best STEM books I read this year. Turns out, they were all award winners in one way or another.
BOMB: The Race to Build – and Steal – The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon
by Steve Sheinkin (2012)
This is a nonfiction book that reads more like a novel. It was the recipient of numerous awards, including a Newbery Honor and the Robert F. Sibert Award.
The Superpower Field Guide: Beavers
by Rachel Poliquin (2018)
This is a superfun look at all things beavers. It was a Junior Library Guild selection and ALA Notable Book.
The Wisdom of Trees
by Lita Judge (2021)
The main text is written in poetry. Additional text on each page provides tons of amazing information about trees. Although presented as a picture book, it’s great for older readers. It’s on the New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2021.
Here are some ideas for working with award-winning books.
Check Out The Awards Lists
Look through awards lists and pick out a few books to read. There are lots of them. Here are a few that often highlight STEM books. (This is a big reason why my to-read list only ever seems to grow.)
NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books – https://www.nsta.org/ostb22
AAAS/Subaru Prize for Excellence in Science Books – https://www.sbfprize.org
Green Earth Book Award – http://www.natgen.org/green-earth-book-awards#WINNERS2021
Mathical Book Prize – https://www.mathicalbooks.org
(Robert F.) Sibert Medal – for informational books – https://www.ala.org/alsc/sites/ala.org.alsc/files/content/awardsgrants/bookmedia/sibertmedal/sibert-medal-honor-books-to-present_0.pdf
Bank Street Best of the Year – https://www.bankstreet.edu/library/center-for-childrens-literature/childrens-book-committee/best-childrens-books-of-the-year/2021-edition
Create Your Own Awards
Some of my favorite books were not award winners. Celebrate your own favorites by creating your own awards. These awards could be fun – Book Most Likely to Keep You Up At Night – or serious – Best STEM Book. You could try to pick one big award winner like the Newbery, or put together an award-winning list like the Bank Street book list.
Come up with the qualities that your award-winning books should have. If you have categories, determine what qualifies books to go in them.
Have everyone submit their pick for the award(s). Have them give a persuasive speech as to why their book should be the winner. Act like a jury or vote as in an election to determine the winners.
Weigh In On the Kids’ Book Choice Awards
Voting has already closed for this year, but be sure to check out the Kids’ Book Choice Awards starting in August. Here’s the link: https://everychildareader.net/choice/about
Janet Slingerland has written more than 20 nonfiction books for children, including the award-winning The Secret Lives of Plants! (Pennsylvania School Librarians Association Top 40 in 2013). For more information about Janet, check out her website at http://janetsbooks.com.