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You Are Stardust

Overview


You Are Stardust begins by introducing the idea that every tiny atom in our bodies came from a star that exploded long before we were born. From its opening pages, the book suggests that we are intimately connected to the natural world; it compares the way we learn to speak to the way baby birds learn to sing, and the growth of human bodies to the growth of forests. Award-winning author Elin Kelsey — along with a number of concerned parents and educators around the world — believes children are losing touch with...
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Overview


You Are Stardust begins by introducing the idea that every tiny atom in our bodies came from a star that exploded long before we were born. From its opening pages, the book suggests that we are intimately connected to the natural world; it compares the way we learn to speak to the way baby birds learn to sing, and the growth of human bodies to the growth of forests. Award-winning author Elin Kelsey — along with a number of concerned parents and educators around the world — believes children are losing touch with nature. This innovative picture book aims to reintroduce children to their innate relationship with the world around them by sharing many of the surprising ways that we are all connected to the natural world.

Grounded in current science, this extraordinary picture book provides opportunities for children to use their imaginations and wonder about some big ideas. Soyeon Kim’s incredible diorama art enhances the poetic text, and her creative process is explored in full on the reverse side of the book’s jacket, which features comments from the artist. Young readers will want to pore over each page of this book, exploring the detailed artwork and pondering the message of the text, excited to find out just how connected to the Earth they really are.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Brain Pickings 13 Best Childrens, Illustrated & Picture Books of 2013
Brain Pickings 13 Best Science & Technology Books of 2013
Parents' Choice Foundation Award, 2013
Best of 2012 Selection, Kirkus Reviews
YABC Choice Awards Winner, Non-fiction Picture Book Category, 2012
Green Book Festival Children's Book Award Honorable Mention, 2013

"In You are Stardust, Elin Kelsey works magic. This lyrical book effortlessly connects kids to their timeless origins, and the natural world, while teaching them science too. Soyeon Kim's playful illustrations will allow children's imaginations to run wild, even as they will hang on the book's every word. Bravo!"
~ Juliet Eilperin, National Reporter for the Washington Post , June 18, 2012

"We are made of earth and water and air and stardust, and we are more related to animals and plants than we ever imagined.

Everything about us is found in the natural world. Our atoms are from ancient stardust, and the water and salt that flows within us is part of the unchanging cycle that goes back to the beginning of time. We breathe pollen that, when released, may actually create a plant. We grow at night and seasonally shed and grow hair, in similar fashion to animals. We are also a living planet for millions of microorganisms. Kelsey doesn’t lecture or overcomplicate the information. She speaks directly to readers in a way that opens minds to big ideas and paves the way for thoughtful questions of their own. The litany of facts comes alive in vivid, descriptive language, lending a philosophical, elegant and mystical aura to current scientific findings. Kim’s incredibly unusual illustrations are sublime. Employing varied painting techniques, vivid colors, multidimensional cutouts, unexpected materials and unusual textures, she creates a view of nature that is at once real and otherworldly. This is a work that demands to be read and reread, studied and examined, and thoroughly digested. It is perfect for sparking adult and child conversations about our place in the universe.

A remarkable achievement."
~Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW, July 26, 2012

"Readers learn interesting facts about themselves and are urged to make parallels to the planet at large. Meanwhile paper cutouts of children travel from page to page in the mixed-media dioramas, illustrating the text's assertions in a fantastical way...each one provides much to consider and absorb."
~ Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, School Library Journal, September 1, 2012

"An exceptional collaboration."
~ ForeWord Reviews, September 1, 2012

"This is a book that reveals both the relationships and parallels between humans and the planet they live on, something children think about a lot...and it does so in a clear and compelling way...Don't miss this one, which begs to be shared intimately with children. Gather together, be still, and learn how we are stardust."
~ Julie Danielson , Kirkus Book Blog Network, September 14, 2012

"As the worlds of science and illustration continue to show, sometimes non-traditional forms of illustration - the whimsical, the mysterious, the abstract - are the best ways to draw in a new audience to scientific ideas...[You Are Stardust] transcends typical illustration and leaves room for children and adults alike to ponder the wonderful facts it presents."
~ Glendon Mellow , Scientific American, November 15, 2012

"Like the child pictured, who turns cartwheels on an overturned tree, readers, too, will join in this joyful ceremony of the cycle of life."
~ Jennifer M Brown , Shelf Awareness for Readers, November 30, 2012

"A breathtaking picture book written for children, with a message meant for everyone…I'm pretty sure I held my breath the entire first time I read this book. The illustrations, the text…It's all sensational."
~ Sturdy for Common Things, January 22, 2013

