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Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,385 ratings  ·  244 reviews
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.

When Carl Sagan was a young boy he went to the 1939 World's Fair and his life was changed forever. From that day on he never stopped marveling at the universe and seeking to understand it better. Star Stuff follows Carl
Hardcover, 42 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Roaring Brook Press
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Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,385 ratings  ·  244 reviews

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Wendy Darling
So, so cute. It's so nice to see a book that gives you appropriate background for Carl Sagan's beginning interest in the cosmos, and takes a dreamy, wondering approach towards science rather than just relating facts and figures--so appropriate for the subject of the book!

Loved the illustrations and thoughtful story, and I very much appreciated the additional notes included in the back, particularly the one about how Sagan inspired her to think differently about the universe. This is a book that
A.C. Paige
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-theme
I need to buy this for my future Grandkids in case it's not in print in 15 years.
Maren Banwell
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Content Area: Cross curricular activity with ELA and science.

I would pair the fiction book Toys in Space with the nonfiction book Star Stuff. I would read Toys in Space first in order to pre-teach some character traits of Carl Sagan. I would use a DLTA with this book. First, I would ask for predictions based on the title and the cover. The cover reminded me a lot of Toy Story. I would read until Wonderdoll had told the beginning of her story, then ask: What is a word you would use to describe
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I found this book interesting but disappointing in its skimpiness of information. I realize that it was written for elementary children, but I did expect more about his life than was presented here. The author does say that her goal in writing this was to show "how a boy from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York, became one of the world's most beloved and recognized scientists" (p. 30, author's note), so that may explain the lack of other details about his life. I like Sisson's colorful ...more
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love when biographies for kids are well-written, not overly simplistic, and offer interesting information. This picture book biography of Carl Sagan is all three. My 4-year old loved it. It held his attention, and taught him something. We looked up pictures of Carl Sagan after, and checked to see where Voyager has been.
Edward Sullivan
A great biography of young Carl Sagan and how he became fascinated with the Cosmos. Appealing and inspiring.
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I’ve said this before, but I LOVE a biography that can both give the reader a meaningful look into what makes the person interesting and special and do it in a condensed way so that it makes a great read aloud. I love a read aloud biography that makes you want to go find a more in depth biography on that person. This is one of those.
Seung Lee
Aug 20, 2017 rated it liked it
This was inspiring to me, but maybe less so for my son.
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really approachable. So many biographies for kids are wordy and boring, so it's always nice to find ones that are simple and have a bit of flare!
Maggie Ignasiak
A nonfiction picture book about Carl Sagan? It's a no brainer! It's adjustable for younger audiences too, so it's great for storytime. I will definitely use this for units on space, stars, scientists, and STEAM.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is about a dreamer, believer, smart, and curious boy named Carl Sagan. He was very curious about the life in space. He spent his life studying space, stars, and planets. After all his effort he found out that the Earth and every living thing are made of star stuff. Amazing! So he asked himself “Could those ingredients have resulted in life somewhere else too.”
Illustrations are very original. Different styles, different shapes, and different page designs are used.
If you want to be
May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a picture book biography about Carl Sagan and how he got interested in the stars. It all started when he went to the 1939 World’s Fair and was inspired. He started researching stars and space and wondering about the universe around us. He got his doctorate and worked with other scientists to create machines that would investigate planets and take pictures of them. Then he went on television with his show Cosmos and told everyone about the universe and how we are all made from the same ...more
Jordan Schmidt
Jun 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Possible Content Area Crossover: Science and learning about the stars and space

Twin Text: Stars by Mary Lyn Ray. Publishing date: 2011.
Star Stuff is a book about Carl Sagan's fascination about the stars ever since he was a little boy. He went to the world fair where he became very interested in the things that we couldn't touch but only see-stars which he called lightbulbs on long black wires. He was very curious so he started researching them and when he grew up, he became a doctor who
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This beautifully illustrated book captures the magic of curiosity and placing the right book in the hands of a child. Carl Sagan, beloved scientist, astrophysicist, and host of the popular series Cosmos, was curious about the universe. He went to the World's Fair in Chicago and started to go to the library to study the universe. From here, he began to shape our knowledge of science and astronomy as we know it today.

This book is a window into the way curiosity and imagination can open the doors
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful, wonderful book! In every sense of the word. Here is what my friend, Jean, had to say about it, and I know for sure I couldn't say it better.

