The Universe and You

During the night, as we sleep, a beautiful celestial dance is taking place. While Earth seems solid and still, it's actually spinning on its axis and circling the sun. Joining Earth in this orbit around the sun are the other seven planets in our solar system, along with dozens of moons and millions of comets and asteroids. Containing our solar system is the wondrous Milky Way galaxy, with its billions of stars, just like our own sun, swirling and whirling around. And on from there are the billions of galaxies with their own stars swirling and whirling into the ever-expanding space called our universe. When the sun rises on a brand new day, the dance continues. Through lyrical text, award-winning science writer Suzanne Slade (June Almeida, Virus Detective! The Woman Who Discovered the First Human Coronavirus) takes young readers on an exploration of our solar system, galaxies beyond, and finally the universe as a whole. Back matter includes science facts.

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Interest Level Kindergarten - Grade 3
Reading Level Grade 1
Dewey 523
Lexile AD590L
ATOS Reading Level
Guided Reading Level R
Language English
Publisher Sleeping Bear Press
Available Formats Hardcover (9781534111080), PDF (9781534192355), Hosted ebook (9781534192478)
Copyright 2021
Number of Pages 32
Dimensions 10 x 10
Graphics Full-color illustrations

School Library Journal - The Universe and You

“A gentle, lyrical introduction to big science ideas just right for most collections.”

Publishers Weekly - The Universe and You

Relayed in the second-person perspective, this narrative nonfiction picture book by Slade directly addresses young readers, succinctly describing some of the universe’s workings. Light on supplemental facts, Slade focuses more on crafting a nature- and space-themed bedtime story, with bolded, emphatic typography throughout: “And when you wake,/ all the galaxies in the universe,/ all the stars in the Milky Way,/ and all the planets in the solar system// are still moving,/ circling,/ and swirling,” one spread reads, featuring a stippled approximation of space. Coleman further fashions child-friendly illustrations, centering a brown-skinned, curly brown–haired child in their bed. A slim tale of the cosmos offers a brief, poetic nighttime journey. Back matter includes a spread with additional facts about the solar system.

Starred Kirkus Review - The Universe and You

While “you” sleep, the Earth spins and travels through space. After a wordless spread showing the Earth in deep space, the story cuts to a brown-skinned child with puffy hair in bed hugging a stuffed astronaut toy. The bedroom is decorated in a planetary theme, and a caregiver smiles over the child as “Daylight dims. / Darkness tiptoes in. / You’re tucked in tight / for a warm, cozy night.” The next spread shows the house from the outside, with the starry night behind it, and the text zooms out as well, to the spinning of the Earth. As the pages turn, the Earth circles our sun, our sun swirls around the Milky Way, and the universe expands. Throughout these spreads, the universe is related to the child with reminders that all of this activity happens “while you still sleep, / dreaming even bigger dreams.” Finally, the sun peeks above the horizon, warming the Earth’s creatures, and “you” stir and rise, ready to play. Nicely textured, layered illustrations give an almost 3-D feel to the Earth floating in deep space. The text is composed of succinct verse that, from the beginning, effortlessly conveys the magical bedtime tone, though it ends on a relatively active note. Cozy, thought-provoking, and hypnotizing, this poetic pleaser will pair well with other soothing bedtime books but can also be read and discussed during an active time of day. Lovely and versatile.

The Universe and You - Activity Pages

Activity Pages to accompany the book The Universe and You. View →

Author: Suzanne Slade

As a girl, Suzanne Slade spent her summers at Tippecanoe Lake in Indiana where she enjoyed watching many tadpoles, turtles, and beautiful butterflies. A geek at heart, Suzanne is the award-winning author of dozens of nature and science books. Her latest picture book, The Inventor’s Secret, is a 2016 NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book. Suzanne lives in Libertyville, Illinois.

Illustrator: Stephanie Fizer Coleman

Stephanie Fizer Coleman is an illustrator with a penchant for playful color and rich texture. Having grown up in a rural area surrounded by nature, it’s no surprise that furry and feathered creatures are her favorite subjects to draw. When she’s not drawing, Steph can be found sipping tea and reading books. She lives in West Virginia with her husband and two dogs. Learn more about her at

Author/Illustrator biography
Educational front/back matter
Original artwork
Full-color illustrations