Award-Winning Books Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes Universal Republic of Childhood

[Nonfiction Wednesday] The Ocean Within Us in Elin Kelsey’s “You are Stardust”

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Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2016 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.


I chanced upon this picturebook in our library – and I felt that it spoke deeply about how all human beings are inherently interconnected – told with such magnificent beauty and lyrical language.


You Are Stardust

Text by: Elin Kelsey Illustrations by: Soyeon Kim
Published by: Owlkids Books, 2012 Book Awards: OLA Forest of Reading Blue Spruce Award Nominee (2013). ISBN: 1926973356 (ISBN13: 9781926973357)
Borrowed a copy from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me. 

How can one resist such a title? Reminiscent of Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos, this picturebook stands on its own with its exquisite detailing of how every human being consists of tiny atoms that “came from a star that exploded long before you were born.”


It is a lyrical reminder of how we are all intrinsically linked to nature – from the sea of our mother’s womb to the ocean within our veins, as we taste the salt in our sweat and tears.


What makes this book particularly effective for me is the astounding poetry in science, reminding me of just how awe-inspiring the world around us is, and how the universe resides within our breathing being. The end note from the author is also quite beautiful:

I wrote this book as a celebration – one to honor the extraordinary ways in which all of us simply are nature. Every example in this book is backed by current science. 


Here is a link to the website where teachers and parents can check out the ‘science behind the book.’ A common core guide to the book can also be found in this downloadable PDF link meant for Primary 3-5 children.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Singapore. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she serves as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads or meeting up with her book club friends, she is smashing that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life.

3 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] The Ocean Within Us in Elin Kelsey’s “You are Stardust”

  1. I have this beautiful book, Myra. So glad you found it. It is truly how we are all connected. And the illustrations are spectacular too.


  2. What a fascinating book! Looks great!


  3. Looks like a really cool way to learn about science and our place in the world.


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