Public Release:  Authors, illustrator win AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Four authors and an illustrator of children's science books won the 2006 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books for recently published works that promote scientific literacy, are scientifically sound, and foster an understanding and appreciation of science in readers of all ages.

The prizes are being awarded for individual books in four categories: Children's Science Picture Books, Middle Grades Nonfiction Science Books, Popular Science for High School Readers and Hands-on Science/Activity Book. The winners were selected by a judging panel, and will receive a cash prize of $1,500 and a plaque.

"The prizes are intended to draw attention to the importance of science books that will encourage young people to read them not only for information but also for enjoyment," said Alan I Leshner, chief executive officer at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and executive publisher of its journal, Science.

The AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books celebrates outstanding science writing and illustration for children and young adults. AAAS and Subaru co-sponsor these prizes to promote science literacy by drawing attention to the importance of good science writing and illustration.

"Subaru would like to congratulate the award winners for their outstanding contribution to science writing and illustration," said Rick Crosson, vice president, marketing, Subaru of America Inc. "This type of contribution is one that is recognized today, but can be appreciated for generations to come."

The 2006 recipients are:

Children's Science Picture Book
Stars Beneath Your Bed: The Surprising Story of Dust
Author: April Pulley Sayre
Illustrator: Ann Jonas
HarperCollins, 2005

Stars Beneath Your Bed explains dust -- where it comes from, its longevity, how it affects sunset and sunrise, and the role it plays in the formation of raindrops. The main text is written and illustrated in the format of a read-aloud or a shared reading. The text also explains where dust comes from, how dust from one part of the world travels to another, and the impact dust has on the environment. The illustrations were prepared from water colors. The book is appropriate for children in grades K-4.

Middle Grades Nonfiction Science Book
The Prairie Builders: Reconstructing America's Lost Grasslands
Author: Sneed B. Collard III
Houghton Mifflin, 2005

This book tells the story of reconstructing a tallgrass prairie on former cornfields through the efforts of a single individual and the foresightedness of a local congressman who obtained funding to establish the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge. The greatest obstacle confronting the project was obtaining tallgrass prairie seeds. It was overcome by hiring "seed seekers" who were trained to find the correct species. Then a legion of volunteers assisted in sorting out the seeds and planting them in the prepared soil. The first two years produced no plants, but in the third year, prairie plants sprouted in thick, green carpets in all of the planted sites. An added touch of realism was the introduction of free-ranging buffalo to graze and simulate natural conditions. The site also proved attractive to upland plovers, bobolinks, and other migrating birds. This book is appropriate for children in grades 5-8.

Popular Science Books for High School Readers
Invisible Allies: Microbes That Shape Our Lives
Author: Jeanette Farrell
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005

Inside this book are interesting chapters on the microbiology of cheese, yeast and sourdough breads, chocolate, and other foods; on the complex interactions of intestinal bacteria with their animal hosts; and on the microbiology of sewage treatment and bioremediation. The accounts are well-written and full of fascinating historical and biological detail. The book contains illustrations, a glossary, extensive notes and bibliographies, and an index. It engages young adult readers in science and encourages the discussion and understanding of scientific ideas. In accordance with Project 2061's Habits of Mind benchmark, the book should enable high school readers to view science and technology thoughtfully.

Hands-On Science/Activity Books
The Amateur Naturalist
Author: Nick Baker
National Geographic Press, 2005

This book is meant for those who like to investigate the outdoors and who see themselves as amateur naturalists. Chapters cover equipment, major groups of animals, and plants. Each chapter is a practical combination of information about the organisms and the particulars involved in tracking, observing, or interacting with them. Safety and the ethical treatment of living things are stressed. The text is illustrated with photos and drawings. A British publication, the book describes species that are native to Britain, but the information about observing certain types of animals, such as squirrels, is applicable anywhere. Preceding the index is a list of conservation organizations, suppliers of specialized equipment, and books for further reading. Teachers will find the inquiry-based investigations to be fun and exciting.

History
The AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books celebrates outstanding science writing and illustration for children and young adults. The Prize began in 2005 by looking back on decades of outstanding science books and honoring five authors and one illustrator for their significant and lasting contribution to children's and young adult science literature and illustration. Beginning in 2006, the Prize honors recently published, individual science books.

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The prizes are meant to encourage the writing and publishing of high-quality science books for all age groups.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science (www.sciencemag.org). AAAS was founded in 1848, and serves 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, reaching 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy; international programs; science education; and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, www.eurekalert.org, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

About Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of nearly 600 dealers across the United States. Subaru makes the best-selling All-Wheel Drive car sold in America based on R.L. Polk & Co. new vehicle retail registration statistics calendar year-end 2004. For additional information visit www.subaru.com.

Since 1965, Science Books & Films (SB&F) has been the authoritative guide to science resources, bringing expert information to bear on choices of materials for a library, classroom or institution. Published by AAAS, SB&F is the only critical review journal devoted exclusively to print and nonprint materials in all of the sciences and for all age groups. Every year, SB&F (www.sbfonline.com) evaluates nearly 1,000 books, videos, DVDs and software packages for general audiences, professionals, teachers and students from kindergarten through college.

The awards will be bestowed at the 2006 AAAS Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Mo., on 18 February. (See http://www.aaas.org/meetings.) For more information on these or other AAAS awards, go to http://www.aaas.org/aboutaaas/awards.

AAAS is the world's largest general scientific society, dedicated to "Advancing science ∙ Serving society."

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