The Stuff Between the Stars

How Vera Rubin Discovered Most of the Universe

by Sandra Nickel & Aimee Sicuro (Abrams Books for Young Readers, March 2, 2021)

Before Vera Rubin discovered most of the universe, she was a girl who loved the night sky. She watched the Big Dipper circle the North Star. And when her eyelids grew heavy, she dreamed not about what she had seen, but about what she had not seen. She dreamed about the mysteries between the stars.

As Vera grew older, she tried to uncover those mysteries. At her first conference, the male astronomers said her ideas were “outlandish.” They said they were “ridiculous.” Vera didn’t like their harsh words, pushing her away. So she started studying far away galaxies no one else was interested in. The youngest wheeled like pinwheels. The oldest spun with their arms closed tight. And every single one showed that between the stars, there is stuff we cannot see. Scientists before Vera had suspected this “dark matter” made up most of the universe. But no one had been able to show it was there. No one, until Vera.

“A truly beautiful story of perseverance and passion.”BOOKLIST

“This engaging biography will appeal to budding scientists, particularly those with a penchant for sky searching.” —KIRKUS REVIEWS

Awards and Lists

The Stuff Between the Stars is a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, an American Library Association Rise Honoree for 2022, and the winner of a Crystal Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. It was named a Best Children’s Book of 2021 by Air and Space Magazine, a Best Children’s Book of the Year by the Bank Street College of Education, a Best STEM Book for K-12 for 2022 by The National Science Teaching Association and the Children’s Book Council, and a Mighty Girl 2021 Book of the Year. It was also nominated for the 2023 Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award.