As the US/Soviet Space Race heats up in 1961, eleven-year-old Arno finds his dreams of becoming an astronomer exploding like an extragalactic supernova.
It is the summer of 1961, and eleven-year-old Arno Creelman wants nothing more than to be an astronomer. His claustrophobia rules out flying in a cramped space capsule, so instead, Arno dreams of exploring the galaxies with powerful telescopes back on Earth.
Arno’s first move: Enter a local radio contest and win a visit to the new observatory that is about to open near his town. The ribbon will be cut by Arno’s idol, Jean Slayter-Appleton, a renowned astronomer whose weekly columns Arno clips for his own notebooks. When he finally manages to phone in and correctly answer the skill-testing astronomy question, Arno is thrilled.
Then a new boy moves to the neighborhood, and he seems to challenge Arno in every way. Robert even believes in astrology, which Arno argues is not a science at all. Before long, Arno is feeling left behind, on the outs with his friends and even abandoned by his beloved dog, Comet. How did Arno’s dream become a cosmic nightmare?
Key Text Features
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
? Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events
? Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.
? Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)
Jessica Scott Kerrin is the author of The Things Owen Wrote, The Spotted Dog Last Seen (finalist for the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award and the John Spray Mystery Award) and The Missing Dog Is Spotted. She is also the author of the picture book, The Better Tree Fort (illustrated by Qin Leng), and is known for the Lobster Chronicles series and the bestselling Martin Bridge series. Her novels have been translated into French, Turkish, Russian and Slovenian.
Born and raised in Alberta, Jessica now lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Praise for Clear Skies:
“Clear Skies is a winning middle-grade novel which deals with both mental-health issues and the wonders of space exploration (along with a bit of 20th-century history) in an accessible, non-threatening manner.” — Quill & Quire
“A quiet reminder that the stars are not out of reach, with work and well-timed help.” — Kirkus Reviews
Reviews of Jessica’s other titles:
[star] “Kerrin understands this age group and creates a sympathetic protagonist who will draw in readers … portraying authentic preteen feelings of self-doubt, self-consciousness, and even guilt….a well-told story of growth and self-forgiveness.” — School Library Journal on The Spotted Dog Last Seen, starred review
“…a gentle novel of love, loss, and self-fulfilment….A tender and affecting coming-of-age story.” — Kirkus Reviews on The Things Owen Wrote
“Kerrin writes with unusual perception about the emotional lives of young people.” — Booklist on The Missing Dog Is Spotted
“Kerrin is a fine writer and there’s hardly a wasted word. The book delves into some very weighty issues, including guilt, death, loss and anxiety, with a quiet, understated sympathy.” Atlantic News Today on The Spotted Dog Last Seen