A CAT’S GUIDE TO THE NIGHT SKY

My most recent book, “A CAT’S GUIDE TO THE NIGHT SKY” was published last year by Laurence King.

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With beautiful illustrations created by one of the UK’s most popular and accomplished artists, Brendan Kearney, “A Cat’s Guide To The Night Sky” was published by Laurence King in October 2018, and is a guide to the night sky and getting started in amateur astronomy with a unique twist: the book’s main character is a starry-eyed, stargazing cat called Felicity!

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“A Cat’s Guide To The Night Sky” was inspired during a trip to the Kielder Starcamp (”star camps” are special camping events, where amateur astronomers get together at a remote site to enjoy observing and photographing a night sky unspoiled by light pollution) in late 2016, when I briefly took my cat, Peggy – a rescue cat who had a very hard life before being adopted by my partner, Stella – outside to allow Stella to tidy their folding camper without interruption.

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Whilst holding Peggy I noticed she was looking at the night sky, eyes darting from constellation to constellation. A classic “light bulb moment” followed: I wondered if cats were as fascinated by the night sky as humans? After all, they were often out all night, and from the tops of trees and tall buildings, often in very dark places, they would have a grandstand view of the night sky…

This idea became “A Cat’s Guide To The Night Sky”, a richly-illustrated, fun guide to the night sky, which explains to young readers how to identify stars, planets and constellations. There are star charts for each season, as well as advice on how to see the phases of the Moon, meteor showers and even the northern lights.

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The book’s guide is a fun, starry-eyed stargazing cat called Felicity. She is seen on every page, observing the stars and leaping across the night sky, and was, of course, inspired by and is a tribute to Peggy, who accompanied Stella and I on many astronomy expeditions before she died in 2017. In the book, Felicity strongly resembles Peggy – but with one striking and touching difference: Felicity has a tail, whereas Peggy’s tail was cut off when she was young.

The book is also a tribute to another cat – Felicitte. Most people are familiar with the story of Laika, the first dog in space, but few know that in 1963 a French stray cat called Felicite became the first cat to go into space, so I decided to name the book’s narrator in her honour.

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“A Cat’s Guide To The Night Sky” is a large format hardback aimed at young readers aged 7-11 and retails for £14.99. It has been published in 15 languages (so far!), including these…

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Now also published in Korea – see how they’ve turned the title into a cat with ears and a tail?

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* * * * UPDATE 1: “CAT’S GUIDE” IS NOW AN AWARD-WINNING BOOK! * * * *

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* * * * UPDATE 2: “CAT’S GUIDE” LONGLISTED FOR MAJOR UK BOOK AWARD! * * * *

“A Cat’s Guide To The Night Sky” has been longlisted for the prestigious SLA Information Book Award!

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Update: sadly we weren’t shortlisted but it was an achievement just to make the longlist! 🙂

“A Cat’s Guide To The Night Sky” is available from all major high street booksellers and online book retailers. You can read Amazon reviews here.

Other reviews of the book can be found here:

Book Trust review

Glass of Wine review

Here you can read a blog interview with me, talking about the book, on the Laurence King website.

Below: promoting the book on the LK stand at a librarians conference in Manchester last year…

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Above: promoting the book at the lovely “Bookends” bookshop in Carlisle.

 

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Above: promoting “Cat’s Guide” at the beautiful “Imagined Things” bookshop in Harrogate.

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Above: promoting the book at the lovely Waterstones shop on King Street in Lancaster in June 2019…

 

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Above: Felicity and I promoting the book at the brilliant “The Big Malarkey” festival in Hull in June 2019. In a big tent with a starry ceiling I gave two talks about the book and the night sky, showed meteorites, dinosaur poo (really!) and a piece of the Moon, and then signed copies of the book people bought from the Waterstones tent. They sold out all their stock! 🙂

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Above: Felicity and I promoted our book at the brilliant “Solarsphere” astronomy and music festival in Wales in early August. She met all sorts of famous people, talked about her book to lots of young readers, and even chatted to a famous Time Lord!!

Below: Felicity and I promoted our book at the brilliant new literary festival “Tidelines” in Grange over Sands last month… Here you can see Felicity making a new friend, awesome writer Katie Hale (who has written a fantastic novel called “My Name is Monster” which you should definitely buy!)

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