See You in the Cosmos (2017)

Winner, Golden Kite Award • Winner, Great Lakes Great Reads Award • Junior Library Guild Selection • Top 10 Kids’ IndieNext Pick • Amazon Best Children’s Books of 2017 • Starred reviews in Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly

See You in the Cosmos is both my first novel for young readers, and my first novel to be published by a major publisher. Here’s the official description from the (quite beautiful) jacket:

See You in the Cosmos Jacket

Jacket Art: Heads of State / Art Director: Jacqui McDonough

11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan—named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he’ll uncover—from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.

Sound interesting? I hope so. It was published jointly in the spring of 2017 by Dial Books for Young Readers (US) and Puffin (UK). It’s also available now in translation from other publishers in over thirty countries. There’s an audiobook, too, complete with sound design and an ensemble cast (it’s great).

Out of all the things that early readers have said about the book, this, from Gary D. Schmidt, author of National Book Award finalist Okay for Now, is one of my favorites:

It is not always that we read a novel that so powerfully affirms our human capacity for grace and love and understanding; we need this book for the ways in which it gives us more to be human beings with.

Tools for being human! I really like that.


Where to get your copy:

Your local bookstore / Libraries / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks


Podcast

If you’re interested in a how See You in the Cosmos became a published book, you’re in luck. I made a podcast about its making, in which I interviewed many of the people involved in the process. Here’s the introduction:

You can listen to the entire fifteen-episode series on SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, and other places you find podcasts. There’s also an RSS feed, for those who know what that is.


Commonly Asked Questions

Here are some questions I often get asked about the book. If you have any others, don’t hesitate email me. Even if you don’t have any questions, and just want to share your experience reading the book, I’d be thrilled to hear from you. I especially love hearing from young readers!

What inspired you to write the book?

I get this one a lot. Here’s what I said in an interview on the blog of the Michigan chapter of SCBWI (The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators):

I had the idea for the story when I was back at my parents’ house over Thanksgiving, in 2012. I was hanging out in my younger brother’s room and saw that he had a copy of Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, and remembered an episode of the NPR show Radiolab that I’d heard years before, in which Sagan’s widow Ann Druyan talked about how the two fell in love as they worked to gather sounds for the Voyager Golden Record. When I woke up the next morning, the basic premise just popped into my head: A boy and his dog; an iPod bound for space.

Will there be a sequel?

I’m not currently working on one, but maybe in the future. We’ll see :)

Is there going to be a movie? I hope there’s a movie!

I hope so too! I’ve been talking to producers and directors about it but that’s still a long ways from it being a movie you can watch. If you work in film/television and are interested in rights, please contact my agent, Mary Pender.

Do you do school visits?

I do. Educators can contact me for info about my availability and speaking fees. As an alternative to in-person visits, I also do Skype calls for free. I’ve found that these work best as informal Q&As, lasting about a half hour, with groups who’ve already read the book. And if you happen to be a student and your class or reading group has read See You in the Cosmos, you can ask your teacher or librarian/media specialist to email me.

Do you have a dog?

I do! You can see a picture of him on my About page.


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