The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize

It’s National Non-Fiction November, which means a month of sharing brilliant, fact-filled books that both educate and entertain. I’m delighted to be able to share that we have been chosen to run a Judging Panel in school for the prize, and these are the books that have been shortlisted this year.

Step Inside Science: Germs by Sarah Hull, illustrated by Teresa Bellón

Front cover of YPBP23 shortlisted book Step inside science: germs

Am I made of Stardust? by Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, illustrated by Chelen Écija

People talk a lot about germs, but what actually are they? Open the pages of this friendly book to find out. Discover what bacteria and viruses are, how they can spread and lots of different ways to stop them.

Front cover of YPBP23 shortlisted book Am I Made of Stardust?

A brand new question-and-answer book from award-winning scientist and BBC broadcaster Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, Am I Made of Stardust? is for insatiably curious young minds everywhere.

From whether there are rainbows on other planets, to what dinner tastes like on the International Space Station, this book is packed full of fabulous facts, mind-blowing insights and engaging explanations from the renowned space scientist.

Am I Made of Stardust? is written in Dr Maggie’s fun, accessible style, that readers came to know and love in her first book, Dr Maggie’s Grand Tour of the Solar System, and features out-of-this-world NASA photographs and stunning illustrations from Chelen Écija.

A Bug’s World by Dr Erica McAlister, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman

Front Cover of YPBP 23 shortlisted book A Bug's World

Bugs might be small, but their impact is HUGE! Discover the wonderful world of mini-beasts in this fantastic guide to insects and how they help humans every day.

Did you know that flies can help us solve crimes? Spiders can be astronauts? Moths are the ultimate fashion designers? From making our food to keeping the planet clean and solving crimes, bugs come to our rescue every day. Often without us even realising! Discover the extraordinary things that bugs do for us – and how we can look after them too – in this vibrant gift book written by the Natural History Museum’s senior entomologist.

Am I made of Stardust? by Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, illustrated by Chelen Écija


Bodies, Brains and Bogies by Paul Ian Cross, PhD, illustrated by Steve Brown

Front cover of YPBP23 shortlisted book Bodies, Brains, and Bogies

This fantastic title from Paul Ian Cross, PhD, the writer of How to Vanquish a Virus, takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of everything that’s disgusting, unusual and amazing about the human body. Find out everything about poo, pus and bogies, while learning a whole lot about how our bodies work hard in hundreds of fascinating ways to keep us alive.

With tons of hilarious and informative illustrations from master artist Steve Brown, it includes lashings of Paul Ian Cross’s trademark laugh out-loud humour, in-depth knowledge and infectious optimism. It’s the perfect funny, accessible way to discover everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the human body, but were too grossed-out to ask!

Live Like a Hunter Gatherer by Naomi Walmsley, illustrated by Mia Underwood

Front cover of YPBP23 shortlisted book Live Like a Hunter Gatherer

Live Like a Hunter Gatherer is an informative and immersive guide to the Stone Age, written by a real-life hunter gatherer!

If you imagined that all Stone Age people lived in caves, were not very clever, not very clean and said “Ugg” a lot, then think again. Marking the start of all human history, the Stone Age lasted around 3.5 million years (the last part of that was only 71 grandparents ago!). Delve into that incredible time with this book packed full of amazing facts, information, crafts, storytelling and myth debunking to find out what it was really like to live as a hunter gatherer.

Many of our Stone Age ancestors’ everyday needs were similar to ours –how to keep warm, where to sleep and what to eat and drink. We find out how they met those needs, what a typical day was like, what medicine they used and even how they had fun – all brought to life with beautifully detailed illustrations. Dotted through the book are step-by-step craft activities and recipes that give you first-hand experience of some vital Stone Age skills –making a Mesolithic shelter, fat lamps, a digging stick, creating cave art, making a bow and arrow and a fishing hook are just a few.

A fictional tribe member pops up throughout the book to tell us about her life, describing the sights, sounds, smells and emotions she experiences. The safety of a warm cave with flickering firelight and other tribe members nearby, the gnawing feeling of hunger when food is scarce and the excited relief when a deer is hunted.

Ben Rothery’s Deadly and Dangerous Animals by Ben Rothery

Front Cover of YPBP 2023 shortlisted book Ben Rothery's Deadly and Dangerous Animals

Explore what it takes to be counted among the deadliest animals on Earth…

From the saltwater crocodile’s strong bite to the golden eagle’s speed as it attacks from the air, many of the creatures you’ll discover here are built for danger. But what makes a chameleon or ant so threatening, and which creature is deadliest to humans despite its tiny size?

Find out with award-winning illustrator Ben Rothery’s fact-filled world of the most spectacular and sometimes surprisingly dangerous creatures on our planet.