Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Stargazing Book Poster Image
Sweet friendship-themed graphic novel has a medical scare.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 8+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Some insights into Asian American culture, especially Chinese and Taiwanese American. Some beliefs of  Buddhism explained. Effects of a kind of brain tumor explained. An author's note at the end explains some of the author's real-life experiences the book is based on, and talks about her mixed feelings being part of a close community but also wanting to be her own, unique person.

Positive Messages

You can't change the past, but you can learn from your mistakes and try to do better in the future. Being part of a supportive, caring community is important, but don't be afraid to be your own unique self, even if some parts of you are different from others -- they're what make you, you. Children make up a dance routine to a fictional song with lyrics that glorify a "queen-bee" attitude.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A tight-knit Asian American community has a wide variety of people, personalities, beliefs, and cultural and racial backgrounds all getting along, including a school with a diverse student body. Community members help one another through difficult times. Christine's tight-knit family emphasizes doing what's right and learning from your mistakes. Moon and her mother model a close relationship and how having different beliefs and values doesn't affect people's ability to be friends. Christine is serious and studious, and when she makes a mistake she learns from it and apologizes. Moon is more freewheeling but at first can't control her anger. She realizes she shouldn't hurt others and sees a counselor about it. Moon also handles her medical scare and its aftermath with grace and humor.

Violence & Scariness

Two incidents show a kid knocking another kid down and the illustrations imply the aggressor punches the victim in the face, once knocking a tooth out of one of the victims. A medical scare means an important character has to have brain surgery; people are worried, upset, and scared, but there's a safe resolution.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Stargazing is a graphic novel about two elementary-school girls, Christine and Moon, who become unlikely friends given that they're so different. Twice Moon knocks another kid down and the illustrations imply she punches their faces without showing the actual punch; she knocks one kid's tooth out. Later she apologizes to one of her victims and sees a counselor about her anger. There's also some scariness, worry, and sadness when a character has to have brain surgery, but there's a safe resolution. Lots of positive messages about doing what's right, learning from mistakes, and supporting one another through difficult times. Also lots of positive role models for Asian Americans that can inspire thought about how to be your unique self, and what exactly being "Asian" is, anyway.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

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Kid, 11 years old September 1, 2020

Good book

It’s a pretty good book and (spoiler alert) when Moon gets into the hospital for the brain tumor, it’s really page turning. It’s a quick read, but it’s good! Fo... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old December 28, 2019

Really good

Stargazing is an example of friendship and two girls who come from different paths. It might be a little scary for really young kids because one of the friends... Continue reading

What's the story?

STARGAZING tells the unlikely friendship story of elementary schoolers Christine and Moon. Christine's friends warn her to stay away from Moon, who has a reputation for beating people up. But when Moon moves in next door to Christine, Christine finally meets someone very different from what she expected. Their friendship grows as the two girls ride to school together and start working on a talent-show routine. Moon is truly different, in many ways that Christine wishes she could be, too. So why does Christine betray Moon and draw away from her, just when a serious medical condition means Moon needs a friend more than ever?

Is it any good?

This is a sweet, lively, and engaging graphic novel about friendship and fitting in. Stargazing is also a refreshing glimpse into a tight-knit, Asian American community that shows a wide variety of people, types, lifestyles, and beliefs all getting along and supporting one another in tough times. Big kids and tweens will relate to Christine as she struggles with both wanting to fit in and to be her own person, and with what it means to be a friend. Author-illustrator Jen Wang brings warmth, grace, and plenty of humor that'll keep even reluctant readers engaged in this heartwarming story.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the different kinds of people in Stargazing. Why is it important to show different kinds of people living and going to school together? How important is fitting in?

  • Have you or someone you know ever had a serious medical condition? Many people who do feel worried and scared. What makes you feel better when you're worried or scared about something?

  • Have you read many other graphic novels? How did you like this one? What would you like to read next?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love graphic novels and friendship stories

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