2006 Winner: Children's Science Picture Book

Stars Beneath Your Bed: The Surprising Story of Dust, by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Ann Jonas. HarperCollins, 2005.

Stars Beneath Your Bed explains dust—where it comes from, its longevity, how it affects sunset and sunrise, and the role it plays in the formation of raindrops. The main text is written and illustrated in the format of a read-aloud or a shared reading. A teacher or an older student might read the book aloud to a small group of younger children. The last two pages of text give a much more in-depth explanation of the role of dust in the colors of sunsets and sunrises. The text also explains where dust comes from, how dust from one part of the world travels to another, and the impact dust has on the environment.

The illustrations were prepared from water colors and give the book a fictional appearance, although it is obviously not a work of fiction. My students were fascinated with the topic, for this is an "Aha" or "I didn't know that" kind of book. For older elementary school students, it could be used as a good place to begin an investigation into dust, because it raises many more questions than it answers.

About the Authors

April Pulley Sayre, Author

April Pulley Sayre is the author of more then fifty books for children including Crocodile Listens and Dig, Wait, Listen: A Desert Toad's Tale, which was an Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children and was selected by ALA Booklist as one of the best books of 2001. Ms. Pulley received her BS from Duke University, where she studied biology. She later earned her MFA in creative writing from Vermont College. She worked at both the National Wildlife Federation and National Geographic Society before becoming a full-time author. She lives with her husband in South Bend, Indiana.

Ann Jonas, Illustrator

Ann Jonas has written and illustrated many popular books for children including Color Dance, Reflections, and Round Trip, which was an ALA Notable Book and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book. She is a graduate of Cooper Union and has worked as a graphic designer for many years with her husband, Donald Crews. They live in upstate New York.