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Star Child

A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler

Author Ibi Zoboi
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On sale Jan 25, 2022 | 128 Pages | 978-0-399-18739-1
| Grade 5 & Up
A Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
A Walter Dean Myers Honor Book

From the New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist, a biography in verse and prose of science fiction visionary Octavia Butler, author of Parable of the Sower and Kindred.


Acclaimed novelist Ibi Zoboi illuminates the young life of the visionary storyteller Octavia E. Butler in poems and prose. Born into the Space Race, the Red Scare, and the dawning Civil Rights Movement, Butler experienced an American childhood that shaped her into the groundbreaking science-fiction storyteller whose novels continue to challenge and delight readers fifteen years after her death.
© Nicole Mondestin
Ibi Zoboi was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and holds an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her YA novel American Streetwas a National Book Award finalist and and her debut middle grade novel, My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, was a New York Times bestseller. She is the author of Pride, a contemporary YA remix of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and editor of the anthology, Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America. Her most recent bestseller, Punching the Air, is a YA novel in verse, co-authored by prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five. Her debut picture book, The People Remember, earned a Coretta Scott King Honor. Raised in New York City, Ibi now lives in New Jersey with her husband and their three children. View titles by Ibi Zoboi
Stardust

What if on the day she was born there was a quiet storm of tiny 

shimmering dust that settled on tree leaves, on flower petals, 

on rooftops, on the ground, on the shiny work shoes, and 

glided through open windows to settle on hardwood 

floors? Maybe there was a storm of stardust and 

this was how Laurice James Butler and 

Octavia Margaret Butler gave 

birth to a baby girl named 

Octavia Estelle Butler, 

a star child. 

 

Dawn

Laurice James Butler, who worked as a shoeshine man, and Octavia Margaret Butler, who worked as a live-in domestic servant, were married on May 17, 1931, in Los Angeles, California. On June 22, 1947, in Pasadena, California, they gave birth to a baby girl whom they named Octavia Estelle Butler. 

Laurice died on February 16, 1951, when Octavia was almost four years old. She knew very little about her father. She was raised by her mother and grandmother—two hardworking and God-fearing matriarchs. For a brief period, she also lived with her two uncles, each like a father to her. 

Octavia Margaret Butler, her mother, was the greatest constant in her life. She was born in Louisiana in 1914 and lived on a sugarcane plantation before migrating with her family—and hundreds of thousands of other African Americans—to Southern California as part of the Great Migration that was reshaping cities in the North and West. 

 





Educator Guide for Star Child

Classroom-based guides appropriate for schools and colleges provide pre-reading and classroom activities, discussion questions connected to the curriculum, further reading, and resources.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

  • HONOR | 2023
    Coretta Scott King Author Honor
A Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
A We Need Diverse Books Walter Dean Myers Honor Book
An ALA Notable Children's Book
An NPR Best Book of the Year

A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year
A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year
A Boston Globe Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year

A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

★"A one-of-a-kind masterpiece of literature. This must-read biography belongs on every library shelf and will redefine the way readers engage with biographical texts.”—SLJ, starred review 

★"A biography that’s as unique in form and content as the groundbreaking sci-fi/fantasy author herself.... Informational and inspirational, this innovative work will draw committed Butler fans and entice those unfamiliar with her work to seek it out."—Horn Book, starred review 

★"Zoboi has created a necessary addition to school and public library collections through this memorable look at how writers incorporate their lives into their work."—Booklist, starred review

★"A radiant biography spotlights the life of science fiction great Octavia Butler through a compilation of poetry, prose, quotes and photos."—Shelf Awareness, starred review

★"An inspiring look at the formative years and work of a literary giant that’s sure to capture young readers’ attention."—Kirkus, starred review

★"This title truly has something for every reader."—SLC, starred review 

"Here’s a true statement for you: If you live a good life and are true to yourself and persevere, you might, you MIGHT, be lucky enough to get someone like Ibi Zoboi to write your biography for kids."—Betsy Bird, Fuse #8 

"Zoboi movingly highlights the importance of empathy in Butler’s work and her role as a mentor and source of inspiration for countless other Black creatives."—BookPage

"A fittingly expansive tribute to Butler’s visionary mind and the childhood that sowed it."—Publishers Weekly

"Zoboi pairs elegantly crafted poems with direct, informative prose to create an emotionally charged look at a Black woman who changed the literary landscape, writing in a genre dominated by white authors and white characters. [T]his is a compelling blend of artistry and nonfiction that will likely send readers directly to Butler’s books."—BCCB

About

A Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
A Walter Dean Myers Honor Book

From the New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist, a biography in verse and prose of science fiction visionary Octavia Butler, author of Parable of the Sower and Kindred.


