What Stars Are Made Of

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Pub Date 2 Apr 2020 | Archive Date Not set

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Libby is 12 years old. She loves science, will do anything for  her family, and was born with Turner Syndrome.  

When her big sister tells Libby that a brand new baby is on the way, Libby is worried that the new addition to their family will be like her. However, she soon realises that being different is exactly what the world needs.

From the publishers who brought you Wonder comes an astonishingly bold and moving middle-grade debut about family, friendship and the importance of being true to yourself.

With themes surrounding STEM, empowerment and empathy, Sarah Allen has taken her experiences with Turner Syndrome and written What Stars Are Made Of as a heart-warming celebration of individuality. 

Libby is 12 years old. She loves science, will do anything for  her family, and was born with Turner Syndrome.  

When her big sister tells Libby that a brand new baby is on the way, Libby is worried...

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ISBN 9780241427965
PRICE £6.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 35 members

Featured Reviews

This was such a lovely pleasurable read. I loved the character of Libby. Following her thoughts and trials and tribulations was a revelation. The book makes you think about inclusion, prejudice and differences but overall there is a message that everyone fits in somewhere.

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This was a heart warming tale of family, over coming disabilities and hope.

Born with a heart three sizes too big, Libby has had to over come plenty in her life. She is loving, hopeful and keen to make friends. She is also a firm believer in the girl power and wants to fight to ensure her heroines are recognized for their contributions to science.

She does this in the form of a letter to try and win a competition about untold heroines of STEM. Winning the prize would mean a lot to Libby as her older sister is having a baby and Libby is worried about them. She doesn't want the baby to be born with a defect, and she wants her sister's husband to be able to be closer to them. The Grand prize is $25000 and this would solve their problems.

Libby finally gets a best friend when new girl Talia arrives. Libby learns what it means to be a friend and support each other.

A truly delightful story and one I think students in my library would enjoy immensely.

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Wow, what a book!! At first I wasn’t 100% sure what the book was about just that it had stars in it but oh boy, I am so glad I read it.

Libby is a 7th Grader who has Turner Syndrome. I’d never heard of that before, knew nothing about it but through Libby, it is clearly explained what it is, the effects and the implications for her future. Not only did I learn about that but also about Cecilia Payne. I don’t want to give anything away but I have definitely come away feeling a lot more knowledgeable on a number of subjects.

Libby comes from such a supportive, loving and caring family and the bond between all of them shines through Sarah’s words. Talking of words, I loved the Hard reading words that are dotted throughout the book, it really made me think about my vocabulary choices.

The friendship Libby eventually finds in Talia is lovely. They initially bond through them both suffering at the hands of the class bully. One of my favourite parts is Libby’s retort to him when she is doing her presentation on Eleanor Roosevelt.

I did shed a tear or two towards the end of the book but they were most definitely happy tears.

Such a fabulous book that I am definitely going to be recommending.

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A lovely book which made me cry with its reminder of what life is about. An insight into what it is like to live with Turner Syndrome, something I had never heard of before. A great tale of family and friendship with a strong lead female character that I was rooting for from the beginning.

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This book is about 12 year old Libby who was born with a heart three times the normal size and has Turner Syndrome. Libby may have restricted fine and gross motor skills but she is very good at remembering facts and especially likes to find out about unpopular historical or scientific figures.

She finds out that her sister Nonny is going to have a baby and knows that babies are expensive so she enters a contest to tell everyone about Cecilia Payne, the person who discovered what stars are made of.

The story is written in the first person, it gives you the insight of Libby. Her thoughts and feelings as well as her relationships with her family and peers. I like how the characters are quite relatable. It be great for Year 7 + to read this book.

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Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Good to read fiction for children with main character highlighting syndromes and the difficulties faced. Also liked how the book brought female.scientist to the core and School as a positive experience for the character

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Twelve year old Libby has Turner Syndrome. She is full of hope, has a beautiful zest for life, loves science and her family. Especially her family.
Libby discovers that her pregnant older sister and her husband are having financial difficulties and is moving back home whilst her husband takes a job away. Libby decides to enter a competition by the Smithsonian Institute, doing a project on her idol Cecilia Payne, who discovered what stars are made of but has not been recognised along the other celebrated people in her school textbook. The first prize of $25,000 is in her sights. Libby is worried that Nonny’s baby will have health problems like her. She has decided that if she can win the first prize, then she can give all the money to Nonny and her husband. Then just maybe Nonny’s baby will be born perfect. Libby’s friend Talia is also entering a poetry competition and it is wonderful to see Libby’s support for her friend with the guidance of Nonny to help her express her feelings of support.
A story with beautiful friendships, compassion for friends and family. Great portrayal of Turner’s syndrome presented in a compassionate way but fully explained in an easy to understand way. Full of passion, a great sense of justice for all and entertaining.
Highly recommend this book. This book was kindly given to me by NetGalley, the Author and the publisher Penguin Random House UK Children’s in exchange for an honest review.

