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You Are Stardust
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You Are Stardust

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  347 ratings  ·  92 reviews
You Are Stardust begins by introducing the idea that every tiny atom in our bodies came from a star that exploded long before we were born. From its opening pages, the book suggests that we are intimately connected to the natural world; it compares the way we learn to speak to the way baby birds learn to sing, and the growth of human bodies to the growth of forests. Award-...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Owlkids Books (first published November 24th 2011)
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We are made of earth and water and air and stardust.

And so it goes in this beautiful picture book that explains the various connections between us all. The text is simple and paired with the amazing three-dimensional artwork of Soyeon Kim. Children will be enchanted by this book. LOVED.
Can Neil deGrasse Tyson read this to me before bedtime? That's the only way this book could be better.
This I love. It's science, but it reads like poetry, and the 3-dimensional art is exquisite. It presupposes a certain level of knowledge ("Every tiny atom in your body came from a star that exploded long before you were born" is not cluttered with a further explanation of what an atom is)but it's still very accessible for kids. It's full of all kinds of "who knew?" cool facts, like that you sneeze with the force of a tornado and in your every breath there is pollen that may grow to be a new plan...more
Hippie-dippie, sciency, earthy-crunchy goodness in a book with amazing multi-media artwork. Perfect!

It's hard for me to pick my favorite pages, but here's an attempt:

You drink the same water the dinosaurs drank.
 photo 2014-08-05_13-41-07_325.jpg

Your head is like the weather.
 photo 2014-08-05_13-41-36_898.jpg

You shed like a tree.
 photo 2014-08-05_13-41-57_172.jpg

Animals have friends, too.
 photo 2014-08-05_13-42-26_259.jpg

Now, let's all go sing "Kumbaya" around the fire.
My favorite type of information (bats and whales get their friends to babysit! You exhale pollen every time you breathe,) presented in my favorite way-poetically! (your breath is alive with the promise of flowers. Each time you blow a kiss to the world, you spread pollen that might grow to be a new plant..)
Every atom in your body heavier than hydrogen was forged in the heart of a dying star. When you cast your eyes upwards to the sky, you see the refineries of the building blocks of life. We humans, we earthlings, are a part of nature and a continuous part of the vast universe that we inhabit. We are the way that that incomprehensibly large universe reflects upon itself.

I first encountered the poetic beauty of these ideas when I read Carl Sagan in college. As a parent, I've tried to explain these...more
A beautiful book with just the right mix of text/words. I will definitely add this book to my storytime repertoire. The book reminds me of the beginning of Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" in the way that it shows that we're all made up of particles. We're a small part of a big world. The concept could be frightening for children if explained poorly but, skillfully and sensitively explained, it comes across as magical. A lovely blend of poetry and science.
You Are Stardust
by Elin Kelsey
Published in 2012

Genre: Juvenile Non-Fiction

Format: Picture book

Plot Summary: "Introduces readers to the extensive and surprising ways in which they are connected to the natural world around them." - Baker & Taylor

Considerations for Readers Advisory: Evolution

Review Citation: Roach, Julie1. "You Are Stardust." School Library Journal 58.9 (2012): 130-132.

Selection Source: Children's Core Collection

Recommended Age: 4-7
Part picture book, part science, part poetry. I can't decide if the words or pictures are more wonderful - they coexist perfectly. It somehow manages to incorporate the big picture and the enticing details without feeling distracted. I'd recommend this to curious young minds and anyone who enjoys mesmerizing illustrations.
I really love the concept of this book. It's not easy to introduce evolution, ecology, the human connection to nature to young people and it is done very well here. But I especially love the illustrations. I re-read it immediately to savor them again.
Apr 04, 2014 Robin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Grandkids everywhere!
Shelves: science, picture-book
I really enjoyed this cool little picture book. In it, Kelsey explains, in kid-friendly (but never cutesy) language, the origins of the universe, the water cycle, mammalian evolution, seed dispersal, and the inter-connectedness of all Earth's beings. The mixed 2-D and 3-D illustrations were interesting and they mostly work -- I was distracted by the repeated Morton-salt-girl shrinky dink, but I doubt the target audience will have that frame of reference. This would be a pretty good book to read...more
I had to wait for weeks for a chance to read this from the library, so I had a feeling it would be exceptional, and it is!

The author of this book has a PhD. In environmental science education, and works magic in this overview of the ways in which people are an integral part of the natural world.

Three-dimensional dioramas by the artist Soyeon Kim add a sense of wonder to the amazingly brief but cogent, understandable, and yet lyrical text.

Like fish deep in the ocean,
you called salt water home.
Elin Kelsey is not only the author of this book, but she is also an environmental scientist. Her love for the environment shines through in through in this book. Adult readers will be amazed at how well the author succeeds in explaining to younger children how very close our human connection is with nature.

