(Books published in 2006)
Something out of Nothing © 2006 Carla Killough McClafferty, Used with the permission of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.
Apples and oranges … and lychees and loquats—how can one compare? That’s the challenge when a team of NSTA’s best science educators attempt to select the best of each year’s science trade books.
It’s been 34 years since NSTA joined forces with the Children’s Book Council to select the best trade books each year. Publishers submit hundreds of books for evaluation, and the judges have a daunting task. First, they need to determine if the books are truly “trade books” that would normally be found in a bookstore, and they must always represent the best of the National Science Education Standards.
The committee must compare the books to a set of standards that have been refined each year since the competition began. The committee looks for accuracy, good graphics, developmental appropriateness, and readability. Often, the final choice comes down to that hard-to-define characteristic that hooks the reader and fascinates.
How to use this list? Many teachers refer it to their media professionals and to their students’ parents. Some use it to make purchases. And sometimes, teachers grab copies for their own reading pleasure. Above all, these books are meant to be enjoyed!
|About the Annotations
In addition to standard publishing information, the annotations indicate the following:
- Titles marked with are Selectors’ Choices—books that individual panel members responded to with particular enthusiasm.
- International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN) are included for all available editions (trade, library, and paperback).
- The prices are current as of January 2007.
- The notation Paper ed. (F) indicates that a paperback edition is forthcoming and whether the publisher is different from the hardcover edition.
- Reading levels [P = Primary (K–2); E = Elementary (3–5); I = Intermediate (6–8); A = Advanced (9–12)] are provided by the reviewers. They are intended as guidelines and are not meant to limit the potential use of titles.
- The reviewer’s initials follow each description (see Members of the Book Selection Panel listed below).
- The most relevant National Science Content Standards are indicated by Roman numerals (see below).
National Science Content Standards
I Unifying Concepts and Processes
II Science as Inquiry
III Physical Science Perspectives
IV Life Science
V Earth and Space Science
VI Science and Technology
VII Science in Personal and Social
VIII History and Nature of Science
Archaeology, Anthropology, and Paleontology
Dinosaur Atlas: An Amazing Journey Through a Lost World. John Malam, John Woodward, with consultant Michael Benton. Illustrated with prints and photographs. DK Publishing. 96pp. Trade ISBN 0-7566-2235-2, $19.99. (E, I) This comprehensive and beautifully illustrated volume presents dinosaurs by continent, with details of the fossil record, geologic timeline, climate, and anatomy of certain species. It touches on the evolution and demise of dinosaurs and excavation of fossils and includes a CD showing the 3-D structure and movement of six species. How to Use, Glossary, Index, Credits. CVM (V, IV)
Little People and a Lost World: An Anthropological Mystery. Linda Goldenberg. Illustrated with prints and photographs. Lerner Publishing Group. 112pp. Trade ISBN 0-8225-5983-8, $29.27. (I, A) While conveying the excitement, importance, and history of the discovery of a diminutive—possibly human—species, this book demonstrates (though not without its own slight bias) how interpretation of data can become embroiled in politics and scientific ego. It includes chapters on local folklore and the current status of the controversy. Epilogue, Glossary, Source Notes, Bibliography, Further Reading and Websites, Index. CVM (II, V, VIII)
|About CBC and NSTA|
The Children’s Book Council (CBC) is a nonprofit trade organization that encourages the use and enjoyment of books and related literacy materials for young people. The official sponsor of Children’s Book Week, the CBC supports reading-encouragement programs both independently and with other national and international organizations. The CBC’s members are U.S. publishers and packagers of trade books for children and young adults and producers of book-related materials for young people. For more information, see www.cbcbooks.org.
The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is an organization of science education professionals and has as its purpose the stimulation, improvement, and coordination of science teaching and learning. For further information on NSTA membership and services, call 800-722-NSTA.
