“Your body was made from the STUFF of the STARS, you’re a CHILD of GALAXIES dreaming….”
This beautifully presented picturebook celebrates the wonder and mystery of existence by encouraging us to slow down, attend to what is around us and consider deeper meanings. Nuto’s lyrical verse text introduces some of life’s biggest questions in an appealing and accessible way, and Ager’s bright, bold illustrations encourage joyful immersion as they dance from page to page.
Throughout the book, words and pictures work together to enable readers to explore complex ideas at their own level and pace, prompting reflection, discussion and growth. Death (referred to as ‘the mysterious morning’) is given two full spreads in what has to be one of the most upbeat approaches to the subject in a picturebook, and children’s doubts and anxieties are acknowledged as a natural part of life and placed in a wider context that brims with hope and optimism.
Nuto takes a philosophical rather than a religious approach, but plenty of space is left for wondering about the why and the what next. As the text observes, when you’re “heading nowhere at all on a life-giving ball, you can only suppose there’s a purpose,” and while some religiously-observant families may be uncomfortable with the content, others will welcome the chance to talk about their faith in this context.
This is Ager’s debut picturebook and her illustrations are a delight. Spreads are varied in mood and palette, but a sense of playful sincerity is apparent throughout, and there is a confident approach to colour and composition.
The visually-appealing hand-lettered font includes regular capitalization which can feel a little intrusive (although it may help younger readers to feel the beat) and there are moments when Nuto’s verse doesn’t flow as naturally as it might. Overall it’s a winner, though – the poetic approach helps readers to think differently and encourages visual and emotional responses.
Child of Galaxies was first published following a successful Kickstarter Campaign which raised £15,000 and sold 500 books. Families from diverse backgrounds are depicted throughout, and a wheelchair-user is shown enjoying a visit to a gallery with her family.