Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize 2023 – Winner Announced!

19 March, 2024

Cover shot of 'Am I Made of Stardust' winner of the Young People's Book Prize 2023For the last four months, panels of young judges across the country have been reading, discussing and voting for their favourite STEM book from the six titles shortlisted for this year’s Young People’s Book Prize. The results of their deliberations were finally revealed at a live-streamed ceremony at the Techniquest science discovery centre in Cardiff on Tuesday 19th March.

Congratulations to Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock whose engaging exploration of the wonders of the universe Am I Made of Stardust? Dr Maggie Answers the Big Questions for Young Scientists (illustrated by Chelen Écija and published by Buster Books) was crowned the winner of the Young People’s Book Prize 2023.

Responding to the news, Dr Maggie said:It’s such an honour to receive this award. I want to say the biggest thank you to all the school children who voted and Chelen Écija who brought these questions to life with her illustrations.

“I have dyslexia, which has made it hard for me to take myself seriously as an author, so this prize means a lot to me.

“Whenever I go into schools, I tell kids to reach high for their dreams. This was one of my big, crazy dreams and they’ve made it come true.”

You can hear more from Dr Maggie as she talks about Am I Made of Stardust? in this recording of a virtual author event for BookTrust Represents.

The Young People’s Book Prize highlights the finest and most accessible STEM books for under-14s. Over 12,000 young people in 640 schools, youth groups and science clubs took part in the voting this year, poring over a shortlist that covered subjects as diverse as prehistoric living, deadly creatures, bugs, brains and bogies.

Professor Usha Goswami FRS, Professor of Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge and chair of the Shortlist Panel, said: “So many of the questions in Am I Made of Stardust? are things I hear children ask, and questions I’ve thought about myself.

“The format engages children’s natural curiosity and the ‘try it at home’ activities encourage them to get hands on and try out simple experiments for themselves.

“As a fellow scientist, Dr Maggie’s passion is contagious and her love of space shines through on every page.”

Here’s what some of the young judges had to say about Am I Made of Stardust?

  • “She looks like me! Could I be an astronaut one day? Maybe a scientist?” – Student, St Maria Goretti Primary School, Glasgow
  • THE BEST BOOK! it was so interesting, lots of new facts. My favourite was the planets. It was set out really well and we loved the index of tricky words. We could tell it was written for children. It was like Dr Maggie was actually talking to us and we couldn’t stop reading it!” – Elise, aged 9
  • “Dr Maggie is inspirational. We have learnt about her in science so it was fab to read a book she’s written. I love space.” – Scarlett, aged 10
  • “I didn’t like it – I LOVED it!! I loved everything, but what I love the most is that there are things that you can try at home.” – Ellie, aged 10
  • “The best science book I have ever read!” – Isabelle, aged 10

Applications to judge next year’s Young People’s Book Prize will open in September. Read our interview with science lead Dawn McCann from Hillside Primary School to find out more about running a young judges panel and the benefits of getting involved.

Cover shots of the five titles also shortlisted for the Young People's Book Prize 2023.

Also shortlisted for the Young People’s Book Prize 2023:

A Bug’s World by Dr Erica McAlister, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman (Wren and Rook)

Bodies, Brains and Bogies by Dr Paul Ian Cross, illustrated by Steve Brown (Welbeck Children’s Books)

Ben Rothery’s Deadly and Dangerous Animals by Ben Rothery (Ladybird)

Live Like a Hunter Gatherer by Naomi Walmsley, illustrated by Mia Underwood (Button Books)

Step Inside Science: Germs by Sarah Hull, illustrated by Teresa Bellón (Usborne Publishing Ltd)

Young People's Book Prize 2023 logo