The STEAM Children’s Book Prize 2020


Early Years

Lifesize Dinosaurs by Sophy Henn Egmont
Astrogirl by Ken Wilson-Max Otter-Barry Books
Suzy Orbit Astronaut by Ruth Quayle & Jez Tuya Nosy Crow
A Place for Pluto by Stef Wade Raintree
Arty! The First Artist in Space by William Bee Pavilion Books
Why do we Poo? by Harriet Blackford Boxer Books

Middle Grade

The Train to Impossible Places by P. G. Bell Usborne
Wildspark by Vashti Hardy Scholastic
Lightning Mary by Anthea Simmons Andersen Press
Fire Girl, Forest Boy by Chloe Daykin Faber & Faber
Race to the Frozen North by Catherine Johnson Barrington Stoke
The Longest Night of Charlie Noon by Christopher Edge Nosy Crow
Mega Robo Revenge by Neill Cameron David Fickling Books


Beauty Sleep by Kathryn Evans Usborne
The Chaos of Now by Erin Lange Faber & Faber
The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James Barrington Stoke
Nowhere on Earth by Nick Lake Hodder
The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James Walker Books
Earth Swarm by Tim Hall David Fickling Books


Engineering Scribble Book by Eddie Reynolds & Darran Stobbart Usborne
The Beetle Collector’s Handbook by M.G. Leonard Scholastic
Science is Magic by Steve Mould DK
The Marvellous Adventure of Being Human by Dr. Max Pemberton Wren and Rook
Science You Can Eat by Stefan Gates DK
The Usborne Book of Planet Earth by Megan Cullis & Matthew Oldham Usborne

The aim of the prize is to highlight the importance of STEAM subjects and praise the publishing industry and authors for championing them. By providing children with engaging, fun, and exciting literature, they’ll hopefully be inspired to take an interest in STEAM further into their education.

Now in its second year, this is the first prize to concentrate solely on STEAM in children’s books and covers all ages from 0 to young adults, as well as all genres and subject matters. The shortlist will be judged by Alison Brumwell (librarian and 2019 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals Chair), Ros Harding (School Librarian of the Year), Dom Conlon (author, poet and science enthusiast) and Ralph Timberlake (ambassador for The British Interplanetary Society).

Going through the shortlist was no easy task for our team of judges!

“Arriving at a shortlist of brilliant books has to be one of the great scientific endeavours comparable to choosing which child to favour (the last one) and deciding whether or not a Jaffa cake is a biscuit (totally). Thankfully, UCLan Publishing provided the right conditions with a perfectly balanced judging team of which I was proud to play the placebo. These books, and the ones we mercilessly discarded, reveal a bright and curious future for all children.” Dom Conlon

“What a joy it was to see so many incredible books being published for children and young people related to STEAM subjects. We had to make some very tough decisions to whittle down the submissions into the four shortlists, and some excellent books only narrowly missed out on inclusion. A great few months of reading now lies ahead for us judges and I can’t wait to get stuck into considering these books in detail.” Ros Harding

The winners will be announced at the Lancashire Science Festival at the end of June 2020. All shortlisted authors will be invited to take part in the festivities, which sees crowds of over 7000 members of the public.

Christopher Edge won the overall prize for 2019 with The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day (Nosy Crow).

Meet the Judges

Alison Brumwell

Alison is a qualified librarian, with twenty years’ professional experience, and am passionate about promoting reading for pleasure. ‘Encouraging children and young people to find books they love and encouraging teachers and parents to think outside the box, is what makes my world go around. I served as 2019 Chair of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal judging panel and was proud to represent Yorkshire and the Humber as a YLG regional judge in 2011-2014. In addition to my substantive role at Kirklees College, I am also a judge for the Booktrust inaugural Storytime Prize, a regular reviewer for The School Librarian and blog to promote diversity and small, independent publishers. My voluntary work includes supporting Africa Educational Trust since 2012, helping to set up primary school libraries and deliver staff training in rural Eastern Uganda’.

You can follow Alison on Twitter @alisonbrumwell

Dom Conlon

Dom Conlon is a poet and author with a particular interest in science. His collection ‘This Rock That Rock’ publishing in February 2020, is a paean to the Moon in all of its scientific, mythic and of course poetic beauty. As a frequent speaker in schools, libraries and on BBC Radio, Dom’s enthusiasm has inspired thousands and his work has been praised by poets, illustrators and even comedians from the award-winning Nicola Davies to the former children’s laureate Chris Riddell. He shares work on and is a cake-focussed Tweeter.

You can follow Dom on Twitter @dom_conlon.

Ros Harding

‘ I have been Head Librarian at The King’s School, Chester for just over 10 years, having previously worked at two state schools, and before that at The London Library and a charity library. I have a History degree and an M.A. in Library and Information Studies.  I am a member of the North West YLG committee and am an avid reader, especially of fiction for children and teenagers. The highlight of my career so far was being awarded School Librarian of the Year for 2019.’

Ralph Timberlake

Ralph works with Charities to help improve their IT and Operational systems, and has been helping BIS for some years. During 2019, he worked closely with UCLan in the production of Blast Off To The Moon! Ralph has been on two school tours promoting Space and Blast Off, giving children (up to 11 years old) exciting, interactive sessions to test their knowledge and plug the gaps; encouraging them to read and study more about the many possibilities of Space.