Science and the Skeptic

Discerning Fact from Fiction

  • Interest Level: Grade 8 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 8

Fake news, pseudoscience, and quackery have become scourges, spreading through society from social media all the way to Congress.

The line between entertainment and reality, between fact and fiction, has become blurred. Some of the most crucial issues of our time—climate change, vaccines, and genetically modified organisms—have become prime targets for nefarious disinformation campaigns. Far too many people have become distrustful of real science. Even those who still trust science no longer know what to believe or how to identify the truth. Not only does this result in the devaluation and distrust of real science, but it is also dangerous: people acting based on false information can hurt themselves or those around them.

We must equip ourselves with the knowledge and skills to fight back against all this disinformation. InScience and the Skeptic: Discerning Fact from Fiction, you will learn how science is done, from the basic scientific method to the vetting process that scientific papers must go through to become published; how and why some people intentionally or unintentionally spread misinformation; and the dangers in believing and spreading false information. You’ll also find twenty easy-to-follow rules for distinguishing fake science from the real deal. Armed with this book, empower yourself with knowledge, learning what information to trust and what to dismiss as deceit.

“We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic. . . . This is a time for facts, not fear. This is a time for rationality, not rumors. This is a time for solidarity, not stigma.”—Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO

“Our deepest beliefs should help navigate reality, not determine it.”—Michael Gersen, The Washington Post

“Journalism is very much about trying to simplify and distribute information about what’s new and where advances have been made. That’s incompatible with the scientific process, which can take a long time to build a body of evidence.”—Kelly McBride, Poynter Institute

Format Your Price Add
Available at all major wholesalers and distributors. Save 25% off list price on hardcovers and ebooks when you buy direct! Digital purchases will be accessed on Lerner Digital Bookshelf. An account will be created for you after purchase.
Interest Level Grade 8 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 8
Genre Science, Young Adult
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Traditional Nonfiction, SEL: C Social Awareness, SEL: E Responsible Decision-Making, Social Emotional Learning, STEM, STEM: Interdisciplinary
Copyright 2022
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Twenty-First Century Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 120
Publication Date 2022-02-01
Text Type Informational/Explanatory
BISACS YAN035000, YAN050110, YAN030010
Dewey 500
Dimensions 6 x 9
Lexile 1260
Features Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Charts/Graphs/Diagrams, Glossary, Index, Photo captions, Reviewed, Sidebars, Source notes, Starred Reviews, and Table of contents

Author: Marc Zimmer

Marc Zimmer is the author of several nonfiction young adult books and a professor at Connecticut College, where he teaches chemistry and studies the proteins involved in producing light in jellyfish and fireflies. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and did his post-doc at Yale University. He has published articles on science and medicine for the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and the Huffington Post, among many other publications. He lives in Waterford, Connecticut with his wife, their two children, and a genetically modified fluorescent mouse named Prometheus.

Feet on the Ground, Eyes on the Stars

By Megan Ciskowski, Associate Publicist Lerner Publishing Group always strives to provide the highest-quality nonfiction and fiction content for children and young adults that will help them navigate the real world. This year, our titles have received thirty-two starred reviews and we’d… View →

Launching 2022 into the Stars

By Megan Ciskowski, Associate Publicist The year has started with a smattering of starred titles. Today we share our books that received starred reviews in the first half of 2022! Titles from Lerner Publishing Group Fiction Amazona Grade Level: 9 – 12Age Level: 14 – 18 This singular… View →


  • Booklist Top 10 Science and Technology Books for Youth, Winner, 2023
  • Dogwood Readers Award, Winner, 2023
  • SCBWI Russell Freedman Award for Nonfiction for a Better World, Short-listed, 2022


School Library Connection

“This is an extremely important book that all students, and a lot of adults, should read.” —School Library Connection

Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

“Students will benefit from Zimmer’s knowledge on how to understand science and understand all the components in place once the public is part of the science conversation, which is extremely beneficial in our social media-driven world.” —Children’s Literature

School Library Journal

“This slim but rich book on approaching science news with healthy skepticism would be an excellent and welcome addition to junior high or high school nonfiction collections.”—starred, School Library Journal


“[D]oes a thorough and extremely effective job of explaining the difference between scientific fact and fiction. . . . A very helpful guide for a very timely problem.”—starred, Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“Timely, practical, and all too important.”—Kirkus Reviews