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Libby has Turner Syndrome, and we see what this means for her throughout her story. She is more than just her illness. Libby doesn't have a lot of real life friends so "collects" people she admires in her head and makes them friends. I loved this. I also enjoyed seeing her navigate a real life friendship that she wasn't in control of.  Libby is clever,  and has a real thirst for knowledge. She has a brilliant, unique voice, and is really funny. Her story is centred around her wanting to help her pregnant sister, Nonny, and her husband who are having some difficulties. Libby decides she can help her by winning a competition. It becomes an obsession that takes over her life. I admired her spirit but also cringed at some the things she did. I struggled with the storyline about Nonny's labour and her unwell baby because of my own issues,  but I was so invested in the story that I had to just skip those pages and carry on because I couldn't bear not knowing how it ended. This is a brilliant book. I don't think I've ever read anything like it. I would definitely recommend it.

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The story was lovely, enjoyed reading having googled 'turners syndrome'. Loved the family dynamics, especially her relationship with Nonny.

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I read this story with my own 12 year old daughter - we loved it and in the words of my 12 year old Libby was inspirational!

What Stars Are Made Of tells the story of 12yo Libby who has Turners Syndrome. Libby has always loved science and history and has always been different. When Libby finds out about a science competition where the winner receives $25,000 she thinks this could be the answer to help her family and school.

Libby has a close relationship with her sister and parents but struggles to make friends at school, when new girl Talia starts, Libby starts to form a bond and together they form a team - them against the bully at school and with this their friendship is sealed.

This is a lovely story filled with joy, inspiration and wonder!

I loved that after reading this book my daughter and I were inspired to read about some of the people mentioned within it and in the words of my daughter Libby was truly inspirational!

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When Libby learns that her older sister is pregnant, she is ecstatic at the thought of a new baby. But then come all the worries, what if the baby has the same problems she's had? Nonny's husband recently lost his job, how will they cope? Then she comes up with an audacious plan that will solve everything, if she can pull it off.

I absolutely loved Libby right from the start. I just wanted to give her a big hug and protect her from the world. She's so smart and determined, with a slightly hyper-active mind and a thousand thoughts a minute. The library is her best friend, but she also has tons of friends in her head. All the lesser known, underestimated, scientists and contributors to the world that she hears about.

I loved how the details about Libby are revealed gradually, ensuring you never see Libby as anything but a girl like any other. She's going through many of the things all young girls go through, albeit with some additional challenges. But she never lets anything stop her. She even delays reading about something in case it tells her she's not supposed to be able to do things. She's much more interested in the many things she CAN do.

This was such an incredible story, I just can't express how wonderful this book is! I got emotional way too many times and learnt some great new words such as Kintsugi. I also really want to learn more about Cecelia Payne. I think it is brilliant for teaching younger readers (and older ones) about acceptance. It really makes you think about how you see people and what can be going on in their lives that you just don't know about. The author's acknowledgement at the end is really touching. All about wanting to reach out and write about others like her.

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11 you review - POSSIBLE SPOILERS
This book is about a young girl with Turner syndrome. One day at school, she enters a competition where she needs to write an essay about an underappreciated woman in STEM to ensure that person gets the recognition she deserves. Libby chooses Cecilia Payne - British-born American astronomer and astrophysicist. Meanwhile, Libby finds out her sister (who she adores) is pregnant and worried that the baby may be affected by her same syndrome, Libby makes asks Cecilia to protect her sister baby from the stars.

This is a very touching story that makes able-bodied/healthy people realise how much harder life is for kids with disabilities but also has a strong message about not giving up on your dreams and fight for what you believe in. There is a real progression of the main character throughout this book and I really enjoyed seeing her social skills and her love towards her family evolve.

5/5 stars

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Libby has Turner Syndrome which means that she views things differently in her world. Friendships are challenging but the love of her family makes up for that. Libby is intrigued with science and with the woman who discovered what stars are made from. This launches her quest to have the work more widely acknowledged.