"As an educator, this picture book is what I like to call a 'thinking book.' It is the type of multi-leveled narrative that, over time, draws you in and prompts more questions than gives answers. For parents and teachers, it is the best kind of book to share with children of all ages because it sparks meaningful conversation."
~ Nancy Rawlinson , Canadian Children's Book News, February 6, 2013

"An exquisite picture-book that instills that profound sense of connection with the natural world. Underpinning the narrative is a bold sense of optimism — a refreshing antidote to the fear-appeal strategy plaguing most environmental messages today…a thoughtful, beautiful piece of early science education presented by two women, the most heartening such example since Lauren Redniss’s Radioactive."
~ Maria Popova , Brain Pickings, March 8, 2013

Praise for Not Your Typical Book About the Environment:
"Elin Kelsey has produced a highly engaging book . . . The illustrations are fantastic and make a complex subject — conservation and sustainable living — easy to understand."
— Jane Goodall

From the Publisher

"In You are Stardust, Elin Kelsey works magic. This lyrical book effortlessly connects kids to their timeless origins, and the natural world, while teaching them science too. Soyeon Kim's playful illustrations will allow children's imaginations to run wild, even as they will hang on the book's every word. Bravo!"
~ Juliet Eilperin, National Reporter for the Washington Post , June 18, 2012

"We are made of earth and water and air and stardust, and we are more related to animals and plants than we ever imagined.

Everything about us is found in the natural world. Our atoms are from ancient stardust, and the water and salt that flows within us is part of the unchanging cycle that goes back to the beginning of time. We breathe pollen that, when released, may actually create a plant. We grow at night and seasonally shed and grow hair, in similar fashion to animals. We are also a living planet for millions of microorganisms. Kelsey doesn’t lecture or overcomplicate the information. She speaks directly to readers in a way that opens minds to big ideas and paves the way for thoughtful questions of their own. The litany of facts comes alive in vivid, descriptive language, lending a philosophical, elegant and mystical aura to current scientific findings. Kim’s incredibly unusual illustrations are sublime. Employing varied painting techniques, vivid colors, multidimensional cutouts, unexpected materials and unusual textures, she creates a view of nature that is at once real and otherworldly. This is a work that demands to be read and reread, studied and examined, and thoroughly digested. It is perfect for sparking adult and child conversations about our place in the universe.

A remarkable achievement."
~Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW, July 26, 2012

"Readers learn interesting facts about themselves and are urged to make parallels to the planet at large. Meanwhile paper cutouts of children travel from page to page in the mixed-media dioramas, illustrating the text's assertions in a fantastical way...each one provides much to consider and absorb."
~ Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, School Library Journal, September 1, 2012

"An exceptional collaboration."
~ ForeWord Reviews, September 1, 2012

"This is a book that reveals both the relationships and parallels between humans and the planet they live on, something children think about a lot...and it does so in a clear and compelling way...Don't miss this one, which begs to be shared intimately with children. Gather together, be still, and learn how we are stardust."
~ Julie Danielson , Kirkus Book Blog Network, September 14, 2012

"As the worlds of science and illustration continue to show, sometimes non-traditional forms of illustration - the whimsical, the mysterious, the abstract - are the best ways to draw in a new audience to scientific ideas...[You Are Stardust] transcends typical illustration and leaves room for children and adults alike to ponder the wonderful facts it presents."
~ Glendon Mellow , Scientific American, November 15, 2012

"Like the child pictured, who turns cartwheels on an overturned tree, readers, too, will join in this joyful ceremony of the cycle of life."
~ Jennifer M Brown , Shelf Awareness for Readers, November 30, 2012

"A breathtaking picture book written for children, with a message meant for everyone…I'm pretty sure I held my breath the entire first time I read this book. The illustrations, the text…It's all sensational."
~ Sturdy for Common Things, January 22, 2013

"As an educator, this picture book is what I like to call a 'thinking book.' It is the type of multi-leveled narrative that, over time, draws you in and prompts more questions than gives answers. For parents and teachers, it is the best kind of book to share with children of all ages because it sparks meaningful conversation."
~ Nancy Rawlinson , Canadian Children's Book News, February 6, 2013

"An exquisite picture-book that instills that profound sense of connection with the natural world. Underpinning the narrative is a bold sense of optimism — a refreshing antidote to the fear-appeal strategy plaguing most environmental messages today…a thoughtful, beautiful piece of early science education presented by two women, the most heartening such example since Lauren Redniss’s Radioactive."
~ Maria Popova , Brain Pickings, March 8, 2013

Praise for Not Your Typical Book About the Environment:
"Elin Kelsey has produced a highly engaging book . . . The illustrations are fantastic and make a complex subject — conservation and sustainable living — easy to understand."
— Jane Goodall

