Planet Earth Is Blue

Wendy Lamb Bks/Random/. May 2019. 240p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780525646587.
Gr 3-7–Twelve-year-old Nova knows what her testing results will be, how she’ll be labeled. But inside she knows she’s smart, that she can read and write, and that she knows everything there is to know about space. She’s learned a lot from her big sister Bridget, and when Bridget gets back, they’ll read The Little Prince together and, most important, watch the Challenger space shuttle take off with the first teacher in space. But the launch is just a few days away, and Bridget hasn’t come back yet. Nova sort of likes her new school; after all, it does have a planetarium. Her new foster family is nice, too, but, as Bridget warned her, she shouldn’t assume she’ll have a forever family. How can Nova communicate what she feels inside, her passion for space, and her ability to feel emotions like any other kid? And why isn’t Bridget here yet? Debut novelist Panteleakos creates a character who shares many of her own experiences as a child with neurochallenges. Through Nova she depicts the perspective, intelligence, and rich imagination of someone with an autism spectrum disorder. Readers will cheer for Nova as she seeks to find her own voice and sense of belonging in a world that is changing at the speed of the universe.
VERDICT An exceptional debut featuring a character everyone can root for

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