Elementary

  • Chet Raymo, 365 Starry Nights

    Short introductions to the night sky in astronomy, literature and mythology for every night of the year.  Use an app like StarWalk or SkySafari to find the constellations outside at night, but use this book to take your first steps to learn about them.  It is an ideal family read-aloud, appropriate for a variety of ages, year after year, or use it as a supplement to an astronomy textbook to rekindle a sense of wonder at the universe.

    Here at The Sky Tonight, many of our Constellation pages are keyed to Raymo's 365 Starry Nights.

    The simplicity of 365 Starry Nights is also its virtue.  It is organized only according to day and month of the year.  

    The following index of constellations will aid in navigation for quick reference.

  • H.A. Rey, The Stars

    A true classic:  This introductory work, by the author of the Curious George stories for children, has introduced more young people to the constellations and enjoyment of the night sky than any other book.  Rey's stick figures representing the constellations are creative and whimsical, and above all memorable, even though sometimes they take liberties with the historical names of stars.

  • Follow the Drinking Gourd

    This constellation story, beautifully illustrated and told by Jeanette Winter, explains how slaves would follow the Drinking Gourd (Big Dipper) to find their way northward on the Underground Railroad.  Musical notation is included for the old slave song that contained encoded instructions for following the Drinking Gourd to freedom.

  • How the Stars Fell into the Sky

    Booklist review (blurb on back cover):  "A Navajo legend is retold in simple, poetic style with paintings that capture the physicalness of the desert at night and also the elemental mystery of the story... the pictures have a marvelous depth, with a sense of infinite space beyond the curved rim of the earth."

  • Halley Came to Jackson

    A moving story about how the starry skies (in this case, Halley's comet) connect our lives across generations. Carpenter focuses on how Halley's comet came to signify the love between a father and a daughter. 

    A storybook companion to a song performed by Mary Chapin Carpenter.