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!


22 thoughts on “Happy Winter Solstice and Welcome to Poetry Friday!

  1. Buffy, I own that marvelous book, and am so glad you highlighted it. Like Heidi, it does remind me of The Day You Were Born, which was my go-to book for newborns before The Stuff of Stars! Marion Dane Bauer was one of my mentors. Her work is amazing. Happy Solstice, Happy Holiday Season, and thank you for hosting and encouraging moon-gazing!

    1. Hi Joyce,
      I think you meant to comment on my 2019 Poetry Friday host post (this is 2018.) I added your link to the correct post (at least I think I did!) Thanks for getting me to look back at The Stuff of Stars!

  2. What a thoughtful post. The solstice is an evocative time for me, when days start to get longer. And I am a big fan of Marian Dane Bauer and she shows us incredible vision and depth in all her work. I didn’t know about this book and am looking forward to carefully reading it. Thank you.

  3. I’m so intrigued by this book–and it reminds me of THE DAY YOU WERE BORN book that each child dedicated at our Unitarian Universalist congregation receives. Illustration style is even similar. Thanks for hosting and sorry it took so long to come back around to this comment. Hope you’re well and enjoying the season with your burst-into-being beloveds!

  4. Thanks, Buffy, I will definitely look for it and I’m also scratching my head about its categorization. Thanks too for the fun fact about the moon. It was amazingly bright last night!

  5. Buffy, thanks for sharing that wonderful book! I hadn’t heard of it, but I will find it and read the whole book–and drink in the marvelous art.

    It’s too cloudy here in Chicago to see the moon tonight. Maybe it will be clearer tomorrow (I doubt it, but I’ll look). I was especially looking forward to seeing this full moon. Maybe I’ll be able to see it early in the morning in the west.

    And thanks for hosting.

  6. Thanks to you, Buffy, I’ll be looking up tonight… though it’s kind of nasty weather here today… here’s hoping the skies clear. Happy winter solstice and thank you for hosting! xo

    1. In science a theory is the best-supported explanation of a phenomenon, based on all the available evidence. It doesn’t refer to a guess or something unsubstantiated–in that way it’s different than the way the word theory is often used in common parlance (and sometimes causes confusion! Can you tell I’m married to an evolutionary biologist? 🙂 )

  7. ooooh. The Stuff of Stars looks beautiful. This is a new title for me. So, thank you for introducing it. I look forward to discovering it. I’ve been a fan of Eukka Holmes since meeting her after she talked about her Fannie Hamer book at a conference. Thank you also, for hosting Poetry Friday on this solstice. It is special meeting the dark and looking forward to the light that will come to us. Enjoy every bit of hosting this week.

  8. What delicious images, and topic in “THE STUFF OF THE STARS”–powerful, rich, and celestial, thanks for sharing it with us. I’ve been star gazing the last week and have viewed some wonderful sky/moon images. My post this week also highlights the solstice, Matt’s book “FLASHLIGHT NIGHT,” and your Winter Poetry Swap with me. Thanks for Hosting the Roundup, and for more info on the Moon!

  9. Buffy, thank you for hosting us for the winter solstice poetry celebration. The swap-mistress herself, Tabatha Yeatts, sent me goodies and a poem a few weeks ago. Her ekphrastic poem “The Bed” is rich with detail and tension. I hope you enjoy it.

    Love the artwork and poetry in the book you shared today. It’s gorgeous!

  10. Wow! What a gorgeous book! That giraffe illustration just blows my mind! I’ll have to keep an eye out for the book so I can enjoy it in its entirety. Thanks so much for sharing this title and for hosting today.

  11. Happy Solstice, Buffy, and thank you for hosting this beautiful day of the year. I have this book and agree that it is fabulous, a beautiful blending of poetry, art & science. I thought of it as non-fiction, too.

  12. Thanks for sharing your review of this book, Buffy – I had not heard of it, but I do love it! I suppose if each page had been structured as its own poem, it probably would have ended up in the poetry category, in which I’m a 1st-round judge, but it’s too bad it’s classified as fiction…it’s definitely more of a creative non-fiction book. (Too bad that’s not a category!) My post goes live just after midnight, by they way…thanks for hosting!

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