"Cassandra and the Night Sky" is about a brave girl who grows up in a land without stars. She stumbles upon the night sky, thought to be stolen by an evil king and courageously brings it back for all to enjoy.
Being an astronomy educator, I tell star stories quite often. My favorite stories aren't the Greek and Roman stories you often hear. I get inspired by star stories from different cultures. In one of my classes I gave the students a blank star field and asked them to make their own constellations and star stories.
It was such a hit that I decided to create my own and asked my mother, a wonderful artist, to illustrate it. Little did I know that it would bring this mother and daughter team closer together.
At first we were thinking of self-publishing and so found Bright Sky Press, a publishing company out of Houston, TX where my mother lives and where I grew up. Bright Sky Press was so impressed with the drawings and story that they decided to partner with us in publishing it. We are raising funds to pay for our end of the publishing, editing and layout costs of the book so we can put it out to the public.
We hope that "Cassandra and the Night Sky" inspires others to make up their own star stories to tell, but most importantly, to look up at the night sky and wonder.
Thank you for supporting this idea and being a part of bringing it to the world!
I am the founder and director of Starry Sky Austin. My lifelong dream is to be an astronaut. Growing up in Houston with NASA in my backyard, I visited the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center as often as I could, based all my school science projects on space (yes, each and every one) and went to Space Camp in the 8th grade. My high school physics teacher, Mr. Burris, inspired me to study physics in college. My love of the mountains and the outdoors drew me to Colorado where I studied Recreation and Tourism-Interpretation at Colorado State University. I didn’t forget my dream while playing in the mountains and transferred back home to the University of Houston where I earned my Bachelor of Physics. After graduating from UH I attended Rice University and graduated with a Master of Science Teaching degree and my Texas Teaching Certificate in Science grades 4-8. I taught at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, in private and public school and started a family. A mother of 3, I have over 18 years experience teaching and working with the public. I have spent the past 8 years following my passion by inspiring Austin and the surrounding communities with hands-on astronomy classes through Starry Sky Austin. Most recently, I traveled to Guatemala to do astronomy outreach with kids and families from coffee Finca La Merced. I am also currently employed as an astronomy educator at Travis County Milton Reimers Ranch Observatory.
Teaching Experience: Grades 6-12 Science and Math; Houston Museum of Natural Science Astronomy Dept. ; LCRA Hyatt Lost Pines Resort Stargazing ; first Austin Planetarium AstroCamp; Austin Nature and Science Center School Programs; UT Informal Classes; Starry Sky Austin
Volunteer Experience: Astronomy Outreach in Guatemala, Project Astro, AISD; LBJ Wildflower Center Nature Nights; Girls Scouts of America Lone Star Chapter; Texas chapter of the International Dark Sky Association
Member: International Dark Sky Association, Austin Astronomical Society, Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin
I never had any formal training as an artist. I always loved drawing since I was very young, but my earliest memory of wanting to be an artist was when I was in the third grade. Later, through junior high and high school, I was always drawing. In high school I took art class for all four years and won some awards. Some of my fellow students would ask me to paint or draw something for them, and they would pay me a small amount. A few of my teachers would do the same. I was happy to oblige, because I had extra spending money and it paid for my art supplies. My senior year in high school, my art teacher asked if I could paint football cartoons for the backdrop of the goal in which the football players would run through at the beginning of a game. It would take me one week and the entire stage to paint the giant poster. I had a lot of fun with that, and I even got class credit. My Mom’s friends would ask me to do charcoal portraits of their children. I did get paid quite well for that. Yet, I did not major in art in college, I was very good in science and I felt I needed to have a career I could depend on for a steady income, and so I went to nursing school, and became an R.N. I didn’t stop painting and drawing. I took a few private lessons. Drawing came easy to me but painting required me to take some lessons. Now, painting is my passion. Most of my paintings are in my home and homes of a few friends and my family members. This is my first time to explore colored pencils. It was a challenge at first. Now, I love it. Recently, my daughter, who has an education in and a passion for astronomy wanted to write a children’s book to inspire them to become familiar with the night sky. She asked me to illustrate her book. Of course, I told her I would give it a try. I always had a desire to illustrate a children’s book. She was pleased and I got a few friends to critique my illustrations. They all loved the art and the idea of a book like this. I’m very happy this was a joint effort and it was fun and rewarding to do this. Hopefully, we can do more.
Risks and challenges
The story and drawings are complete. Once we raise the funds to pay to publish our portion of the book, we can move ahead with our publisher and work with them to solidify the editing and layout and get it published! After it is published we will be working hard to get our book known through events, social media and word of mouth as well as book store signings.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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