Monthly Archives: December 2018

Happy Winter Solstice and Welcome to Poetry Friday!

Welcome to Poetry Friday! Mr. Linky and I invite you to add your links below.

The Poetry Friday community adds light to the world, and I am pleased to be hosting at a time when we yearn for light, on this winter’s solstice. The full moon will also be shining some extra light tonight. According to earthsky.org, the actual full moon (when the moon is exactly 180°opposite the sun) occurs during the day on Saturday, at 12:29 pm EST. But glance up at the sky between December 20-22nd, and the moon will brim with light. You won’t get another chance to see a winter solstice full moon until 2029, so I hope you’ll head out after sunset, look to the east, and enjoy the light.

And while you’re out there, you might consider the majesty of the universe. One of my favorite picture books of this year, The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by Ekua Holmes, does just that. With lyrical yet accessible language and awe-inspiring illustrations, the book takes the reader from the time before the Big Bang through the creation of the universe, to the start of the solar system and the beginning of Earth, through the evolution of life to the birth of the child who is sharing this book with a loving adult, connecting it all with the understanding that “All of us, the stuff of stars.”

Is it possible for a picture book to capture the grandeur and mystery of the origin of the universe? That’s a tall order, but this book comes close for me. It is both scientifically accurate and understandable to a young reader, with words and art that inspire wonder. I think this book would be equally at home in an elementary school classroom and in a middle or high school physics and biology class.

It is certainly a book that I would have read many times to my kids when they were young, and it is a great mentor text for me now. As a writer and reader, I think it shows that any science subject can be explained to young readers. And that poetry is the perfect medium for it!

I was so taken with this book that I nominated it for a Cybils award (not something I had previously done) as a nonfiction picture book. It was moved to the fiction category. I could imagine classifying it as a poetry book but I’m unsure why it would be called fiction. (If anyone can explain that to me, please tell me in the comments!) But in any case, if you have not read Stuff of Stars, I think you will enjoy it.

Wishing you a happy solstice, joyful holidays, and a poetry-filled new year!