The Cook Prize

Selection & Criteria

Book Selection

Cook Prize finalists are chosen from a list of sixteen STEM books that are then narrowed down to four. You can view all titles in the Children’s Book Committee publication, Best Books of the Year. The panel of judges include:

  • Two Graduate School math/science faculty
  • Two School for Children teachers
  • Two distinguished Bank Street alumni

Following the same format as the Irma Black Award, third and fourth grade teachers and librarians are invited to read aloud, discuss, and encourage students to vote for their favorite STEM book of the finalists.


  • Accuracy: strict accuracy of content in both text and illustrations
  • Clarity: concepts and terms defined and explained clearly
  • Writing: engaging style, rich language
  • Illustrations/Photographs: appealing images and graphics that add information and enhance the text
  • Format: invites interaction
  • Organization: material presented in logical, coherent manner
  • Connects new ideas to what children already know and supports children as constructors of knowledge
  • Encourages inquiry and inspires children to further exploration
  • Includes entry points for different kinds of learners
  • Research: provides information about research process (in introduction, back matter, and/or in text); acknowledges people connected with research, writing, and illustration of book
  • Supporting material: includes bibliography, glossary, index, and suggestions for further reading