Published by Wendy Lamb Books on May 14, 2019
Genres: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction
Source: Blog Tour
My content rating: MG (Deals with themes of death)
A heartrending and hopeful debut novel about a nonverbal girl and her passion for space exploration, for fans of See You in the Cosmos, Mockingbird, and The Thing About Jellyfish.
Twelve-year-old Nova is eagerly awaiting the launch of the space shuttle Challenger--it's the first time a teacher is going into space, and kids across America will watch the event on live TV in their classrooms. Nova and her big sister, Bridget, share a love of astronomy and the space program. They planned to watch the launch together. But Bridget has disappeared, and Nova is in a new foster home.
While foster families and teachers dismiss Nova as severely autistic and nonverbal, Bridget understands how intelligent and special Nova is, and all that she can't express. As the liftoff draws closer, Nova's new foster family and teachers begin to see her potential, and for the first time, she is making friends without Bridget. But every day, she's counting down to the launch, and to the moment when she'll see Bridget again. Because Bridget said, "No matter what, I'll be there. I promise."
Planet Earth Is Blue is a heartwrenching portrayal of a little girl who can’t tell the world who she truly is. The book is set in the 80s and starts ten days before the fateful launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger. The story centers around Nova, a non-verbal autistic girl. She struggles to show the world that she is more than they think she is—that though she can’t speak well, she is intelligent and curious. It’s a portrayal of profound autism that we don’t typically see, and one that would help any reader to understand someone who is different. Nova doesn’t think like the average 12-year-old; she can’t always respond the way a typical 12-year-old would respond; she can’t do everything her peers can do, but she is still a vibrant and worthy human being. I think anyone could benefit from seeing the world through her eyes. The author is on the spectrum herself, and she worked with autistic children, and you can tell that she brings her own love, strength and compassion to Nova.
Nova’s foster family loves her and believes in her in a way that the “system” has never been able to do, but Nova still yearns for her older sister, who has told her that she will return for her for the launch of the Challenger, no matter what (Nova’s sister shared her love of space exploration with Nova and fostered that love in Nova herself). The book is a countdown to the launch in many ways—and a countdown to Nova’s emotional breakthrough (prepare to be heartbroken for her!).
I highly recommend this book to anyone—adults and children alike will learn from Nova and her story of strength and resilience in a world that doesn’t understand her.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Rockstar Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About The Author
Nicole Panteleakos is an author, playwright, thespian, and Ravenclaw. Her debut novel PLANET EARTH IS BLUE (Wendy Lamb Books, Penguin Random House) will be out in bookstores nationwide on May 14, 2019, with a second middle grade novel to follow in 2020. She is represented by agent Katie Grimm at Don Congdon Associates and belongs to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: Metro NY. She is also a Lifetime Member of the VFW Auxiliary and National Home for Children, a godmother of three, and a regular contributor to Nanny Magazine. When not writing, she can usually be found reading fanfiction, playing board games, doing community theatre, or adding to her Alice in Wonderland coffee cup collection.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of PLANET EARTH IS BLUE, US Only.
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