AAAS Honors Science Books Each Year


THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION for the ADVANCEMENT of SCIENCE (AAAS) and Subaru present yearly prizes for books reviewed in four categories.  They review Science Books and Films.  Their designation as a finalist is an extremely prestigious award.  AAAS publishes the scientific journal Science and several online publications of current scientific achievements in biological and physical sciences. 

The SB&F prizes began in 2005 when four lifetime achievement awards were given to authors of children’s science books. It honored authors whose books promoted science literacy. Current finalists were selected by a group of judges made up of librarians, scientists, and science literacy experts. These books have been vetted by scientists who are experts in the field and are scientifically correct in their presentations.

The website for books and active links, starting from the first awards in 2005, can be found at:

Bonus: The Long List for the Picture Books was announced October 27, 2020. The Finalists will be announced Nov, 2020 and the winner in Jan, 2021. The Long List follows:

The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity: A Tale of the Genius Ramanujan, by Amy Alznauer. Illustrated by Daniel Miyares. Candlewick Press, 2020.

Dinosaur Lady: The Daring Discoveries of Mary Anning, the First Paleontologist, by Linda Skeers. Illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens. Sourcebooks Explore, 2020.

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera, by Candace Fleming. Illustrated by Eric Rohmann. Neal Porter Books, 2020.

If You Take Away the Otter, by Susannah Buhrman-Deever. Illustrated by Matthew Trueman. Candlewick Press, 2020.

Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet by Elizabeth Rusch. Illustrated by Teresa Martínez. Charlesbridge, 2019.

Our World is Relative, by Julia Sooy. Illustrated by Molly Walsh. Feiwel & Friends, 2019.

Packs: Strength in Numbers, by Hannah Salyer. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020.

Winged Wonders: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery, by Meeg Pincus. Illustrated by Yas Imamura. Sleeping Bear Press, 2020.

Winners are listed first and designated with ****


Children’s Science Picture Book

Moth: An Evolution Story by Isabel Thomas, illustrated by Daniel Egnéus ****

When Sue Found Sue: Sue Hendrickson Discovers Her T. Rex, by Toni Buzzeo. Illustrated by Diana Sudyka. Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2019.

Butterflies in Room 6: See How They Grow, by Caroline Arnold. Charlesbridge, 2019.

Follow That Bee! A First Book of Bees in the City, by Scot Ritchie. Kids Can Press, 2019.

Middle Grades Science Book

Owling: Enter the World of the Mysterious Birds of the Night by Mark Wilson. Storey Publishing, 2019. ****

Eye Spy: Wild Ways Animals See the World, by Guillaume Duprat. What on Earth Books, 2018.

Kid Scientists: True Tales of Childhood from Science Superstars, by David Stabler. Illustrated by Anoosha Syed. Quirk Books, 2018.

Planetarium, by Raman Prinja. Illustrated by Chris Wormell. Big Picture Press, 2019.

Young Adult Science Book

Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live by Rob Dunn. Basic Books, 2019. ****

How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls: Animal Movement and the Robots of the Future, by David L. Hu. Princeton University Press, 2018.

The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey into Greenland’s Buried Past and Our Perilous Future, by Jon Gertner. Random House, 2019.

Superheavy: Making and Breaking the Periodic Table, by Kit Chapman. Bloomsbury Sigma, 2019.


Hands-On Science Book

Can You Crack the Code? A Fascinating History of Ciphers and Cryptography, by Ella Schwartz, illustrated by Lily Williams. Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2019. *****

George Washington Carver for Kids: His Life and Discoveries, with 21 Activities, by Peggy Thomas. Chicago Review Press, 2019.

Plantology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Plants, by Michael Elsohn Ross. Chicago Review Press, 2019.

Science in a Jar: 35+ Experiments in Biology, Chemistry, Weather, the Environment, and More!, by Julia Garstecki. Quarry Books, 2019.


