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I'm Kellie, an avid reader and school librarian who loves sharing and talking about books.As a middle school librarian I get to spend my days doing just that, while also enjoy discovering the perfect books to share with my friends. Ms. Burke's Books is a continuation of that, a place where I can offer my honest opinions on the books I read and hopefully help match you to your new favorite book!

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Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos

Planet Earth is Blue


Nova has been anxiously awaiting the launch day of the Challenger- she's a space enthusiast and her older sister Bridget had promised they would watch it together. But Bridget hasn't been around and Nova is being moved to yet another foster home and new school. At 12 years old Nova has been shuttled around, treated like she doesn't understand anything because she has autism and is nonverbal. Only Bridget has ever recognized that Nova is intelligent and has ways of communicating. But as the date nears will Bridget show up?

My Thoughts

Planet Earth is Blue is beautifully written and certainly made me teary eyed at points. Panteleakos focuses on Nova's experiences with autism but as a barrier to her communicating with others around her; it is not the defining feature of who Nova is. The same with being in foster care- these are all significant events and situations for Nova but not who she is. 

The inclusion of the Challenger could have been gimmicky but Panteleakos incorporates the space shuttle launch within Nova's story beautifully and subtlety. Two author's notes are included at the end of the book, one on the history of the Challenger explosion and the other on autism.

Planet Earth is Blue is a must read for middle grade students (and above), building empathy and understanding with a strong protagonist with autism.

Book Information

Author: Nicole Panteleakos
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Publish Date: May 14, 2019

Genre(s): historical fiction, realistic fiction
Recommended for: upper elementary to middle school
Protagonist Description: 12 year old girl, who is autistic; white
Trigger Warnings: Adoption and foster care, death.

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