awards and honors | July 12, 2022

Making Science Fun for Kids: Jennifer Gardy’s Children's Book Wins International Literary Association Award

What goes in must come out—but how? The wacky and wonderful processes of your digestive system are illuminated in It Takes Guts, a new children’s book by scientist and science writer Dr. Jennifer Gardy. A deputy director on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Malaria team, Jennifer reveals the secrets and quirks of the digestive system and microbiome for young readers. It Takes Guts won the International Literary Association’s 2022 award for Intermediate Nonfiction, which recognizes newly published authors with exceptional promise in children’s and young adult literature.

It Takes Guts: How Your Body Turns Food Into Fuel (and Poop) is a charming, eye-catching journey through the digestive system, bound to delight young readers with the science behind our bodies. It Takes Guts is a “lively anatomical odyssey” (Booklist) and a “fascinating, sometimes funny read that goes well beyond the scatological” (Kirkus). 

Dr. Jennifer Gardy has spent her career instilling a love of science in people of all ages. She’s the deputy director of surveillance, data, and epidemiology at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and has guest-hosted CBC’s show The Nature of Things. She’s also made frequent contributions to the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet, which demystifies science news and technical advancements. Onstage and off, she’s charismatic and enthusiastic about ensuring everyone can understand and love science. 

Lavin’s George M. Johnson also received an International Literary Association honor for their memoir We Are Not Broken, in the Young Adult Nonfiction category. An “intensely emotional, stunning read” (Publishers Weekly starred review) that chronicles George’s experience growing up as a Black queer boy alongside their cousins, We Are Not Broken celebrates Black boyhood and brotherhood in all forms.


Learn Jennifer Gardy’s top three facts about the gut below!


Favorite Gut Facts with Dr. Jennifer Gardy

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