What’s the American equivalent of the Aventis prize? (Check the post just under this one for info on the Aventis.) Perhaps it’s the National Council of Science
Teachers’ awards to the outstanding trade books for children. A parent, aunt,
uncle, grandma, or friend can do well by using its shortlists as a gift guide.
You can tell from the NTSC descriptions which ones sound preachy and which ones
sound fun. Anything that mentions garbage, for instance, is something that
would go over big at our house. Here are some that I have read aloud to whoever will listen; I found most of them at the library.
From the 1997 lineup. Compost! Growing Gardens from Your Garbage, by Linda Glaser, with colorful watercolor illustrations by Anca Hariton. Glaser’s picture book inspired us to create our own compost pile. Our fat raccoon neighbor is grateful for the salad bar. One day, I hope, the garden will be, too. All About Deer, written and illustrated by Jim Arnosky. From Caterpillar to Butterfly (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series), by Deborah Heiligman; and Bat, by Caroline Arnold.
1998. Lightning, by Seymour Simon. Illustrated with vivid photographs and a little too scary for our kindergartener, this one may be better appreciated later on.
2000.Tornadoes, by Seymour Simon. Again the terrific photos but a little too engaging. After this and “The Wizard of Oz,” Junior was having tornado nightmares. Another one to save for first or second grade.
2003. Honeybees, by Deborah Heiligman. One of our favorites, so we bought it. You can’t have enough discussions about bees, ants, and spiders.
2004. Horseshoe Crabs and Shorebirds: The Story of a Food Web, by Victoria Crenson, with beautiful watercolor illustrations by Annie Cannon. From years of beach-going, my son knows horseshoe crab carcasses well, so Crenson’s story was of great interest. I had to shorten the text a bit as I read. A much better book than its dry title would indicate.