Stella Keeps the Sun Up

by Clothilde Ewing (Author) Lynn Gaines (Illustrator)

Stella Keeps the Sun Up
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

In this incandescently fun, hijinks-filled picture book, a young girl schemes to keep the sun up in the sky so she never has to go to bed. If Stella had her way, she would stop sleeping on her sixth birthday. Because sleep is boring. And there are so many better things you could be doing. And Stella is tired of being tired. So she comes up with a plan. People only have to go to bed when it gets dark, and it only gets dark because the sun goes down. If she can keep the sun in the sky, she and her best friend, Roger, can stay up for a hundred years!

They enact their magnificent, wonderful, genius plan, offering the sun a cup of coffee, shining a light at it so it will shine back, and jumping on a trampoline to reach the sun and push it higher. But before long, Stella begins to wonder...are there downsides to keeping the sun up forever?

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2--Stella, a small Black girl who is joyful and industrious every day, blames buzzkill bedtime on the sun. To keep the sun awake so she can continue to play, she shines a flashlight up into the sky and makes a lot of noise. She does her morning yoga routine at night to confuse the sun about the time; to keep the sun busy, she invites it to an evening party. To fool the sun into thinking it's still morning, breakfast cereal is eaten for supper and coffee is delivered up to the sky using a trampoline and a very long straw. Rocky, Stella's stuffed hippo, acts as a stand-in for her best friend Kamrynn who recently moved to the opposite side of the world. With the knowledge that Kamrynn needs the daily cycle of sunshine or she'll be "stuck in bed for a hundred years," Stella allows herself to be tucked in. VERDICT This bedtime story would be useful for reluctant sleepers or to introduce children to the concept of time zones.--Tanya Boudreau, Cold Lake P. L., Alta.

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

In an inventive ploy to avoid another "boring" night sleeping, a child named Stella and her blue stuffed hippo, Roger, endeavor to keep the sun up. Donning "supersize sunglasses" and "plenty of sunscreen," the Black protagonist tries multiple tactics on the day star, including confusion (doing extra-long morning yoga so the sun doesn't know the time, eating cereal midday) and stimulation (banging on a drum, shining flashlights, attempting to deliver coffee), all while the sun looks on in Gaines's airbrush-style digital scenes. As the day closes, the young narrator despairs until realizing that if the sun doesn't set, then Stella's long-distance best friend, portrayed with pale skin and black hair, won't be able to rise on the other side of the world--an epiphany that provides a well-timed reason to embrace nighttime rituals, and adult readers with a fresh reason for arguing in favor of a good night's rest. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Clothilde Ewing
Clothilde Ewing started her work life as a lifeguard, but she has spent most of her career telling people's stories as a journalist (CBS News), television producer (The Oprah Winfrey Show), and communications professional. She loves using the written word to honor a child's imagination and is on a mission to help adults tap into the wonder they felt as children. She believes that one of the greatest lessons we can pass on to our kids is that differences are for celebrating, and that we have more in common than we ever imagined. A native of Cleveland, she lives in Chicago with her husband and two highly energetic children.

Lynn Gaines has been making art for years and is still in love with making it! Born and raised in Ohio, she currently works for American Greetings, but also loves making art for children's books and kids-related products. She works both digitally and traditionally, often combining the two. She hasn't met a craft she doesn't love--sewing is one of her favorite hobbies. She looks for inspiration everywhere and often finds it in bookstores and thrift stores, looking in vintage children's books and animation, and even in a garden or two. In her spare time, she is a bit of an illustration nerd, loves to roller skate, read, and toy with writing. Lynn lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband Mel, her mom, and two fur-kids and studio mates, Charlie and Harry.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
March 20, 2022

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