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 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books 

2018 SB&F Prizes Winners

2018 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prizes Honor Science Books About Science & Technology Working to Save a Bald Eagle, Presenting Information with Infographics, Trash, and a Decades-Long Research Study

The daring rescue of a bald eagle without a beak. A groundbreaking experiment to domesticate silver foxes in Siberia. A visually stunning exploration of amazing animal statistics. A deep dive into the underlying science of garbage and how to manage it.

Through this diversity of subject matter, the winners of the 2018 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prizes for Excellence in Science Books exemplify outstanding and engaging science writing and illustration for young readers. AAAS and Subaru of America, Inc. co-sponsor the prizes to recognize recently published works that are drawn from and inspired by sound science.

The AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prizes for Excellence in Science Books, now in their 13th year, celebrate outstanding science writing and illustration for children and young adults. AAAS and Subaru of America, Inc. co-sponsor the prizes to recognize recently published works that are scientifically sound and foster an understanding and appreciation of science in readers of all ages.

This year's prizes are better positioned than ever to have an impact on the writing and publishing of outstanding science books for all ages. Winning the prize can have a significant impact on popularity and sales of a recognized book. Thanks to an expanded partnership between AAAS and Subaru, more than 100,000 winning books were donated to schools throughout the country in 2017 as part of the Subaru Loves Learning initiative.

“For over 50 years, AAAS and SB&F have sought to provide expert guidance to teachers, librarians, and parents on the selection of books that engage young minds with science. Working with Subaru to donate books to schools has added another dimension to our work. It is very gratifying to go beyond recognizing the best books to actually getting them into the hands of kids where they belong," Sosa said.

The 2018 prizes recognize efforts in four categories: Children's Science Picture Books, Middle Grades Science Books, Young Adult Science Books, and Hands-on Science Books. Winners received $1,500 and a plaque on 17 February during the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, TX.

The 2018 prize recipients are:

Children's Science Picture Book

Beauty and the Beak, by Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkamp. Persnickety Press, 2017.

Beauty is a wild bald eagle who made world news when her beak was shot off, leaving her helpless. This brave and heart-lifting story tells how she was rescued and how scientists engineered a 3D-printed prosthetic beak that enabled her to eat and drink on her own. The book includes expanded information about bald eagles as a top predator species, their near extinction in most of the U.S., their successful reintroduction back into the wild and efforts to conserve this critical raptor species today. The story highlights the plight of animals in need as well as humans, from young children to military veterans, who are given new lives with ingenious, state-of-the-art prosthetics.

Middle Grades Science Book

Animals by the Numbers, by Steve Jenkins. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.

Animals by the Numbers is packed full of interesting facts and figures. What proportion of each 24-hour day do different animals sleep? Which can jump farthest in relation to their body size? Which are most dangerous to humans and why? Which can live at the highest elevations, deepest depths and most extreme temperatures? Author and illustrator Jenkins’ captivating cut-paper illustrations perfectly recreate the featured creatures and are complemented by text that is both exciting, original and captivating, while remaining accurate and comprehensible. What sets this book apart from most are its clever and informative infographics, including bar charts, pie charts, information webs, decision trees, maps and myriad other graphical representations. To convey the different sizes of organisms, their silhouettes are drawn at actual size or in proportion to one another. Circles of varying sizes are used to show the relative toxicity of different venoms and poisons. In cases where numerical values are provided, English units are primary with metric units shown in parentheses. This book does a magnificent job representing data graphically, demonstrating the power of pictures — and creativity — in telling a compelling story.

Hands-On Science Book

This Book Stinks!, by Sarah Wassner Flynn. National Geographic Kids, 2017.

From composting and recycling, to landfills and dumps, to how creative people are finding new ways to reuse rubbish. This book is jam-packed with infographics, thematic spreads, wow-worthy photos, sidebars, serious stats and fabulous facts. But it gets the nod as the winner in the hands-on category because of its activities that inspire kids to take action, be proactive and rethink the things we throw away. There are articles about people making a difference as well as creative uses of garbage. Infographics provide quick glimpses into junk in space, the most garbage producing nations, as well as facts about recycling and food waste. Brief quizzes and suggestions for contributing to the effort to reduce waste are also included. This is an important and eye-opening book for young readers. It would also make a great text for environmental studies classes.

Young Adult Science Book

How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog), by Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut. University of Chicago Press, 2017.

Tucked away in Siberia, there are furry, four-legged creatures with wagging tails and floppy ears that are as docile and friendly as any lapdog. But, despite appearances, these are not dogs — they are foxes. They are the result of the most astonishing experiment in breeding ever undertaken — imagine speeding up thousands of years of evolution into a few decades. In 1959, biologists Dmitri Belyaev and Lyudmila Trut set out to do just that, by starting with a few dozen silver foxes from fox farms during the Soviet era and attempting to recreate the evolution of wolves into dogs in real time in order to witness the process of domestication. This is the extraordinary, untold story of this remarkable undertaking. Most accounts of the natural evolution of wolves place it over a span of about 15,000 years, but within a decade, Belyaev and Trut’s fox breeding experiments had resulted in puppy-like foxes with floppy ears, piebald spots and curly tails. Along with these physical changes came genetic and behavioral changes, as well. The foxes were bred using selection criteria for tameness and with each generation, they became increasingly interested in human companionship. Trut, lead scientist on the project, and biologist and science writer Dugatkin, tell the story of the adventure, science, politics and love behind it all.

The AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books is sponsored by Subaru.