CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 13. . . .November 30, 2012
It can be difficult to find science books for young children that are engaging and convey an educational message with lightness and humour. You are Stardust, written by environmental educator Elin Kelsey and illustrated by Soyeon Kim, achieves both criteria. The book's premise, that all of the atoms in our bodies come from an exploded star, is a magical way of presenting a scientific truth. While this book is filled with factoids, Kelsey manages to relate these facts back to a child's experience and worldview; by her doing so, these facts encourage a child to feel connected with the natural world. Throughout the book, she reiterates this interconnectivity through metaphor and beautiful imagery.
The illustrations in this book are a notable feature. Instead of painting or drawing two-dimensional illustrations, Soyeon Kim created a series of dioramas and photographed them to use in the book, resulting in illustrations with great depth, texture and visual interest. The Owlkids website (www.owlkidsbooks.com/stardust) features a fascinating video giving a behind-the-scenes look at the design and construction process. Kim's dioramas are not only beautiful, but they also weave together human and animal figures, driving home Kelsey's message about the connectedness of all living things. Conceptually, using the diorama format pairs well with Kelsey's holistic view of the universe. All of the pieces in the diorama are connected with each other and the diorama as a whole. By playing with the composition of her photographs, Kim shows the reader perspectives from multiple angles, closes in tight on certain elements, and zooms back to reveal the whole diorama. She also uses focus as a tool to highlight the main elements of the photograph. In the cover image, she focuses on the boy and girl, leaving the rest of the image blurry. This visual communicates to the reader that children have a central role in the book and that the message of the book, "You are stardust," is aimed at them.
Sabrina Wong will be completing her Master of Library and Information Studies degree at the University of British Columbia School of Library, Archival and Information Studies in December 2012.
on this title or this review, send mail to email@example.com.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal
use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any
other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.