Planet Earth Is Blue

"Tender and illuminating. A beautiful debut."

-Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach Me

Twelve-year-old Nova is eagerly awaiting the launch of the space shuttle Challenger--it's the first time a teacher is going into space, and kids across America will watch the event on live TV in their classrooms. Nova and her big sister, Bridget, share a love of astronomy and the space program. They planned to watch the launch together. But Bridget has disappeared, and Nova is in a new foster home.


While foster families and teachers dismiss Nova as severely autistic and nonverbal, Bridget understands how intelligent and special Nova is, and all that she can't express. As the liftoff draws closer, Nova's new foster family and teachers begin to see her potential, and for the first time, she is making friends without Bridget. But every day, she's counting down to the launch, and to the moment when she'll see Bridget again. Because Bridget said, "No matter what, I'll be there. I promise."

Distinctions & Where to Buy 

★Kirkus - starred review

★Booklist - starred review

★School Library Journal - starred review

~Charlotte Huck Award Recommended Read 2020

~Sunshine State Young Readers Award list 2020-2021

~Kirkus' Best Middle Grade Books of 2019

~Nerdy Book Club Award, Middle Grade 2019

~Parents' Choice Foundation: Gold Award

~A Mighty Girl's Best Middle Grade Books of 2019
~New York Public Library's Best Kids' Books of 2019

~Denver Public Library's Best & Brightest of 2019

~Connecticut Governor's Summer Reading List 

~Georgia Children's Book Award Finalist, 2021

~Kids' Indie Next List, Summer 2019 (IndieBound)

~Washington Post: KidsRead Summer Book Club selection

~American Booksellers Association: Best Books for Young Readers

~School Library Journal: 22 Stellar New Reads (July 2019)​

~Amazon: Best Children's Books So Far (2019)

~Mark Twain Readers Award Preliminary Nominee, 2020-2021

~Amazon: #1 New Release in Children's Orphans & Foster Homes

~The King's English: recommended Books for Kids (summer 2019)

~Imagination Soup: Best Books for Twelve Year Olds (7th Graders)

~Book Riot's 50 Must-Read Books by Debut Authors (Jan-June)

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“Bursting with worry, joy, empathy, humor, and even mischief, Nova is endearingly nuanced... Stellar.” 

—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Panteleakos masterfully blends character and plot in this gorgeous, hopeful story.” 

—Booklist, starred review 

“An exceptional debut featuring a character everyone can root for.” 

School Library Journal, starred review 


 "A sensitively told story that may help young readers stretch their compassion and empathy."

—Publisher's Weekly 

“Tender and illuminating, Planet Earth is Blue is a beautiful debut novel about the strength of a girl who knows exactly who she is, even when others can’t see her.” 

—Rebecca Stead, Newbery-winning author of When You Reach Me

“A powerful story about the extraordinary mind of a young girl with autism and the bond between sisters.”

—Ann M. Martin, Newbery Honor-winning author of A Corner of the Universe and the Baby-sitters Club 
“Nova is a character you will never forget, who will break your heart and put it back together again in a new way. She felt so real.”

—Gennifer Choldenko, Newbery Honor-winning author of Al Capone Does My Shirts and One-Third Nerd
“A remarkable, sensitively told debut with a joyfully positive portrayal of neurodifference. Nova and her indomitable spirit will remain with you long after you close the book.”

—Cindy Baldwin, author of Where the Watermelons Grow
“As close to perfect as a story can get. It speaks to heartbreak and joy, pain and resilience, tragedy and humanity (both big and small) in a unique and utterly engaging ‘speechless’ voice that transcends all boundaries.”

—Nora Raleigh Baskin, author of Anything but Typical and Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story 
“Nova’s story will wrap itself around your heart page after page after page. It's like reading a hug. A beautiful debut!”

—Ellie Terry, author of Forget Me Not

"(Nova) was real to me and extremely lovable."

—Helen Hoang, author of The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test

"All the stars in the galaxy to Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos. Luminous and heartfelt... this is an incredible book that will make you think and feel."
—Gillian McDunn, author of Caterpillar Summer 

"Readers will fall in love with 12-year-old Nova, who thinks deeply and feels strongly despite her inability to communicate in ways that most people understand. The author does a remarkable job of depicting Nova's life and thoughts... this is a symphonic novel that expertly weaves together history, science, and emotion."

—Rajani LaRocca, author of Midsummer's Mayhem 

"Filled with heart and hope, this debut novel is one you'll remember long after turning the last page. Highly recommended."

—Naomi Milliner, author of Super Jake & the King of Chaos

"This beautiful middle grade novel... is brimming with heartbreak, hope, warmth, and insight... This is such a compassionate, accomplished debut that combines thorough research with the author’s personal understanding and gives readers so much to think and talk about. An important addition to middle grade collections!"

—Laurie Morrison, author of Up for Air and co-author of Every Shiny Thing

"The way Nova processes everything around her is done in an intricate way that helps the reader see into the world of her mind when characters around her in the story often can’t. I was able to so closely relate to so much of what Nova did and felt through the story, but this is extremely accessible from a neurotypical perspective as well. It gives an honest glimpse into day-to-day life with a neurological disability... it both broke and warmed my heart, in that order. 
—Madison Lessard, #ActuallyAutistic blogger at 

"I feel like I can relate to a few of Nova's autistic problems, such as having to take short showers in the foster home. It's hard for me to take a short showers and stay on task. Also the smell of foods, such (as) oatmeal, and sometimes feeling stressed when schedule is changed...  there are many moments I can relate to."

—Teen Reader, name withheld, Dx: Autism at age 5

"I like it, like when Nova says 'Bidge, Bidge.' Like the end. Is a good book."

—Kid Reader, name withheld, Dx: Autism at age 2

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