Barnum Brown: Dinosaur Hunter. Written and illustrated by David Sheldon. Walker Books for Young Readers. 32pp. Trade ISBN 0-8027-9602-8, $16.95; Library ISBN 0-8027-9603-6, $17.85. (E) This is the story of the greatest “dinosaur hunter” of the 20th century—Barnum Brown. Through this depiction of Brown’s life, the reader is given a glimpse of how early 20th-century paleontologists went about the hard work of uncovering the remains of organisms that lived millions of years ago. CRB (VIII, VII)
Marie Curie: The Woman Who Changed the Course of Science. Philip Steele. Illustrated with prints and photographs. National Geographic Children’s Books. 64pp. Trade ISBN 0-7922-5387-6, $17.95; Library ISBN 0-7922-5388-4, $27.90. (A) This fascinating biography depicts the remarkable life of Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel prize. Through timelines, photographs, and compelling text, the author documents both Curie’s struggles in her dangerous research into radioactivity and her determination to make lasting contributions to society. Bibliography, Glossary, Index. PJC (III, VII, VIII)
Onward: A Photobiography of African American Polar Explorer Matthew Henson. Delores Johnson. Illustrated with photographs. National Geographic Children’s Books. 64pp. Trade ISBN 0-7922-7914-X, $17.95; Library ISBN 0-7922-7915-8, $27.90. (I) An adventuresome story told through archival polar and personal photographs about Matthew Henson, an African American explorer who labored alongside Robert Peary to be the first humans to reach the North Pole in 1909. National Geographic Society’s Hubbard Medal (“exploration, discovery, and research”) was awarded posthumously for Henson’s achievements in arctic exploration. Foreword, Chronology (1866–2001), Bibliography and Resources, Index. LS (VII, VIII)
Sigmund Freud (Giants of Science). Kathleen Krull. Illustrated by Boris Kulikov. Viking Children’s Books/Penguin Young Readers Group. 128pp. Trade ISBN 0-670-05892-0, $15.99. Paper ed. (F) (Puffin). (I) This anecdotal biography illustrates Freud’s progress from hospital physician to founder of the new science of psychoanalysis despite the initial disapproval of fellow scientists. Appendix, Bibliography, Websites, Index. CDC (VIII, IV)
Something Out of Nothing: Marie Curie and Radium. Carla Killough McClafferty. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Books for Young Readers. 144pp. Trade ISBN 0-374-38036-8, $18. (I) This comprehensive biography of Marie Curie begins with the challenges in her early life as a female in occupied Poland to become educated and ends with her legacy and success in discovering two new elements. This book tells the emotional story of Curie’s life. Excellent photographs and engaging readability accentuate this wonderful story. Source Notes, Selected Bibliography, Recommended Websites, Acknowledgments, Illustration Credits, Index. DTC (VII, III, VIII)
Illustration © 2006 by Jon Van Zyle. Used with permission of the publisher,
Walker Books for Young Readers.
Earth and Space Science
Big Alaska: Journey Across America’s Most Amazing State. Debbie S. Miller. Illustrated by Jon Van Zyle. Walker Books for Young Readers. 40pp. Trade ISBN 0-8027-8069-5, $17.95; Library ISBN 0-8027-8070-9, $18.95. (E, I) This book allows readers to visit some of Alaska’s greatest environmental and geological treasures through the journeys of a bald eagle. Parks, sanctuaries, and forests are described through well-written vignettes complemented with colorful illustrations rich with the wildlife and landscapes of Alaska—the last frontier. Introduction, Map of Eagle’s Journey, Alaska Facts, State Symbols, Listing of Climate Records, Descriptions of Alaska’s Favorite Places. LS (IV, V)
Diving to a Deep-Sea Volcano. © 2006, written by Kenneth Mallory, Houghton Mifflin Co.
Diving to a Deep-Sea Volcano (Scientists in the Field). Kenneth Mallory. Illustrated with photographs. Houghton Mifflin Company. 64pp. Trade ISBN 978-0-618-33205-2, $17. (I) This book is a thrilling explanation and has incredible photographs of the exploration of deep-sea thermal vents. While describing the deep-sea diving submarine Alvin, this book is filled with adventure, great deep-sea science discovery, and an explanation of chemosynthetic ecosystems. This fascinating story ends with questions for further deep-sea exploration. Acknowledgments, Glossary, Suggestions for Further Reading, Index. DTC (V, VI, II)
Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon. Catherine Thimmesh. Illustrated with photographs. Houghton Mifflin Company. 80pp. Trade ISBN 978-0618-50757-3, $19.95. (I) Apollo 11, the first Moon landing, is a story that many people made happen. Team Moon recounts the story of the hundreds of people—such as technicians, software developers, seamstresses, contractors, managers, and many more—who worked on every detail to make this mission successful. Using quotes from NASA transcripts, National Archives materials, and NASA photos, the book is about the dedication of a team that worked together. NASA Photos and Transcripts, List of Apollo Missions and Their Symbolic Patch, Glossary, Sources, Chapter Notes, Index. NJP (V)
Environment and Ecology
Illustration by Michael Rothman from Here Is the Tropical Rain Forest. © 2006. Michael Rothman. Used with permission of Web of Life Children’s Books.
