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 2013 Finalists Young Adult Books 


Here are the finalists for the Young Adult Science Book category for the 2013 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books. The prize promotes science literacy by showcasing the importance of good science writing that appeals to teens and young adult audiences. The judging criteria can be found here. Thank you to our sponsor, Subaru, for their generous support of the SB&F Prizes.

Death at Sea-World: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales Captivity, by David Kirby. St. Martins Press.
David Kirby’s book is interesting both for the science it presents about killer whales and its frank assessment of the tragic results, for whales and humans, when they are exploited for business purposes. Kirby’s flowing narrative makes interesting reading out of what science has learned about killer whales and the life they lead in nature. Simultaneously, he presents a vivid portrait of the people who work with them in the Sea-World environment. And, he does get very passionate about what he sees as the downside of the Sea-World business model.  Buy
The Odyssey of KP2: An Orphan Seal, a Marine Biologist, and the Fight to Save a Species, by Terrie M. Williams. Penguin Press.
Terri Williams’ interesting, well-told story of a single Hawaiian monk seal pup illustrates how scientific research increases knowledge while helping draw attention to the fate of a declining species. Her story is a good mix of “hands on” science and how human and animal culture play roles in the natural cycle of life. She also poses for readers the question of the value and appropriateness of government intervention in helping preserve species for scientific research. Buy
  The Violinist’s Thumb and Other Tales of Love, War, and Genius as Written by Our Genetic Code, by Sam Kean. Little Brown.
Sam Kean’s approach to discussing genetics is a refreshing departure from much of the more detailed explanations. Kean’s wry humor, selection of historical illustrations, and his ability clarify scientific explanations about DNA and genetic research should prove attractive to YA readers. By putting a very human face on what genetics can tell us about ourselves he encourages readers to think about how the science behind DNA and genetics can explain the past as well as illuminate the future. Buy
   Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us about Health and the Science of Healing, by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers. Knopf. 2012
This book offers many intriguing anecdotes of cross-species health problems.  With an accessible and engaging writing style, the authors-offer fascinating reading about the similarities in both the physiology and behavior of people and animals.  The animal anecdotes will engage teen readers.   In addition, this book lends itself well to scientific discussions and problem-solving about health care for humans and other species.   Buy
   Back to Finalists Main Page.

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