The Stuff Between the Stars: How Vera Rubin Discovered Most of the Universe


5-10 years


Historical Figures


Women in STEM

Sandra Nickel & Aimée Sicuro


I love a good book about a historical figure in STEM, and Vera Rubin is a marvelous example of that. Vera was a young girl that grew up interested in science, staying up late to study the stars. When she expressed interest in pursuing STEM in college, a guidance counselor attempted to dissuade her from science and instead suggested she become a painter. Vera attended Vassar and was the only astronomy major. From there, she began her ascent into the stars.

The Stuff Between the Stars is a broad biography of Vera’s life, focusing on her decades of work before she was taken seriously. Vera discovered dark matter, literally the stuff between the stars, and nobody believed her. There were many societal factors that come into play: gender stereotypes & expectations, misogyny, and on the flip side the privilege Vera had to attend school in the first place. This book is well-written, and the illustrations are beautiful. It gives a holistic view of how driven Vera was, she worked for years by herself in order to have other scientists believe that her research was valid and correct. I appreciate a book that clearly states when individuals have persevered long and hard to become valued voices in their chosen fields.

This book was kindly sent by Blue Slip Media, and published by Abrams Kids.

Sandra Nickel

Sandra holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has presented workshops on writing for children and young adults throughout Europe and the United States. Her poetry can be found in SCOOP magazine. Sandra was honored to be a winner of the Christopher Award, a two-time winner of the Katherine Paterson Prize for picture books and a finalist for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Golden Kite Award.

Aimée Sicuro

Aimée Sicuro is an illustrator, picture book maker and surface pattern designer living in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and young son. She graduated from Columbus College of Art and Design with a BFA in Illustration. 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. sandranickel says:

    Thank you so much for shining your spotlight on Vera Rubin and The Stuff Between the Stars! Vera is such an incredible role model for kids—for all of us, really—and I appreciate so much that you are shouting out her story to all of your readers. 🌟

    1. lockehardy says:

      Thank you so much for the kind words! Vera is a brilliant role model, not just in STEM! I’m so happy to have read your book.

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