Here Is the Tropical Rain Forest. Madeleine Dunphy. Illustrated by Michael Rothman. Web of Life Children’s Books. 32pp. Trade ISBN 0-9773795-1-5, $16.95; Paperback ISBN 0-9773795-0-7, $9.95. (P) This beautifully illustrated book explores the incredible diversity of life found in an endangered environment—the rain forest. The food web of the tropical rain forest is presented through lyrical text and naturalist paintings. Plants and animals are linked in a chain of life that will be evident to young readers. Author’s Note. PJC (IV, VII)
Health and Science
The Facts About Cocaine (Drugs). Suzanne LeVert. Illustrated with prints and photographs. Benchmark Books/Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books. 112pp. Library ISBN 0-7614-1973-X, $37.95. (I, A) This is an important book for both parents and teenagers. It shows the dangers of cocaine use to the individual and its damaging effects on society. It also describes how cocaine distribution is being combated and how people can be rehabilitated with treatment and self-help groups. Glossary, Further Information, Index. CDC (IV, VII)
Killing Germs, Saving Lives: The Quest for the First Vaccines (National Geographic Science Quest). Glen Phelan. Illustrated with prints and photographs. National Geographic Children’s Books. 64pp. Trade ISBN 0-7922-5537-2, $17.95; Library ISBN 0-7922-5538-0, $25.90. (I) Told from a historical perspective, this book presents the work of scientists and healthcare providers who have observed, experimented, and accidentally discovered vaccines. The book demonstrates people’s changing ideas about diseases and the time needed for new discoveries. It also mentions ongoing efforts to find new vaccines. Enhanced by photographs and artwork. Glossary, Resources, Index, Timeline. PLB (VIII, VII, IV)
Peanut Butter, Milk, and Other Deadly Threats: What You Should Know About Food Allergies. Sherri Mabry Gordon. Illustrated with photographs. Enslow Publishers. 112pp. Library ISBN 0-7660-2529-2, $31.93. (I, A) Starting with a firsthand account of the potentially deadly effects of food allergies, this book explains the science of allergic reactions, immune system response, and treatment. It discusses the impact of living with allergies and efforts related to awareness, advocacy, and scientific research. Information is supported through detailed citations. Author’s Note, Chapter Notes, Glossary, Resources, Index. PLB (VII, IV)
Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow. © 2006, illustrated by Beth Krommes
and written by Joyce Sidman, Houghton Mifflin Co.
Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow. Joyce Sidman. Illustrated by Beth Krommes. Houghton Mifflin Company. 48pp. Trade ISBN 978-0-618-56313-5, $16. (P) By pairing poetry riddles and factual information, this beautifully illustrated book reveals secrets of life in the meadow. Beginning with creatures that awake with the Sun and ending with those that feed in the twilight, readers are taken on an enlightening tour of the living wonders found in fields. Glossary. PJC (IV)
Deadly Invaders: Virus Outbreaks Around the World, From Marburg Fever to Avian Flu. Denise Grady. Illustrated with photographs. Kingfisher/Houghton Mifflin Company. 128pp. Trade ISBN 978-0-7534-5995-9, $16.95. (I, A) Viruses, diseases, and an emerging epidemic … this text starts with a fictional story of a possible flu outbreak in the United States and then medical reporter Denise Grady leads readers on a somewhat terrifying journey of emerging diseases. To gain a better understanding of these deadly viruses, the author gives in-depth coverage of Marburg fever, avian flu-H5N1, HIV/AIDS, West Nile, and SARS. Source Notes, Further Reading, Internet Resources, Acknowledgments, Picture Credits, Index. HDRC (IV, VII, VIII, II)
|Members of the Book Selection Panel|
David T. Crowther (DTC), Chair
Associate Professor, Science Education
University of Nevada, Reno
Charlie Barman (CRB)
Professor of Science Education
Indiana University School of Education
Patricia Bricker (PLB)
Elementary and Middle Grades Education
Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, North Carolina
Peggy Carlisle (PJC)
Teacher of the Gifted
Pecan Park Elementary School
Christopher Clements (CDC)
Marlborough High School
Heather Curton (HDRC)
Christine McLelland (CVM)
GSA Earth Science Educator
Geological Society of America
Norby Pratt (NJP)
Educational Consultant, Inc.
