I invited production editor Leesha Plante to share her insights on astronomy and on our fascinating Searchlight Books series called What’s Amazing about Space? Here are Leesha’s thoughts. May they inspire you to have starry dreams of your own!
I wanted to be an astronomer when I was a girl. I loved mapping out the stars. And as mysterious as that vast universe above us can seem, it began to feel familiar to me as I discovered how ordered it actually is. Each star has its own place, its own orbit, and its own unique distance from Earth.
Later, I figured out that I preferred just finding constellations, gazing at stars, or writing about stars to doing any sort of math or calculations about them. Thus ended my childhood dream of becoming an astronomer. Yet when I started working at Lerner recently and was assigned to work on some Searchlight titles, I found myself immediately drawn to read Searchlight’s What’s Amazing about Space? series. In my mind, everything about space is still amazing, even the brilliant mathematics that help us understand space. (I can admire the great mathematicians, though I am dreadful at the study myself!)
I was most fascinated with the Searchlight book Exploring Black Holes (cover pictured). Did you know black holes act kind of like funnels, drawing everything inward and downward to a single point—called the singularity? Some scientists think this singularity is smaller than the nib of a pencil and may even be so small as to take up no space at all! I find it hard to imagine getting sucked into a black hole, yet Exploring Black Holes gave a few apt examples of what it might feel like or look like to get sucked into one. Creepy, but fascinating at the same time.
After reading What’s Amazing about Space?, I joked with friends that I felt ready to go on that game show Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?—especially if they had a special space-themed episode! As I read Searchlight titles about different topics (we have everything from human body titles to government books to a series on simple machines), I just may be primed to not only go on the show, but to emerge a winner!