Introduce Your Kids to Really Big Numbers: ‘A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars’

Books Education Featured Reviews Space & Astronomy
Image: Greenwillow Books

In honor of Pi Day (pi is not a large number, but it does go on forever and ever), I’m celebrating by reading a new book called A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman and illustrated by Isabel Greenberg, which introduces very large numbers to kids in a gorgeous picture book format.

The book starts out by explaining that (we think) there are a hundred billion trillion stars out there in the universe. Then it quickly pulls us back to Earth, counting other things on the planet that show up in large numbers, such as ants, gallons of water in the ocean, and miles you might walk in your lifetime. Through it all, the book describes scientific and math concepts such as gravity, weather, estimation, time, and our ever evolving environment. (And, for an extra super duper bonus fact: Seth Fishman consulted with Randall Munroe of xkcd, along with reading countless articles and doing his own math, to help with figuring out the large numbers in the book.)

Though the book was successfully Kickstarted, it also has a conventional publisher. And they made a book trailer.

Lest it seem like the whole book was included in the trailer, fear not: the book itself includes plenty of additional facts, and it’s much easier to appreciate the fun artwork in a book that you can hold in your hands. There are so many small details to absorb. There are images of families, friends, stuffed animals, people learning and playing, and plenty of bunny rabbits. The book’s beautiful art illustrates only a small portion of items that the large numbers in the book describe, but it will get you started, and you can imagine the almost countless others.

In the book, Seth Fishman describes the sheer number of things in our universe with humor, wonder, and a healthy dose of curiosity. But, even though there are such a large number of things on our planet and in the universe, each one is unique. Including you.

And don’t miss the author’s note in the back of the book! He explains more about large numbers. And he talks about how many bugs we probably eat in our lifetime. That part is not to be missed.

A perfect bedtime story to read to your kids (except for the part about eating bugs), A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars will remind you to take in your vast surroundings, and be humbled by the sheer numbers and sizes of all that our world and universe encompass.

Note: I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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