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New children's book gets kids to grasp the vastness of the universe

SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

Whether it's looking up at an eclipse - with the proper eyewear, of course - or just peering into space under the stars at night, contemplating the movements of celestial bodies and the vastness of the universe can leave you feeling overwhelmed sometimes. That's how I can feel, at least. A new book tries to help kids and families with that. It's called "Glow: A Family Guide To The Night Sky," and it's filled with elaborate illustrations and a lot of information about the planets and stars and galaxies.

NOELIA GONZALEZ: It's all about inspiring children, their families to be inspired to look up more often, to appreciate that we literally have a window to the cosmos, and you only need to look up and enjoy the show.

DETROW: That's the author, Noelia Gonzalez, a science writer at NASA and host of the space agency's Spanish-language podcast "Universo curioso de la NASA." Gonzalez says "Glow" is like a guidebook. You don't have to read each chapter in order. That way, readers can jump into exploring their favorite objects in space, on the page and then among the stars.

GONZALEZ: After reading the book, the best way to observe the night sky is to literally just go outside and look up. And the premise of the book was to feature celestial objects that you can see without the aid of a telescope or binoculars or anything, really.

DETROW: And if you're unable to see the night sky, the cover and pages of "Glow" shine bright with their own stars. The elaborate illustrations, created by artist Sara Boccaccini Meadows, pop, bringing to life passages like the one Noelia Gonzalez reads for us.

GONZALEZ: (Reading) Why do we wish upon a shooting star? The ancient astronomer Ptolemy believed that meteors were a sign of the gods gazing at humans and listening to their wishes.

DETROW: Gonzalez doesn't just write about the planets and stars. She also includes passages about how different human cultures have interpreted them throughout history.

GONZALEZ: There are many different versions of a myth or a legend around certain topic, and it was - you know, I always had to clarify, OK, this is just one story of all the many that we know of. Obviously, there are more that we probably don't know of because they weren't, you know, written down or something.

DETROW: Gonzalez wrote the book with her daughter in mind.

GONZALEZ: So my daughter Olivia (ph), she is 4 1/2. She is completely convinced that this book is for her, that I literally wrote it for her only. I obviously wrote it for her. I dedicated it for her. It's to Olivia, my brightest star. It's in the book - obviously, for every kid out there and even for my inner child. But I remember how proud I felt as a mother when I got the first copies in my doorstep, and I opened the box with her next to me and just being able to share that with her - and then at night, literally reading my own book to her as a bedtime story.

DETROW: And I will say, "Glow" has now made the rounds at bedtime at my house, too.

GONZALEZ: So this is for Scott and his son. I've heard that this is his favorite part.

(Reading) A never-ending hunt. Since ancient times, several stories have explained how Orion came to be. In Greek mythology, the constellation is...

DETROW: Noelia Gonzalez is the author of "Glow: A Family Guide To The Night Sky." Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.