The scientist is the only nominee of African descent.
By Hope Ibiale
The Young People’s Book Prize has announced Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, a British scientist of Nigerian descent, as one of the shortlisted authors for the 2023 edition. She was shortlisted for her book, Am I Made of Stardust?
Other shortlisted books include A Bug’s World by Dr Erica McAlister, Step Inside Science: Germs by Sarah Hull, Live Like a Hunter Gatherer: Discovering the Secret of the Stone Age by Naomi Walmsley, Bodies, Brains, and Bogies by Paul Ian Cross, and Ben Rothery’s Deadly Dangerous Animals by Ben Rothery.
While speaking about Dr Aderin-Pocock’s book, shortlist judge and TV presenter Dr Ranj Singh said, “The universe fascinates most of us, but especially children. I loved the question-and-answer format of this book, and it really felt like a conversation between the reader and the author. The science is excellently presented and answers all sorts of questions about our universe, some of which I never would’ve thought to ask myself!”
The shortlist will be pruned by 15,000 judges selected from over 700 schools, science centres, and community groups spread across the UK. The overall winner and their book illustrator will be announced at the Young People’s Book Prize awards ceremony in March 2024, and will receive a cash prize of £10,000.
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE is an award-winning space scientist and broadcaster. She currently presents the BBC series, The Sky at Night and Mini Stargazing for CBeebies. She is dedicated to inspiring and teaching future astronauts, engineers, and scientists. In 2016 she was nominated for a Children’s Presenter BAFTA, and she recently won the Institute of Physics gold medal for her exceptional services to science education and physics communication. Her other books include The Knowledge: Stargazing, The Book of the Moon: A Guide to Our Closest Neighbour, and The Planets: The Definitive Visual Guide to Our Solar System.
The Young People’s Book Prize was created to promote literacy in young people and encourage them to read books about science. The prize also celebrates excellent and accessible science books created for children under the age of 14. Each year, the award organisers call for entries and select a judging panel that picks the shortlisted books before the winners are selected by groups of young people in the UK.