Children’s Science Picture Book

Iqbal and His Ingenious Idea: How a Science Project Helps One Family and the Planet, by Elizabeth Suneby, illustrated by Rebecca Green. Kids Can Press, 2018. ****

The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reefs, by Kate Messner (Author) and Matthew Forsythe (Illustrator). Chronicle Books. 2018.

A House in the Sky: And Other Uncommon Animal Homes, by Steve Jenkins (Author) and Robbin Gourley (Illustrator). Charlesbridge Publishing. 2018.

Living Things and Nonliving Things: A Compare and Contrast Book, by Kevin Kurtz. Arbordale Publishing. 2017.

Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth, by Nicola Davies (Author) and Emily Sutton (Illustrator). Candlewick. 2017.

What Do They Do with All That Poo? by Jane Kurtz (Author) and Allison Black (Illustrator). Simon & Schuster. 2018.

Middle Grades Science Book

Impact! Asteroids and the Science of Saving the World, by Elizabeth Rusch. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2017****

Champion: The Comeback Tale of the American Chestnut Tree, by Sally M. Walker. Henry Holt and Company. 2018.

Itch! Everything You Didn’t Want to Know About What Makes You Scratch, by Anita Sanchez (Author) and Gilbert Ford (Illustrator). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2018.

My First Book of Quantum Physics, by Sheddad Kaid-Salah Ferron (Author) and Eduard Altarriba (Illustrator). Button Books. 2018.

Rewilding: Giving Nature a Second Chance, by Jane Drake and Ann Love. Annick Press. 2017.

Trash Revolution: Breaking the Waste Cycle, by Erica Fyvie (Author) and Bill Slavin (Illustrator). Kids Can Press. 2018.

Young Adult Science Book

Built: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Structures, by Roma Agrawal. Bloomsbury USA, 2018. ****

Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto, by Alan Stern and David Grinspoon. Picador. 2018.

Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon, by Robert Kurson. Random House. 2018.

Spying on Whales: The Past, Present, and Future of Earth’s Most Awesome Creatures, by Nick Pyenson. Viking. 2018.

Hands-On Science Book

Alexander Graham Bell for Kids: His Life & Inventions with 21 Activities, by Mary Kay Carson. Chicago Review Press. 2018. ****

Bug Lab for Kids: Family-Friendly Activities for Exploring the Amazing World of Beetles, Butterflies, Spiders, and Other Arthropods, by John W. Guyton. Quarto Group. 2018.

Dig In! 12 Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps, by Kari Cornell (Author) and Jennifer S. Larson (Photographer). Millbrook Press. 2018.

Dog Science Unleashed: Fun Activities to Do with Your Canine Companion, by Jodi Wheeler-Toppen. National Geographic Children’s Books. 2018.

Light Waves, by David A. Adler (Author) and Anna Raff (Illustrator). Holiday House. 2018.


Children’s Science Picture Book

Beauty and the Beak: How Science, Technology, and a 3D-Printed Beak Rescued a Bald Eagle, by Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkamp. Persnickety Press. 2017. ****

If You Were the Moon, by Laura Purdie Salas (Author), Jamie Kim (Illustrator.) Millbrook Press. 2017.
My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis, by Paul Meisel, (Author & Illustrator.) Holiday House. 2017.

Robins! How They Grow Up, by Eileen Christelow, (Author & Illustrator) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2017.

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist, by Jess Keating (Author), Marta Alvarez Miguens (Illustrator). Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. 2017.

Middle Grades Science Book

Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Animal Infographics, by Steve Jenkins. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2016. ****

Eye of the Storm: NASA, Drones, and the Race to Crack the Hurricane Code, by Amy Cherrix. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2017.

Inside Your Insides: A Guide to the Microbes That Call You Home, by Claire Eamer. Kids Can Press. 2016.

