New paperback edition of this STEM-themed picture book celebrating the love of learning, the magic of mathematics and the joy of finding a kindred spirit, from two award-winning creators.

From the parallel lines of moonlight pouring through her bedroom blinds, to counting daisy petals in the garden, Maddie adores maths. If only she had a friend who marvelled at it as she does. Then Dad takes Maddie, along with her new classmate Priya, to the observatory where the unfathomable numbers of stars take their breath away.


Raewyn Caisley has enjoyed a long, and in her own words with 35 titles to her name her work has found its way into libraries and homes all over the world. She’s been shortlisted multiple times, (for the Patricia Wrightson Award, the WA Premier’s Award, and the Adelaide Festival Children’s Literature Award), won the Speech Pathology Book of the Year and the coveted SCBWI Crystal Kite, and even had one of her titles named among the top 15 picture books published worldwide. Her literary contribution to Western Australia has recently been recognised by the WA Museum.

Gabriel Evans is an Australian children’s book illustrator and author. He is a dog lover, an avid oak tree grower and drinks copious amounts of tea. He currently lives in Western Australia. Gabriel’s books with Sally Murphy, Roses are Blue, and Penny Morrison, Captain Sneer the Buccaneer, were Notable books in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards in 2015 and 2017 respectively, and his five most recent titles have also been CBCA Notable and Shortlisted books. Between book projects he travels Australia giving illustration workshops and talks in schools and libraries.


A charming story of finding a friend who is interested in the same things you find interesting, Count the Stars will resonate with younger readers who think outside the square.


This is a really wonderful story about a girl who knows what her spark is and leans into it. As happens with most of us, sometimes what sparks our curiosity, interest and passion makes us different from others and can leave us feeling alone and misunderstood. It reveals the importance of kind, caring grown-ups in a kid’s life. This story is perfect for kids aged 5-10. There is a lot that can be unpacked by parents and teachers. It might spark a discussion about times when kids feel alone and different like Maddie, or she can be held up as an example of someone who knows what she likes and owns it.

Reading Time

This is an absolutely intriguing story with lots of layers that will resonate with so many readers, not just discovering the ubiquity of maths in our lives, and maybe building a maths trail around the school. While the author has chosen to make maths the focus of Maddie’s passion, there are bigger issues that can be explored through the story such as celebrating a love of learning; making and maintaining friendships; finding and following your passion and owning it or, conversely, feeling separated from our friends because they don’t love something as we do; even exploring whether friends can like and do different things and still be friends.

The Bottom Shelf

Count the Stars is a brilliant and heartfelt STEM-themed story of a maths-obsessed young girl who finds the perfect friend under a starlit sky. Charmingly illustrated and gently told, Maddie’s story will help develop a love of maths and is sure to get children spotting the joys of number, shape and measurement in the everyday. Maths is everywhere if you know where to look for it and Maddie is a fantastic and inspiring character who certainly knows how much maths exists in the world.

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