Len Sharp (LS)
Supervisor: Student Teachers
Syracuse, New York
Double Helix: The Quest to Uncover the Structure of DNA (National Geographic Science Quest). Glen Phelan. Illustrated with prints and photographs. National Geographic Children’s Books. 64pp. Trade ISBN 0-7922-5541-0, $17.95; Library ISBN 0-7922-5542-9, $25.90. (I) This book details the steps in the discovery of the structure of DNA. It describes how Mendel’s experiments with pea plants led to Watson and Crick’s model building of the double-helix structure of DNA with the help of Wilkins’ and Franklin’s x-ray photos. Glossary, Resources, Index. CDC (IV, VIII)
Horses. Seymour Simon. Illustrated with photographs. HarperCollins Children’s Books. 32pp. Trade IBSN 0-06-028945-7, $16.89. (E) This book has beautiful photographs on every page along with a descriptive story of how the horse has become an integral part of the human world. Seymour Simon describes for us in detail the horse’s history, its life cycle, and its place in the world today. This would be a wonderful book for any child who wants a horse of his or her own. Author’s Note. HDRC (IV, VII)
Influenza: The Next Pandemic? Connie Goldsmith. Illustrated with prints and photographs. Lerner Publishing Group. 112pp. Trade ISBN 0-7613-9457-5, $27.93. (A) Viruses are much simpler than bacteria. This book details the difference between viruses and bacteria and describes the composition of a virus and its search for a host. The author creates a seamless blend of history and science to tell about the impact of the flu on generations before us, the possible impact of another pandemic, how to prevent the flu, and how to care for patients. Vignettes interspersed throughout make this important book real for readers. Alternative Opinions, Glossary, Resources, Source Notes, Selected Bibliography, Index. NJP (IV, VII)
Oh, Rats! The Story of Rats and People. Albert Marrin. Illustrated by C.B. Mordan. Dutton Children’s Books/Penguin Young Readers Group. 48pp. Trade ISBN 0-525-47762-4, $16.99. (E) This unusual subject makes for a most intriguing book! By combining science, history, culture, and folklore, the author introduces us to the fascinating world of rats. Necessary to medical breakthroughs, helpful in wartime, carrier of diseases, and tasty delicacy—all of these describe this marvel of nature and true survivor. Bibliography, More Books to Read. PJC (IV)
Parasites: Latching On to a Free Lunch. Paul Fleisher. Illustrated with photographs. Lerner Publishing Group. 112pp. Trade ISBN 0-8225-3415-0, $29.27. (A) This incredible book discusses parasites of all kinds. Beautifully illustrated and detailed, this book discusses parasites that thrive on fungi, plants, worms, protists, insects, and vertebrates. The book ends with a discussion of the reasons there are so many parasites, the evolution of parasites, and the war against parasites. List of Major Human Parasites, Glossary, Selected Bibliography, Further Reading and Websites, Index. DTC (IV, VII, VIII)
Rain Forest © 2006, written by Jinny Johnson with Nalini Nadkarni, Kingfisher/Houghton Mifflin Co.
Rain Forest (Kingfisher Voyages). Jinny Johnson with Nalini Nadkarni. Illustrated with photographs. Kingfisher/Houghton Mifflin Company. 60pp. Trade ISBN 978-0-7534-5904-1, $15.95. (E) Join Nalini Nadkarni as she studies different rain forests from the ground level to the top of the canopy. Through this journey, you will learn some of the techniques she uses to gain information about the flora and fauna of these regions as well as meet some of its human inhabitants. Author’s Note, Index, Glossary. CRB (IV, VIII, VII)
Skunks © 2006 Adrienne Mason. Illustrations © 2006 Nancy Gray Ogle.
