In an astonishing unfurling of our universe, Newbery Honor winner Marion Dane Bauer and Caldecott Honor winner Ekua Holmes celebrate the birth of every child.
Before the universe was formed, before time and space existed, there was … nothing. But then … BANG! Stars caught fire and burned so long that they exploded, flinging stardust everywhere. And the ash of those stars turned into planets. Into our Earth. And into us. In a poetic text, Marion Dane Bauer takes readers from the trillionth of a second when our universe was born to the singularities that became each one of us, while vivid illustrations by Ekua Holmes capture the void before the Big Bang and the ensuing life that burst across galaxies. A seamless blend of science and art, this picture book reveals the composition of our world and beyond—and how we are all the stuff of stars.
RESOURCES (click to jump to the Resources)
BookPage Best Children's Books of 2018
Kirkus Best Picture Books of 2018 for Contemplative Kids
Star Tribune Holiday Books
Washington Post Best Children's Books of 2018
Carl Sagan’s famous quote, “We are made of star stuff,” is brought to life in a captivating picture book that will be cherished by people of all ages. Mesmerizing illustrations are a perfect fit for this story, which tells of the beginning of our universe and of life itself, starting with a small floating speck that suddenly explodes ... Bauer’s lyrical free-verse love song to Earth, to the listener, and to all creatures is accessible to everyone living on “one lucky planet, a fragile blue ball we call Earth.” (Maryann Owen, Booklist, starred review)
It's a stunning achievement to present to readers the factual events that created the birth of the universe, the planet Earth, and life on Earth with such an expressive, powerful creativity of words paired with illustrations so evocative of the awe and magic of the cosmos. But then the story goes one brilliant step further and gives the birth of a child the same beginning, the same sense of magic, the same miracle. Wow. (Kirkus Reviews,starred review)
In spare, supple verse, Newbery Honor author Bauer (Winter Dance) tells a big story...In a brilliant stroke of visual imagination, Caldecott Honor artist Holmes (Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets) uses the swirls and waves of marbled paper to represent the ebb and flow of cosmic matter. Her spreads appear to move and shift on a grand scale, while Bauer suggests that, just possibly, the power of creation and the power of love are not so different. (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
Poetic language and dazzling illustrations link the big bang to a child’s birth in this striking picture book. Starting “in the deep, deep dark” where “a speck floated, invisible as thought, weighty as God,” lyrical language describes the big bang (“in a trillionth of a second…our universe was born),” then moves to the creation of stars, planets, and life. Hand-marbled paper and collage images brilliantly capture the movement and mystery of the words. ... VERDICT An inspiring match of writing and art. Perfect for one-on-one sharing. (School Library Journal, Steven Engelfried, starred review)
"Holmes' dark and fiery illustrations capture the mood of the story about the void before the Big Bang and ensuing life that burst across galaxies. In the end, we are all the stuff of stars." (St. Paul Pioneer Press)
"In this wondrous meditation on the origins of life, readers see matter expand and time and space blossom...The Stuff of Stars is out of this world." (Bookpage)
"This book appears to be part of a 2018 trend: Big Bang picture books that reduce down to the importance of the child reading this story. But only one of these books is as jaw-droppingly gorgeous as this one. I could stare, entranced, at the papers used in this book for hours and hours and hours." (A Fuse #8 Production)
“Marion Dane Bauer’s lyrical verse, set to Ekua Holmes' swirling hand-cut, digitally assembled marbled paper artwork gives readers a sense of being part of something much larger than themselves. The verse cradles readers, carrying them through the waiting, first for the Bang! and its expansions that form the planets and stars; through the formation of our planet and the life upon it, and through more waiting, dreaming, growing… and then a final burst upon the world: a child, made of stardust, breathing the same air, made of the same carbon, that formed the earth so long ago. Finding the figures within the ebb and flow of the greater art spreads cements our connection to the earth and one another. The book leaves me feeling small, yet overflowing with gratitude, every time I read it; whether I’m cuddled with my son, or I’m by myself and just want the comfort of its pages. An absolute must-read, and a wonderful addition to picture book collections, fiction or non-fiction. Pair this with Jordan Crane’s graphic novel, We Are All Me, for exciting new takes on the science of life. (Rosemary Kiladitis, Mom Read It)