“Planet Earth is Blue” by Nicole Panteleakos is a beautifully written story, one that has you weeping with sadness one minute, but the next you’re laughing hysterically. Nova, the main character, has autism and that makes it hard for her to speak. But, luckily her big sister, Bridget, has always been by her side. Suddenly, Bridget disappears and Nova is transferred to another foster family. She doesn’t know where Bridget is and hopes to find her before the Challenger mission takes off into space.
The Challenger, for those who don’t know, was a space shuttle and was part of the Teacher in Space program. Christa McAuliffe was the teacher chosen, but sadly passed away when the Challenger exploded 73 seconds after lift off.
Nova is excited to watch it being televised, but Bridget promised to be there, and nothing is the same without Bridget. She’s scared Bridget won’t return, and Nova doesn’t know or understand why she would have left so suddenly. The book is filled with different elements to keep kids engaged in the fable. A few are letters that Nova writes to Bridget, and memories that occur in Nova’s mind. All of these things enhance the novel and really stand out.
I really liked this book, but be warned, it has moments that make you want to bury your face into a pillow and just cry. That’s how I felt, at least. Despite the sad parts of the story, some of the things that happen are really funny, so the story balances itself out. This book definitely is a more mature read and is meant for kids who are older, around sixth grade and up. Will Nova ever see Bridget again? Will Nova learn happened to her? Read this magnificent book to find out.