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Children's Fiction Exploration & Discovery

A Star Explodes

The Story of Supernova 1054

by (author) James Gladstone

illustrated by Yaara Eshet

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Mar 2023
Exploration & Discovery, Astronauts & Space, General, General
Recommended Age
4 to 8
Recommended Grade
4 to 12
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Download Teacher’s Guide

Where to buy it


An exploding star in the year 1054 creates fascinating remnants still seen today

The supernova of 1054 was one of the brightest supernova events recorded in history. And its remnant, the Crab Nebula, is still studied today.

Beginning at the moment of a supernova explosion thousands of years ago, this story travels forward in time to 1054, the year people around the world saw the unparalleled light of an exploding star appear in Earth’s sky. The story then travels deep into space to see the remnant of this supernova—the Crab Nebula—followed by a continuing trip forward in time.

Taking a unique approach integrating astronomy, cultural history, and advances in technology, the book encourages readers to think about the world around them and their place in the universe. Told in minimal, poetic text with stunning watercolor and ink illustrations, the book closes with an invitation for readers to imagine a time when they, too, might see the rare event of a supernova shining in the sky.

About the authors

JAMES GLADSTONE is an author of picture books for children, including When Planet Earth Was New, Earthrise, and Turtle Pond, which won the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction. James’ latest book, Journey Around the Sun, follows Halley’s Comet on its travels through the ages. James lives in Toronto, Ontario.


James Gladstone's profile page

YAARA ESHET was born in Israel and studied at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. She has illustrated more than thirty books for readers of all ages, including Journey Around the Sun: The Story of Halley’s Comet by James Gladstone, which received starred reviews from Kirkus and Quill and Quire. She has exhibited her art in galleries and museums, in solo and group exhibitions, in Israel and Canada. Yaara lives with her family and cats in Toronto, Ontario.

Yaara Eshet's profile page


  • Nominated, Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award
  • Commended, Outstanding Science Trade Book List
  • Short-listed, OLA Best Bets Top 10
  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens

Editorial Reviews

"Along with engagingly presented science details and an attractive timeline, a highlight of this work is the feeling of camaraderie it promises to generate in readers, who will meet a relatable, awestruck child gazing at the sky just like they do ... A worthy, artful science purchase."


"Gladstone ensures the backbones of his stories are based in research and fact ... It’s made all the more captivating with the watercolour and ink artwork by Yaara Eshet."

Quill & Quire

"[Gladstone] always blends the elegance of the scientific world with the factual ... [Eshet] takes us into the heavens, into history, and into glorious landscapes across our world."

CanLit for Little Canadians

"Beautifully composed, impressively 'kid friendly' in commentary and presentation, A Star Explodes is an entertainingly informative and unreservedly recommended addition."

Children's Bookwatch

"A simple introduction to a fascinating topic."

Kirkus Reviews

"The finely detailed pastel illustrations are lovely ... Stargazing buffs may enjoy this book about a unique astronomical event."

School Library Journal

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