Hello, Star by Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic and Vashti Harrison

Hello, Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic! Hello, Vashti Harrison! Welcome back to Watch. Connect. Read.! I’m THRILLED to celebrate Hello, Star with you today! Hooray!

Stephanie, I’m curious, what ran through your heart the first time you saw Hello, Star’s finished cover and jacket?

Stephanie: Hi, John, I’m so glad to be back on your blog! Oof, what ran through my heart, indeed!

Honestly, so much ran through my heart every time I got a glimpse of Vashti’s images for this book, and early on I saw several interior pieces that made me gasp and scream for my family to come look with me.

But when our team shared the cover with me, I was snatched completely breathless. All I could do was bring my laptop to my husband and sons and point at the screen. I honestly couldn’t even speak.

What ran through my heart was the thumping, jumping, tears-sparking-behind-eyes feeling of a wish truly fulfilled.

Vashti, what materials did you use to create the GORGEOUS art for Hello, Star?

Vashti: I created all the base drawings for this book in colored pencil. I sort of treated it like an underpainting - doing a tonal value drawing in a single color, scanning it then coloring on top. I worked with Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils in a medium value red on Vellum Bristol paper. I didn’t want to go too dark or too light, and red was what I had – it was early in the 2020 lockdown so I wasn’t able to get to the art supply store! It worked! And once in Photoshop I adjusted the colors and added more color on top. I still did all my sketches digitally though, sized them for my printer/scanner, printed them out, made a makeshift transfer paper with chalk pastel and traced my sketch onto the Bristol. Then scanned that in! Lots of steps!

Stephanie, I know you’re a big supporter of independent bookshops. Imagine a bookseller at Books Inc asks you to fill out a shelftalker about Hello, Star!

Stephanie: Ack! It’s hard to be a writer who can’t write things like this, but I’ll give it a go:

When a small girl learns a star is dying, her desire not to let the star die alone sets her on an ambitious path of discovery and dedication that will take her far beyond Earth and immerse her in the mysteries of the universe. With blazingly brilliant art by Vashti Harrison, this book demonstrates just what the smallest spark of compassion can do to expand our hearts, our worlds, and our dreams.

Vashti, please finish the following sentence starters: 

Hello, Star is such a lovely and poetic story. I really wanted to make it feel soft and fairy-tale like. I liked the juxtaposition of the science and technology with the pastel blues and purples. I always choose colors that represent the protagonist of a book and work from there. Here I started with a greyish bluish mint and then made a full palette of soft tones, to help make it feel soft throughout.

Did you know every book I’ve illustrated up to this point has been fully digital- done completely in Photoshop? I love working digitally, I feel very comfortable with those tools and work quickly but I was excited to switch things up. This was my first opportunity to take my time and experiment with so many different tools and media to find the right thing for this book. I did lots of samples and tests in chalk pastels, gouache, before landing on colored pencils. I also did some tests with photographing iridescent and metallic watercolors on glass and plexiglass to create deep space, in the end though it was almost too intense and realistic and lost that sweet fairy tale in space look I wanted!
Stephanie, please finish the following sentence starters:

Hello, Star is dedicated to my oldest son, Henry. His love of space, his empathetic expression of sadness over the idea that stars die, and his poetic heart are the everything behind this book.

But this book is also dedicated to every reader who holds it and their own dreams together in their heart.

Story is vital. Story is powerful.

Story is what we share. 

Story brings us together 

on couches

in front of fires

Story is a blanket

we tuck around our hearts

at bedtime

at noontime

at any time

it’s called upon

to do so.

Story connects us in a way 

that nothing else can. 

It opens us up to what we know to be 

our own truths

making us feel less alone.

Story opens us up to people 

who are different from us 

in every way.

Story sends us far away

only to bring us back again.




Story gets under our skin

and nudges its way



our core of self.

Story writes empathy

into the waiting pages

of our souls.

Thank you, Stephanie and Vashti!

Stephanie V. W. Lucianovic is the author of The End of Something Wonderful: A Practical Guide to a Backyard Funeral and the middle-grade novel The League of Picky Eaters. She has been a contributor to the New York Times Motherlode blog, The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, CNN's Eatocracy, The Atlantic Wire, and more. Stephanie lives in the Bay Area, and she invites you to visit her at stephanielucianovic.com or on Instagram and Twitter @grubreport.

Vashti Harrison is the #1 New York Times bestselling creator of Little Leaders, Little Dreamers, and Little Legends, and the illustrator of Lupita Nyong'o's Sulwe and Matthew Cherry's Hair Love, among others. She earned her BA in studio art and media studies from the University of Virginia and her MFA in film/video from CalArts, where she rekindled a love of drawing and painting. Vashti lives in Brooklyn, New York, and invites you to visit her at vashtiharrison.com or on Instagram and Twitter @vashtiharrison.

Look for Hello, Star on October 19, 2021. 


Popular Posts