Just Right: Searching for the Goldilocks Planet

Written by Curtis Manley
Illustrated by Jessica Lanan
January 2019
Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan Kids
ISBN: 1250155339

Do you wonder if humans are the only beings who wonder if they are alone in the universe?

Our sun is a star. In the night sky are all kinds of stars, and orbiting those stars are planets like the ones in our own solar system. Could those planets have life like we do on Earth? Planet Earth is not too big, not too small, not too hot, and not too cold. It’s just right. Our very own Goldilocks planet . . . .

Follow a young girl as she explores these questions in this gorgeous book about the wondrous search for another Goldilocks planet.

A Junior Library Guild selection


Available now:

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Praise for JUST RIGHT:

The enthusiastic main character lightens what could be weighty scientific information, providing an entry point for newcomers. Lanan’s pleasing, watercolorlike artwork moves between expansive visions of outer space and panels that highlight key concepts. An ideal addition for libraries building or updating STEAM collections.

★ School Library Journal, starred review

Lanan’s illustrations take the concepts to the next level; the choices of scale, color, and detail in her planetary landscapes make visible the text’s content. The clever use of a parallel narrative in the art, which features a young (brown-skinned) girl and her family as they visit a planetarium and bring home a telescope, situates the images of possible other worlds in that character’s imagination.

—Horn Book

Richly informative prose and intimate yet expansive art show a child’s contagious enthusiasm for the book’s subject.”

—Publishers Weekly

This is the best kind of science writing—a book that offers as many questions as answers. Aspiring astronomers will love it.

— Booklist

The illustrations, suffused with glowing light, are dynamically varied, including a colorful double-page spread of the Milky Way galaxy, panels carrying information, fanciful visions of other worlds, and an all-black spread with just one stark sentence in white: “Or maybe it’s like nothing we can even imagine.” Lanan effectively balances the girl’s visual narrative with the heavier scientific exposition of the text. […] An attractive and informative volume for young stargazers.

— Kirkus


FREE Astronomy and STEM Teaching Resources:


Author Curtis Manley and Curious City were honored to work with librarians Suzanne Costner (2017 Aerospace Teacher of the Year) and Jennifer Beach (Certified Environmental Educator) to create these guided hands-on astronomy activities for educators and librarians of all STEAM abilities.

DOWNLOAD Just Right: Astronomy Activity Guide (PDF)

Or explore the individual activities on Curious City at this link.



JUST RIGHT book trailer
Ten years in the making