February 9, 2023


The Fire of Stars: The Life and Brilliance of the Woman Who Discovered What Stars Are Made of by Kirsten W. Larson and Katherine Roy celebrates groundbreaking astronomer Cecilia Payne.

Cecilia Payne was born curious, enjoying the company of nature and the questions that would arise from her experiences in the garden. She observes the world around her and learns that everything in nature is designed to survive and grow. When her mom moves her to the city, she finds an abandoned lab at her unfriendly school where she meets a mentor who encourages Cecilia to follow her love of science, no matter who tries to keep her from it. She eventually comes to fall in love with physics and moves to America where she's allowed to become an astronomer who studies how stars are born.

The illustrations were rendered in pencil and walnut ink, colored digitally, and the design of the book is such that there are constantly two simultaneous but separate narratives: the space storyline and Cecilia's storyline. Cecilia's world always appears upon smaller panels set against the larger backdrop of space. The text for each storyline also remains separate, both visually (in font, color, style) and physically (each text remains within the boundaries of its own storyline) until the moment Cecilia decides to pack her suitcase and head to America. None of the smaller panels have a hard line around them, allowing Cecilia's world to fully exist within the literal(!) space around her and the two worlds come together seamlessly as Cecilia dives deeper into the world of astronomy.

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