For STEM Friday we have a new e-book, A Place In Space, by Astronomer Sarah Willis.

In a clever linkage of ideas, a young girl and her cat take an imaginary trip into space (via telescope) to explore the Cat’s Paw Nebula and the Cat’s Eye Nebula.

As explained in “The Science Behind the Story” section in the back, these two real space objects with similar names actually represent two opposing stages in the life cycle of stars. In the Cat’s Paw Nebula, young stars are being formed in the swirling clouds. In the Cat’s Eye Nebula, a large star has exploded at the end of its life cycle. The explosion pushed out rings of gas and dust, which will eventually be the stuff of new stars and thus completing the cycle.

The rhyming text is probably most appropriate for early elementary-aged children. The illustrations are imaginative, but frankly not the professional quality you see in most picture books these days. Will children mind? I’m not sure.

The good news is that you can decide for yourself, because Sarah Willis is making A Place in Space available for free to download on Amazon today, March 27, 2015. She is also scheduling another free weekend for Astronomy Day on April 25, 2015.

Be sure to let us know what you think.

Related Activities:

1. Explore images of space objects at NASA and Amazing Space

Cats-eye-nebula-NASA(Cat’s Eye Nebula image from NASA)

 2. Shaving Cream Nebulae (plural form)

Model a nebula (singular form) by spraying a generous amount of shaving cream on a shower wall or bathroom mirror. Allow the child to swirl the nebula and form clumps (protostars and stars). Then the stars can “explode” to form a nebula again.

Note: Playing with shaving cream is a good pre-writing activity as well as introducing science vocabulary.


Disclosures: A .pdf copy of the book was provided by the author for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click through the linked titles or ads and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Proceeds will be used to maintain this self-hosted blog.


Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.