Clear Skies

Clear Skies

ages 8 to 11 / grades 3 to 6

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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
illustrations

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.3
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).

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
illustrations

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.3
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — Aug 1, 2019
Specifications 144 pages | 5 in x 7.5 in
Supporting Resources
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Excerpt
Teacher's Guide
Written By Jessica Scott Kerrin is the author of the newly launched Lobster Chronicles series and the best-selling Martin Bridge series. She lives in downtown Halifax, Canada, and once owned a nutty Springer Spaniel who inspired this book.
Written By
Jessica Scott Kerrin is the author of the newly launched Lobster Chronicles series and the best-selling Martin Bridge series. She lives in downtown Halifax, Canada, and once owned a nutty Springer Spaniel who inspired this book.
Audience ages 8 to 11 / grades 3 to 6
Reading Levels Guided Reading V
Fountas & Pinnel Text Level V
Lexile 730L
Key Text Features illustrations
Common Core CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.3

“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 and Quire

“A quiet reminder that the stars are not out of reach, with work and well-timed help.” —Kirkus Reviews