To Burp or Not to Burp: A Guide to Your Body in Space (Dr. Dave — Astronaut), by Dr. Dave Williams and Loredana Cunti. Annick Press. 2016.

Voyager’s Greatest Hits: The Epic Trek to Interstellar Space, by Alexandra Siy. Charlesbridge Publishing. 2017.

Young Adult Science Book

How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog): Visionary Scientists and a Siberian Tale of Jump-Started Evolution, by Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut. University of Chicago Press. 2017. ****

Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us, by Sam Kean. Little Brown & Co. 2017.

Darwin’s Backyard: How Small Experiments Led to a Big Theory, by James T. Costa. W.W. Norton & Co. 2017.

Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake, by Kathryn Miles. Penguin Random House. 2017.

Hands-On Science Book

This Book Stinks! Gross Garbage, Rotten Rubbish, and the Science of Trash, by Sarah Wassner Flynn. National Geographic Children’s Books. 2017. ****

Droughts, by Melissa Stewart. HarperCollins. 2017.

Magnets Push, Magnets Pull, by David A. Adler. Holiday House. 2017.

Try This! 50 Extreme Fun & Safe Experiments for the Mad Scientist in You, by Karen Romano Young. National Geographic Children’s Books. 2017.


Children’s Science Picture Book

Tooth By Tooth: Comparing Fangs, Tusks, and Chompers, by Sarah C. Levine (Author) and T. S. Spookytooth (Illustrator). Millbrook Press. 2016. ****

Because of an Acorn, by Lola M. Schaefer  (Author), Adam Schaefer (Author), Frann Preston-Gannon (Illustrator). Chronicle Books. 2016.

A Beetle is Shy, by Dianna Hutts Aston (Author) and Sylvia Long (Illustrator). Chronicle Books. 2016.

Grow! Raise! Catch!: How We Get Our Food, by Shelly Rotner (Author & Illustrator). Holiday House. 2016.

Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor, by Robert Burleigh (Author), Raúl Colón (Illustrator). Simon & Schuster, Paula Wiseman Books. 2016.

Middle Grades Science Book

Crow Smart: Inside the Brain of the World’s Brightest Bird, by Pamela Turner. Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt. 2016. ****

Faster, Higher, Smarter: Bright Ideas That Transformed Sports, by Simon Shapiro. Annick Press. 2016.

Fish Tricks: The Wild and Wacky World of Fish, by Haude Levesque. Moon Dance Press. 2016.

Great Monkey Rescue: Saving the Golden Lion Tamarins, by Sandra Markle. Millbrook Press. 2015.

Hopping Ahead of Climate Change, by Sneed Collard III. Bucking Horse Press. 2016.

Young Adult Science Book

Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren. Knopf. 2016. ****

The Cell: A Visual Tour of the Building Block of Life, by Jack Challoner. University of Chicago Press. 2015.

Resurrection Science: Conservation, De-Extinction and the Precarious Future of Wild Things, by M.R. O’Connor. St. Martin’s Press. 2015.

Seven Brief Lessons in Physics, by Carlo Rovelli. Penguin Press. 2016.

Hands-On Science Book

Ricky’s Atlas: Mapping a Land on Fire, by Judith L. Li, M. L. Herring. Oregon State University Press. 2016. ****

Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science: A Family Guide to Fun Experiments in the Kitchen, by Andrew Schloss. Quarry Books. 2016.

Outdoor Science Lab for Kids, 52 Family-Friendly Experiments for the Yard, Garden, Playground, and Park, by Liz Lee Heinecke. Quarry Books. 2016.

Outside: A Guide to Discovering Nature, by Maria Ana Peixe Dias and Ines Teixeira do Rosario. Frances Lincoln Children’s Books. 2016.

Recycled Science: Bring Out Your Science Genius with Soda Bottles, Potato Chip Bags, and More Unexpected Stuff, by Tammy Enz and Jodi Lyn Wheeler-Toppen. Capstone. 2016.

