Starstruck: The Cosmic Journey of Neil Degrasse Tyson

by Kathleen Krull (Author) Frank Morrison (Illustrator)

Starstruck: The Cosmic Journey of Neil Degrasse Tyson
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

A picture-book biography about science superstar Neil deGrasse Tyson, the groundbreaking American astrophysicist whose work has inspired a generation of young scientists and astronomers to reach for the stars! Perfect for STEM curricula and readers of all ages.

Young Neil deGrasse Tyson was starstruck when he first visited the sky theater at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City. He couldn't believe the crowded, glittering night sky at the planetarium was real--until a visit to the country years later revealed the impossible.

That discovery was like rocket fuel for Neil's passion about space. His quest for knowledge took him from the roof of his apartment building to a science expedition in northwest Africa, to a summer astronomy camp beneath a desert sky, and finally back home to become the director of the Hayden Planetarium, where it all began. Before long, Neil became America's favorite guide to the cosmos.

This story of how one boy's quest for knowledge about space leads him to become a star astrophysicist is perfect for young readers who are fascinated by the universe, aspiring scientists, and the dreamer in all of us. It will ignite your own sense of wonder.

Publisher's Weekly

Growing up in the Bronx, Neil deGrasse Tyson rarely saw more than a sprinkling of stars—until he visited the Hayden Planetarium in Manhattan. In this affectionate biography, married coauthors Krull and Brewer describe Tyson’s growing fascination with the cosmos as he takes a trip out of the city, where the stars are marvelously visible. He walked dogs to raise money for a telescope that neighbors sometimes mistook for a rifle: “When police officers stopped by, he would offer them the view from his telescope.” Krull and Brewer note milestones in Tyson’s career: earning his advanced degree in astrophysics, taking a job at the Hayden Planetarium, and appearing for the first time on television. Morrison works in a playful art style that expressively conveys Tyson’s personality and physical likeness (he appears dressed in his signature starry vests). This uplifting biography captures its subject’s relatability, natural curiosity, and infectious enthusiasm for science. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)

School Library Journal

Starred Review
K-Gr 3—This picture book biography of Neil deGrasse Tyson perfectly conveys his fascination with space and determination to study it. Authors Krull and Brewer trace his journey full circle from his first trip to the Hayden Planetarium to his current role as the planetarium's director. Morrison's illustrations show Neil's "starstruck" wonder, as well as his energy and enthusiasm. Spreads that feature Neil and the night sky showcase him in the perfect setting. The text is upbeat but honest about the challenges he overcame to reach his goal. Key events, such as viewing a solar eclipse aboard a floating laboratory, meeting Carl Sagan, and the uproar of reclassifying Pluto are included. The author's note gives more details about Neil's background, education, and family; there is also a list of sources. This title would work well in a unit on space or contemporary biographies. 
VERDICT A stellar biography for young readers who have their eyes on the stars. Highly recommended.

Review quotes

"A stellar biography for young readers who have their eyes on the stars." —School Library Journal, starred review

"An informative and entertaining title for aspiring young scientists." —Kirkus Reviews

"Inspirational and informative, this will make a popular addition to biography and STEM collections." —Booklist

"This uplifting biography captures its subject's relatability, natural curiosity, and infectious enthusiasm for science." —Publishers Weekly

"Krull distills Tyson's infectiousness for a picture book audience" —The Bulletin
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Dragonfly Books
Publication date
September 20, 2020

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