Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12

Science Scope, March 2006 | Go to article overview

Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12


Byline: Children's Book Council

Books Published in 2005

Each year many good science trade books are published for children. But teachers, media professionals, and parents want to know which are the very best. That's where this competition comes in. Working with The Children's Book Council in New York City, NSTA has refined the criteria for the highest quality, most engaging, and scientifically accurate publications for children.

The task is not an easy one. Children come to science with different backgrounds and interests. Standards change. Even science content itself changes. Judges on the NSTA/CBC Review Panel must read hundreds of books each year and research much of the content they contain. But the work is valuable.

As in past years, the list of publications that the committee has defined as "outstanding" is quite eclectic; you'll find informational texts and biographies, fiction, poetry, and even a book of songs with an accompanying CD! What they all have in common is they convey the thrill of science. The committee is honored to share these outstanding books with you.

Juliana Texley, NSTA Recommends

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 2006.

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

Bodies From the Ash: Life and Death in Ancient Pompeii. James M. Deem. Houghton Mifflin Company. 48pp. Trade ISBN 0-618-47308-4, $16. (E, I) This book provides more than the usual coverage of Pompeii's destruction, one of the earliest documented disasters. Letters discovered from a Roman historian have now given actual accounts of times and stages of the eruption. Rare images are shown, as the author was given access to buildings closed to the public. Bibliography, Index. BGS (VIII, II)

How Dinosaurs Took Flight: Fossils, Science, What We Think We Know, and Mysteries Yet Unsolved. Christopher Sloan. Illustrated with prints and photographs. National Geographic Children's Books. 64pp. Trade ISBN 0-7922-7298-6, $17.95; Library ISBN 0-7922-7404-0, $27.90. (I) With an interesting format that presents evidence leading to various hypotheses, this book supports the theory that birds are descended from ancient dinosaurs. The evidence largely comes from recently discovered feathered dinosaurs in China. And the book points out the mysteries that are as-of-yet unsolved, awaiting further fossil discoveries. Bibliography, Glossary, Index. CVM (I, V, VIII)

Outside and Inside Mummies. Sandra Markle. Illustrated with photographs. Walker and Company. 40pp. Trade ISBN 0-8027-8966-8, $17.95; Library ISBN 0-8027-8967-9, $18.85. Paper ed. (F). (E) This book depicts the sophisticated technology used by archaeologists to obtain information about mummified ancient humans. …

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