Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos

It is 1986 and 12-year-old Nova is waiting for the launch of the Challenger Space Shuttle, and for her sister, Bridget, to return as she had promised. Seven years earlier, Nova and Bridget were put into the foster care system where Nova relied on Bridget to be her voice and advocate, but now her sister is nowhere to be found and Nova needs to find a way to communicate and defend herself. The book Planet Earth is Blue shows the struggles of having autism before communication devices like tablets and cellphones were available for support.

Now, in the present, Nova is living with a new foster family who is kind and advocates for Nova’s education, which allows her to learn new ways of communicating. Thanks to Bridget, Nova is able to read and her foster family doesn’t dismiss her as illiterate just because she cannot talk. Instead, they believe that she can understand speech and they don’t treat her as incapable because she has difficulty pronouncing words. David Bowie’s song Space Oddity helps Nova to block out unwanted noise and to calm her from the stress of living in a neurotypical world. The book keeps you hooked with the countdown, waiting to see what happens when Bridget returns to Nova.

This book is for you if you enjoy learning more about autism and/or love space themes. It also shows the importance of knowing how others feel despite their challenges.

Sherry Sabins, Library Assistant

Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos