cover image Rocket Says Look Up!

Rocket Says Look Up!

Nathan Bryon, illus. by Dapo Adeola. Random House, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-9848-9442-7

Rocket, a brown-skinned, bespectacled child with a telescope about as big as she is, is always “looking up.” There’s a reason: she envisions becoming an astronaut like Mae Jemison, “the first African American woman in space.” The text, speckled with space facts (“DID YOU KNOW... most meteors are smaller than a grain of sand?”), follows Rocket as she prepares for her future (for example, “captur[ing] rare and exotic life forms”—a butterfly in a jar). Adeola imbues the protagonist with personality; in her star earrings, orange space suit, and bold hairstyle, she’s seen excitedly preparing to attend a meteor shower and raise enthusiasm in her neighborhood, even if her excitement irritates her older brother, Jamal, whose specialty is looking “down at his silly phone.” Bryon’s story brightly conveys Rocket’s space obsession alongside day-to-day hopes and familial tensions; the title also weaves in a message that not just STEM, but also screen-free time, can help one aim for the stars. Ages 3–7. [em](June) [/em]