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What Stars are made of by Sarah Allen

Updated: May 4, 2020

Meet 12 year old Libby, who is optimistic and great at science. She’s not so great at playing piano, sitting still or knowing how to say the right thing at the right time. Libby’s hero is astronomer Cecilia Payne, who discovered what stars are made of. Like Cecilia, Libby wants to be a scientist when she grows up.

Libby was born with Turner Syndrome (TS), a genetic condition found only in females, affecting about one in every 2,500 girls. Girls with TS are all different but most experience delayed puberty, infertility, heart defects and learning disabilities. Most are usually shorter than their friends, but if diagnosed early, can be treated with growth hormones. Turner Syndrome makes some things hard for Libby, but she has plenty of support from those who love her. Libby would also do absolutely anything to help her family. When her older sister, Nonny announces she is pregnant, Libby is thrilled, but also worried. Nonny and her husband are in a financial trouble and Libby also knows that not all babies are born healthy.

Libby comes up with the perfect plan to help her beloved sister. She decides to enter a competition with a project about Cecilia Payne and remind everyone what stars are made of. If she wins, she will gift all the money to support her sister, then everything will be perfect! But, can Libby help care for the sister who has always cared for her? Does she have what it takes?

This is heart-warming story about family, friendship and how it’s OK to be different.

What Stars are made of is Sarah Allen’s first children’s novel. Read an excerpt here and follow Sarah online.

Reviewer: Andrea Molloy Puffin, RRP $17.99