A neuroscientist, Big Bang researcher, and BAFTA-winning TV presenter are among this year’s shortlisting panel for the 2023 Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize.
Judges for the prize, an annual celebration of the best science books for under-14s, will include Dr Ranj Singh, NHS paediatrician and TV presenter and co-creator of BBC’s BAFTA-winning Get Well Soon, as well as Maya Gabrielle Leonard, author and plastics campaigner, better known by her penname M G Leonard.
They will be joined by cosmologist, Dr Ryan Cooke, who investigates the chemical elements created immediately after the Big Bang, and primary school science teacher Jennifer Love, who is committed to leaving her students with a lifelong love of STEM subjects.
The panel will be chaired by Professor Usha Goswami CBE, Fellow of the Royal Society, and a developmental neuroscientist who explores musical interventions for people with dyslexia and other speech and language difficulties.
The adult judges will whittle down the longlist to a shortlist of six which will be sent out to young people across the UK. Drawn from schools’ libraries and youth groups, the young judges will cast their vote for this year’s best science book.
Professor Usha Goswami CBE FRS, Chair of the 2023 judging panel, said: “Children need reliable information about how the world around them works. A good science book can really spark an interest in all the difficult problems science helps to resolve. When I was younger I wanted to own a bookshop, and being on this panel is the next best thing!”
Dr Ranj Singh, TV presenter and author, said: “I was fascinated with books when I was younger, I would happily read for hours. Science books are a pathway for children to take an active interest in how things work, from how a car converts fuel to how our brains help our bodies move. It will be great to see books full of interesting explanations and captivating illustrations which engage and feed readers’ imaginations.”
The Young People's Book Prize aims to inspire young people to read about science and promotes the writing of excellent, accessible science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) books for under-14s.
The winner of the Young People’s Book Prize 2022 was If the world were 100 people by Jackie McCann and Aaron Cushley.