Apples and oranges ... and lychees and loquats--how can one compare? That's the challenge when a team of NSTA's best science educators attempt to select the best of each year's science trade books.
It's been 34 years since NSTA joined forces with the Children's Book Council to select the best trade books each year. Publishers submit hundreds of books for evaluation, and the judges have a daunting task. First, they need to determine if the books are truly "trade books" that would normally be found in a bookstore, and they must always represent the best of the National Science Education Standards.
The committee must compare the books to a set of standards that have been refined each year since the competition began. The committee looks for accuracy, good graphics, developmental appropriateness, and readability. Often, the final choice comes down to that hard-to-define characteristic that hooks the reader and fascinates.
How to use this list? Many teachers refer it to their media professionals and to their students' parents. Some use it to make purchases. And sometimes, teachers grab copies for their own reading pleasure. Above all, these books are meant to be enjoyed!
Archaeology, Anthropology, and Paleontology
Dinosaur Atlas: An Amazing Journey Through a Lost World. John Malam, John Woodward, with consultant Michael Benton. Illustrated with prints and photographs. DK Publishing. 96pp. Trade ISBN 0-7566-2235-2, $19.99. (E, I) This comprehensive and beautifully illustrated volume presents dinosaurs by continent, with details of the fossil record, geologic timeline, climate, and anatomy of certain species. It touches on the evolution and demise of dinosaurs and excavation of fossils and includes a CD showing the 3-D structure and movement of six species. How to Use, Glossary, Index, Credits. CVM (V, IV)
* Little People and a Lost World: An Anthropological Mystery. Linda Goldenberg. Illustrated with prints and photographs. Lerner Publishing Group. 112pp. Trade ISBN 0-8225-5983-8, $29.27. (I, A) While conveying the excitement, importance, and history of the discovery of a diminutive--possibly human--species, this book demonstrates (though not without its own slight bias) how interpretation of data can become embroiled in politics and scientific ego. It includes chapters on local folklore and the current status of the controversy. Epilogue, Glossary, Source Notes, Bibliography, Further Reading and Websites, Index. CVM (II, V, VIII)
* Barnum Brown: Dinosaur Hunter. Written and illustrated by David Sheldon. Walker Books for Young Readers. 32pp. Trade ISBN 0-8027-9602-8, $16.95; Library ISBN 0-8027-9603-6, $17.85. (E) This is the story of the greatest "dinosaur hunter" of the 20th century--Barnum Brown. Through this depiction of Brown's life, the reader is given a glimpse of how early 20th-century paleontologists went about the hard work of uncovering the remains of organisms that lived millions of years ago. CRB (VIII, VII)
Marie Curie: The Woman Who Changed the Course of Science. Philip Steele. Illustrated with prints and photographs. National Geographic Children's Books. 64pp. Trade ISBN 0-7922-5387-6, $17.95; Library ISBN 0-7922-5388-4, $27.90. (A) This fascinating biography depicts the remarkable life of Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel...