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2014 Winner: Young Adult Science Book

Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts, by Emily Anthes. Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013.

Journalist Emily Anthes takes her readers from “petri dish to pet store” in her succinct summary of how humans have developed and used technology over the past decade to modify other animals for their own purposes. For example, Anthes explains, various forms of genetic manipulation have resulted in the sale of glowing fish in pet stores, the “pharming” of goat milk for medicines, and the cloning of pets, livestock, and endangered species. Frankenstein’s Cat leverages conversational language, supplemented by frequent footnotes that add rather than distract from the main text. Any readers with an eighth-grade reading ability will easily grasp the accurately portrayed science behind key technologies. This extremely accessible book presents both sides of the ethical debate about the impact of these technologies on animals. It should leave readers with a clear, basic understanding of how the science works. Students who read this book will be left with not only a clear grasp of its subject matter, but also an excellent example for how to develop an argument from evidence.