Skunks (Wildlife Series). Adrienne Mason. Illustrated by Nancy Gray Ogle. Kids Can Press. 32pp. Trade ISBN 1-55337-733-8, $10.95; Paperback ISBN 1-55337-734-6, $6.95. (E) This beautifully illustrated and informative book identifies the different types of skunks found throughout the world and the four that are native to North America. In addition, the book provides information about skunk habitats, how they protect themselves, what they eat, and how they learn. Index. CRB (IV)
Slippery, Slimy Baby Frogs. Sandra Markle. Illustrated with photographs. Walker Books for Young Readers. 32pp. Trade ISBN 0-8027-8062-8, $16.95; Library ISBN 0-8027-8063-6, $17.85. Paper ed. (F). (E) Spectacular color photographs and engaging text help readers learn about frog species around the world. This book goes beyond typical egg-tadpole-adult life cycle descriptions to highlight diverse processes through which frog eggs transform into adults. It includes physical and behavioral characteristics and a short note about declining frog populations. Glossary, Index, Author’s Note. PLB (IV, VII)
Sponges, Jellyfish, and Other Simple Animals (Animal Kingdom Classification). Steve Parker. Illustrated with prints and photographs. Compass Point Books. 48pp. Trade ISBN 0-7565-1614-5, $27.93; Library ISBN 0-7565-1614-5, $20.95; Paperback ISBN 0-7565-1834-2, $9.95/$8.95. (E) By combining beautiful illustrations and interesting text, the author introduces readers to a variety of macroscopic and microscopic marine and freshwater organisms. In addition, information is provided about some of the adaptations that make these organisms successful in their respective environments. Glossary, Index. CRB (IV)
Turtle Crossing. Written and illustrated by Rick Chrustowski. Henry Holt and Company. 32pp. Trade ISBN 0-8050-7498-8, $16.95. (P) The life cycle of a painted turtle is the focus of this well-written and nicely illustrated book. The story begins with turtles scrambling out of their nest and progresses to them laying their own eggs five years later. A description of the environment in which the turtles live and the obstacles they encounter make this book one that helps young readers understand painted turtles and their journey to a nesting site. Narrative of Facts. NJP (IV)
What Stinks? Marilyn Singer. Illustrated with photographs. Darby Creek Publishing. 64pp. Trade ISBN 1-58196-035-2, $17.95. Paper ed. (F). (I) From excrement to insects, plants, and fungi, this book explores the offensive smells of numerous organisms. It discusses where these “stinky” organisms come from and why they have offensive odors (at least to humans). This great book will expand students’ curiosity and teach them the science behind the stink. Vocabulary, Author Acknowledgments, Bibliography, Internet Resources, Glossary, Index. DTC (IV, VII, II)
Wild Lives: A History of the People & Animals of the Bronx Zoo by Kathleen W. Zoehfeld; illustrated with photographs by the Wildlife Conservation Society, published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.
Wild Lives: A History of the People and Animals of the Bronx Zoo. Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld. Illustrated with photographs from the Wildlife Conservation Society. Alfred A. Knopf/Random House Children’s Books. 96pp. Trade ISBN 978-0-375-80630-8 or 0-375-80630-X, $18.95; Library ISBN 978-0-375-90630-5 or 0-375-90630-4, $20.99. (I, A) Everyone loves the zoo, and this story tells the tale of how the Bronx Zoo came to be. It also describes in detail the life of William T. Hornaday, the zoo director, as well as other important members of the zoo. Wild Lives helps readers understand both sides of the zoo story—the animals and the people who care for them. Table of Contents, Bibliography, Index, Acknowledgments. HDRC (IV, VII, VIII, II)
The Wolf: Night Howler (Animal Close-Ups). Christian Havard. Illustrated with photographs by Jacana Agency. Charlesbridge Publishing. 28pp. Paperback ISBN 1-57091-630-6, $6.95. (P, E) A look at wolves up close! This book has beautiful photographs that assist in telling the story of the wolf. Readers will explore the way that the wolf communicates with its pack—whether for hunting, protection, or reproduction—its habitat and territory, and its relationship to other species within the Canidae family. Further Reading, Internet Links, Index. HDRC (IV, II)
Atomic Universe: The Quest to Discover Radioactivity. Kate Boehm Jerome. Illustrated with photographs. National Geographic Children’s Books. 64pp. Trade ISBN 0-7922-5543-7, $17.95; Library ISBN 0-7922-5544-4, $25.90. (I) This book describes the discovery of radiation and demonstrates how the Curies’ work was based on the contributions of others and the scientific method. Original photographs and a timeline put the discoveries into their historical context. Glossary, Resources, Index. CDC (III, VIII)
|About the Books and the Selection Process
The books that appear in this annotated bibliography selected as Outstanding Science Trade Books were published in 2006. They are intended primarily for kindergarten through 12th grade. They were selected by members of a book review panel appointed by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and assembled in cooperation with the Children’s Book Council (CBC). NSTA and CBC have cooperated on this bibliographic project since 1973.
