Astrophysicist Raman Prinja and artist Chris Wormell’s book Planetarium: Welcome to the Museum (Templar Publishing), about the wonders of space, has scooped the Royal Society’s Young People’s Book Prize.
The prize, which champions the best science books for under-14s, was awarded at a ceremony hosted by CBBC’s Lindsey Russell at the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford, on Wednesday afternoon (13th November).
The winning authors receives an award of £10,000 and the shortlisted authors each receive £2,500.
Planetarium, published by Templar imprint Big Picture Books, was selected by a record-breaking number of young judges, prize organisers said. More than 10,600 young people drawn from 471 schools and youth groups from across the UK cast their votes for their favourite science book from a shortlist of six titles, chosen by a panel of adult judges, including author Michael Rosen and Royal Society fellow professor Sheila Rowan.
“Planetarium is a beautifully illustrated, eye catching large format tour of our solar system and beyond – a must for any budding young astronomer,” prize organisers said. “From planets and moons to far-flung exoplanets, all are depicted with stylistic flourish by Wormell who also illustrated Phillip Pullman’s best-selling La Belle Sauvage. Alongside each illustration, Professor Raman Prinja, Professor of Astrophysics at the University College London, delves into the science and history with text on the array of celestial subjects.”
Rosen described it as “a worthy winner”. He said: “Planetarium is a book that takes you into space in a way that mixes art and science. It invites the eye into space and the study of space in what is a distinctive painterly way, full of mood and feeling. Alongside the lush art work, we are given solidly scientific mini-essays for older readers telling us.. It's a great book for peering into and poring over whether as a child, a teen or in groups, schools, or in families.”
Rowan added: “Planetarium is a truly stunning book that makes science exciting for all ages, blending art and fascinating descriptions to help communicate the wonder of the universe. Its mix of beautiful illustrations and inspiring science makes it a very worthy winner.”
Last year's award went to Optical Illusions (QED Publishing) by visual artist and author team Gianni A Sarcone and Marie-Jo Waeber.