Sunday, October 06, 2013

Stella, You Are Stardust!

My granddaughter Stella celebrated her first birthday this weekend. Pretty amazing that it's been a year already. It's a lot of fun being a grandparent and watching her grow. My daughter organized a great party with a lot of family and friends, and I took the opportunity to play Look at You, the song I wrote for Stella's birth last year. Stella laughed and clapped along - she's heard this song a few times and I like to think she knows it's her song, but in fairness, she seems to love all music and laughs and claps along with almost any song. Something we have in common.

Stella also shares my love of books, so I bought a few for her birthday, including a really cool one I decided to hold onto for a while. Although "Stella" actually means "star" (in Latin and Italian), I think she's not quite ready for the astronomy and other science concepts in You Are Stardust, a book I discovered through Brain Pickings (OK, so maybe I bought the book for myself, but I promise to share it with Stella in a year or so).

As Carl Sagan (and various others) said and wrote, "we are all made of star-stuff." This reflects the knowledge gained by astrophysicists that we are all products of "stella" evolution -- all of the chemical elements other than hydrogen were originally "cooked up" through nuclear fusion in stars that later exploded, spreading those materials as dust and gas that later condensed into new stars and their surrounding planets, such as our sun and its surrounding solar system - including the Earth and everything and everyone on it. And it only took a few billion years! You Are Stardust turns this idea into a beautifully illustrated story about the connectedness of everything in nature, starting with:
You are stardust...
Every tiny atom in your body came from a star that exploded long before you were born.
You started life as a single cell. So did all the other creatures on planet Earth.
For background on the making of the book and the illustrations, including the science behind it, check here. The illustrations are photographs of 3D dioramas created by artist Soyeon Kim. They are really lovely. There is also an iPad app based on the book which looks cool, though I have not yet decided to spend $4.99 and 392 megabytes of storage on it.

1 comment:

Olichik said...

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