Star Stuff: Carl Sagan biography - NFPB 2014 Review

Searching for a way to ignite the minds of young scientists and explorers? I have just the book for you...

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos
by Stephanie Roth Sisson
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Roaring Brook Press
ISBN 1596439602 (ISBN13: 9781596439603)

Goodreads Summary:

For every child who has ever looked up at the stars and asked, "What are they?" comes the story of a curious boy who never stopped wondering: Carl Sagan.

When Carl Sagan was a young boy he went to the 1939 World's Fair and his life was changed forever. From that day on he never stopped marveling at the universe and seeking to understand it better. Star Stuff follows Carl from his days star gazing from the bedroom window of his Brooklyn apartment, through his love of speculative science fiction novels, to his work as an internationally renowned scientist who worked on the Voyager missions exploring the farthest reaches of space. This book introduces the beloved man who brought the mystery of the cosmos into homes across America to a new generation of dreamers and star gazers.

My Thoughts:

The narrative begins by sharing the galactic address of a little boy who "was curious about everything". We watch Carl fiddle with electricity, examine caterpillars, and daydream about rocket ships. We see him attend the World's Fair and get hooked on robots and the night sky.

This is what I want kids to see. I need them to see how their young lives and fascinations can fuel a life of curiosity and discovery.

We see Carl explore the world through books and science fiction. Yes! I am a huge advocate for getting kids hooked on science fiction so they can begin to ask their own "what ifs" about the world.

The book is filled with a delightful mixture of illustrations. I love how Sisson uses all the available space on the pages. She uses diagramming style to add in little details. She adds in some comics style panels. She has pages that are tilted and pages that are designed to be unfolded and viewed vertically. Even the color scheme fits well to showcase Sagan's early 80s style. Overall, her style reflects the childlike wonder and awe about the universe that Sagan seemed to hold onto for his entire life.

Classroom Uses:
-- allow students to pick something Sagan describes to learn about in more detail (robots, stars, space travel, science fiction, theories about alien life, Mars, the other planets in our solar system, and more).
-- explore the excellent back matter
-- view old episodes of Cosmos - or watch some of the new ones with Neil Degrasse Tyson.

Carl learns, grows, and teaches. He explores, experiments, and dreams. Let Carl's journey inspire the young scientists in your life! 

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