Royal Society offers a round of ‘a-claws’ to this year’s winner of the Young People’s Book Prize

12 March 2021

Cats React to Science Facts, by children’s author Izzi Howell, has been selected by children as the 2020 winner of the Royal Society Young People’s Books Prize. 

Over 13,000 young judges drawn from 500 schools and youth groups cast their votes for their favourite science book from a shortlist of six titles, chosen by a panel of adult judges including Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell, and TV presenter and children’s author Konnie Huq.

During a virtual ceremony streamed via the Royal Society’s YouTube channel, and hosted by Lindsey Russell, Blue Peter Presenter, Howell was declared the winner, receiving a cheque for £10,000.

Cats React to Science Facts (published by Hachette Children's Group imprint Wayland) offers children an opportunity to explore the scientific world while grabbing their ‘cat-tention’ with humorous meme-like felines and a stream of fascinating science facts. Children can immerse themselves in different scientific topics, ranging from gravity to climate change, the human body and more.

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

“This is an incredible book to read. I recommend this book to anyone that loves cats and science.” 

“Did you know hot water freezes faster than cold water? This book got us thinking, and we tested things out. We learnt new things and challenged what we thought we already knew.”

“This book was good because instead of focusing on one particular aspect of science it covered lots of topics. The images of the cats helped me imagine the science.”

“This is a really fun book. When I think of science, I don’t think about a fun lesson but when I read this it shows me how science is good fun.”

Professor Mike Kendall FRS, Chair of the 2020 judges said: “Cats React to Science Facts is a highly accessible and rewarding book for children to read. This book successfully captures complex information in a condensed form – each page combines a perfect balance of jokes, facts, graphics and of course, cats, to keep young minds engaged and entertained. 

“It’s an entry-level book which provides a gateway to the important scientific topics of our time. Science is fun and the books and study materials for children and young adults should reflect this. Any book that gets young people interested in science who would not normally be engaged in science has to be a good thing.” 

Here’s what the young judges had to say about the rest of the shortlist: 

Gut Garden: A Journey into the Wonderful World of Your Microbiome written by Katie Brosnan (Published by Cicada Books Limited)

“I like how detailed it is. There are several deadly viruses and germs I learnt about. It has very colourful pictures with good puns.”

The Everyday Journeys of Ordinary Things written by Libby Deutsch, illustrated by Valpuri Kerttula (Published by Ivy Kids)

“I like this book – it is neatly laid out and shows us how chocolate is made!”

In the Key of Code written by Aimee Lucido (Published by Walker Books UK)

“In the key of code shows different facts about music and computing, which shows it’s more than just a science book.”

How to Win a Nobel Prize written by Professor Barry Marshall with Lorna Hendry, illustrated by Bernard Caleo (Published by Rock the Boat)

“My favourite part was about Albert Einstein. I like how he has very messy hair, and he knows quite a lot about space.” 

“I love this book, not only because it is a page turner, but it also had fantastic facts and really good experiments.”

 Astrophysics for Young People in a Hurry written by Neil deGrasse Tyson with Gregory Mone (Published by WW Norton & Company)

“It’s amazing, you’re covering your mouth and saying ‘wow’ while laughing your head off at the same time.”

“Have you ever wondered about what’s up there? Not the roof, space! This book taught me all I need to know.”

The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize is awarded annually to the best science book for children aged up to 14.