AAAS/Subaru Prize for Excellence in Science Books – 2021 Longlists

The AAAS/Subaru Prize for Excellence in Science Books is awarded for “outstanding science writing and illustration for children and young adults.” It encourages the writing and publishing of high-quality science books for all ages. Below are the longlists for middle grades and picture books. The young adult list tends to be adult nonfiction titles, you can find that here. All of these lists are great collection development tools for librarians. Here are the longlisted titles:

2021 Longlist for Children’s Science Picture Book Award

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

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

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming. Illustrated by Eric Rohmann

If You Take Away the Otter by Susannah Buhrman-Deever. Illustrated by Matthew Trueman

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

Our World Is Relative by Julia Sooy. Illustrated by Molly Walsh

Packs: Strength in Numbers by Hannah Salyer

Winged Wonders: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery by Meeg Pincus. Illustrated by Yas Imamura

2021 Longlist for Middle Grades Science Book Award

The Book of Big Science Ideas: From Atoms to AI and from Gravity to Genes…How Science Shapes Our World by Freya Hardy. Illustrated by Sara Mulvanny

Can You Hear the Trees Talking?: Discovering the Hidden Life of the Forest by Peter Wohlleben

Condor Comeback by Sy Montgomery. Photographs by Tianne Strombeck

Eclipse Chaser: Science in the Moon’s Shadow by Ilima Loomis. Photographs by Amanda Cowan

Eels by Rachel Poliquin. Illustrated by Nicholas John Frith

Growing Up Gorilla: How a Zoo Baby Brought Her Family Together by Clare Hodgson Meeker

Save the Crash-test Dummies by Jennifer Swanson. Illustrated by TeMika Grooms

Under Pressure: The Science of Stress by Tanya Lloyd Kyi. Illustrated by Marie-Ève Tremblay

Trowbridge Road by Marcella Pixley

Cover image for Trowbridge Road

Trowbridge Road by Marcella Pixley (9781536207507)

June Bug lives with her mother in the house on Trowbridge Road that everyone thinks is haunted. Her father died of AIDS, leaving June Bug with her mother who is scared of germs and obsessed with being clean. That means that she never leaves the house and food can be scarce. June Bug’s uncle brings her food once a week, limited because her mother won’t allow him to come more often, so she is often hungry as the supplies run out. Then Ziggy arrives to live with his grandmother down the road. June Bug watches them from a nearby tree, dreaming of being friends and sharing the food that his grandmother prepares for him throughout the day. Ziggy too has experienced his own troubles, immediately getting the attention of the local bullies. As June Bug and Ziggy meet and become friends, their troubles mount, but they have one another as a safe place to share and heal, because at times home is not that place at all.

Set in the mid-80’s, this novel for middle graders is written with such beauty. Pixley creates a neighborhood that is lovingly shown as a mix of safety, imaginative play and also reveals the harshness of reality too. From the foundations of a fallen house where magic blossoms to the shelter of a large tree that can be scrambled up and down, this is a neighborhood seen through the eyes of two creative children who create their own reality together to care for one another.

The two protagonists are children who have experience abuse of various kinds and find kindred spirits in one another. They have both been hungry, both been physically hurt, and both lived with emotional abuse. They are both survivors, using their imagination and the neighborhood itself as places to escape to together. The power of love soars through this book, in extended families who offer care and shelter, in neighbors who reach out and take action. It’s a book about being able to ask for help and the positive change that can come when aid arrives.

Wrenching, powerful and filled with hope, this book is exceptional. Appropriate for ages 11-14.

Reviewed from copy provided by Candlewick.