Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize winner announced

01 December 2011

Pop ups, pull outs and other paper wizardry are used to explore the science of the Earth in the winner of the 2011 Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize, How the World Works, which was announced today.

Answering a multitude of questions about our planet, this fun, engaging book introduces the Earth’s important cycles and offers an exciting way to learn about science and geography. Packed with illustrations and paper fold-outs, flaps, pop ups, and more to boost interactive learning, How the World Works encourages children to think about the impact of human actions on our environment, while encouraging respect for the natural world.  The author of the book is Christiane Dorion, the illustrator is Beverley Young, the designer and paper engineer is Andy Mansfield the publisher is Templar Publishing.

The prize will be awarded at a ceremony at the Royal Society in London on the evening of Thursday 1 December. The authors win an award of £10,000 and the authors of each shortlisted book receive £1000.

The book was chosen as the winner from a shortlist of six books by junior judging panels made up of over 1000 young people from over 100 school and youth groups.  Judging panels came from across the UK and Commonwealth – from Dundee in northern Scotland to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic.

The young judges did not hold back in their praise of How the World Works, describing the book as “really entertaining” and “fun”.  Christopher, aged 13, said: “There is a TON of information and brilliant pop ups and pull outs!”.  Rosie, aged 12, said: “I couldn't wait to open this book, my friend Amy couldn't stop talking about how great it is; and I agree! It uses lots of scientific language and illustrations to explain all the interesting topics. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and learnt so much! Bonus!”.  Megan, aged 13, thought the book was "a wonderful hands-on scientific adventure, waiting to be explored" and Jordan, aged 10, said: “This was the best book ever, you cannot beat it!”

Winner Christiane Dorion said: “I am honoured and thrilled to have won such a prestigious award and would like to thank the Royal Society, as well as all the children who were involved in the judging process. Children are the best judges and to have been selected by them is a fantastic recognition for an author. Reading their comments, it is truly uplifting to see how interactive pop-up books about the planet we live on still have a place in our high-tech digital world.”

Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, said: “Science captured my imagination as a child, from exploring the minutiae of the natural world on my walk to school to chasing Sputnik as it blazed across the night sky.  Brilliant science books also have the potential to do this and completely change children’s understanding of the world around them.  We believe that by involving the young in the judging of the Royal Society Young People’s Books Prize we can help to inspire them with the joys of science, whilst also ensuring that the winner is chosen by those best qualified to judge, the readers themselves.”

The other books shortlisted for this year’s Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize are:

The Icky, Sticky Snot and Blood Book by Steve Alton and Nick Sharratt (Bodley Head)
What's the Point of Being Green? by Jacqui Bailey (Franklin Watts)
What Mr Darwin Saw by Mick Manning and Brita Granström (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)
The Story of Astronomy and Space (Usborne)
What Goes On In My Head? by Robert Winston (Dorling Kindersley)

Christiane Dorion, author of the winning book, is new to the prize.  Previous winners have included Can you feel the force? by Richard Hammond, The Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do by Rebecca Gilpin & Leonie Pratt and Horrible Science: Really Rotten Experiments by Nick Arnold and Tony de Saulles.

For more information about the prize and how to participate in next year’s judging process please visit the Young People’s Book Prize page

The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize did not take place in 2008 - 2010 due to funding issues but we are delighted that in 2011 the Prize is offered thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, with funding guaranteed for the next four years.