Center for Children’s Literature

The Cook Prize

Cook Prize SealPresented for the first time in 2012, the Cook Prize is named in memory of two ground breaking Bank Street educators – Don Cook of the Graduate School of Education, and Michael Cook (no relation) of the School for Children. In naming this award, Bank Street not only honors Michael and Don for their intangible contributions to the world of education, but encourages excellence in publishing informational books on STEM topics for elementary-aged children.

Our Mission

The Cook Prize honors the best science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) picture book for children aged eight to ten. It is the only national children’s choice award honoring a STEM book. The Cook Prize is administered with support from School Library Journal. The award is presented in May.

Design of the Cook Prize Seal


2021 Cook Prize Winner & Honor Books


Honor Book

Honor Book

Honor Book

Winner
  • Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann (Neal Porter Books Holiday House Publishing)
  • If You Take Away the Otter by Susannah Buhrman-Deever; illustrated by Matthew Trueman (Candlewick Press)
  • Perkin’s Perfect Purple by Tami Lewis Brown and Debbie Loren Dunn; illustrated by Francesca Sanna (Little, Brown)
  • Your Place in the Universe by Jason Chin (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House)

The Cook Prize Ceremony 2021
Thousands of children in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and the United Arab Emirates will participate in the voting process in 2021. Because of the ongoing pandemic, the award ceremony scheduled for Thursday, May 13, 2021 with keynoter, Sophie Blackall, two time Caldecott winner, has been canceled. However, we will be sharing videos from the gold medalists and honorees on this page later in May.

To learn more about the 2021 Cook Prize read this School Library Journal article “Your Place in the Universe” Named 2021 Cook Prize Winner.


Your Place in the Universe
Author: Jason Chin, Cook Prize 2021 | May, 2021
(Neal Porter Books/Holiday House)

  • 3rd Graders: Your Place in the Universe

    Dylan
    I really like Your Place in the Universe because it shows you where you are in the whole world from an 8 year old boy to beyond the Milky Way. It keeps getting farther and farther and deeper into space.

    Anna
    I liked this book because it shows you how small you are compared to every thing in the universe and the pictures are so cool and I just love the book!

    Jake
    I chose Your Place in the Universe because it shows how small we actually are. You might think that you are so big, but then you look at this book and see that you are very tiny. You will also see how tall things are. You will see how far we can see with a telescope. I saw that when Mt. Everest came you could see how small the biggest man made building is.

    3rd Grader
    That blew my mind!

  • 4th Graders: Your Place in the Universe

    Maha
    I chose that book because it started with a kid and ended at the Universe. This book gives you a lot of suspense of what is next. This book reminded me of a guessing game.

    Eric
    I chose the book Your Place in the Universe because of its education to me and the rest of 4th Grade of how small you are in this rapidly expanding ball of stars. It gives you a vast sense of how huge the universe really is.

    Elena
    This book was non-stop. When it said mountains I thought that was the end, but it kept on going and going, and it was really fun hearing it.

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera
Authors: Candace Fleming & Eric Rohman, Cook Prize 2021 | May, 2021
(Neal Porter Books Holiday House Publishing)

  • 3rd Graders: Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera

    Charlotte
    I think that Honeybee deserves the Cook Prize because it explained how hard bees work and age up. I loved the page where it said, “Fly.” It really opened up the world to bees. Now that I read this book I look at bees a different way. I really enjoyed this book.

    Annie
    I chose Honeybee because I never knew about the life cycle of a bee and had no idea they put so much work just for a tiny bit of honey. It really made me value the honey we use and make sure we don’t waste it.

    Harper
    I chose Honeybee because it is really touching to me because I did not know that honeybees make so little honey in their life. Before I heard the book I was really afraid of bees and now I’m a little less scared because I know honeybees are just trying to make honey.

  • 4th Graders: Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera

    Caroline
    I voted for Honeybee because the story was so intriguing, I felt like I knew Apis. … At the end of the story, when Apis passed away, it showed everyone that “that’s life.”

    Eva
    I chose this book because it had a lot of facts, and I love the pictures! I also like how it has the gatefold, it was the only book that had it. This book also had a diagram of a bee, unlike the others.

    Chloe
    I loved Honeybee because it had very detailed pictures, and I loved how the book explained how honeybees work. It also pulled me to keep on reading so I could find out when the bee flies!

If You Take Away the Otter
Author: Susannah Buhrman-Deever & illustrator Matthew Trueman, Cook Prize 2021 | May, 2021
(Candlewick Press)

  • 3rd Graders: If You Take Away the Otter

    Avery
    I picked If You Take Away the Otter because it really shows what one little thing does, how it can cause so much chaos. It shows people to be respectful to the environment, and why you should take care of it and not take away from it.

    Addison
    My favorite book was If You Take Away the Otter. I picked this book because it reminded me, if you take away an animal that doesn’t really seem that important, it affects the whole habitat that the animal is living in. It also reminded me that your actions can affect the whole world if you don’t think about them. Anyway, I think If You Take Away the Otter deserves The Cook Prize because of countless reasons, some of them being amazing and realistic illustrations, an outstanding message that changes people’s minds about hunting or killing animals, and words and adjectives that really describe what will happen if you take away an otter.

  • 4th Graders: If You Take Away the Otter

    Mihir
    I voted for If You Take Away the Otter because I think it did a good job at making you care about the issue and making you feel sad, but then giving you hope at the end. I also think that it is very age appropriate.

Perkin’s Perfect Purple
Authors: Tami Lewis Brown & Debbie Loren Dunn; illustrator Francesca Sanna, Cook Prize 2021 | May, 2021
(Little, Brown)

  • 3rd Graders: Perkin's Perfect Purple

    Zoe
    I liked this book because it brings color to my heart and light into my body.

    Olivia
    I chose Perkin’s Perfect Purple because I really liked the book and it was a very detailed story. I learned that from failure comes greatness.

  • 4th Graders: Perkin's Perfect Purple

    Neila
    I picked Perkin’s Perfect Purple because I love learning about how things were developed or made. I also picked Perkin’s Perfect Purple because I love when someone is trying to make something but instead they make something else. I love science myself and trying to create something so that is why I picked Perkin’s Perfect Purple.

    4th Graders
    The end-papers are great.
    I like that it’s real but is like a story.


2021 Cook Prize Winner

Your Place in the Universe
by Jason Chin (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House)

Honor Books

  • Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann (Neal Porter Books Holiday House Publishing)
  • If You Take Away the Otter by Susannah Buhrman-Deever; illustrated by Mathew Trueman (Candlewick Press)
  • Perkin’s Perfect Purple by Tami Lewis Brown and Debbie Loren Dunn; illustrated by Francesca Sanna (Little, Brown)