Star Stuff by Stephanie Roth Sisson Book Review

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: October 14, 2014

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. Many people know his name, but perhaps you didn't know that Carl Sagan's wonder and imagination began at the 1939 World's Fair. His quest to understand the world and the universe whether through non-fiction or science fiction led him to become the renowned scientist astrophysicist, astronomer, and cosmologist, respected in his field and remembered for his contributions to space exploration. Without him, we would not have such wonderful images taken from Voyager. 

I grew up in a very anti-evolution, anti-science environment. Carl Sagan, due to his outspoken atheistic worldview was seen in a rather dubious light. As if, by him not believing in God, his contributions to science were null and void or at the very least, biased and inaccurate. In those circles, Carl Sagan was a figure of scorn, to be ridiculed whenever the subject of evolution came up. As an adult, I have not lost my faith, but I have garnered a deep, wonderful, and passionate view of science, one that was not given to me as a child. Sure, I was never too good at mathematics, but my natural curiosity coupled with being named Venus, did give me a fascination with the stars. I finally took Astronomy in college and although it was one of the most difficult classes I ever took, I proceeded to take Astronomy II just because I loved it that much.  Yes, I can calculate the phases of the moon 100 years from now and I can also tell you that your astrological sign is most likely incorrect. Vaguely I remember wishing that I could be an astronaut when I was a child, but I was also aware that to be a scientist I would actually have to believe in the science. 

How I wish my parents had let me read books like this. Even if they had though, there would have been long discussions concerning the subject matter and what we did and didn't believe. Don't get me wrong, my parents were teaching me what they believed to be right, but it also kept my world small. My understanding of the universe and its workings even smaller. 

This book was great for young children who are just beginning to understand that not only is there an entire universe out there, but they can be a part of it. That what they love now could very well be their passion when they grow up. The illustrations were perfect and really captured  the beauty of the universe in a way that a small child can grasp.