I’m a Black Hole

MIT Kids. (Meet the Universe). Mar. 2024. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536222081.
Gr 1-3–Vavagiakis (I’m a Neutrino) introduces young readers to black holes through gentle rhyming couplets and the eyes of a child. A Black girl with dark curls is bent over a book with the words, “I’m a Black Hole” on the first page, light playing across her skin. The reader is the main character in this story, and as the black hole speaks about what it is, the journey begins. Lanan’s mixed-media artwork of ink, gouache, and digital collage is captivating. Full-bleed spreads mimic the black holes, eating up white space with bold color and such beauty. The protagonist visits black holes in space, including the first one spotted in Messier 87, in a space suit. Her face fills one page, while in the suit, reflecting “M87,” “Supermassive Black Hole,” and other data backwards. She is looking at a data panel, measuring black hole waves “using laws of nature to know how we behave.” The intensity and excitement on her young face underscores that this starts, and ends, with her reading a book and playing with toy spaceship. The rhyming couplets, which are awkward at times, may not be appealing to most children due to the abstract subject. Concepts like event horizon and “make waves in space-time” are complicated, so this may not reach the targeted audience. Budding scientists may still be drawn in by the art and possibilities that they could discover and ponder, just as the main character does. Back matter for each page explains black holes in more detail.
VERDICT A helpful additional selection to science collections.

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