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INSTAR Book Lists by Year

2022 2021 2020 2019 2018
2017 2016 2015 2014 2013

The INSTAR list includes recent, exemplary science trade books aligned to Indiana science indicators and utilizes nine criteria to evaluate books.

1.       The book has substantial science content;

2.       Information is clear, accurate, and up to date;

3.       Theories and facts are clearly distinguished;

4.       Facts are not oversimplified to the point where the information is misleading;

5.       Generalizations are supported by facts and significant facts are not omitted;

6.       Books are free of gender, ethnic, and socioeconomic bias;

7.       Information can be connected to an Indiana Core Standard in Science for grades K-6;

8.       Books are readily available in public libraries or bookstores; and

9.       Books have received at least one positive review in one of the identified professional journals:

    • Booklist, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
    • Horn Book
    • Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly
    • School Library Journal
    • Science and Children (NSTA)

We welcome, and would very much appreciate, nominations as we begin to compile a list for next year.  For more information, professional development, or inquiries please feel free to contact us.

Joyce Gulley, Ph.D. (

Jeff Thomas, Ph.D. (

University of Southern Indiana
Teacher Education
Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education
Teacher Education
Evansville, IN 47712