#SurvivalStories2021 Books Early Readers Features Genre Joy and Peace in Literature Lifespan of a Reader Middle Grade Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] The Scale Of Infinity and the “Observable Universe”

... in Jason Chin's "Your Place In The Universe."

Myra here.

We are delighted to dedicate our Wednesdays to featuring nonfiction titles, as per usual. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.


Your Place In The Universe (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written and Illustrated by Jason Chin
Published by Neal Porter Books (2020)
ISBN: 0823446239 (ISBN13: 9780823446230) Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

One of the greatest things I love about Jason Chin is his ability to demonstrate scale and size in such an accessible way for younger readers. He also begins very gradually, opening up the narrative playfully, demonstrating his skill as a storyteller, before tearing open the ceilings of one’s mind in awe at everything that is beyond our reach. I am more than certain that he would be a brilliant teacher – his capacity to elicit wonder is unparalleled.

His latest nonfiction picturebook does exactly that, with such an innocuous beginning that is also cleverly meta. Look at you reading about a book that is also within this book – the endless loop a delight.

As I was reading all the facts and figures here – I was naturally pleased to see Burj Khalifa in Dubai – which is just 90 minutes away (by car) from where I live, and fascinated at Jeddah Tower (ostensibly in Saudi Arabia) that is currently under construction. How glorious these tall structures that human ingenuity has created.

Each page moves the reader ever so gradually to an expanding view of galaxy clusters, until one sees nothing but stars in the cosmic web reaching our collective consciousness several millions of years too late (echoes of Andromeda’s light). I have never been much of a science geek while I was growing up. But I think that is because Jason Chin was not born during that period yet. Every book of his that I read awakens in me this appreciation of infinity, and a deep sense of gratitude that books like these exist.


#SurvivalStories2021 Update: 24 out of target 100

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. 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 served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. 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, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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