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What do you do when you're a self-described "fierce fan" of famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson? Write a children's book about him, of course.
That's what husband-and-wife duo Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer did with "Starstruck: The Cosmic Journey of Neil deGrasse Tyson" (Crown Books for Young Readers, 2018), a new picture book that tells the real-life story of a young boy who gazed at the stars one night and never stopped looking up since then.
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A young Neil deGrasse Tyson is wowed by the Hayden Planetarium in a page from "Starstruck."
Boiling down a person's nuanced life into a series of pages — particularly when he's still alive and kicking — might be a daunting experience for some authors. Krull and Brewer had their own moments of self-doubt and trepidation. But the "idea" of deGrasse Tyson, one of their heroes, Krull insisted, was "powerful enough for us to try to do him justice."
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When it came to figuring out how to untangle one person's manifold experiences into a cogent narrative, the couple modeled themselves after a master of the form.
Neil deGrasse Tyson gets his first telescope in "Starstruck."
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"We love [deGrasse Tyson's] personality and sense of humor and also the way he can make complex science facts about space easier to understand for the TV viewer," Brewer said, referring to "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey," a program that deGrasse Tyson hosts. (The show's latest season, "Cosmos: Possible Worlds," is coming in 2019.) "He's a genius at distilling information difficult for most of us to grasp. We wanted to try to capture his charisma in a book for children, to inspire them with a hero they should know about."
Some of the things they uncovered about their subject surprised them. While deGrasse Tyson was a self-described "card-carrying nerd kid" who won...
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