For example, we see that people shed their hair much like trees shed their leaves, and how our life began with just a single atom, as was true for the lives of fish, dinosaurs and other living...more
From Elin Kelsey, a PhD in Environmental Studies, this book takes readers on a philosophical journey from the start of the universe to modern times, including the cyclical nature of life. Many interesting and thoughtful ideas are presented in a unique way. One page offers examples of how humans shed hair and skin. A different page cites ways that animals are dependent upon each other. Did you know that whale and bats each get their friends to babysit? My undergraduate degree is in Science and st...more
Marjorie Ingall
Just beautiful, both the language and the art. Another Goodreadser said, "This book is for the sentimental humanist, the mystical scientist, the agnostic parent who still wants to instill wonder in their child. It plays with the connections of the natural world, seeing beauty in the earth and in our interconnectedness." I'd add that I think it's for many religious people, too! To me, it shows how science and faith are not antithetical.
This is a first picture book by both artists, and a beautiful one. Elin Kelsey is an environmentalist and interested in bringing nature to children. The book is non-fiction, showing the connection of humans to nature in most beautiful ways. She tells of starting life as a single cell, just like all the creatures of the earth and of the brain’s electricity that powers thoughts and stronger than lightning. You learn that we sneeze with the force of a tornado. Every page is spare of words, but the...more
This book is for the sentimental humanist, the mystical scientist, the agnostic parent who still wants to instill wonder in their child. It plays with the connections of the natural world, seeing beauty in the earth and in our interconnectedness.

The illustrations are unusual and gorgeous. I've spent some time looking through this book just to explore all the elements to the collages.

My 5 year old loved the connections of the science and continues to ask about the science behind the poetry. I'd r...more
I read this with my 5-year-old daughter and we both loved it. Such a wonderful introduction to explaining how we are connected to this universe and to life, in a way that a younger child can understand. I find explaining the profound to a young child quite difficult but try my best to leave out mythology and BS answers. This is a beautiful aid on that path!
Slim Khezri
You are Stardust will definitely appeal to the child of beginning school level and is an easy introduction to the field of science. It will peak their curiosity and is a positive character reinforcement. What a fabulous notion to place in the mind of a child....We are made of stardust!

“Everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was … lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam,” Carl Sagan famously marveled in his poetic Pale Blue Dot monologue, titled...more
Really enjoyed the text and the connections between us and the universe. This is a children's book but still made be reflect on our similarities to nature. I'm not a huge fan of the illustrations. Although I admire the artist's work, it reminds me too much of all the books from the 70's that I read.
Science, plus wonderment at the world (and the reader), plus photographs of dioramas as illustrations? Sold!

This is one of those picture books that adults can have on their coffee table without feeling silly, even without it being a common bit of nostalgia.
The artwork and words blend beautifully. As we are all things and all things are us, this book blends many mediums together to form a lyrically visual true story. Magic, art, and science blend into beauty.
Ada  Library
Kelsey's story paired with Soyeon Kim's GORGEOUS collages make this picture book a stand out in its class! The story will get children thinking about the inter-connectedness of people and their surrounding world. The prose is simple and lovely, yet woven in such a way that, when combined with the illustrations, really gets the imagination going (no matter how old the reader!)

A favorite page reads,
"Like fish deep in the ocean,
you called salt water home.
You swam inside the salty sea
of your mot...more
A book about how we are all connected and dust, well stardust really, and one with the universe. Some of the scenes were phoned in I felt, but some were nice. Overall, meh.
Loved it so much, I bought a 2nd copy for a gift!

I read the reviews for this book and they are spot on. This book is full of interesting information about our natural world, our place in it, and "the surprising connections to nature that we all share." It's is both comforting and informative. Not a book I would recommend for a creationist - there is definitely an evolutionary slant here.

The artwork is superb! Each 2 page spread is a colorful diorama illustrating the text and my son (8) and I ha...more
Wow! I loved this picture book. My 6-year-old was awestruck by what he was learning and envisioning. The pictures beautifully illustrate the human race's relationship with nature. I plan to look up the other children's books written by Elin Kelsey, PhD and "internationally respected leader in the field of environmental science education." I hope she writes more children's picture books. You can find additional information as well as lesson plans for the book on the publisher's website: www.owlki...more
Stunning artwork, enticing "story" wrapped in science. I closed the book and the munchkin asked wondorously "Is all that true?"
Wonderful children's book that uses science to inspire kids, and bring complex concepts to them beautifully, and informatively.
Just sparse enough and poetic enough to leave room for great discussions...and the illustrations are somehow whimsical but complex. Nice to have a book along the lines of "From Lava to Life" or "Born With a Bang" that is a little less technical and allows for the reader (child) to muse a little in the cosmology without being given all of the answers, and to wonder over questions such as how you could drink the same water as a dinosaur without necessitating a 3 page spread describing the water c...more
We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion-year old carbon...

The illustrations in this book just blew me away.
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