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St Helen and St Katharine, Faringdon Road, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 1BE

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Royal Society Book Club

December 2020

St Helen’s was selected as a judging school for this year’s Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize, and a handful of Year 7s volunteered to take part in the Judging Panel. Ever since then, every Tuesday lunchtime has been packed with science, experiments, book reviewing and heated debates about which one of six incredible science books shortlisted by the Royal Society should be crowned the winner. We also did some activities related to the stories, like catching rainbows on glass and seeing who could make the best one. At the end of the process, we all chose our favourite book and made video book reviews. 

To assess the books, we rated them all out of five on their look and feel, how interesting they were, how easy it was to read them and how inspiring they were. We found the average of what each book was rated in each category and used these scores to find our top three books: Astrophysics for Young People in a Hurry  led with eighteen points, with In the Key of Code and How to Win a Nobel Prize close behind on seventeen. It was very tight! After that, we all took turns saying which book we thought deserved to win and why, and at the end there was a clear order of preference: in third was In the Key of Code, close behind How to Win a Nobel Prize, and in first place, Astrophysics for Young People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson, a book that brings the wonders of the stars and universe down to earth, glinting with wit and the author’s passion for astrophysics. After reading it, you won’t want to sing ‘Happy Birthday’, you’ll want to cheer, ‘Happy Orbit of the Sun to you!’  

Being judges for the Royal Society was a fantastic experience. I made lots of new friends, and it really sparked our interest for science. Thank you to Mrs Brudenell, Mrs Pocock-Bell and the wonderful authors of all the science books we all had such a hard (and fun) time judging! 

Sophia 7M


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