The Fire of Stars: The Life and Brilliance of the Woman Who Discovered What Stars Are Made Of

Chronicle. Feb. 2023. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781452172873.
Gr 2-6–A stellar subject, breathtaking artwork, and unique layout set this biography for young readers apart from the rest. It begins with two births: one of a young Cecilia Payne, toddling in the English countryside; and the other of a star, sleeping quietly in space. As the parallel stories progress, Payne grows into a Harvard-trained astrophysicist who isn’t daunted by a scientific community that’s largely male and reluctant to include her. Meanwhile, the star slowly develops and bursts into bright, blinding life. Back matter includes a time line of Payne’s life and how her work changed modern astronomy, along with a fascinating and detailed look at how stars are born, grow old, and die. Payne’s hard work, passion, curiosity, and self-belief shine through in this story and will inspire readers to persist in their own pursuits, whatever they may be.
VERDICT Recommended for all collections.

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