Children's Literature - Suzanne Javid
Be still. Listen. Like you, the Earth breathes. In fact, if you were a planet, you might be called Planet You. Taking big ideas grounded in current science, the author and illustrator magnificently compare, connect and illustrate what happens in our own bodies with happenings in the sky, oceans, forests and animals. Do we learn to speak the same way baby birds learn to sing? Babies learn to talk by conversing and chatting with their parents and baby birds learn to sing by tweeting with their parents. Childhood is a time to form deep connections with the natural world. When was the last time you and a child stopped to watch an ant, spider or other bug walking along a sidewalk? The author connects with both the reader and the listener and the world suddenly becomes more interesting, curious and magical. This is the author's first picture book and has glossy, colorful pages that combine the ideas of nature with sketching and painting techniques resulting in three-dimensional objects and figures. The author's clear, uncluttered message is both simple yet powerful. The story is a literary science springboard for elementary students and a fantastic model for older children who may want to try their literary hand comparing and exploring curious connections in nature. A letter from the author directs readers to more science including teacher lesson plans about expectations and activities in mathematics, social studies, language arts, visual arts and science. Professional discussions of integrated learning, inquiry, the teaching of critical literacy skills and the importance of environmental education are also included. Peek inside the book jacket for a closer look at the story dioramas. An app is due soon. Applause, Applause. Encore! Reviewer: Suzanne Javid
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Bright dioramas created with pen-and-ink, pencil crayon, watercolor, dried flowers, and cut paper fancifully illustrate this exploration of human beings and the world around them. Beginning with stardust, the economical text takes readers from their atoms all the way to their relationship with the natural environment. Each page attempts to shock or surprise: "The water swirling in your glass/once filled the puddles/where dinosaurs drank." "You may sprout even taller/in the spring and summer, just/like the plants in your garden." Readers learn interesting facts about themselves and are urged to make parallels to the planet at large. Meanwhile paper cutouts of children travel from page to page in the mixed-media dioramas, illustrating the text's assertions in a fantastical way. The art and text don't quite come together seamlessly in the book's design, but each one provides much to consider and absorb. While striving to make these big connections in nature, the text presents thoughtful ideas but sometimes anthropomorphizes the animals. An author's note includes a link that explores the science behind the broad statements in the book.—Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
We are made of earth and water and air and stardust, and we are more related to animals and plants than we ever imagined. Everything about us is found in the natural world. Our atoms are from ancient stardust, and the water and salt that flows within us is part of the unchanging cycle that goes back to the beginning of time. We breathe pollen that, when released, may actually create a plant. We grow at night and seasonally shed and grow hair, in similar fashion to animals. We are also a living planet for millions of microorganisms. Kelsey doesn't lecture or overcomplicate the information. She speaks directly to readers in a way that opens minds to big ideas and paves the way for thoughtful questions of their own. The litany of facts comes alive in vivid, descriptive language, lending a philosophical, elegant and mystical aura to current scientific findings. Kim's incredibly unusual illustrations are sublime. Employing varied painting techniques, vivid colors, multidimensional cutouts, unexpected materials and unusual textures, she creates a view of nature that is at once real and otherworldly. This is a work that demands to be read and reread, studied and examined, and thoroughly digested. It is perfect for sparking adult and child conversations about our place in the universe. A remarkable achievement. (Picture book. 5-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781926973357
  • Publisher: Owlkids Books
  • Publication date: 9/15/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 89,806
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD770L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

ELIN KELSEY is an internationally respected leader in the field of environmental science and education, as well as the award-winning author of Not Your Typical Book About The Environment and other books for children and adults. She consults around the world on environmental projects and is an adjunct professor at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and Royal Roads University. She lives in Pacific Grove, California.

SOYEON KIM is a Toronto-based, Korean-born artist who specializes in work that merges real-world materials and fine sketching and painting techniques to produce three-dimensional pieces. She is a graduate of the Visual Arts program at York University in Toronto.

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Read an Excerpt


A note from the author:

One of my favorite things about writing books for kids is imagining where
those books will end up. I hope this one gets covered with grass
stains, carted outside to be read in a tree or by flashlight in a tent.

I wrote this book as a celebration; one to honor the extraordinary ways in
which all of us simply are nature. Every example in this book is backed by
current science. Each day, for instance, you breathe in more than a million
pollen grains. The bigger ones get caught in the mucus or hairs in your nose
and are sent flying with a great Ah-Choo! Tinier ones may travel down your
throat and eventually get pooped out. But a lucky few float back out when
you exhale.

Tonight, just before bed, invite your little one to blow a kiss to the
world. Marvel at the infinite connections between that tiny heart and the
rest of the planet. Dream of flowers unfurling from the pollen in a child¹s
breath.

Happy reading,
Elin

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