Youniverse

This nonfiction picture book, by a South African writer, explores how light weaves the universe together and how much we have in common with a quivering aspen leaf and the dust of a distant nebula.

Youniverse

Youniverse aims to inspire a reverence for our fragile blue planet voyaging through space. The lyrical text and simple, childlike illustrations linger on one object at a time, building a mind-liberating journey from electrons and photos through atoms, molecules, cells, and the human body; outward to the solar system, the Milky Way, and the universe; and backward to the beginning of time in the Big Bang. Light weaves through the pages as it weaves the universe together, showing us that we have almost everything in common with a quivering aspen leaf and the dust of a distant nebula. “Your imagination is the greatest of miracles,” van der Merwe writes, “a consciousness that contemplates the atoms and the stars from which it was made.”

A child sees a world in a tidepool and an enchanted forest in a copse of trees. Songbirds speak messages. Moonlight whispers through an open window. The inner and outer worlds flow together without boundaries. Does growing up have to mean leaving that magic kingdom behind? Lizelle van der Merwe believes that a child’s sense of wonder should instead be encouraged, expanded, and immortalized with the real-life magic of science. The more we know about the quantum worlds within and outside us, the more wisdom is evident in a child’s view of the world.