Celebrating Lydia Lukidis’ New Picture Book Biography of Dr. Mae Jemison

Lydia Lukidis

This week, I’m welcoming author Lydia Lukidis. Do you know Lydia’s gorgeous book, Deep, Deep, Down? I wrote a poetryaction to it a while back. Lydia’s a wonderful children’s author who has, for years, lifted up other authors on her blog, Blissfully Bookish.  I’m so happy to have her visit today!

Dancing Through Space: Dr. Mae Jemison Soars to New Heights is a lovely picture book biography (illustrated by Sawyer Cloud) of Jemison, the first Black woman in space. Lukidis uses very clever parallel passages to display Jemison’s twin passions: science and dance. I love the structure, and I also love that this book celebrates lifelong learning and multiple talents/loves. It rejects the idea that you have to choose ONE thing and do ONLY that one thing. We are not just one thing. In fact, the multiple things we love and do impact each other, too.

Even though it was Jemison’s role as an astronaut that secured her place in history, dance language oozes into that part of her story too. “The shuttle orbited the earth in a slow choreography…” and “as she danced through space and floated among the stars.” Dreamy, right?

from Dancing Through Space, text © Lydia Lukidis, art © Sawyer Cloud

And here’s Lydia to share a little bit more! Welcome, Lydia!

I’m so excited to celebrate the release of my new STEAM picture book DANCING THROUGH SPACE: Dr. Mae Jemison Soars to New Heights illustrated by Sawyer Cloud and published by Albert Whitman. The book features two of Dr. Mae Jemison’s passions: science and dance. It’s written as a dual narrative and as the story unfolds, the two worlds merge, illuminating how art and science are both essential parts of our world.

I started writing this book in 2014. The road to publication was long and bumpy, and really taught me a lot about not only the industry, but about the process of writing itself. Here are a few things I learned:

- Crafting a stellar hook is crucial (it took me years to find mine).

Hook = research + time

- Be open to critique. I still read all comments made by editors sent to my agent, not because I’m a glutton for punishment, but because I take the comments that resonate and use them to better my text.

- DON’T GIVE UP! It’s true that we writers won’t always publish everything we write, it’s part of the journey. But if a book has a special place in your heart and you feel there’s room for it on the market, persevere. It took me 10 years, 3 agents, and multiple interested editors to get here.

Lastly, here’s an exercise educators can use in the classroom:

Activity: Compare and Contrast

from Dancing Through Space, text © Lydia Lukidis, art © Sawyer Cloud
  • Make a class Venn Diagram chart to show what Dr. Mae Jemison learned from science, dance, and from both at once. 
  • Draw and label Dr. Mae Jemison pursuing her dreams. Draw yourself too!
  • Retell the story of Dr. Mae Jemison’s life. Cite the text to show what her hard work led her to achieve in the fields of science, medicine, and dance. Create a timeline of events.

 

TO ALL EDUCATORS & LIBRARIANS:

I’m giving free virtual presentations for those who buy a copy of my book. If you would like to reserve a spot, register here!

 

Lydia Lukidis is the author of 50+ trade and educational books for children. Her titles include DANCING THROUGH SPACE: Dr. Mae Jemison Soars to New Heights (Albert Whitman, 2024), DEEP, DEEP, DOWN: The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench (Capstone, 2023) which was shortlisted for a Silver Birch Express (Forest of Reading) award, THE BROKEN BEES’ NEST (Kane Press, 2019) which was nominated for a Cybils Award, and NO BEARS ALLOWED (Clear Fork Media, 2019). A science enthusiast from a young age, she now incorporates her studies in science and her everlasting curiosity into her books.

Connect with Lydia:

Web
Presale links
Blog
Twitter/X
FB

Thank you, Lydia, and congratulations on this fabulous new book! I hope you get lots of takers for your free virtual presentations! I’m sure they’ll be amazing!

[My Classroom Connections posts share a way to connect one of my books or poems to a classroom topic–often something timely that you might be covering in the next month or so. Please share this post if you have educator friends who might be interested–thanks!]

2 Responses

  1. I love this inspirational biography and the unique way that Lydia wrote it. The illustrations work perfectly to highlight the comparisons of Dr. Jemison’s passions. I think the message that you can do more than one thing is important for children to learn.

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