by Wendy Mass, published 2008
“The big deal is that we’ll be living in the middle of nowhere! There will be NOTHING around us for miles and miles. No people. No restaurants. No stores. No movie theaters. NOTHING. Who lives like that?”
This children’s book is a must read for any budding astronomers. I know several third grade children who would hang on every bit of the starry information here. Beyond that, the book presents a very real dilemma about lifestyles. Two families are changing places. One is urban and hip, and the other has basically dropped out of the culture to live on the land, and study the skies. Imagine the reaction of the children involved.
The drama that the kids go through is the foreground. The background is the chasing of a full-eclipse and some scientific studies along the way. It makes it possible for this book to be read at several levels.
The most impressive part of the unfolding of this children’s book is the real transformation that happens to a young wanna-be-model teen, who finally sees that life, the universe, is far, far bigger than beauty contests could ever reveal. The transformation she goes through is sudden but inspiring. Other children in the story also have some big changes, all for the better.
Children of all temperaments will find themselves depicted in this story, which is another great feature of it. Each of main children are quite different and unique, and we get to see the world through their eyes.
In short, this children’s book presents a very real, modern day question: how do we live in the midst of a culture which emphasizes superficial values? Do we pull our children out? What are they missing if we do? This book may appeal to parents as well as kids.