cover image Child of the Universe

Child of the Universe

Ray Jayawardhana, illus. by Raul Colón. Make Me a World, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5247-1754-4

Accompanying inspirational words from astrophysicist Jayawardhana (Neutrino Hunters for adults), luminous illustrations by Colón (Counting the Stars) imagine a magnificent journey through the cosmos. “My father says I am made of stars,” a girl with dark curly hair says. The two sit on her bed together, gazing at the full moon. “The universe conspired to make you,” he tells her. A page turn later, the view widens to show the sun radiating golden heat like tongues of flame; opposite, the girl radiates energy, too, visualized as a golden aura: “You light up the world beyond this room.” Throughout, warm, rhyming affirmation blends with scientific fact: “The iron in your blood, the calcium in your bones, are made up of stars that lived long ago.” The girl’s body is shown as a void filled with whirling galaxies; later, she walks weightlessly across an expanse of space and earth, leaving oscillating waves in her wake. In contrast to picture books that promote STEM to girls by showing them engaged in scientific activities, Colón represents the child as the actual embodiment of elemental science: a figure in white gown and with streaming hair who is at home in—and made up of—the farthest reaches of the universe. Ages 3–7. [em](Mar.) [/em]