The panel looks at both content and presentation. Selection is based generally on the following criteria:
• The book has substantial science content.
• Information is clear, accurate, and up-to-date.
• Theories and facts are clearly distinguished.
• Facts are not oversimplified to the point that the information is misleading.
• Generalizations are supported by facts, and significant facts are not omitted.
• Books are free of gender, ethnic, and socioeconomic bias.
The panel also uses rigorous selection guidelines relating to the presentation of material, including the following: logical presentation and a clear sequence of ideas; appropriate content level for the intended audience; compatible text and illustrations; illustrations that are accurate representations in size, color, and scale; appropriate trim size and format of the book for the subject and audience; and well-organized layout that advances the text. The panel also gives attention to the quality of binding, paper, reproduction, and the appropriateness of typeface. Each panel member reads all the books, but annotations reflect only the appraisal of the individual panelist whose initials appear at the end of each entry.
Publishers’ names appear in abbreviated form; complete names and addresses are available from the Children’s Book Council and in standard reference works such as Children’s Books in Print. CBC’s Member List is available at www.cbcbooks.org/about/members.html.
Titles are arranged by subject category. Although some titles are appropriate for more than one category, the books have been placed where their usefulness in science education appears greatest. Panelists have also indicated the National Science Content Standards (see explanation above) to which the books relate. Where more than one standard is listed, the most applicable standard is given first.
The North Pole Was Here: Puzzles and Perils at the Top of the World. Andrew C. Revkin. Illustrated with photographs. Kingfisher/Houghton Mifflin Company. 128pp. Trade ISBN 978-0-7534-5993-5, $15.95. (I) A reporter writes about his stories of personal adventure, polar exploration, and the controversy about whether Peary or Cook actually reached the North Pole first. He also discusses scientific research conducted on the ice by present-day scientists and the consequences for Earth’s future of the melting sea ice. Source Notes, Further Reading, Internet Resources, Picture Credits, Index, Metric Conversion Chart. LS (VIII, VI, V)
Quest for the Tree Kangaroo: An Expedition to the Cloud Forest of New Guinea (Scientists in the Field). Sy Montgomery. Illustrated with photographs by Nic Bishop. Houghton Mifflin Company. 80pp. Trade ISBN 978-0618-49641-9, $18. (I) This book is an incredible description of how people continue to learn about animals in the natural world. It highlights environmental appreciation, the excitement and challenges of scientific discovery, and collaborative conservation efforts. Lisa Dabek, scientific leader of the research team, is an excellent example of women in science. Resources, Index, Author’s Note, Photographer’s Note. PLB (VIII, VII, IV)
Science Detectives: How Scientists Solved Six Real-Life Mysteries. Editors of YES Magazine. Illustrated by Rose Cowles. Kids Can Press. 48pp. Trade ISBN 1-55337-994-2, $15.95; Paperback ISBN 1-55337-995-0, $8.95. (P, E) Emphasizing that science is often about solving mysteries, this book presents scientists using scientific methodology and logic to unravel puzzles as diverse as a typhoid outbreak, a crashed plane, and the nature of DNA. Augmenting the text are hands-on activities and sidebars with related solved mysteries and facts. Index. CVM (II, VII, VIII)