Monday, September 24, 2012

Sometimes I Wonder...: You Are Stardust by Elin Kelsey

Every tiny atom in your body
came from a star that exploded
long before you were born.

Salt still flows
through your veins, your sweat, and your tears.

The sea within you is as salty as the ocean.
The biblical book of Genesis, the poet Omar Khayam, and cosmologist Carl Sagan agree: we are such stuff as stars are made of: the very atoms that make up our bodies are those of the stars, and the sea within us is identical to the seas that support life on our world, giving moisture to the clouds in a constant water cycle that has supported life on earth since it began. Part of nature, we share many commonalities with our world.

Inside your brain, electricity
stronger than lightning
powers your every thought.
Like the earth, we constantly recycle our elements. Children grow at night and grow their fastest during the growing season just as the plants do. We shed hair in the autumn just as the trees drop leaves, growing new short hair to provide a dense undercoat for winter as wild mammals do. Just like all the earth our bodies change and recycle themselves, replacing our skin over 100 times in childhood.

... you grow entirely new skeletons throughout your life.

And, as American poet Walt Whitman long ago said, "I contain multitudes."

From your head to your toes,
inside and out, billions of teeny
microorganisms live on planet YOU.
And like other living things, we can grow relationships, friends and family, with other people and with the animals around us to sustain ourselves.

Bats and whales get their friends to babysit.
Elin Kelsey’s You Are Stardust (Owl Kids Press, 2012) uses plain but evocative language to make its point, that we are all part of everything around us. There is a lot to wonder about for a child, and Kelsey’s simple but striking narrative is both poetry and science lesson, answering questions and raising many more for young reader to wonder about --the stuff of science and philosophy that all humans ponder, the mystery of it all. This little book can be the first to open up such wide thoughts.

Kirkus Reviews raves, "This is a work that demands to be read and reread, studied and examined, and thoroughly digested. It is perfect for sparking adult and child conversations about our place in the universe. A remarkable achievement.

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