We are pleased to welcome Mary Helen Gensch as a monthly contributor. Mary Helen is an avid reader and passionate about finding craft moves in children’s books. For years she has chronicled books + craft moves on her blog, Book Savors. She also has a knack for finding videos and author websites to help know the story behind the book.


Roll out the red carpet! The Sun has arrived and is the star of the show! All of the planets are here, thankful for the Sun’s mighty gifts. The sun works continually and influences all things in our universe.

Nick Seluk invites readers to not only learn about the planets in our solar system, but also to engage with them in this nonfiction narrative. He calls in, “Learning with style!” (Click here to view Nick and his daughter talking about The Sun is Kind of a Big Deal.) The informative texts shares scientific findings as humorous comments are showered throughout the narrative. Kids will enjoy learning and retain the content as they connect with these personified characters, the planets. Even Pluto has its moments to add in, shedding light on the reason it’s not considered a planet anymore.

Here is a 30 second book trailer by Scholastic.

The illustrations gravitate toward realistic connections that will certainly stick with kids. If I were teaching the solar system, I would use The Sun is Kind of a Big Deal as a mentor reference text. The illustrations showcase scientific knowledge in a conversation-like setting. As I read through the book, I felt like I was involved in a reenactment or having a conversation with the personified characters. The book definitely invites the reader to investigate farther. This book has become one of my top book picks for nonfiction.

Scholastic Book Clubs is featuring The Sun is Kind of a Big Deal at book fairs this year and also in book club fliers. Check out this introductory video with Nick.

I wonder what kind of books your kids could create modeling after Nick Seluk’s style? Challenge your kids to bring their writing alive. Can’t you sense the excitement already while learning key elements?

Savoring’s for reading and writing in The Sun is Kind of a Big Deal:

  • Personification
  • Voice
  • Play on Words
  • Scientific Modeling
  • Comic Strip Features
  • Illustrated Concepts
  • Hybrid Text
  • Glossary/Vocabulary
  • Added Tidbits in the Back

I recommend pairing this book with My Light by Molly Bang for further study.

AIbEiAIAAABECOnu0uelx-m83QEiC3ZjYXJkX3Bob3RvKihiZDU0OWY4OWI4MjUyZDA3NzJlYmY0ZjI5YTFlZWViYmMxNzNkZGJlMAEu6CofFl8qu1wPd5_qd1XO1lxLWAMary Helen Gensch is currently a Title I specialist at Pierceton Elementary School (Whitko School Corporation). She was one of the first instructional writing coaches when All-Write originally formed. Her love affair with picture books began by reading Wondrous Words by Katie Wood Ray.  Katie nudges readers to go to the library and read, immersing themselves in the words. It is Mary Helen’s wish for you to let children catch your passion for reading. Join her in savoring some books as you read-like-a-writer. Find more at Mary Helen’s super-organized blog, Book Savors. Also, follow her on Instagram @BookSavors or Twitter @MHGBooks.


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