Great Illustrated Books

A Black Hole is NOT a Hole

By Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano

Charlesbridge Publishing, 2012
Pages : 80
Suggested Ages: 8 and Up
ISBN: 9781570917837

Children know that stars eventually die -- even our own sun will, someday. If the star is big enough -- WHOOOOOSH! CRASH! BOOM! -- it might turn into a black hole after it collapses. But what is a black hole?

The book playfully explodes the misinformation that surrounds black holes, from the myth that they “feed” on galaxies to their very name – because they are not holes at all! With this premise in place, and using a question and answer format and a conversational tone, the author sheds light on one of the biggest mysteries of the universe. The information is presented methodically: Where in the universe a black hole might be found (quadrillions of miles from Earth), its gravitational pull (along with a neat recap of Newton’s ground-breaking findings), the amount of star power needed to create a black hole (more than our Sun has!), and why a black hole is black (no light escapes). Some questions appear in cartoon speech bubbles as if anticipating readers’ queries and thoughts. Eye-opening, full-page illustrations illuminate the text and include diagrams, artist’s representations, and telescope images, many of which come from NASA. Readers will be surprised to discover that one of the biggest break-throughs in understanding black holes came about because radio energy from outer space was interfering with phone signals! Then, of course, there is the most important revelation of all: a black hole is not a hole, it’s more of a…ah! we won’t ruin the surprise!  Even the backmatter is engaging and includes an illustrated Time Line, Glossary, Resources, Image Credits, and Index. Parents and teachers will especially appreciate the Author’s Note in which Ms. DeCristofano highlights the importance of credible sources.

Once they dig in, kids are sure to love being lost in space!

Reviewed by : JMcD


If you love this book, then try:

Downie, Neil A. The Ultimate Book of Saturday Science: The Very Best Backyard Experiments You Can Do Yourself. Princeton University Press, 2012.

Floca, Brian. Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11. Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books, 2012.

Jefferis, David. Black Holes: And Other Bizarre Space Objects. Crabtree Pub Co, 2006.

Critics have said

"Oh, my stars! As the cover proclaims, a black hole may not be an actual hole, but readers will be glad they fell into this book. "
Kirkus Reviews

"While this won't get you into a graduate level physics class, it is a great starting point for younger readers. Beautiful illustrations of the universe keep the text from getting too heavy. Highly recommended."

"This introduction to black holes takes readers from simple to complex by dropping definitions and information slowly and clearly into the lively narrative."
School Library Journal