Anna Claybourne


All 80 titles for the six categories of our long list have now been reviewed! Each and every one a fantastic book, highly recommended by JAB and the NSTAB team.

The short list will be announced on the 8th September. Votes from the panel are already coming in so here's a little reminder of the twelve fabulous books on the Information Category Long List.


How Does a Lighthouse Work?  Roman Belyaev, translated from Russian with the help of Masha Kulikova (b small publishing)


Suffragette: The Battle for Equality   David Roberts (Two Hoots)


Welcome to our World  Moira Butterworth, illustrated by Harriet Lynas  (Nosy Crow)


The Bee Book   Charlotte Milner  (DK)


Star Finder for Beginners: A Step by Step Guide to the Night Sky Foreword by Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock  (DK)


Young, Gifted and Black  Jamia Wilson, illustrated by Andrea Pippins (Wide Eyed)


The Histronauts: An Egyptian Adventure  Frances Durkin, illustrated by Grace Cooke (b small publishing)


Wild About Science John Farndon, Steve Parker and Sally Morgan (Miles Kelly)


Why Don't Fish Drown? and other vital questions about the animal kingdom  Anna Claybourne, illustrated by Claire Goble (Thames and Hudson) 


Professor Astro Cat's Human Body Odyssey    Dr Dominic Walliman, illustrated by Ben Newman

(Flying Eye Books)  


Politics For Beginners   Alex Frith, Rosie Hore and Louie Stowell, illustrated by Kellan Stover



Books! Books! Books!  Mick Manning, illustrated by Brita Granstrom (Otter-Barry Books)

An amazing group of books, but which of these twelve will be on the shortlist?

LONG LIST REVIEW:Why Don't Fish Drown?


'Why Don't Fish Drown and other vital questions about the animal kingdom' is a treasure trove of fascinating facts about animals presented succinctly and with humour. 

The book is organised into 22 thought provoking questions- which cover a range of topics. The contents is very helpful in identifying the focus of each question underneath, clarifying some of the more obscure ones! These are, however, the very questions a child (or an adult!) might want answered and make for absorbing reading!

The book starts with the question 'What is an animal anyway?' and then considers how long they have been around and what types there are before moving on to classification. Anna Claybourne explains the system with great clarity- very useful for year 6 when tackling this area of science. Did you know Beyonce has a species of fly named after her? I wonder how she feels about that!

There is so much to discover and learn on each page. Horses get sweaty all over, but most other animals have a few sweat glands. Animals don't need to brush their teeth, but hippos let fish pick the dirt and bugs out from around their teeth. an alligator's tummy button is a patch of smaller scales, showing where it was connected to its egg. 

Lovely photographs and lively illustrations add to each page and there are also copies of relevant works of art which show pictures of the animals being discussed which I particularly liked. Eadweard Muybridge's 'Horse in Motion' and 'Tipu's Tiger' for example offer further opportunities for discussion and research.

A comprehensive glossary at the back of the book helps to explain the scientific vocabulary used in the text. This is a really fascinating read, beautifully presented and well written, which would make an excellent introduction to the animal kingdom for those with a special interest as well as the perfect book to dip in and out of as the fancy takes!

Why Don't Fish Drown? and other vital questions about the animal kingdom

Anna Claybourne, illustrated by Claire Goble

Thames and Hudson     ISBN: 978-0500651261

Royal Society Young People's Book Prize 2017

The Young People’s Book Prize celebrates the best books that communicate science to young people. Each year an expert panel of adult judges panel choose a shortlist of their favourite science books from entries submitted by publishers. Once the six best books have been selected we hand over the task of picking a winner to those who know best – groups of young people under 14 across the UK. These groups can be formed in any setting, from schools and libraries to scouts/brownies, science centres or youth groups. They form their own judging panels, read and discuss the books and submit their verdict to us – together they decide the winner.

This year, I was delighted when we were picked to be one of this year's Judging Panels. My class were so excited when I unpacked the box that I had to let them all have a good look at the treasures inside.

Each book was greatly admired- and liked for different reasons. Petr Horacek's beautiful illustrations captured their attention immediately in 'A First Book of Animals' whereas they couldn't stop giggling over the facts in 'The Awesome Body Book'.

Robert Winston's 'Home Lab' caused  much discussion, with many of the class declaring their intention to try out some of the ideas.

'This Little Pebble' was referred to as 'fascinating' and 'eye catching' and they thought 'If...' was 'full of amazing information'. 

'100 Things To Know About Space' tells you things 'in a fun way', making it a 'great read'. 

What a short list! Every one of these has something special to offer and would make a welcome addition to any library. Our next step is for the actual judging panel to take a closer look at each title and make some difficult decisions!

You can find out more about the awards on the Royal Society's website.