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Clear Skies
Cover of Clear Skies
Clear Skies
It is the summer of 1961, and eleven-year-old Arno Creelman wants nothing more than to be an astronomer. Fortunately, his struggle with claustrophobia has little impact on his one true passion. Unlike...
It is the summer of 1961, and eleven-year-old Arno Creelman wants nothing more than to be an astronomer. Fortunately, his struggle with claustrophobia has little impact on his one true passion. Unlike...
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Description-

  • It is the summer of 1961, and eleven-year-old Arno Creelman wants nothing more than to be an astronomer. Fortunately, his struggle with claustrophobia has little impact on his one true passion. Unlike his annoying friend Buddy, who wants to become an astronaut and is not at all bothered by the idea of flying in a cramped space capsule, Arno dreams of exploring the galaxies with powerful telescopes back on Earth.

    But first he has to enter a local radio contest and win a visit to the new observatory that is about to open near his town. The ribbon will be cut by Arno's idol, Jean Slayter-Appleton, a renowned astronomer whose weekly columns he clips for his own notebooks. When he finally manages to phone in and correctly answer the skill-testing astronomy question, which earns him an invitation to the opening, Arno is thrilled.

    Then a new boy moves to the neighborhood, and he seems to challenge Arno in every way. Robert even believes in astrology, which Arno argues is not a science at all.

    Before long, Arno is feeling left behind, on the outs with his friends and even abandoned by his beloved dog, Comet. And when Robert informs him that he has already been to an observatory, and tells Arno what the experience is actually like, Arno's dream becomes a cosmic nightmare.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    The jarring music, which seemed to be coming from every direction at once, bounced off the vaulted ceiling and came down on Arno's head. He felt as if the black theater walls were pressing in and the giant statues were in danger of toppling over, crushing those in the first row.

    Arno gripped the armrests and squeezed his eyes shut, trying to catch his breath.

    Please, no, he thought. Not now. Not a giant panic attack in front of all these people.

    But it was happening. The dizziness, the tightness in his chest, the frantic thoughts of being trapped, of smothering.

    When he braved a look at the screen, a colossal asteroid was hurtling toward him, end over end, symphony horns bellowing. It was deafening.

    It was too much.

About the Author-

  • Jessica Scott Kerrin is the author of the newly launched Lobster Chronicles series and the best-selling Martin Bridge series. She lives in downtown Halifax, Canada, and once owned a nutty Springer Spaniel who inspired this book.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2019
    Increasingly severe symptoms of claustrophobia threaten to derail 11-year-old Arno's dreams of becoming an astronomer. It's 1961, the space race is on, and it seems everyone has stars in their eyes. Being a confirmed sky watcher with an eye-rolling habit of rattling off astro-facts at the drop of a hat, Arno is at first over the moon when he wins an invitation to the opening of a new observatory nearby. But then the thought of the dark and the crowds--and a panic attack in a movie theater--dim all the claustrophobic boy's hopes. At the same time Arno's friend Buddy finds his own hopes of becoming an astronaut dashed after he realizes why he can't see that Mars is red. Though their personalities clash by day, a confessional nighttime meeting in Arno's backyard brings out their better natures, as Arno offers Buddy telescopic views of astronomical wonders, and Buddy suggests coping techniques for Arno drawn from the astronaut-training program. Budding chemist Mindy leads a supporting cast that, like the protagonist and his family, defaults to white. Writing in a believably childlike third-person, Kerrin adds period details and handwritten pages of "Deep Thoughts" from Arno's astronomy notebook to her low-key tale, and she closes with notes on the space program's later history...including a mention of Roger Crouch, a colorblind payload specialist. A quiet reminder that the stars are not out of reach, with work and well-timed help. (Fiction. 9-11)

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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    Groundwood Books Ltd
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