Finding the Stars: A Review of There Once Was a Sky Full of Stars

When he’s not designing colorful inlays for guitars, Bob Crelin is a light pollution activist in Connecticut who helped push through a landmark bill to dim the nighttime glare in his shoreline town. Our ancestors knew thousands of stars in the evening sky, but now we’re lucky if we can identify a dozen—and the culprit is the millions of watts of light we shoot up to the heavens. Crelin has taken his protest to a new forum with a children’s book, There Once Was a Sky Full of Stars (Sky Publishing, $17.95, with a portion of profits donated to the International Dark-Sky Association). Aimed at 9 to 12-year-olds and featuring lovely illustrations by Amie Ziner, the book uses a poetic approach to re-introduce kids to the glories of a star-filled sky. “The Milky Way stretched overhead/Once the sun had retired to bed/Its soft cotton glow, like a river of snow/Looked so close it could tickle your head.” It closes with a gentle exhortation for kids to become light activists in their communities, so we can once again “dance with the stars.” —Jim Motavalli