"Excellent. Biography for really young children (preschool/early elementary) is rarely done well. This is done well. Lovely, appealing art work, storyline, sense of wonder and excitement conveyed. Notes on the last page flesh things out for the curious older reader."
I love how the book opens by zooming in from outer space (galaxy to neighborhood to solar system to earth to city to street to apt). I also appreciate the shifts in format -- from horizontal to vertical, one even more so with a flap that opens.

"The Earth and every living thing are made of star stuff."

Wowie indeed.
Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: scientist biography requests
Recommended to June by:
Well illustrated biography of scientist Carl Sagan. Panels, illustrations that require turning the book and that unfold help tell how Carl Sagan became curious about the cosmos, and shared his excitement via television.

Maybe a 3.5, the ending seemed to fade for me, but I rounded up due to common core and STEM
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The best part of this book was seeing my seven year old son's eyes light up when he realized that the star-smitten little boy in the book grew up to be a real scientist. It was as if he had a little aha moment. The rest of our family, including our four year old daughter, loved this beautiful book, too.
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Biography for really young children (preschool/early elementary) is rarely done well. This is done well. Lovely, appealing art work, storyline, sense of wonder and excitement conveyed. Notes on the last page flesh things out for the curious older reader.
Laura Salas
One of my favorite picture books this year. Vary spare text, a dash of humor (wowie!), interesting art, and great back matter make this a fabulous introduction to Carl Sagan as well as a love note to imagination.
Jillian Heise
A fabulous book that tells the story of Carl Sagan and how we came to know much of what we do about outer space and our universe. The illustrations enhance the curiosity prevalent in Sagan's journey and provide a sense of wonderment to the topic.
A simplified tale of wee Carl Sagan and his hopes to go to the stars. Lovely illustrations and encourages kids to aspire to high levels of dream-making.
Holly Mueller
Kids might be inspired to become a scientist, or at least pursue their passions, through this biography of Carl Sagan. Great illustrations!
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Charming and heart warming. I wish every biographical picture book was this well done.
Rachel Brooks
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lis-403-lea
Great book to learn about how Carl Sagan was mesmerized and curious about the cosmos and how it turned into a lifelong passion of his. Illustrations add to the story and a great read for all ages.
Ben Truong
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos is a children's picture book written and illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson, which retells a story about the time when Carl Sagan attended the 1939 New York World's Fair, which irrevocable changed his life and in return influenced a generation of dreamers and stargazers.

Sisson's text is simplistic, straightforward, and quaint. It captures the curiosity and wonderment of young Carl Sagan really well. The illustrations are beautifully and
Mary Kay
I purchased this book to use with NTSA's collection of Picture Perfect Stem lessons (using trade books to teach Science / Stem.)

I've been collecting picture book non-fiction and biographies to add to my classroom collection. There was long a void of great biographies for children not quite ready to commit to a 200 page book.
These are not necessarily "easy"reads, but they make great read aloud choices.

This book chronicles the life of Carl Sagan and includes a lot of interesting history, along
Brooke Loewen
It is interesting to learn about what sparked interest in the authors and scientists we familiarize ourselves with today. Carl Sagan was enthralled with the idea of living in space, which is why he spent his life studying the planets, space, and stars. It was not until an extensive amount of research was conducted by Carl Sagan that he discovered our Earth, and all living things, are formed from star stuff. This idea sparked Sagan in thinking about where else life could exist. The illustrations ...more
Dec 02, 2016 rated it liked it
1. No award
2. Preschool - Grade 3
3. This is an informational and biography book about scientist Carl Sagan's interest and fascination on the solar system and beyond. Carl was a curious boy about everything that soon developed into a fascination with the stars, planets and his inspirational trip to the World's Fair in 1993. Since that trip, he took his fascination to the next level and went to the library and got a degree to learn more and more about the life outside of our universe.
4. I enjoyed
Rachel Green
In this children's biography of Carl Sagan, the author takes you from Carl's childhood dreams of space in his home in New York to his future work with the Voyagers and his TV program Cosmos. There is a brief introduction to Voyager I and II.

I will say I personally have seen Sagan's Cosmos as well as Neil de Grasse Tyson's Cosmos and I can't help but imagine their voices narrating some of this text. This book would be great to pair with the first episode of de Grasse Tyson's Cosmos or Voyager's
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