This is the touching story about Nova, an autistic and non-verbal 12-year old girl in 1987. Nova has just been placed into a new foster family, a helpful one for a change, but for the first time she is without her older sister Bridget. Bridget always stood up for Nova and had always promised that they would watch the launch of the Challenger Space Shuttle together. As Nova counts down the days until the launch, she is hopeful that she will see her sister soon, even as she starts to create her own life in this new home without Bridget. Through her own letters, we are given a glimpse into Nova’s mind full of space facts, sadness over how people treat her, and questions about the future.
The launch of the Challenger not only provides a time frame to the story, but also helps build suspense. Will Bridget keep her promise? How will Nova react to the Challenger’s ultimate fate? These questions and so much more are answered in this hopeful story that pulls at your heartstrings. Nova is a wonderful character that you want to protect. Thanks to Libro.fm, I can highly recommend the audio version of this book which does a great job bringing Nova’s internal thoughts and story to life.
Summer 2019 Kids Indie Next List
“It’s 1986, and Nova is eagerly awaiting the launch of the space shuttle Challenger. She loves astronomy, plus her sister, Bridget, promised she’d be back for the launch, no matter what. Nova is autistic and nonverbal, and navigating a new foster family and a new school alone is extra tough; no one but Bridget has ever fully understood that she’s a whole, intelligent person. As Nova counts down to the launch, we share in her excitement, her worries, her grief, and her joys. Panteleakos, who is on the spectrum herself, has crafted a compelling, compassionate debut.”
— Madeline Shier, Powell's Books, Portland, OR
"Tender and illuminating. A beautiful debut." --Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach Me
A heartrending and hopeful story 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 as Bridget said, "No matter what, I'll be there. I promise."
About the Author
Nicole Panteleakos is a middle-grade author, playwright, and Ravenclaw whose plays have been performed at numerous theaters and schools in Connecticut and New York City. She earned her BA in Theatre Scriptwriting from Eastern Connecticut State University and is currently working toward her MFA in Children's Literature at Hollins University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and has three awesome godchildren, two quirky cats, and at least one Broadway song stuck in her head at all times. Planet Earth Is Blue is her debut novel. Visit Nicole on Twitter at @NicWritesBooks, on Facebook (facebook.com/nicolepanteleakos), or at nicolepanteleakos.com.
A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year
“Pantleakos masterfully blends character and plot in this gorgeous, hopeful story.” —Booklist, Starred Review
“Bursting with worry, joy, empathy, humor, and even mischief, Nova is endearingly nuanced... Stellar.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“An exceptional debut featuring a character everyone can root for.” —School Library Journal, Starred Review
“Tender and illuminating, Planet Earth is Blue is a beautiful debut novel about the strength of a girl who knows exactly who she is, even when others can’t see her.” —Rebecca Stead, Newbery-winning author of When You Reach Me
“A powerful story about the extraordinary mind of a young girl with autism and the bond between sisters.” —Ann M. Martin, Newbery Honor–winning author of A Corner of the Universe and the Baby-sitters Club books
“Nova is a character you will never forget, who will break your heart and put it back together again in a new way. She felt so real.” —Gennifer Choldenko, author of the Newbery Honor Book Al Capone Does My Shirts and One-Third Nerd
“A remarkable, sensitively told debut with a joyfully positive portrayal of neurodifference. Nova and her indomitable spirit will remain with you long after you close the book.” —Cindy Baldwin, author of Where the Watermelons Grow
“As close to perfect as a story can get. It speaks to heartbreak and joy, pain and resilience, tragedy and humanity (both big and small) in a unique and utterly engaging ‘speechless’ voice that transcends all boundaries.” —Nora Raleigh Baskin, author of Anything but Typical and Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story
“Nova’s story will wrap itself around your heart page after page after page. It’s like reading a hug. A beautiful debut!” —Ellie Terry, author of Forget Me Not