Things worked out pretty well the first time Charlesbridge Publishing and I did a picture book biography together, and I’m so very pleased to announce that we’re going to do another one.
The book, tentatively titled John Dobson Is Part of the Sky, will tell the extraordinary story of my Beijing-born subject’s journey from “belligerent atheist” to Manhattan Project contributor to Vedantan monk to innovative telescope maker and co-founder of Sidewalk Astronomers, a group committed to entertaining as many people as possible merely by getting them to look at, appreciate, and understand the wonders in the sky above them.
There’s even a thread connecting this new project to The Day-Glo Brothers, as I learned this week upon discovering this 1968 San Francisco newspaper account of a 12-year-old’s construction of a Dobsonian telescope. The scope was named The Psychedelic Giraffe and painted daylight-fluorescent yellow and pink!
If you’re curious about Dobson and will be anywhere near Los Angeles next weekend, you can celebrate his 95th birthday with him at a star party at the Griffith Observatory on Saturday, September 18.
Dobson was also the subject of a mighty interesting documentary, A Sidewalk Astronomer, a few years ago. Here’s a taste:
Finally, here’s a quote from Dobson that I absolutely love, and which says a lot about why I’m so happy to be working on this project:
“The reason — the ONLY reason — I have ever been interested in telescope making is because the people in this world have to see where the Heck they live. They have to see it and they have to understand it. It is stupid to live in this universe and never see it.”