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Going Around the Sun: Some Planetary Fun

Many years ago my Dad took me to the Hayden Planetarium in NYC. It was awe-inspiring aswe looked at the stars in the night sky in total darkness .
Little did I know back then, at age 8, I would write a book about planets that Neil de-Grasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium, would endorse.

"If the Sun were a poet, then "Going Around the Sun" captures just what it would say to its beloved family of planets."

Fast forward to 2006 when the International Astronmomical Union (IAU) downgraded the status of Pluto to "dwarf planet" and only the rocky world of the inner Solar System and the gas giants of the outer system were designated as planets. Shortly after this news, Glenn Hovemann, my editor at Dawn Publications, asked me to write a children's picture book about this change.

Being no scientist, how would I go about this? After a lot of research I decided on a rhymed tour of the solar system framed as a dialogue between Mother Sun and her satellites. Each verse introduced basic concepts about each planet. Illustrator Janeen Masson created big spattered swirling starscapes with melted crayons that added loads of visual appeal as we combined fact with fiction..

Almost 10 years later the book is still going strong and is being used in schools across the country. I love all the learning extensions educators, going beyond the book, have come up with.

Most recently I received an e-mail from one of my favorite media specialists who had asked her students to create something from pumpkins, using their favorite book. Can you imagine a pumpkin sprayed blue to look like our blue planet Earth? Well, take a look at the photo in the side bar. Isn't it "out of this world?"

Really made my day, as kids keep reaching for the stars!
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