Past winners and shortlisted books

If the world were 100 people, by Jackie McCann and Aaron Cushley, was selected by children as the 2022 winner of the Royal Society Young People’s Books Prize.  

By distilling the Earth’s entire population of 8 billion people into one tiny village, If the world were 100 people explores the differences, similarities, challenges and privileges experienced by people across the world and offers a unique way to understand complex topics from genetics to medicine and technology. 

Explore the full shortlist at the bottom of the page and witness the miniature battles our bodies have with microbes, behold the building of brilliantly big structures like the Burj Khalifa, and discover the trailblazing stories of brainy women throughout history. 

Here’s what some of the young judges had to say about the winning book: 

'It shows you the world isn’t like "Wonderland". Not everyone is safe, and not everyone has food to eat.' – Latymer Upper School, London 

'This book enlightened me about what is going on in the world today.' – Perth Academy, Scotland 

'This book highlights issues many people have on the planet and reveals what we have in common.' – Tynecastle High School, Scotland 

Chair of the 2022 judging panel, Fellow of the Royal Society and big cat scientist, Professor Alan Wilson said: 'The power of this book lies in its simple yet relatable numbers and powerful imagery, which conveys how much we all have in common but also how many people still do not have things many of us may take for granted, from clean water to the internet.  

'I hope the data and ideas in this book will help the younger generation think about how we can work together to tackle these issues, and what the world’s "global village" may look like in the future.'

View a full list of past winners and shortlisted books.