Treecology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Trees and Forests, by Monica Russo and Kevin Byron, Chicago Review Press. 2016.


Children’s Science Picture Book

A Chicken Followed Me Home, by Robin Page. Beach Lane Books, 2015. ****

Egg: Nature’s Perfect Package, by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2015.

High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs, by Lisa Kahn Schnell. (Illus. by Alan Marks.) Charlesbridge, 2015.

Tree of Wonder, by Kate Messner. (Illus. by Simona Mulazzani.) Chronicle Books, 2015.

When Whales Cross the Sea: The Gray Whale Migration, by Sharon Katz Cooper. (Illus by Tom Leonard.) Picture Book Windows, 2015.

Middle Grades Science Book

Migration Nation: Animals on the Go from Coast to Coast, by Joanne O’Sullivan. Charlesbridge, 2015.

The Octopus Scientists, by Sy Montgomery. (Illus. by Keith Ellenbogen.) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. ****

Remaking the John: The Invention and Reinvention of the Toilet, by Francesca Davis DiPiazza. Lerner/Twenty-First Century, 2014.

Trash Talk: Moving toward a Zero-Waste World, by Michelle Mulder. Orca Book Publishers, 2015.

Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall, by Anita Silvey. National Geographic, 2015.

Young Adult Science Book

How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction, by Beth Shapiro. Princeton University Press, 2015. ****

The Boy Who Played with Fusion: Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting, and How to Make a Star, by Tom Clynes. Houghton Mifflin, 2015.

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the World of Consciousness, by Sy Montgomery. Simon and Schuster, 2015.  (National Book Prize Finalist)

The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History, by Thor Hanson. Basic Books, 2015.

Hands-On Science Book

A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens, by Melissa Caughey. Storey Publishing, 2015. ****

Birdology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Birds, by Monica Russo. (Photographs by Kevin Byron.) Chicago Review Press, 2015.

Experiment with What a Plant Needs to Grow, by Nadia Higgins. Lerner, 2015.

Inventions That Could Have Changed the World . . . But Didn’t!  by Joe Rhatigan. (Illus. by Anthony Owsley.) Charlesbridge, 2015.

Kirby’s Journal: Backyard Butterfly Magic, by Charlotte Caldwell. University of South Carolina Press, 2015.


Children’s Science Picture Books

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes, by Nicola Davies, illus. by Emily Sutton. Candlewick Press, 2014. ****

Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth, by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm. The Blue Sky Press, 2014.

Have You Heard the Nesting Bird, by Rita Gray, illustrated by Kenard Park. Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2014.

Parrots Over Puerto Rico, by Susan L. Roth, Cindy Trumbore, illustrated by Susan L. Roth. Lee & Low Books, 2013.

Middle Grades Science Book

Mission: Mars, by Pascal Lee. Scholastic, 2013. ****

The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees: A Scientific Mystery, by Sandra Markle. Millbrook Press, 2013.

Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines, by Paul Fleischman. Candlewick. 2014.

Handle With Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey, By: Loree Griffin Burns Illustrated By: Ellen Harasimowicz. Millbrook Press, 2014.

Plastic, Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, by Patricia Newman, illustrated by Annie Crawley. Millbrook Press, 2014.

Hands-on Science Book

Junk Drawer Physics: 50 Awesome Experiments that Don’t Cost a Thing, by Bobby Mercer. Chicago Review Press, 2014.

Kids Guide to Exploring Nature, by Brooklyn Botanic Educators. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2014. ****

Plant a Pocket of Prairie, by Phyllis Root. (Illus. by Betsy Bowen). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minn. Press, 2014.

Young Adult Science Book  

Extreme Medicine: How Exploration Transformed Medicine in the Twentieth Century, by Kevin Fong. NY: The Penguin Press, 2014. ****

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert. Henry Holt, 2014.

Shocked: Adventures in Bringing Back the Recently Dead, by David Casarett. Current/Penguin Random House, 2014.

