StarTalk Young Readers Edition by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Charles Liu is a unique publication, combining facts and entertainment in a way that engages and challenges readers. Actually, the subtitle says it all: Everything You Ever Need to Know About Space Travel, Sci-Fi, the Human Race, the Universe, and Beyond. You know, just a little light reading.
But, that’s the thing– those huge topics are presented in bite-sized chunks of information so as to be more easily digested, metaphorical food for thought. Some may immediately recognize the book title as the title of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s radio show, podcast, and National Geographic television show in which he discusses science topics alongside pop culture with stars of all kinds, including TV and movie stars, comedians, artists, policymakers, authors, you name it. The best of these discussions have been transferred to the page in this book, complemented by the types of quality images and graphics that you would expect from a National Geographic publication.
The book is divided into four sections: Space, Planet Earth, Being Human, and Futures Imagined. These four topics cover a whole lot of ground, but they also appeal to a wide variety of interests. In my particular household, I can imagine my three children initially gravitating toward different sections of the book, though I ultimately think they’d be engaged by the entire book in the end. On a personal note, though I am not a “young reader,” I found myself thoroughly entertained and interested in the Being Human section of the book, particularly the pages that discussed the science of comedy. With quotes from comedians and comedic actors of various ages and backgrounds, this topic is explored through an interesting set of lenses.
I would imagine that this book would be perfect for children who are already fans of deGrasse Tyson’s shows of the same name, but this would also make a lovely gift for any young reader who has an interest in reading for fun and is open to learning a thing or two in the experience. As it can be picked up at any time and thumbed through to find a section or spread that catches your eye, I’m planning on keeping my copy out in the open where my children will see it again and again and be encouraged to grab it for a little reading time here and there– summer learning when school is out at its best!