Poems and Plays For Space Science

When I was a little boy, my dad taught me how to find the constellation Orion. It was a chilly November night, and we were looking at the stars as we walked on the planks of a small boardwalk over Bay St. Louis in Mississippi. Halfway to the end he stopped, knelt next to me, and pointed his finger toward three bright stars in a perfect line. “That’s the belt of the great hunter, Orion,” he said. (My father knew a lot about the stars from being a navigator on a warship during World War II.) Next he pointed out the stars that represented Orion’s club hanging from the belt, then his shoulders and feet. He told me the name of each of the stars, but the only two I remember are Betelgeuse (because it’s red and has a funny name) and Rigel (because it’s blue and very bright). At the time I didn’t think much about it, but for the rest of my life when the cool nights of autumn finally arrived, I always found myself turning my eyes toward the southern sky to find “the great hunter, Orion.” And he never let me down. Like an old friend, he was always there. Eventually I learned to find a few more constellations and memorized the names of some of the brightest stars. Then I got curious about that big cloud of stars that someone told me was the Milky Way Galaxy, and it went on from there. The more I learned the more I wanted to learn. I didn’t become an astronomer and there’s a ton of astronomy I don’t know, but for me it’s not about studying something and passing a test. It’s about continuing to learn, little by little, for the rest of my life. Because now, when I look at the night sky, it’s not just a bunch of sparkling lights against a black background. It’s a place were I find old friends and cool stuff I can picture in my head—a giant nebula cloud of glowing gas zillions of miles from one end to the other, a big black hole sucking up everything that comes within its event horizon, an outcast star that isn’t part of any galaxy and just soars though space all by itself. Becoming a learner makes life tons more interesting, and the best part is that you get to pick what you want to learn. Going to school is just a way of getting you started, but after that you get to keep learning on your own, and what you choose to learn is completely up to you. So all of what I just said is why I wrote this book. For most of you it’ll be a fun way to learn the basics of outer space. For some of you—future astronomers, rocket engineers, astronauts—it may be the beginning of a lifelong journey. So get ready because space is full of amazing stuff. To empower students to create their own dramatic performances, every book in this series comes with a video recording of the author, Brod Bagert, modeling the performance of each piece of content rich literature.

Little Dipper in the sky,
Little Dipper, please don’t cry.
Small you are yet still you stay,
and that is how I find my way.
from Little Dipper

Grounded in the principle that children remember “90% of what they do in dramatic presentation,” My Home in the Universe is the third book in the Brod Bagert’s HeART of Science series, providing parents, teachers, and young learners with a comprehensive compendium of dramatic content literature, both entertaining and instructional.

This poignant yet comical collection of dramatic poems, monologues, and short plays creates a delightfully unique experience of the Universe. Nerd-One Alvin Lofton captures the attention of young Roshanda Hale with a love poem about red giants, a super nova, and “cosmic furnaces ablaze in the boundless black of space.” Ms. Mariana Moon, in an interview with talk-show host Isaac Cosmos, reveals her feelings about living in the shadow of a lunar eclipse and the joy of payback when she gets to reciprocate during a solar eclipse—“little-ole me blocking out…that big ball of blazing hydrogen.” Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton are likened to Fantastic Four superheroes for their brilliance and courage in bringing about the Copernican Revolution.

From cosmic dust, to Hydrogen Fusion, to the all-consuming gravity of black holes, My Home in the Universe transforms the detachment of theoretical concepts into the immediacy of imagined personal experience—accurate, emotional, and entertaining. The journey concludes with the voice of an unnamed star who declares that “in this ocean of eternal night, I make day. I burn to give this light away and in burning earn the right to say—I am a star.”