Faces of the Moon is my new children's book, released this July in time for the United Nations' International Year of Astronomy. Featuring amazing linoleum-cut illustrations by artist Leslie Evans, this book reintroduces the Moon to the young, and young at heart, and helps the reader/listener make sense of her ever-changing face.
I never envisioned myself becoming a writer of children's books, per se. Among other things, I am an amateur astronomer. I enjoy sharing the night sky because we all are curious about the mysteries beyond our world. Learning about the universe also gives kids a tangible appreciation for the fragile nature of our humble planet--orbiting a little star in a VERY big place. And after all, gazing into the great expanse of space can turn even a grownup into a wide-eyed child, when we feel the awe and wonder not only in our hearts, but throughout our entire bodies.
As my friends and family will attest, I have remained in touch with my "child self" throughout my 50 years (this makes me sometimes forget that I don't quite look like the rest of the kids when I drop into a skateboard half-pipe nowadays). Perhaps this benefits my writing for children, but most of all, several years of teaching elementary astronomy has helped me notice where other books can lose kids' attention and curiosity. Having been a longtime musician, I also understand our natural attraction to rhythm and rhyme, and that's why I write my books in rhyming verse.
There are more books available on the Moon, planets, and space than there are stars in the sky. When I approached writing my books, I needed a more grand purpose for my astronomical verse. For instance, there were no kid's books that explained why it's difficult for us to see all the stars in our night skies nowadays (because of the problem of man-made "light pollution"). For me, this was a perfect challenge: to tell this timely story with a message of hope, instead of just being a downer. There Once Was a Sky Full of Stars wound up exceeding my expectations.
For my latest book, instead of pursuing tantalizing astronomical subjects like black holes, or galaxies that devour one another, I instead chose to focus on an entry level to astronomy: the Moon, which I consider humankind's first "stepping stone" to the universe. I had my sights set on 2009, the International Year of Astronomy, and I thought, "What could better engage the public-at-large in astronomy than the Moon?" For all the knowledge humankind has accumulated to date, most grownups can't even tell you why the Moon goes through different phases--if they even notice it does! The basic story of Earth's satellite seems to have never been told or shown in a way that stuck with the reader. I took my next challenge: to write a book that would make Moon gazing exciting again and help make basic lunar information household knowledge. Fully loaded with the "goods"--lyrical rhyme, die cut pages, and Leslie's beautiful illustrations--Faces of the Moon offers one of the most inviting gateways to astronomy yet.
If you haven't already, I invite you to tatke a look at Faces of the Moon for yourself. In our rapid-paced, plugged-in modern world, which is only getting faster and less organic, it wouldn't hurt for us to raise a whole new generation that can still look beyond it all and connect to the silent grandeur of our universe--even by merely following the Moon in orbit.
Stop by sometime and visit my website.
Posted by Bob Crelin, author of Faces of the Moon.
Check out the Faces of the Moon - Moon Gazers' Wheel
Click here to watch a trailer of Faces of the Moon.
Download the Teachers' Guide.
Listen to podcasts and watch interviews with Bob Crelin at Charlesbridge.com