Oxford Earth Sciences Professors Mike Kendall and Ros Rickaby have joined the judging panel for the 2020 Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize. The prize aims to promote literacy in young people and to inspire them to read about science. It also supports the writing of excellent, accessible STEM books for under-14s. The Prize is unique in that the winner is selected by judging panels made up of young people at schools across the country from a shortlist curated by an adult judging panel.
This year’s adult judging panel also includes the Waterstones Children’s Laureate and author-illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon books, Cressida Cowell, and former Blue Peter presenter turned children’s writer Konnie Huq. The panel is chaired by seismologist and Royal Society Fellow Professor Mike Kendall, who studies the movements in the Earth, from its core to its crust, that cause earthquakes and volcanoes. The panel is completed by special educational needs coordinator and teacher from the Isle of Wight, Gail Eagar, and Royal Society Research Fellow Professor Rosalind Rickaby, who studies how the Earth’s chemistry has shaped the evolution of life.
The judges will comb through this year’s submissions of children’s science books, trimming and curating a stellar shortlist for 2020. They then handover to the Prize’s ultimate arbiters: thousands of school children across the UK, a notoriously selective demographic.
Last year more than 10,000 students from over 470 schools and youth groups cast their votes for their favourite science book from the panel’s shortlist.
The Young People’s Book Prize aims to promote literacy in young people and inspire them to read about science. It also helps to promote the writing of excellent, accessible STEM books for under-14s.These objectives seem particularly pertinent this year, with schools closed across the country and families locked down together. It is a perfect time to explore the unique place that science books can occupy on the shelves of every young person.
Books have the power to show avid and reluctant readers alike entirely new worlds, some on distant planets, some no further than their own back garden, and inspire them with new skills and ideas.
Last year, a record number of young judges crowned Planetarium: Welcome to the Museum, as their winner.
The book by astrophysicist Raman Prinja and artist Chris Wormell, is an eye-catching tour of the solar system, combining Prinja’s captivating explanations with sumptuous illustrations from Wormell – whose work can also be found throughout Philip Pullman’s award-winning Book of Dust series.
More information about the RS Young People’s Book Prize and the panelists, can be found here.