7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #719: Featuring Jason Chin

h1 November 29th, 2020 by jules


Jason Chin’s newest picture book, Your Place in the Universe (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House, September 2020), is the kind of book that tiny-me would have looooooved. As a child, I’d sit and think about the immeasurable vastness of the universe and wonder what, if anything, was at the edges of it. Chin’s book is all about scale, size, and distance — on our own planet and in the universe as a whole. And he expertly, and beautifully, structures this small book about such a big cosmological subject — no small task, indeed.

The book begins, as you can see below, with eight-year-olds, looking through a telescope. They are, we read, “about five times as tall as this book.” But they’re only half as tall as the ostrich that approaches them. Chin continues to introduce us to even taller, grander things: We go from a giraffe to a redwood tree to the tallest buildings built by humans, even one under construction. After looking at the highest peak on Earth, we turn to the atmosphere, orienting the book vertically for a moment, and then outer space. We explore the vastness of our solar system until, eventually, we’re reading about galaxy clusters and “the cosmic web.” All of this manages—especially at the book’s close when we return to the eight-year-olds—to put our place in the universe (just as the title promises) into perspective:

In the vast cosmic web, in the Milky Way, in the solar system, there is a small blue planet called Earth. Earth is the only planet we know of with life. It’s the only planet we know of with trees, giraffes, and ostriches. It’s the only planet we know of with kids who can look up and imagine … their place in the universe.

Chin, who also co-designed the book, takes complicated and awesome (in the truest sense of the word) concepts and makes them understandable for young readers. His illustrations are beguiling and manage to pack in a lot of information without being too busy. (And the book’s abundant back matter provides even more information.) Check out the “universe is everything” spread below, and tell me you aren’t captivated. Many of these spreads are truly breathtaking; this is a book infused with wonder.

And if readers didn’t get a sense of Chin’s wonder for the subject matter, this would still be a detailed, informative read, but it’s that wonder, his sense of amazement over it all, that takes the book to new heights (bad pun intended).

Here are some illustrations for you to enjoy. …


(Click to enlarge)


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“The universe is everything:
every star and every galaxy, every planet, and all of space. …”

(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)


“… their place in the universe.”
(Click spread to enlarge)


(Click cover to enlarge)


YOUR PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE. Text and illustrations copyright © 2020 by Jason Chin. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Neal Porter Books, an imprint of Holiday House, New York.

* * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’s Kicks * * *

1) Walks.

2) Chocolate silk pie.

3) Ahsoka on The Mandalorian! (Ahsoka Tano has been my daughters’ very favorite Star Wars character for yeeeeeears now.)

4) Being reminded this past week of this poem by Jane Kenyon. It’s a good giving-thanks kind of poem.

5) Andrew Bird bringing us more holiday music:



6) Watching The Happiest Season with my family. Our first holiday movie this year. Even more entertaining is seeing the reaction on Twitter (that Abby should have ran off with Riley — can’t say that I disagree!).

7) This picture my husband got of our tree:



What are YOUR kicks this week?

7 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #719: Featuring Jason Chin”

  1. YOUR PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE is a book that I would love. I am taken with the night skies, the desert, and ocean because of their vastness.
    Jules, Chocolate silk pie, yum, I want to see The Happiest Season, and your tree is gorgeous.

    My kicks 1-7 this week are about Buster. He had back surgery for a bulged disc on Wednesday, he came through it well and while recovery will be long, he’s doing well. Awesome team of doctors and techs. And in-between doting on him, I am slowly getting the house decorated.
    Have a great week.

  2. I can’t decide which I like better: the actual tree or its magical gumdrop reflection!
    Kicks: 1. I’m assembling a Memory Book for mentor who is retiring for a while. I have heartfelt letters and artwork from 60 friends who have also worked with Hannah.
    2. serious walks.
    3. Looking forward to a third cat briefly joining our holiday household for 1-2 weeks. Yikes?
    4. time in the studio to work.
    5. the pleasure that comes before the dread of not feeling prepared for the holidays :-p

  3. Happy Sunday, Imps! Hope you had a lovely weekend.

    Hello to Jason and all of the creatures in the universe!

    Jules: Yum, chocolate.

    Jone: Sending healing vibes to Buster!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Accomplishments
    2) Scratching things off the to-do list
    3) Applications
    4) Ebb
    5) Flow
    6) Streaming
    7) Sure

  4. What a gorgeous book! Love the perspective it gives and the illustrations. I especially love learning that 2 eight-year-olds standing on each other are not quite as tall as an ostrich.

    Jules – chocolate silk pie, wow. Your tree looks lovely, and that poem is a perfect pick for a thanksgiving week. The Happiest Season was very fun and The Mandalorian is so so good. I am not as up on the Star Wars lore, but love Rosario Dawson and really loved this episode.

    Jone – so happy Buster’s surgery went well and that he’s on the road to recovery. Sending healing thoughts his way.

    My kicks this week:
    1) Not cooking for Thanksgiving.
    2) My pre-ordered non-turkey Thanksgiving dinner from local spot Coquine was so very good.
    3) Mimosas on Thanksgiving.
    4) Watching The Happiest Season and other fun holiday movies to get into the holiday spirit.
    5) My copy of The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans arrived. Can’t wait to dig in.
    6) Sunday morning (remote) yoga. Daisy joined in, as usual.
    7) Getting the holiday decorations out today.
    7.5) So thankful for the many ways of being able to stay connected with friends and family while staying at home.

    Have a wonderful week Imps!

  5. Jone, so good to hear that Buster is doing well!

    Rob, what a cool gift (the memory book). Also, your last kick is making me laugh.

    LW: “Sure.” I like that. And good luck with any and all applications!

    Rachel: I’m with you on that last kick. Also: Mimosas on Thanksgiving. I LOVE IT. Now I want one. Hugs to Daisy.

    Have a good week, you all!

  6. Rob – hooray for serious walks.

    Little Willow – scratching things off the to-do list is such a great feeling!

  7. Rob, yay for time in the studio.
    LW:Ebb and flow, yes.
    Rachel: Oh yum! Coquine! It’s be too long.

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