This is a lovely story, in which the child’s voice comes through loud and clear. A beautiful ending.

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Libby wants to be a star-finder like her hero, the astronomer Cecilia Payne. She is disgusted on her behalf that she wasn’t given credit for discovering the make up of stars.
Her beloved elder sister Nonny makes life more enjoyable for Libby when she returns home from university, but the reason she has to is because she cannot afford to live away whilst her husband works away and they are expecting their first child.
Libby has had her fair share of experiences of doctors and hospitals as Libby was born with Turner Syndrome which prevents her from doing some things, but also makes Libby far more aware of what she can do. Libby is a determined young woman fighting for women’s rights as well as those of her sister, and devises a plan to win a competition to win money for Nonny, whilst getting Payne’s name into the history textbooks at school. Putting this plan into action involves trusting new friends and showing you can be trusted in return. It means a lot of hard work and persistence, but Libby is willing to give all that for what she believes. So stand up and be counted when you are convinced you are right.

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What a super book. Ideal for a year 6 and above class. Lots of discussion points.
A thought provoking book for young adults. Libby has turners syndrome and we learn about her and her family in this book. Libby's story of acceptanceand understanding of life and friendship is lovely to read.
I love the way it is written - heart felt and open.

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Read this in one sitting. A fantastic book that I will be sharing with children at work as soon as it's released. One of the things I really loved about this is that it isn't a book about a girl with Turner's Syndrome. It is a book about family and friendship and working hard and stars and being aspirational and STEM and never giving up. The main character, Libby, does have Turner's Syndrome but this does not define how we or her family and friends see her.

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I loved this book, Libby & her family were a joy to spend time with and as a celebration of being different this was wonderful.
A female 'Wonder' but Libby felt more real than Auggie ever did to me and I'd love to read more about the characters in the book

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Libby Monroe has Turner Syndrome, a chromosome missing making her stand out as different. Libby struggles to make friends not always knowing the right thing to say, but with the support of her family Libby makes a friend at school.

Libby wants to win the Smithsobian prize writing about Cecila Payne so she can win enough money that her sister and brother in law don’t need to worry about buying a house and providing for their baby daughter.

A wonderful book full of hope and optimism.

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⭐I received this #ARC from the publisher through @netgalley in exchange for an honest review. ⭐ "I wanted Nonny and Mom and Dad and, well, everyone, to look at me and see what I could fix, not what I needed to have fixed in me. I wanted it so bad it was like my aorta was constricting again. But not this time. This time: fixer, not fixed. Just this once". ⭐ Middle grade literature isn't my genre of choice, unless magic is involved of course. I'm still not sure what made me request this book. Could be a choose a book by its cover moment or me having a thing for all things stars. Whatever the reason, I'm glad I did. ⭐ 12 year old Libby Monroe is born with Turner Syndrome, a condition affecting her heart and physical development among other things. With the love and support from her family this doesn't seem to be a major problem. Until she discovers that her amazing older sister is pregnant. ⭐ Worried that the baby will not be as amazing as her sister, but rather flawed like herself, she makes a deal with the universe and a dead, under-appreciated female scientist (!) If she keeps her side of the bargain, the baby will be healthy. ⭐ This is a lovely and heartwarming story of how it is not just our DNA that defines us, but also the environment in which we grow. The Monroes are a family that provide the encouragement to everyone to find their talents and voice and Libby's teacher, Miss Trepky made me think that this is the kind of teacher I want for my kids and for all kids. To help them learn but also develop their skils and critical thinking. ⭐ Libby is smart, kind hearted and funny, with a strong feminist voice, constantly struggling to find the right thing to say, or rather the wrong thing she's not supposed to say. Turner Syndrome is presented in a way that doesn't allow the reader to feel sorry for her but admiration instead. ⭐ Children and adults as well have a lot to learn about acceptance, kindness and focusing on a goal and never giving up. About reaching out to people. And about the awesome woman and scientist Cecilia Payne was.

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This book tells Libbys story. When she finds out her older sister Nonny is pregnant she is so excited to have a little niece or nephew but this excitement is soon followed by nerves. Libby is worried that the new baby will have the same problems as her and since Nonny's husband has recently lost his job Libby worries how they will cope for money.

However, one day in class she comes up with an epic plan, which if she can pull off will help everyone out! The only problem is how to pull it off when the people you need to help don't reply to you!