Acclaimed novelist Ibi Zoboi illuminates the young life of the visionary storyteller Octavia E. Butler in poems and prose. Born into the Space Race, the Red Scare, and the dawning Civil Rights Movement, Butler experienced an American childhood that shaped her into the groundbreaking science-fiction storyteller whose novels continue to challenge and delight readers fifteen years after her death.

Author

© Nicole Mondestin
Ibi Zoboi was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and holds an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her YA novel American Streetwas a National Book Award finalist and and her debut middle grade novel, My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, was a New York Times bestseller. She is the author of Pride, a contemporary YA remix of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and editor of the anthology, Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America. Her most recent bestseller, Punching the Air, is a YA novel in verse, co-authored by prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five. Her debut picture book, The People Remember, earned a Coretta Scott King Honor. Raised in New York City, Ibi now lives in New Jersey with her husband and their three children. View titles by Ibi Zoboi

Excerpt

Stardust

What if on the day she was born there was a quiet storm of tiny 

shimmering dust that settled on tree leaves, on flower petals, 

on rooftops, on the ground, on the shiny work shoes, and 

glided through open windows to settle on hardwood 

floors? Maybe there was a storm of stardust and 

this was how Laurice James Butler and 

Octavia Margaret Butler gave 

birth to a baby girl named 

Octavia Estelle Butler, 

a star child. 

 

Dawn

Laurice James Butler, who worked as a shoeshine man, and Octavia Margaret Butler, who worked as a live-in domestic servant, were married on May 17, 1931, in Los Angeles, California. On June 22, 1947, in Pasadena, California, they gave birth to a baby girl whom they named Octavia Estelle Butler. 

Laurice died on February 16, 1951, when Octavia was almost four years old. She knew very little about her father. She was raised by her mother and grandmother—two hardworking and God-fearing matriarchs. For a brief period, she also lived with her two uncles, each like a father to her. 

Octavia Margaret Butler, her mother, was the greatest constant in her life. She was born in Louisiana in 1914 and lived on a sugarcane plantation before migrating with her family—and hundreds of thousands of other African Americans—to Southern California as part of the Great Migration that was reshaping cities in the North and West. 

 





Guides

Educator Guide for Star Child

Classroom-based guides appropriate for schools and colleges provide pre-reading and classroom activities, discussion questions connected to the curriculum, further reading, and resources.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

Awards

  • HONOR | 2023
    Coretta Scott King Author Honor

Praise

A Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
A We Need Diverse Books Walter Dean Myers Honor Book
An ALA Notable Children's Book
An NPR Best Book of the Year

A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year
A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year
A Boston Globe Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year

A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

★"A one-of-a-kind masterpiece of literature. This must-read biography belongs on every library shelf and will redefine the way readers engage with biographical texts.”—SLJ, starred review 

★"A biography that’s as unique in form and content as the groundbreaking sci-fi/fantasy author herself.... Informational and inspirational, this innovative work will draw committed Butler fans and entice those unfamiliar with her work to seek it out."—Horn Book, starred review 

★"Zoboi has created a necessary addition to school and public library collections through this memorable look at how writers incorporate their lives into their work."—Booklist, starred review

★"A radiant biography spotlights the life of science fiction great Octavia Butler through a compilation of poetry, prose, quotes and photos."—Shelf Awareness, starred review

★"An inspiring look at the formative years and work of a literary giant that’s sure to capture young readers’ attention."—Kirkus, starred review

★"This title truly has something for every reader."—SLC, starred review 

"Here’s a true statement for you: If you live a good life and are true to yourself and persevere, you might, you MIGHT, be lucky enough to get someone like Ibi Zoboi to write your biography for kids."—Betsy Bird, Fuse #8 

"Zoboi movingly highlights the importance of empathy in Butler’s work and her role as a mentor and source of inspiration for countless other Black creatives."—BookPage

"A fittingly expansive tribute to Butler’s visionary mind and the childhood that sowed it."—Publishers Weekly

"Zoboi pairs elegantly crafted poems with direct, informative prose to create an emotionally charged look at a Black woman who changed the literary landscape, writing in a genre dominated by white authors and white characters. [T]his is a compelling blend of artistry and nonfiction that will likely send readers directly to Butler’s books."—BCCB

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