Today we're excited to spotlight How To Become A Planet by Nicole Melleby!

 Read on for more about Nicole and her book, an guest post, plus an giveaway! 




Meet Nicole Melleby!


Nicole Melleby is a born-and-bred Jersey girl with a passion for storytelling. She studied creative writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University and currently teaches creative writing and literature courses with a handful of local universities. When she's not writing, she can be found browsing the shelves at her local comic shop or watching soap operas with a cup of tea.


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Meet How To Become A Planet!


After an entire summer trying to figure out how to go back to being the person she was before her depression and anxiety diagnosis, Pluto finds out – with the help of a hotline (the Hayden Planetarium Hotline, that is), a new tutor, and a new friend -- that there is no old or new Pluto, there’s just Pluto, growing up.

For Pluto, summer has always started with a trip to the planetarium. It’s the launch to her favorite season, which also includes visits to the boardwalk arcade, working in her mom’s pizzeria, and her best friend Meredith’s birthday party. But this summer, none of that feels possible.

A month before the end of the school year, Pluto’s frightened mom broke down Pluto’s bedroom door. What came next were doctor’s appointments, a diagnosis of depression, and a big black hole that still sits on Pluto’s chest, making it too hard to do anything.

Pluto can’t explain to her mom why she can’t do the things she used to love. And it isn’t until Pluto’s dad threatens to make her move with him to the city—where he believes his money, in particular, could help—that Pluto becomes desperate enough to do whatever it takes to be the old Pluto again.

She develops a plan and a checklist: If she takes her medication, if she goes to the planetarium with her mom for her birthday, if she successfully finishes her summer school work with her tutor, if she goes to Meredith’s birthday party . . . if she does all the things that “normal” Pluto would do, she can stay with her mom in Jersey. But it takes a new therapist, a new tutor, and a new (and cute) friend with a checklist and plan of her own for Pluto to learn that there is no old and new Pluto. There’s just her.



AmazonB & N * Indiebound







 ~ Guest Post ~



  1. Space Trash!

    A slice of pizza on a star filled space

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    Pluto and her mom run a pizzeria on the boardwalk in How to Become a Planet, so I was particularly amused to find out that the area of space they make sure is cleared of space debris around the space station is called the “pizza box” because of its rectangular shape. 

  1. How to Name a Planet

    A picture containing person

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    When I think about all things astronomy and how they got their names, I always picture a bunch of old dead white dudes doing the naming. Color me surprised when I found out that Pluto was actually named by an 11 year old girl! Pluto got its name from 11-year-old Venetia Burney of Oxford, England, who suggested to her grandfather that the new world get its name from the Roman god of the underworld. 

  1. I <3 NJ 


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As a self-proclaimed Jersey girl, this is one astronomy fact that I’ve known and loved for a long time: The big bang itself was discovered by astronomers in Bell Labs, right here by where I grew up in New Jersey (where Pluto and her mom live, too!) To top it off, they discovered it by accident. Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson thought that their telescope was malfunctioning, as it detected a background layer of “noise” that muddied the real data they were after. After the fact, they later realized their noise was actually some of the earliest light ever created. 

  1. Pluto has a heart!
    A close up of the moon

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    There is an area of Pluto covered by frozen nitrogen in the shape of a heart, which isn’t so much a science fact as just something I happen to think is super cute.  

And most importantly: 

  1. How to become a planet!

    I came up with the title for my book by typing “How to become a planet” into the Google search bar, so this is, of course, the most important fact that I learned while writing the book! There are three main criteria that the International Astronomical Union decided in 2006 (thus rendering Pluto a dwarf planet) must meet in order to be considered a planet: 
  1. A planet must orbit a star (in our solar system, the sun)  
  2. A planet must be big enough to have enough gravity to force it into a spherical shape.
  3. It must be big enough that its gravity cleared away any other objects of a similar size near its orbit around the Sun.



How To Become A Planet

By: Nicole Melleby

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Release Date: May 25th, 2021






Three winners will each receive a copy of How To Become A Planet (Nicole Melleby) ~ (US Only)



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