I really liked that through the book you learn a little more about Libby, realising that she is different from others her age early on but not getting the fuller picture until later in the book. Despite being different (or maybe because of this) Libby is super smart and determined, a great lead character and role model for many girls. And as she learns more about lesser known great females, so do we. 

This is a wonderful story to teach children (and adults) about acceptance and what people may be going through in their lives. Not just through Libby but with some of the other characters in the book too.

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I learned a lot of things from this book. Turner Syndrome is a thing. It's a big thing, and has physical attributes too, but the emotional and behavioural ones I'd have difficulty distinguishing from Aspergers or AHDC or any of the other behavioural conditions that I am fortunate not to have experienced first hand.

Except that I have experienced them, probably long before they became a Thing. What I found from Sarah Allen's wonderful Libby, was a warm caring exciting human being who speaks when maybe she should listen, and who gets ideas springing into her head too fast to do anything about half of them. Sometimes I wonder what Thing I suffer from?  Libby seems more normal to me than any of the other boring people in her class. Maybe someone is trying to tell me something about myself.

This is a brilliant story where I also learned about several notable women who had been overlooked in the great handing out of prizes. Some I knew about already, thanks to the push on Women in Science and role models I didn't know I might have had when I was at school. There are plenty of questions that lead on from that, like: how did these women break the mould without any role models of their own? How come any women did science before the rise of STEM?

Maybe it's a numbers game; we now know many more women would get involved in STEM subjects if the boys (or teachers) didn't elbow them out. Actually, I did Maths rather than engineering at university because there were 2 girls in 300 in Engineering whereas Maths was more or less half and half.

This is not a good review. I'm rabbiting about the world and STEM and women in science.

What Sarah Allen's book is about is a young brave, intelligent girl who wants to change the world. And it's absolutely marvellous. Probably my book of the year.

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(Thank you to my Mum for typing this for me).
Thank you to NetGalley for sending me this eARC in return for an honest review.
This book follows the main character Libby, who was born with Turner syndrome. Libby is determined to help her sister and brother-in-law when she finds out they are pregnant and don't have enough money to all be able to live together. She is also determined to get her scientific role model, Cecilia Payne, into her school text books.
What I Liked:
- Turner syndrome. While this book isn't all about Libby and Turner syndrome, it was clear that this was an own voices story. The discussion around being different and having medical issues was authentic and I really related to it. I think it did a great job of educating and showcasing what made Libby the same as everyone else, while not disregarding what made her different. This is probably the best book I've read with a protagonist living with a syndrome.
- Family. This book had a really great family dynamic, because Libby had 2 supportive parents and an older sister who she looks up to. They see Libby for everything that she is and try and encourage all her endeavours and make sure she's living the life she wants to.
- Science. I loved that this book talked about scientific and historical figure who have been forgotten or written out of text books. Libby was specifically focused on Cecilia Payne, who was the first person to discover what stars are made of, but her good friend Talia focused on Samoan figures who have been forgotten.
Overall this is. the perfect middle grade book for any lover of science, history or own voices stories. I truly believe anyone, no matter what age, could get something from reading this book. I am excited to see what Sarah Allen writes next.

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This wouldn’t be the usual type of book that I would choose to read however, Net Galley kindly send me an ebook copy in exchange for a honest review.

I would rate this one a 3.5. A warm and beautifully written story following Ella a young girl suffering from Turner syndrome. The story was primarily aimed at a young adult audience however I still enjoyed it and found it very informative and learnt a lot about both Turner syndrome and science along with enjoying the story line. I also liked the sibling bond. A lovely story it was a joy to read.

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This story has my whole heart! This book had me hooked from the first sentence where we learn that Libby has a heart that's too big for her body. While discussing a real medical condition, this also described perfectly how Libby approaches everything in her life - with all the amount of love she can, giving everything she can to make life better for the people she loves. From the fantastic subject matter of who gets to end up in history books and who is often forgotten or glossed over to Libby's wish to help her sister out with money because she and her husband have to do long-distance because money is tight, everything was just so well incorporated into the plot. Not to mention that the pacing was perfect - it never got boring or dragged but we still had enough time to learn to love these characters. Nonny, Libby's older sister was particularly lovely to read about, it made me wish I wasn't an only child because their relationship was just goals.
A wonderful story for younger and older kids, it burrows itself into your heart and will never let go.

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There is no other way to describe this novel than lovely. It's a beautiful story about love, family and not being defined by a disability. Libby is one of the strongest and well-written characters that you feel nothing but love and empathy for her.
This is the perfect read for times like the world are currently facing.

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