Turning the Spotlight on “Fireflies and Shooting Stars”

April 21, 2013

Dark theatreWhen I went to the SCBWI LA conference (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) in 2011, one of the first people I met was a tall, friendly man named Ed Raarup. I was immediately impressed by his warmth and his enthusiasm for his writing project, which he was working on with my friend and mentor, Emma Walton Hamilton.

His project has come to fruition in a wonderful 144-page book, Fireflies and Shooting Stars: The Tale of Enzo, and after reading it, I can certainly understand his enthusiasm. I’d like to introduce Fireflies and Shooting Stars to you today.

fireflies and shooting starsTitle: Fireflies and Shooting Stars: ‘The Tale of Enzo’

Author: Ed Raarup

Illustrator:  Lindsay D. Nery

Publisher: Milford, PA: Moonwatch Productions, 2012

Genre: Illustrated chapter book with accompanying CD

Audience Age: 4 to 10

Themes/Topics: Individuality, individual gifts, special needs, finding what each one shines at

Opening Sentences: Once upon a summer night, when the Moon was full and the stars were bright, Maggy and Luca Firefly brought their young son, Enzo, to the field to see the magic lights of the fireflies and shooting stars for the very first time.

Synopsis: Enzo, a young firefly, is distressed because he doesn’t yet have his light. He is teased for this, and it causes both him and his family problems – he has trouble finding his way in the dark, and they have trouble finding him in the dark.

His mother teaches him the Star Song, which is sung by both the fireflies and the shooting stars that come out to join them on warm summer nights. She urges him to remember that song always, for it will always lead him home. His father tries to find ways to make a light for his son, and Enzo tries his best to endure the teasing and taunting and difficulties brought on by his difference.

Finally, Enzo goes in search of the mythical Joel, who is told of in story and song – he hopes this greatest of the fireflies, who now lives among the shooting stars, will help him to find his light. In the end he learns where his light was all along. (And for you to find out the answer, you’ll have to read the book!)

This is a unique book – a richly illustrated large-format chapter book with an accompanying music CD. Throughout the story, different characters sing to or with Enzo, and the songs are performed beautifully on the CD by the multi-talented author Ed, and others. The most moving song for me is the lovely Star Song, the song that reminds Enzo that “the light will bring you home.”

For more information about the book, please take the time to read the website. For Ed’s biography, as well as biographies of the other performers on the CD, please click here.

Availability: Readily available either at the Fireflies and Shooting Stars website or in online bookstores.

14 People reacted on this

  1. Oustanding review of Ed’s book Beth. I was astounded at what a really beautiful and high-quality book Ed’s created. Down to the pages. Beautiful message for kds. I really look forward to listening to all of the music on the CD.

    1. Wow — what a nice surprise to start the week! Thank you Beth so much for your spotlight review and kind words. I’m honored and glad that you, Pat and others have been enjoying my work. This project has truly been a joyful journey for me on many levels — from the people I’ve worked with and the many people who have let me know how Enzo has touched their lives. I look forward to the possibilities that lie ahead. The support and resources from Emma’s Children’s Book Hub alone have been incredible. The HUB provides a great opportunity and community for any writer to be part of. Gratefully yours, Ed Raarup

      1. @Ed — It was such a delight for me to read your book and to be able to review it today. It truly is a lovely book, and is such an important message for kids and grown-ups as well.

        So glad to hear that the Hub is proving a good resource for you! Thank you so much for saying that.

  2. This sounds like a beautiful book for children. Rather important topic, dealing with the teasing of others. Important to teach children early on how to deal with that given what they may encounter as they grow older.

  3. This sounds lovely, Beth! I love the opening sentence. And I like the idea of a large format illustrated chapter book. Thanks for sharing!

    Sorry I’m always late to comment… aside from being perpetually behind these days, I don’t get your blog notifications until the day after you post. But even when I’m not commenting I’m reading 🙂

    1. Thanks, Susanna! Not to worry about being late to comment. Since I changed my subscription provider, a lot of people get their notifications late. It’s frustrating, but it is what it is. Thanks for reading!

    1. Thanks, Rhythm! I think some of the kids you work with would really like this one. It’s a little long to read all at once, though. Do you ever read long books with kids, over several visits?

    1. Thank you, Louise — both for visiting my blog today, and for expressing an interest in the book. I am quite sure you and your children will love it!

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