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About the book
  • Published: 2 July 2019
  • ISBN: 9780143772705
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 32
  • RRP: $17.99

Abigail and the Birth of the Sun


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A bright and beautiful exploration of a supernova and the birth of our solar system for young children, all wrapped up in a bedtime story

Join Abigail on a magical night-time adventure to discover how the sun, moon and planets came into being.

Abigail is a curious little girl. She likes to discover the answers to really BIG questions.

One night, she thinks of a question that's SO BIG she can't sleep until she knows the answer.

"Daddy," she asks as he tucks her into bed, "where did the sun and all the planets come from?"

To find out the answer, Daddy invites Abigail on a magical journey through time and space. Together they explore the birth of all living things.

By the next morning, Abigail has thought of another big question . . .


A gorgeously illustrated and beautifully told bedtime story that doubles as an introduction to astrophysics, Abigail and the Birth of the Sun will be enjoyed equally by young children and adults.

  • Pub date: 2 July 2019
  • ISBN: 9780143772705
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 32
  • RRP: $17.99

About the Authors

Matthew Cunningham

Matthew Cunningham wrote his first masterpiece in kindergarten. Unfortunately, as he had yet to grasp the concept of writing in straight lines from left to right, ‘The Clock’ (as it was so cleverly titled) read more like a bowl of alphabet soup than a book. Since then, he’s turned his hand to a number of different styles of writing. A passionate and dedicated historian with a Doctor of Philosophy, he has published oral histories, peer-reviewed articles, journalistic and encyclopedic pieces, and Waitangi Tribunal research commissions.
Matthew's desire to communicate, explore and test complex ideas in a way that engages the reader, no matter what their age, has naturally brought him to the best and most challenging genre of all: children's fiction. Abigail and the Birth of the Sun is his first published picture book.
He lives in Porirua, New Zealand with his wife and daughter Abigail, who, like her namesake, also likes to ask big questions.

Sarah Wilkins

Sarah Wilkins was born in Lower Hutt. The middle child of seven, she dreamt of becoming a solo explorer. Dreaming and drawing, which she loved, go together, so she became an illustrator instead. Sarah works for clients all around the globe and has won many awards for her work. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand, and sometimes in Paris, France, and still likes to explore everything in between.


Praise for Abigail and the Birth of the Sun

“[A] story...that will not only explain the science of how the world began, but will deliver it with the poignancy and beauty of a fairy tale.”

Susannah Whaley, NZ Booklovers

“Abigail and the Birth of the Sun is, at its heart, about showing children just how fundamentally connected everything down here is to everything up there. We are, as Abigail’s daddy explains to her, all made of stardust.”

Ronnie Swainston, Kidspot

“I love that Abigail’s dad is not too busy or distracted to answer her question in depth – in an ideal world we’d all be this type of caring adult more often. It’s a little message tucked away in the text for the adults – 'be like Abigail’s dad'. With a world of information quite literally available at our fingertips, our standard response shouldn’t be 'I don’t know', but 'Let’s find out!' And with the promise of further books explaining big concepts to come, Matthew Cunningham books may become just as easy to reach for as a Google search. The illustrations by Sarah Wilkins are lovely – clear, colourful and intricate. These are the sorts of illustrations that are crying out for an adult with an available lap, so a child can look closely and find all the little details. I highly recommend Abigail and the Birth of the Sun for children aged 5 and up.”

Rachel Moore, The Sapling

“In this delightful book, young Abigail has a big question for her father: where did the sun and the planets come from? His reply: "From stardust, Abigail. Just like you." He goes on to explain in clear, child-friendly terms how a large star exploded and its stardust came to form stars, meteors, comets and planets — and everything on Earth, including us. Sarah Wilkins' spectacular illustrations bring this to life in the most glorious way, conveying the wonder and beauty of the Earth and of space beyond. Highly recommended.”

Otago Daily Times

“Inquisitive minds – and grateful adults – will love Abigail and the Birth of the Sun by Matthew Cunningham and Sarah Wilkins. It’s astrophysics explained, with glorious illustrations to boot.”

Stacey Anyan, North and South


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