2013 Winner: Hands-On Science Book

Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery From Your Own Backyard, by Loree Griffin Burns. (Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz.) Henry Holt, 2012. 


With informative and engaging text and high-quality photographs, Citizen Scientists introduces children (and adults) to four projects in which participation of ordinary people is part of important research. The projects profiled are Monarch Watch, in which citizens catch, tag, or report information from tagged butterflies; the Audubon Christmas Bird Count in which citizens count winter birds ; Frog Watch which involves listening for frog and toad calls; and Lost Ladybug in which citizens help chronicle ladybug abundance and diversity. Each chapter describes the project and its importance while reporting on the experience of young people who are participating. There is much information about the butterflies and birds, frogs and ladybugs throughout the book. This is a science book that will definitely lure in young readers and will leave them anxious to participate and be informed about these creatures that for the most part live right in our backyards.

About the Author

Loree Griffin Burns, Author:

Loree’s first career was as a research scientist (she holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry), and so it is not surprising that her writing celebrates the natural world and the people who study it. Her first book for young people, Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion, was published by Houghton Mifflin Company in 2007 and received several honors, including a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book award, an ALA Notable Book designation, and an International Reading Association Children’s Book Award. It was also a finalist for the 2008 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize.

Loree lives in central Massachusetts with her husband and their three children and regularly visits schools, libraries, and book festivals to share her research, her books, and her passion for discovery.

Loree Griffin Burns reading the first chapter from her book, Citizen Scientists.

Loree Griffin Burns speaks about Citizen Scientists as part of the AAAS Video Book Talks.

Ellen Harasimowicz, Photographer:

Ellen Harasimowicz is a freelance photographer from Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Scientific American, and Audubon Adventures among others. Ellen teamed up with children’s author Loree Griffin Burns to illustrate The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe published in May 2010 by Houghton Mifflin. Before photography became her passion, Ellen spent 15 years as a graphic designer. She has self-published several books through after recent travels to Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya. Her most recent self-published book is an eight-year photographic essay titled John Olson: Maine Lobsterman about an 88-year-old lobster fisherman in Cushing, Maine. He is also the nephew of Christina Olson, the subject of the renowned 1948 painting by Andrew Wyeth titled Christina’s World. Ellen has a B.A. in psychology with a studio art minor from Mount Holyoke College.