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The Picture Book Buzz

The Starkeeper - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Our towns, country, and world are reeling from Covid and senseless violence. It all feels dark, oppressive, and gloomy.

But just like in this week's #PPBF choice, people are standing up, caring about others, sharing their light and their gifts to make a difference. This week's choice is especially poignant and needed right now.

It's interesting the connections one's brain makes. The idea of sharing one's light made me hum the song, This Little Light of Mine, I haven't thought about that song in a long time. This book is a wonderful reminder that everyone has the ability to bring about hope and change.

The Starkeeper

Author/Illustrator: Faith Pray

Publisher: Random House (2020)

Ages: 3-7



Kindness, compassion, helping others, hope, and letting your gifts shine.


A fallen star and one child's kindness lead to a chain of good works that change her town from a dreary, dark place to one of dazzling brightness. When a girl finds a fallen star, she decides to keep it hidden. But this star encourages kindness and needs to shine, so it comes out from the shadows. At first the glow from the star starts to fade, and the girl worries—maybe she's not a very good starkeeper. Then a chance gesture of kindness seems to brighten the star, and soon this kindness leads to a chain of good works that light up the once-dreary town.

Opening Lines:

The world had been dark for a long time.

Rainy. Lonely. Dark.

Why I LOVE this book:

Maybe it's living in the Seattle area (currently dark, rainy, and gloomy), or the bombardment of frightening & sad events and news since early March, but I identify with this little girl. It amazes me that Faith Pray so perfectly captured the emotions and reality (boarded up stores & empty streets) of our current lives, at least a year ago. Long before Covid or the riots occurred. Even in the gloom, Faith inserts little bits of humor! I love that snail sign.

© Faith Pray, 2020.

Tired of waiting for things to change, this young girl makes "an enormous wish. She wished the lonely dark away." And discovers a glowing orb - a star - in the town's fountain. The star resists her attempts to hid it and keep it for herself. So, she tries to find ways to help it shine.

© Faith Pray, 2020.

But each attempt to seek help is ignored. And both of them feel "gloomy now. Shrinkier. Wilted." Ready to give up. Surrounded by lonely darkness. Until the girl discovers two homeless children and decides to share her sweater and a piece of the star. To her surprise, the star grows a little bigger and shinier.

As she wanders around the town, looking for someone to help (and inspiring others' acts of generosity), the star grows bigger and brighter

© Faith Pray, 2020.

and the gorgeous pastel illustrations become lighter, gradually less rainy and depressing, until . . . . Well, you're going to have to read the book. Faith's created such an endearing and expressive character that it's easy to be swept up onto the story. The kids/readers will enjoy tracking the various diverse characters, the girl either directly or tangentially interacts with, throughout the book to the very satisfying ending. As well as following the antics of the adorable tabby kitten.

This is such a tender, heartfelt story; reminding us that regardless of one's size, or the size of the good deed, we can ALL make a difference in our part of the world. And when we act together, all those little lights have a huge impact - in our lives and on our world. A perfect book, not just now, but for always.


- write a story, or draw a picture, of a time you helped someone. Now, write a story. or draw a picture, about a time someone helped you?

- the girl shared clothing, food, and compassion in the story. Make a list of ways you could help others.

- do you know how to identify constellations? Checkout the Museum of Natural History's page and Constellations of the Night Sky. Which ones can you find from your house?

-can you find the cat constellation at the back of the book? [My interview with Faith on Monday has the answer.] Now, create your own constellation.

- read The Star in The Jar by Sam Hay, illus. by Sarah Massini, What Is Given from the Heart by Patricia C. McKissack, illus. by April Harrison, and Thank You, Omu by Oge Mora how are they similar or different?

If you missed the interview of Faith Pray on Monday, find it (here).

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Join the Virtual Launch Party & print out your own "Star Party" activities. Plus get a special thank-you activity. (Register here):

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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