Did you know that some people call the total solar eclipse Nature’s Greatest Coincidence? During this phenomena, the moon and the sun look the same size from the earth. But the moon is 400 time smaller. Coincidentally, (or not), the sun circles the earth 400 times as far away as the moon. That’s why they seem the same size to us. If the moon were even a few miles smaller in circumference, it wouldn’t hide the face of the sun.
Middle Grade Fiction
Age Range: 8-12 years
Grade Level: 3-7
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Hachette Book Group
Text copyright © 2008 Wendy Mass
Cover photo copyright © 2008 Pat La Croix/The Image Bank/Getty Images
California Young Reader Medal
First Annual Homeschool Book Award
WHY EVERY SOUL A STAR IS A KEM GEM
EVERY SOUL A STAR took me on a stellar journey where I learned about individuality, friendship and astronomy. Wendy Mass weaves together three points-of-views to show us how it feels to be an outsider. Ally, the alpha girl, Bree, the beauty and Jack, who wants to hide in a box, learn that their uniqueness is what makes them radiate from the shadows of ordinary life. Wendy has channeled the mesmerizing energy of a solar eclipse into a fairy-tale ball, only there’s no magic or evil, just truth and hope that connects us universally. This is one of those books that I didn’t want to end because I had met three very dear friends, and without them, there was a void.
“And as streams of light fan out behind the darkened sun like the wings of a butterfly, I realize that I never saw real beauty until now.”
The collision of celestial paths in a solar eclipse is a perfect backdrop for the meeting of three very different lives. In EVERY SOUL A STAR, Mass masterfully alternates between Ally, Bree, and Jack’s first-person perspectives and elicits a sympathetic response from her readers towards each. By the end of the story, I was invested in all three kids, their flaws, their insecurities, and their personal growth.
Mass’ description of the solar eclipse was also a highlight. My only opportunity to see a solar eclipse for myself was during second grade. We were forbidden to look outside (under threat of certain blindness!), so I was thrilled to “see” the big moment through this novel.
Tip: For extra glory, read Ally’s chapter 7 while listening to MPR showcase a very dramatic Buffalo Philharmonic.
In EVERY SOUL A STAR, Wendy Mass treads where few writers dare to go–into the galaxies of three fictional adolescent minds, in first person, and in present tense. What a brave soul. She shines as a psychological genius–a prerequisite for anyone who loves teenagers.
Mass camouflages astrophysics amidst entertaining character dialog and reflections. The subliminal lessons work so well, I’ve reserved August 21, 2017, the next mainland total eclipse, to camp in the middle of nowhere with a red flashlight and a telescope. If EVERY SOUL A STAR can ignite a late-in-life star-gazing passion in me, imagine the astronomically bright potential for a 13-year-old reader.
“I sure as heck won’t tell them that it used to belong to my dad when he was a baby and that he left it in my crib when he took off. And I definitely won’t tell them that I say good night to it every night before I go to sleep.
It’s just too pathetic.”
Every Soul a Star Book trailers by Maria M.
Every Soul a Star Book trailer by Sarah Simmons
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