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery, by Sam Kean. Hachette/Little, Brown and Company, 2014.


Children’s Picture Books

It’s Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden, by George Ancona. (Photos by George Ancona) Candlewick, 2013. ****

Things That Float and Things That Don’t, by David A. Adler. (Illus. by Anna Raff) Holiday House, 2013.

Too Hot? Too Cold? Keeping Body Temperature Just Right, by Caroline Arnold. (Illus. by Annie Patterson) Charlesbridge, 2013.


Children’s Middle Grades 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. National Geographic Children’s Books, 2012. ****

Eruption! Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives, by Elizabeth Rusch.  (Scientists in the Field Series; photographs by Tom Uhlman).  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

Wild Horse Scientists, by Kay Frydenborg.  (Scientists in the Field Series) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.

Children’s Hands-On Science Book

Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard, by Annette LeBlanc Cate. Candlewick, 2013. ****

Beyond the Solar System: Exploring Galaxies, Black Holes, Alien Planets, and More, by Mary Kay Carson. Chicago Review Press, 2013.

Ellie’s Log: Exploring the Forest Where the Great Tree Fell, by Judith L. Li. Oregon State University Press, 2013.

Young Adult Science Book

Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts, by Emily Anthes. Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013 ****

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, by Mary Roach. W.W. Norton & Company, 2013.

Letters to a Young Scientist, by Edward O. Wilson. Liveright, 2013.

Mirror Earth: The Search for our Planet’s Twin, by Michael Lemonick. Walker & Company, 2012.


Children’s Picture Books

Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas, by Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm; illustrated by Molly Bang. Blue Sky Press, 2012. ****

The Beetle Book, by Steve Jenkins. Houghton Mifflin, 2012.

Just Ducks! by Nicola Davies ; illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino. Candlewick, 2012.

Life in the Ocean: the Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle, by Claire A. Nivola. Farrar Strauss. 2012

A Place for Bats, by written by Melissa Stewart ; illustrated by Higgins Bond. Peachtree, 2012.

Rachel Carson and Her Book that Changed the World, by Laurie Lawlor ; illustrated by Laura Beingessner. Holiday House, 2012.

Middle Grade Science Books

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World, by Sy Montgomery.  Houghton Mifflin, 2012. ****

The Book of Blood : From Legends and Leeches to Vampires and Veins, by HP Newquist. Houghton Mifflin, 2012.

Invincible Microbe : Tuberculosis and the Never-ending Search for a Cure, by Jim Murphy and Alison Blank. Clarion, 2012.

Moonbird : A Year On the Wind With the Great Survivor B95, by Phillip Hoose.  Farrar Straus, 2012

Hands-on Science Books

Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery From Your Own Backyard, by Loree Griffin Burns; photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz. Henry Holt, 2012.  ****

Crazy Concoctions: A Mad Scientist’s Guide to Messy Mixtures, by Jordan D. Brown; illustrated by Anthony Owsley.  Image Pub, 2011.

How to Raise Monarch Butterflies: A Step-by-Step Guide for Kids, by Carol Pasternak.  Firefly, 2012.

Potatoes On Rooftops : Farming in the City, by Hadley Dyer. Annick Press, 2012.

The World In Your Lunch Box: The Wacky History and Weird Science of Everyday Foods, by Claire Eamer ; artwork by Sa Boothroyd.  Annick Press, 2012.

Young Adult Books

The Odyssey of KP2: An Orphan Seal, a Marine Biologist, and the Fight to Save a Species, by Terrie M. Williams. Penguin Press. 2013. ****

Death at Sea-World: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales Captivity, by David Kirby. St. Martins Press. 2013.

The Violinist’s Thumb and Other Tales of Love, War, and Genius as Written by Our Genetic Code, by Sam Kean. Little Brown. 2013.

Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us about Health and the Science of Healing, by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers. Knopf. 2012.